Eric Carle Inspired Valentines

by HEAB on February 4, 2012

Valentine’s Day was always so fun back in elementary school.  Did anyone else make Valentine’s mailboxes out of old shoeboxes?  We made them every year, and each student brought in a card for every classmate.  We’d have a class party involving candy and cupcakes – always cupcakes, and then mail our cards to each other.  To those of you with young children, does this still happen?  I sure hope so, as it was always one of my favorite days at school.

This year, I decided to make cards for Summer to send out to her buddies.  Since we love Eric Carle, I wanted to try his tissue paper painting method and somehow incorporate it into our cards.

So, following his method, we painted several layers of paint onto tissue paper.

A few tips:

  • I found it worked better if I used two pieces of tissue paper at a time.  With only one sheet, it kept ripping whenever I applied paint.
  • We used acrylic paints diluted with water.  Make sure to use quick light brushstrokes and apply the paint in thin layers.  Every once in a while pick up your tissue paper to make sure it’s not sticking to your painting surface.
  • At first I laid my tissue paper onto some newspaper, but the paint went through and caused the tissue paper to tear and stick to the newspaper.  I then switched to a piece of foam board, and it worked great.  I’m sure poster board or any solid surface would work as well.  Between coats, I laid the tissue paper on newspaper to dry.

After two or three coats of paint, I carved a heart into a potato and stamped away.  Thanks for the idea Marty – Potato worked great!

After the tissue paper completely dried, we cut out heart shapes (and by we, I mean I.  Summer isn’t so into art projects quite yet) and glued them onto solid colored stationary with Elmer’s glue.

It’s like a Hungry Caterpillar love fest. 🙂


Ellie@Fit for the Soul February 6, 2012 at 12:44 pm

aww how cute is this?! xD I’ve heard so many awesome things about Eric Carle! When I was taking a class of art/child learning development, we had to do presentations about certain types of art. Someone did it on Eric Carle’s work and it seems like it’s really healthy for children/their development. 🙂 You’re such a fun mommy Heather!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Thanks Ellie. So cool you got to study Eric Carle. I love his artwork and stories so much.

Josie February 5, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I wanted to be an elementary teacher for all the school parties!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 3:02 pm

Haha – that is hilarious! 🙂

jenny February 5, 2012 at 7:26 pm

LOVE this idea! LOVE Eric Carle.

April February 5, 2012 at 6:29 pm

I miss being in elementary school and doing the valentines! I used to take such pride in decorating my little shoebox–I even have one that my mom saved. I hope the kids now get to do that, too!

VeggieGirl February 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm

Such cute Valentines!!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 3:01 pm

So good to see a comment from you. 🙂

Amy@ahealthyandhappyheart February 5, 2012 at 5:03 pm

Those are adorable! Maybe I will try them with my class of kindergarteners.. Maybe 🙂

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

I think it might work – bet I would paint construction paper or something instead of the tissue paper as I had a hard time from keeping it from tearing the first few tries. Kind of messy too. Good luck! 🙂

Lorne February 5, 2012 at 1:39 pm

so cute!

Gina @ Oats and Beans and Baby Grow February 5, 2012 at 1:30 pm

These are adorable!! We are getting ready for our Valentine’s Day party too, and I’ve been wondering the same, if they do this in school. I hope so!

I meant to post this on your post for Summer’s birthday party, but I was on my phone and it didn’t go through. We read Eric Carle to Simon a lot too, I love him! And whenever we read a book, we say the title and the author: “The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle”. I overheard my husband reading to him one day, and he says “The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric CARLEY”. Haha, I freaked out on him a little bit, apparently he didn’t read any Eric Carle when he was little.

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:58 pm

That is too funny. CD always gets on to me when I don’t say the author’s name along with the title. If I only had a nickel for every time I’ve said, “Where’s Spot by Eric Hill”… 😉

Anita February 5, 2012 at 10:57 am

gosh they are beautiful ! at first i thought it was filo dough. always thinking food. i’m glad you are feeling better Heather.

Alex @ Raw Recovery February 5, 2012 at 9:49 am

This is such a great idea! I love Eric Carle. Even though I don’t really like Valentine’s Day, I’ve decided to make homemade cards to send to friends with inspirational/motivational sayings on them (since most of my friends, like me are recovering from something). I bought some fluff powder (I don’t remember exactly what it’s called but Martha Stewart makes it) to sprinkle on top of the paint. We’ll see how it goes!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

ooh, fluff powder – now that sounds fun. You’ll have to let me know how they turn out. 🙂

Michaela February 5, 2012 at 8:54 am

Love those cards!
I am from Germany, and potato print is very popular there, especially at kid´s birthday parties. Shirts, canvas bags, towels… there are so many things that can be printed!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

I wish I known about potato stamps earlier – so fun as well as inexpensive. 🙂

Karen February 5, 2012 at 7:56 am

My daughters are in 4th and 7th grade. They have both done the boxes until 6th grade! In elementary school they are given “homework” to decorate their own boxes. Kids usually hand out a valentine with a small candy attached- hershey kiss, tootsie roll, etc. They even sell special sized candy with messages on them or a place to write to: from:, etc. It is still one of the best party days of the year at school for them. My older daughter brings candy and valentines for her friends and hands them out at lunch, or at their locker. Keeping up the traditions!
Summer’s friends will love to get your beautiful handmade cards in the mail!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:53 pm

Thanks Karen, and good to know Valentine’s haven’t been banned from schools. 🙂

Samantha February 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I love these, I’m pinning your post to do with Little! The elder’s class are required to do their own and he’s already started his but will be fun with the kinder kid. Our boy’s classes told them to bring in a cereal box each and they’ll be turning them into mailboxes. So fun! I also want to brownie bomb my friends that live in our tour. The guinness black and tan brownies were amazing so we’ll do those for our big people pals!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:52 pm

and that reminds me, I still need to try a single no-pudge brownie made with yogurt. 🙂

Cherie February 4, 2012 at 9:19 pm

You are so amazing Heather! Summer’s birthday and now these….WOW!!! Love it!

