Funky, festive, free: Paint Swatch Valentine’s Day Hearts

It’s all about love.  That’s my mom’s mantra in life.  And I think she’s onto something.

A whimsical wall dotted with festive paint swatch hearts.

A whimsical wall dotted with festive paint swatch hearts.

Some people say “Ugh, Valentine’s Day…” “It is just a commercial holiday.” or “What about the single people?”

Since when does love only apply to romance?  In Mexico, Valentines Day is often called el Día de Amor y Amistad, or the Day of Love and Friendship.  To me, that’s what it’s all about.

Even if you don’t have a “valentine” this year, never forget that you are loved and appreciated.  And maybe even take this day (and every day) to express love to those around you.

I have wonderful childhood memories of Valentines Day.  I remember eagerly running into the dining room to find a gorgeous and festive Valentines Day meal, full of fun and surprises.  Multicolored conversation hearts were perfectly scattered across a freshly pressed red tablecloth, and each place setting came complete with a personalized name tag and a Valentine’s Day card.  Everywhere you looked there was something to be appreciated, from a simple but beautiful flower arrangement to a small gift for each of us.  Sometimes we celebrated at breakfast, sometimes at lunch, but it was always delicious, nutritious, and beautiful.  Red salsa over chicken tacos, a pink strawberry smoothie with a whimsical garnish… my mom thought of every detail and truly filled our world with wonder.

My parents never let my sister and I forget how much they loved us, and February 14th was no exception.  And you know what? It feels really good to be told that you are loved unconditionally.  “I love, like, and appreciate you” was something we heard a lot. Those simple words have had a powerful impact on us throughout our lives.
Now as an adult, I strive to fill my house (and life) with love.  And part of that means taking advantage of this fun and festive holiday to liven up the bare walls that just weeks ago were covered with Christmas snowflakes.
Snowflakes left over from Christmas.

Snowflakes left over from Christmas.

Here’s the thing.  I love holiday decorations, but I am too cheap to invest much money into them.  My remedy? I turn to the cheapest option–paper.  Paper is a great way to decorate for any holiday without spending more than a dollar or two.  I made crow and pumpkin cutouts for Halloween, delicate white snowflakes for Christmas, and now it’s time to spruce up the house for Valentines Day!

When searching for Valentines Day crafts, I came across this cool blog post on using paint swatches and a heart punch to make cute cutouts. This blogger turns hers into amazing art pieces.  Check it out!
Inspired by the idea, I headed over to Ace Hardware to pick up a ton of FREE swatches in several colors.  Who says Valentines Day needs to be all about pinks and reds?
Assorted paint swatches as a craft inspiration.

Assorted paint swatches as a craft inspiration.

Too cheap to buy a heart punch and too impatient to cut out tiny hearts by hand, my husband Simon and I cut outside the lines.  What came next was a fun and quirky collection of hearts, many of which had an ombre effect due to the different paint colors.  Some had the traditional rounded heart shape, and some we cut into a geometric “robot heart.”  I actually love the boxy hearts, as they are easier to cut out and have a modern, funky look.  And you can fold them in half, make a few cuts, and voilà.

We used some hearts as a stencil, and others we cut freehand.  The great thing is that the hearts can be imperfect, and you can always keep trimming to even things out.
Boxy "robotic" hearts.  I folded some of these over to make them symmetrical.

Boxy “robotic” hearts. I folded some of these over to make them symmetrical.

Curvy free-form hearts.

Curvy free-form hearts.

I recommend letting loose and cutting a variety of shapes and sizes.  When choosing paint colors, think of what background you might use, if you plan to adhere them to something later.  You can stick with a specific color palette or just do the whole rainbow like us.
A fun and funky assortment of hearts.

A fun and funky assortment of hearts.

To make the hearts more meaningful, we flipped them over and wrote or drew something on the back of each.  Goofy, sappy, sincere, fun–each heart is unique.  We made sure to date them, because these sturdy little hearts will last for years.  Each year the collection will grow, until we have an army of hearts–or until the people at the hardware shop cut us off from the paint sample sheets.
Those same hearts flipped over to reveal notes and doodles.

Those same hearts flipped over to reveal notes and doodles.

Now what to do with these happy, colorful hearts? You can tape them up on the wall, string them together to make a banner, glue them to a blank card to make a handmade valentine, or even just scatter them across your festive table and have a fun activity of flipping each over to reveal the messages of love.  Get creative!  In the blog post I mentioned before, the blogger used adhesive foam pieces to stick her hearts to a white canvas.  Those adhesive pieces add dimension, making it look even better.
Paint swatch hearts.  Fun, festive, funky and FREE!

Paint swatch hearts. Fun, festive, funky and FREE!

This craft is a great activity for kids.  In addition to being free, fun and calming, it is great to develop fine motor skills and help children reflect on love and friendship.  They could even make their own unique valentines for their classmates.  Stick some legs and arms on them and you’ve got some love monsters!
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Can you think of any other ideas of how to use these hearts? Please share your thoughts in the comment box below!

Don’t forget to share the love this Valentine’s Day and EVERY day! You never know what impact you might have on someone.  Remember, “IT’S ALL ABOUT LOVE!”

To end, I’d like to quote the immortal words of the one and only RuPaul.

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Some other fun stuff:

While you’re doing this craft, get a chuckle out of the ridiculous names of the paint colors.  Some of my favorites are Vicky’s Vanity, Ruth’s Best, Temptation and Pillow Talk.  I think I am going to submit “Chafed” and “My Overgrowth” as ideas for the next color updates.

All of the following Spanish expressions are used to mean “sweetheart, honey, baby, etc.”  Try them out on a stranger today! Just say, “Hola ____.  ¿Cómo estás?”

-mi corazón (my heart)
-mi vida (my life)
-mi alma (my soul)
-mi cariño (my affection)
-mi cielo (my sky/heaven)
-mi rey, mi reina (my king, my queen)
-mi amor, mi amorcito (my love)
 
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6 comments

  1. Very cute!! My boys love doing window clings from the dollar store for every holiday. I think it gets the ball rolling on talking about what’s coming up. And they are cheap! I also started buying decorations from joanns on clearance after the holiday. One decoration a year and I have a pretty good collection going now.

  2. Robbie,
    You are great at this blogging!!!keep it up? Happy V day to you,Simon and sweet Ellis .
    So glad you are not poopooing the holiday. It’s my favorite,because it’s all about LOVE!!

  3. Robbie, this was a great post! You are an excellent writer and have a wonderful soul. Happy Valentine’s Day to you, Simon, and Ellis.

  4. Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your lovely family!

    It has been a long time since freshman Spanish class with our adorable Argentinian professor, so it’s nice to get updates on Facebook about that adorable kid & family of yours.

    This is a super cute & clever craft. Can’t wait to try it out with my nephew when he gets old enough to wield some scissors or a heart punch.

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