"Handmade (Not Homemade)" describes the way this Denver blogger approaches her many projects in life: creating, inspiring, loving and exploring. Living life to it's fullest requires more than a rag-tag assortment of homemade theories and thrown-together decisions. But the goal is not perfection, for handmade items and actions have a slightly imperfect organic charm.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Valentine's Day Countdown Board

Yes, Valentine's Day is MORE than 14 days away. Which means you have plenty of time to make your own Valentine's Day countdown board like this one that hangs in my kitchen.

When all the numbers are opened, there is a sweet little message: "I love you so much."

Hurry! Go to the Target Dollar Spot and get 2 packages of red and pink heart boxes! Then gather the rest of your supplies.

I used (not all is pictured above):
  • heart boxes
  • sticky chipboard letters and numbers
  • 5 sheets of coordinating scrapbook paper (one is a full 12x12 and the rest can be scraps)
  • foam core (enough to glue the 12x12 sheet on to)
  • distress ink-or any other dark colored ink
  • scissors
  • craft glue
  • Exacto knife to cut the foam core
  • ribbon
  • 2 tacks or pushpins

The inspiration for my project was a board with the same-type boxes that spelled "I love you so much" since it uses 14 letters. This one was done with magnets and a cookie sheet. I wanted a lightweight wall hanging and didn't have any magnets on hand. Magnets are a bit pricey, so I decided to use mostly materials I already had. Lord knows I don't need to be buying any more craft supplies. The only things I actually bought for this project were the boxes and the sticky letters because I knew I didn't have enough letters and numbers in my stash for what I needed to spell. Also, I wanted mine to be more colorful than just red, pink and white, so I didn't buy any new Valentine-themed paper. I just looked through what I had and found something that was multi-colored and included red and pink.

Let's get started. First, lay out your boxes in rows that correspond to each word. I planned to alternate my boxes pink and red, but then mixed up the starting color of each row to make it a bit more random.

Then, peel and stick your numbers onto the outside of the boxes. You can put them in numerical order, or mix them up like I did. I originally started this project with my little guy in the room because he loves letters and numbers and I thought he would have fun sticking them on with me. Well, he had a little too much fun, because when I went upstairs for about a minute to get him a sippy cup, he had pulled off the numbers from a few of the boxes and was proudly yelling out the number he was holding in his hand. So I waited til his bedtime to finish the project.

Also, notice how the numbers are a titch too big for the boxes. That's ok--I think it gives it some personality.

Then take the lid off of one of the extra boxes and trace it on the backside of one of your papers to make the interior decoration for the hearts. Note the Houston Oilers pencil. I grew up in the Houston area and I can't believe I still have this. The pencil may be old, but it is still appealing to a 19-month-old. Note the little blurry hand that will grab this pencil and scribble all over the backs of the rest of the papers.

Then, cut the heart out about an eighth of an inch smaller than the line you drew so that the paper will fit into the inside bottom of the box. You may have to trim a couple of times.

Once the heart is the right size, use that one as a pattern to trace and cut 13 more hearts on your different papers. You can also use the same paper for all of them. I just wanted to mix mine up.

Time to decorate the hearts! First, place them on top of the boxes in the order that you want them, so you know which letter to put on which one.

Then, start distressing the edges with your ink. This is optional. I put distress ink on pretty much every paper project I do because I feel like it adds dimension and a subtle yet clear border to all the papers. Just scrape the edges of the paper on the ink pad.

And when you are done you will have this. Do it 13 more times for the rest of the hearts.

Now start sticking your letters on. If you do not want to buy chipboard letters, you could also stamp letters onto the heart papers. For the outside boxes, you could Sharpie or paint pen the numbers on--if you have cute handwriting ;)

Then glue each paper heart into the inside of the box.

Now it's time to prepare the background board. Using the scrapbook paper as a guide, cut a piece of foam core with an Exacto knife. Here is a tip for your foam core cutting technique: do it in several shallow cuts, not one big one. Trying to cut through the whole thing at once will usually leave you with some unevenness and tearing.

Then glue your paper on to the foam core. I used craft glue then used the flat edge of my ruler to smooth out any bubbles, working from the center to the edges. I actually distress inked the paper before I glued it on, but I would suggest that you do it after. It's just easier to work with a stiff piece of 12x12 paper than a floppy one.

Now, lay out your boxes on the paper for placement, and glue them down. Note the distressed edges.

If you want to hang your countdown on the wall, you will need ribbon and 2 tacks. Just cut your ribbon to the right length and tack it on each corner. The board is so lightweight that this is sufficient to hold it all together.

You're done! Don't get so excited that you hang it right away. Let it dry so the boxes don't slide down the board.

Now you have a cute little countdown to place treats or love notes in every day. I hope the boxes fit little chocolate covered cherries-those were my Dad's favorite.

Here is the completed board in mid-countdown!

Happy Valentine's Day!

1 comment:

  1. What a GREAT idea! So much fun!

    Hey, I flipped back in my blog to see if I can find the shirt I made for Eli like the one Wyatt had on. Found it! Coincidentally these shots were also taken at Obs. Park. Love that place.