Alyssa February 4, 2012 at 9:15 pm

LOVE those valentines!!!!!
Did you know there’s an Eric Carle museum in western Massachusetts? It’s in Amherst, if you ever fond yourself in that neck of the woods.

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Yes, and I hope to so someday! Will definitely give you a heads up if we’re ever headed your way. 🙂

Marcia @Frugal Healthy Simple February 4, 2012 at 8:45 pm

That is adorable! I am going to have to try that someday. I have to control my crafting ambitions. I already try to quilt and knit a bit, and with a full time job…I have to control my crafting ambitions. But tissue paper doesn’t take up much space, right??

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:48 pm

Trust me, I get it. I spend way too much money at Michael’s, but yes, tissue paper doesn’t take up much room at all, and better yet, it’s cheap! 🙂

caronae February 4, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Those cards are absolutely gorgeous Heather! Summer’s friends will love them. At school, we always had mailboxes for cards on V-Day! IT was so fun to decorate my box and then bring it to school and get cards from everyone. I wish grown ups did that. 🙂

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:47 pm

We could – you should start the tradition at your office. 🙂

Tina February 4, 2012 at 7:58 pm

A valentine with a box full of bakers’ unsweetened dark chocolate would be lovely indeed. I eat these chocolates day and night!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm

You know I love. Unfortunately, the Bakers stuff just doesn’t sound good to me right now…I am loving milk chocolate these days which is unusual for me, but oh, it tastes good these days! 🙂

Jennifer February 4, 2012 at 7:35 pm

How cute, Heather. You’re so crafty. 🙂

I remember the shoe box mail boxes too. And the hearts are so much better than all the ‘themed’ cards they used to sell when we were kids. I too loved Valentines in elementary until 4th grade. I was an overweight child and one no doubt future hoodlum gave me a card with some little pigs on it and instead of my name on the ‘to’ line put ‘pig’. I’ve hated Valentines ever since. As an adult I always tell myself it’s because it’s such a forced/fake holiday but I’m pretty sure it’s really because of that day so long ago. Anyway the point of that is your hearts are so much cuter than cartoon pigs or whatever. 🙂

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Oh Jennifer, that kind of breaks my heart, and I hope you’re able to embrace Valentine’s Day once again. Maybe it would help if you sent yourself a big heart valentine filled with everything you love about yourself. 🙂

Shelby February 4, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Okay so I’m pretty sure those are the cutest cards I’ve ever seen!

Deirdre @ Oh Well Whatever February 4, 2012 at 7:27 pm

So cute I love it. I am planning all the invites and decorations for my friends shower in the same theme. So fun.

Sarena (The Non-Dairy Queen) February 4, 2012 at 6:45 pm

I love these! I miss the days of doing crafty things with the boys. Now, I am so not cool and I’m too girly. These make great memories Heather!

Coco February 4, 2012 at 6:12 pm

How precious. My parents were always too busy/lazy when I was a kid so we just bought the Valentines at the store. But, we did the shoebox thing or we did it where each kid in the class had a brown paper bag that they decorated and every other kid would go “deliver” valentines in them during the party.

I remember in second grade this adorable boy with red hair and freckles hand-made me a valentine and his face got redder than his hair when I opened it. That was over 16 years ago and I think I still have it somewhere!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm

That is too cute. Wonder where the red headed boy is today? 😉

Joss February 4, 2012 at 3:17 pm

awww what a sweet idea! They look fantastic! <3

The Delicate Place February 4, 2012 at 2:01 pm

cute! you will love this…super easy too! warm up some starburst candies in your hand and roll them flat. use a cookie cutter shape to cut out a heart or whatever and place on chopped down candy bar piece or top off our favorite a big ole resee cup! check it out:

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:40 pm

You always find the most brilliant ideas. Love me some cherry Starburst and this would be the perfect excuse to buy some. 🙂

Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga February 4, 2012 at 1:55 pm

You get creative mommy of the month award…and ambitious mommy award, too. Pregnant and painting with a toddler to make cards to give away to others…you’re a Saint! 🙂

They’re adorable!

Riss February 4, 2012 at 1:36 pm

“It’s a like a Hungry Caterpillar love fest.” Ah!! Now I HAVE to go find that book!

Oh, and congrats on your good news, Heather! I’m a bit behind again on my blog-reading. This whole PhD thing really eats away at my time, so I’m having to catch up on old posts. 😉 But I’m so very excited about your little family!

HEAB February 6, 2012 at 2:38 pm

Thank so much Riss. Hope all is going well with the PhD!

Alexandra (Veggin' Out in the Kitchen) February 4, 2012 at 1:23 pm

Your cards turned out wonderful! What a great idea! 🙂 I haven’t made Valentine’s cards in so long. I sure do miss it! And I love the potato stamp. I need to try that sometime 🙂

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