The Art of Hearts
Make a Valentine’s Day Collage with Your Kids
By Suzanne Mauro
Pablo Picasso was one of the first modern artists to use “collage” in his work, elevating the technique from craft to fine art. But, prior to this during the Victorian Era, collage was often used to create Valentine’s Day cards. So, if you save old greeting cards because they are too lovely to throw away, this project is perfect for you.
A collage is simply cutting apart one material and gluing it into a new design or composition. In this project, you will be cutting apart old cards and using the images to create new Valentine’s Day designs. You can use greeting cards, thank you and Christmas cards for your collage designs.
What you will need:
1. Small package of paper doilies (I used the 10 inch size)
2. Old cards with pretty pictures
3. Assortment of printed and plain scrapbook cardstock or heavy paper (9x12)
4. Stick-On lettering and Valentine heart stickers
5. Glue stick
7. One paper-fastener per card
Many places sell these materials such as Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and United Art and Education, but be sure to check around at the Dollar stores and Target dollar bins. I was able to find the lettering in these.
I feel that this project is appropriate for your child if they are capable of cutting out shapes with scissors. My two children, Ella and Eve, were involved in all the steps of this project, and their ages are six and nine. Both of them were able to complete the steps (for the most part) on their own. I did have to help my six-year-old with the tracing, and I helped both of them with the stick-on lettering.
These are the steps:
1. The first thing you will do is create the base of your card consisting of one paper doily and a sheet of colored cardstock cut in the shape of a heart. I used a plain sheet of maroon because the contrast ensures my pictures and words will stand out from the background. (So, do not choose red if you bought red lettering.) Use an extra doily as a stencil to trace out a heart that is just a bit smaller than its outside lacey edge.
2. Once you have this heart traced and cut out, use it as a stencil to cut a second heart to be used for the front of your card. This time, choose a paper printed with a Valentine’s Day design. At the end of this step, you should have two paper hearts cut out (approximately the same size) and your doily. Take your first (plain) paper heart and carefully glue it onto the doily. This surface will act as your compositional space (design space) for the inside of your card. Set it aside to dry as you work on the front.
3. For the front, cut a heart out of white cardstock that is smaller than your colorful printed heart. Glue the white heart in the center of the colorful printed heart. This surface will be the compositional space for the front of your card. Now, the hardest part is over, and the really fun part begins!
4. I pulled out our old cards, and we started cutting out shapes. For my card, I cut out some angels, a sparkly bow and a church building. If you want your cards to look really nice, I suggest cutting all the negative space (the space that surrounds the image) away from the picture. Children can do this quite well after you demonstrate how. I tell them to follow the outline of the image with the scissors.
5. Before we glued anything down, I had them try arranging their shapes in different ways. (Children have to be taught that artists “compose” or “plan out” the placement of their shapes in a design rather than randomly gluing things down.) When we all were happy with our compositions, we loosely glued them down with glue stick. I left some of my edges “up” so I could interlace my text above and below, giving a more three-dimensional quality to the image.
6. The final step (when everything is dry) is paper-fastening the front and back together. (A paper-fastener is a small metal clasp that pushes through several sheets of paper and allows them to slide apart.) I choose to do this at the bottom of the hearts so you could slide the front and back apart and read the inside message. The results look quite stunning and will be appreciated by that special someone who you choose to call your Valentine.