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Holidays & Seasons        < Previous        Next >

 

Heartstrings: a Valentine's Craft

 

Today's snack: String cheese! Bend two pieces together in the shape of a heart. Then eat this delicious, heart-healthy food.

 

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Supplies:

 

Cardstock or other relatively heavy paper in a Valentine color

 

Heart-shaped cookie cutter or other heart-shaped object you can trace

 

Embroidery floss in a contrasting Valentine color

 

Large needle (embroidery or tapestry; available for about $1 in the sewing department of a hobby store; if there are more than one student doing this project, take turns!)

 

Thimble

 

Washcloth

 

Ruler

 

Scotch tape

 

Scissors

 

 

 

You know about heartstrings: that's the expressive term for your deepest feelings and strongest affections. You can play on your Valentine's heartstrings by making a very special piece of string art.

 

 

All you need is a piece of cardstock or other heavy paper in a pretty Valentine's Day color; some embroidery floss (entwined strands of thread), perhaps in red or silver, and a large needle, such as an embroidery needle or a tapestry needle.

 

You should be able to purchase a big needle like that at a craft or sewing store for less than a dollar or so. They should be available in plastic, if you're concerned about safety.

 

First, trace a heart on the cardstock using a heart pattern such as a cookie cutter. Cut out the paper heart. It should lay flat, with no folds. The smaller the heart, the less embroidery floss you will need, but since it's inexpensive, that shouldn't matter.

 

Fold the washcloth into fourths and lay on the counter. With the needle, poke holes around the outside edge of the heart. Start at the top center, underneath where the two top curves meet, and poke the first hole. Then poke the next hole at the bottom, just above the point. Now poke more holes up the right side at even intervals, and repeat on the left side. Depending on the size of the heart, you might have six holes per side, for a total of 12 holes.

 

(Note: if your student is younger than 10 years old or so, you might prefer punching holes around the edge of the heart with a paper punch. Then it would be easy to get the needle through the much larger holes the paper punch would make. But it's not as pretty.)

 

Also, it can get tricky pushing the needle through the tiny holes in this project, and older children and teenagers should take their time so that they don't rip the paper.

 

It's helpful to put a thimble on the finger you're using to push the needle through the holes. Children sometimes are squeamish about the feel of the needle's blunt end on their forefinger as they push. It can hurt a little!

 

Now thread your large needle and snip off the floss at about 18 inches. Measure with the ruler to make sure you have enough floss.

 

Pull the needle through the hole at the bottom until the floss is almost all the way through. Scotch-tape the last half-inch or so of it on the back so that it stays snug.

 

Turn the heart back over, pick up the needle again, and this time, pull the needle down into the hole at the top center of the heart, out of sight underneath the heart. Pull the floss through. The heart should lay flat and not be pulled upwards by the floss. If it does, you're holding the floss too tight.

 

Now, coming up from underneath the heart, this time pull the needle up through the hole immediately to the RIGHT of the first hole on the bottom of the heart. Pull the floss all the way through.

 

Then pull the needle down through the hole immediately to the LEFT of the first hole at the top of the heart.

 

See how you edge the needle around the outside edges of the heart?

 

Work your way all around the heart. If you run out of embroidery floss, tape a half-inch or so of the end on the back, and re-thread another 18-inch length of floss on your needle, pull it through the next hole, be careful to tape off the end, and continue.

 

When you're done, snip off any remaining floss and tape the last end.

 

Turn it back over to the front, think about who is going to receive this special Valentine, and you'll probably hear Cupid singing that old, old Valentine's song:

 

"Zing! went the strings of my heart."

 

By Susan Darst Williams www.AfterSchoolTreats.com Holidays & Seasons 09 2008

 

 

 

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