Make: 3 Fresh, Simple Paper Heart Crafts for Kids

Sweet and simple is my M.O. this February, so here are a few last-minute ideas for lovely handmade valentines that only require minimal supplies – and its paper heart projects all the way down. And I should note right now, that although I made these with Valentine’s Day in mind, they’re wonderful for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Grandparent’s Day, or just a thoughtful simple gift of kindness.

Back in my dorm-life days, my roommates and I used to jump at any occasion to surprise our hallway neighbors with decked-out doors. All three of these paper heart crafts are ideas that sprang out of our desire to share some fresh, festive valentine’s love while working with the limited supplies we had in our rooms.

A red handpainted heart doorknob hanger sitting on a white background

Hanging heart pendants like the one above, wrapped around a doorknob, were always a Valentine’s Day favorite. They easily slip over any knob or hook and are a charming way for your littles to share their own style of surprise love with the neighborhood. We would cut up old magazines and catalogs (even the dining hall meal schedules one year!) and go to town making collaged hearts we could hang using just a little strip of ribbon.

Another simple staple of our DIY Valentine’s Day decor was a set of wire wraparound paper hearts. We would twist them around bulletin board corners, hang them from desk lamps, and tuck them in potted plants. Like fantastical heart-shaped leaves popping right out of an imaginative illustration, they always provided beautiful pops of February color at an otherwise drab point in the season.

A vase filled with decorated branches and paper heart leaves against a white background.

And for the fastest handmade valentine’s project you ever did see, thumbprint hearts are an unrivaled classic. These little notes were the best way to recognize all of your friends while still having time to study for that absolutely dreadful zoology 201 test. This is one of my favorites to use when the urge to gift a valentine to every person you’ve ever known suddenly strikes. Also so handy for kids who prefer to give their classroom valentines with a (literal) touch of personalization.

For more handmade kids’ valentine’s art projects, try making your own mixed media heart bouquet cards, or recycle old artwork into handmade heart pennant pins.

To make your own modern paper heart valentine crafts you’ll need:

Note: We prefer to shop locally or use what we have at home, but this list contains Woodpeckers Crafts, Etsy, Blick Art Materials, and/or Amazon affiliate links for reference. As Amazon Associates, we make a small commission on qualifying purchases.*

PAPER HEART PENDANT DECORATIONS:

THUMBPRINT HEART VALENTINE NOTES:

  • Scrap paper
  • An ink pad or fingerpaints

WIRE WRAPAROUND PAPER HEART LEAVES:

  • Scrap cardstock or thick construction paper
  • Craft or floral wire (pipe cleaners or even paperclips would work too)
  • Scissors
  • Clear tape or a hot glue gun

Paper heart kids craft instructions:

  1. MAKE HANGING PAPER HEART PENDANT DECORATIONS

    Cut a variety of simple heart shapes out of scrap cardstock or old art. Stack your favorites on top of one another to create a collaged heart and glue them down with a glue stick. Carefully use the end of your scissors, a paperclip, or a mini hole punch to make a small hole near the top of your collaged heart.
    Two collaged paper hearts with beaded rope lanyards sitting on a white background
    Cut a piece of leather cording (about 6-inches long) and tie a loop at the top – just big enough to fit over a doorknob. Thread a few beads on and tie a knot under the beads to secure. Thread your heart on and tie one last knot….voila – all ready to dress up a neighbor’s door!

  2. MAKE WIRE WRAPAROUND PAPER HEART LEAVES

    Begin by cutting a few hearts out of cardstock or heavy construction scraps (the thicker the paper, the better it will hold its shape). We wanted our hearts to look like the leaves in our golden pathos plant, so we cut out nice wide hearts, but any heart shape will work!
    A collection of paper hearts taped to craft wire sitting on a white background
    Cut pieces of craft/floral wire – ours ranged from 4-inches to 8-inches long. Affix a piece of wire to one side of a paper heart leaf with clear tape (packing tape works well) making sure to push the tape all the way down along the edge of the wire. You could also use a hot glue gun. We attached two leaves to either end of the wire to create a few leaf bundles.

    Now you can wrap your leaves around branches, wire plant stands, or even the stems themselves (gently!) for a beautifully subtle valentine decoration that adds lovely pops of color to your February foliage. For a bit of bonus love, add a handwritten note to the back.

  3. MAKE A THUMBPRINT HEART VALENTINE

    One of my tried-and-true, quick and easy valentines, thumbprint hearts are a timeless classic! You can pop out tons of these in just a few minutes, so they’re a wonderful way to create a heavy shower of little love notes.
    A stack of thumbprint heart valentine notes sitting on a white background
    This one hardly needs explanation – simply grab a pad and fingerpaints and use your thumbs or fingers to begin stamping out little hearts on a piece of paper or small paper scraps. Once finished, you can hide these little notes around the house or stuff them into backpacks or lunch sacks. Tiny little love notes, stamped with a fingerprint heart and tucked away in secret spots are an easy way to surprise someone with a reminder that they are loved.

One of the things I love about these simple ideas is that once you’ve tried a couple, you can start to play with the concepts to create fun variations of your own with them. For instance, wouldn’t those wire wraparound hearts look stunning as part of a small scrap wood sculpture? You might also recognize these from our Eva Hesse-inspired mobiles – another way to use them for a bit of artistic form exploration!

A golden pathos plant decorated with paper hearts hanging from the ceiling

And with a longer loop, our hanging paper heart pendants could easily be festive handmade Valentine necklaces. Or you could use all the same supplies to make a beaded valentine garland. Hang them from a branch for a Valentine tree, or make a set to loop around a horizontal dowel rod for a lovely heart wall-hanging.

Two collaged paper hearts with beaded rope lanyards sitting on a white background

Each one of these crafts also perfectly lends itself to a Valentine-themed scavenger hunt. Write your clues on one side of your paper hearts, then hang or hide them around the house or yard.

For more sugar-free Valentine’s Day entertainment, try these poseable conversation hearts, send your message of love via (paper!) messenger pigeon., or build a STEAM-powered cardboard love shack!

A red kid-made paper heart with beads and a hanger sitting on a white background

*A note about affiliate links: We strive to use simple, earth-friendly supplies that can be purchased locally whenever we can, but sometimes we find the best universally available options, a rare eco-friendly find, or a niche product only available on Blick Art Materials, Amazon, Etsy, or Woodpeckers Crafts. When included in our supply list, these products are affiliate links, and if you click through to make a purchase we receive a small commission that helps us re-order these supplies!

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Amanda Eldridge
Amanda Eldridge

With a passion for cultivating imagination, Amanda aims to help kids and families discover their creative potential through art, play, adventure, activism, conservancy, and community. Amanda has a background in graphic design, environmental design, and art curation. When not playing with ideas and designs for barley & birch, she enjoys working in freelance design, art, and illustration.

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