This article originally appeared on realsimple.com
People have been celebrating Valentine’s Day with those ubiquitous candy hearts for basically forever. In fact, those colorful confections, by Necco, have actually been around since the early 1900s (an early version dates back as far as the 1860s!). The phrases come and go—they’ve born everything from “May I see you home from the circus” to “holla” and “txt me”—but the candy itself is a mainstay. This year, we propose something a little different. Rather than raiding your local convenience store for a box of the edible version, try these fun ideas, all inspired by the traditional conversation heart instead.
To make this fun gift, simply roll out molding clay to approximately ¼-inch thick, cut a heart using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, stamp (being careful not to cut all the way through) with small alphabet stamps or cookie cutter letters, and bake in the oven according to the clay’s package instructions.
Making your own crayons may sound like a difficult and dangerous project, but, with a little adult supervision, it’s a great way to recycle those broken nubs you have floating around in the craft bin. You can use a regular round or heart-shaped baking tray, but we like this version. Simply remove the wrappers from your crayons, break into small enough pieces to fit in the tray, fill to the top (use multiple colors to create a fun marbled effect), and bake at 300 degrees F for approximately 15 minutes. Once cool, remove the crayons from the mold.
If you’ve already picked out a really great gift for your Valentine, get creative with the wrapping. Transform a regular heart-shaped box into something reminiscent of the flavors in a box of conversation hearts with a layer of brightly colored paint—white, mint, pink, orange, yellow, and purple. Then, use stamps and red ink or red permanent marker to add your own sweet messages to the lid.
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Take the idea a little further by embellishing a plain canvas bag with bold pop art that looks like the popular heart-shaped candy. Simply tape a heart stencil to the bag, spell out your message using adhesive letters in the center of the heart, and then paint over the letters to fill the heart shape. To create clean lines, use a foam brush and dab with up and down strokes, rather than side-to-side swipes.
Colorful enamel pins have become a go-to accessory once again. Create a fun version for Valentine’s Day that will look right at home on a jean jacket or backpack. Just paint natural wood heart shapes with bright acrylic paint, let dry, then add the phrase of your choice with mini alphabet stamps. To complete the craft, glue on small pin backs.