These handmade hearts make perfect Valentine's Day decorations and gifts. Make them with your favorite seeds and plant them for lovely flowers or vegetables later in the year. This craft is great to make with kids—even little ones can participate and enjoy.
These plantable hearts don't require many supplies, and you probably have everything you need at home. The most important supplies are paper and seeds, but you may find that a blender and a heart shaped form, like a cookie cutter, may come in handy. You can use any paper that isn't shiny, and even mix different types of paper. Construction paper and tissue paper work great, but you can use newspaper, printer paper, almost anything. If your paper isn't the color you want you'll need to add a bit of food coloring for dye.
Tear Your Paper
Begin by cutting or tearing your paper into small pieces. This is a great opportunity to put little ones who love cutting things to work. Two full sheets of cut up paper will make approximately 12 hearts, depending on size and thickness.
If you are using a blender, place your little pieces of paper in the blender and add water until the paper is fully submerged. Blend into a pulp. If you aren't using a blender, place the paper in a bowl and add water until the paper is covered. Let sit for a couple of hours, then use your hands to massage the paper into a pulp.
Your water-to-paper ratio will change depending on the type of paper that you use. The texture of your final pulp should be just thick enough to loosely hold its shape. Add more water or paper as needed.
Create Your Shapes
If you are going to use a cookie cutter or other mold, set it on a smooth surface. Cookie sheets work great for this. If you want your paper to dry a bit faster, add a layer of felt before shaping your hearts. Place a glob of paper pulp in the mold and spread it out to the edges using your fingers. You will need about a tablespoon of paper, depending on the size of your mold. It should be about an 1/8" thick when spread out. Gently lift the mold and repeat.
Once all your pulp shapes are laid out, sprinkle seeds across the top. Use your finger to gently press them into the wet paper.
If you want to make more than just hearts, try mixing up a few other colors of paper. You can even mix different colors together. Think about pink dots in a red heart or a yellow center for a white flower.
Shapes Without a Mold
You can make paper shapes even without using a mold. To create a simple flower place 5 balls of white paper pulp in a circle. Place a little bit of yellow in the center and gently flatten with your fingers. Use your fingers to smooth the edges and try a spoon to get into any tight spots between petals.
Flowers and Leaves
Flowers and leaves look lovely alongside hearts, but you can get as creative as you want with shapes. Simple geometric shapes like circles and squares can be just as beautiful and fun as more complex things like flowers or even butterflies!
When your paper is fully dry—which may take up to 48 hours—gently peel it off the cookie sheet. Punch a hole in the valentine and add a string to hang it with. If you are using them for decoration, consider stringing them together into a garland of hearts.
When the time is right for your seeds to be planted, you can plant the entire valentine in a pot, yard or garden. The paper will break down quickly under the soil and with a little water and sunshine you'll soon have plants grown with lots of love.