Patchwork Window Valentines

*Note: This was originally written February 2015 but vanished into the Draft folder until recently so here it is for 2016, just in time for Valentine's Day! It's a Cupid miracle.

Our little family just got over Miss M (age almost 3 1/2) having a six week long cough that resulted in many sleepless nights and eventually turned into bronchitis for her; and now, less than a month later, the munchkins are all full of the snots and cranky attitudes again. After three days of being housebound to get us through the contagious phase (so our friends wouldn’t stop having us around) we were all going a little, okay, A LOT stir crazy. Then my hubby woke up this morning with a man cold and so I dragged the kids to the playroom for the morning so I didn’t need to look after him too (does that make me a bad person?).

Luckily Valentine’s Day isn’t far away so it was a perfect excuse to do a little crafting. I love doing projects like these with Miss M but Mr. M (16 months old) is still too much of a wall climbing tornado these days to focus on one thing. I keep trying though in the hopes that I’ll be able to tame him.

Last year Miss M and I made wax paper hearts with crumpled tissue paper glued to them for window decorations so I thought I’d try something similar this year but use contact paper as the foundation for it so Mr. M could easily participate if he deemed it worthy of his attention.

As usual, it didn’t turn out quite like I planned (as is typical with my crafting efforts) but I think the end result ended up being pretty cute and full of toddler personality. Miss M was pleased and that’s what counts, right?

Patchwork Window Valentines

What you’ll need:

supplies.jpg
  • Contact paper aka sticky back plastic – get the clear stuff if you can, otherwise white will work
  • Tissue/gift bag paper, various colours
  • Miscellaneous decorations (we used glitter and craft foam hearts but ribbons, buttons, stickers, etc. would work great too)
  • Scissors
  • Permanent marker
  • Masking Tape
  • Clear tape for sticking it to the window

Bonus Items that will help if you use glitter or white contact paper:

  • Old newspaper/flyers for containing the glitter
  • Saran wrap (an unexpected supply for us as you can see it's not in the "before" shot – you’ll need it if you don’t have clear paper)

How to make Patchwork Valentines:

As you set up the other supplies, this is a great chance to get your littles involved in the craft prep. I had Miss M start tearing the tissue paper into little pieces. I gave her safety scissors as well to use if she wanted but she found using her hands easier (obviously use your discretion with your child and scissors). 

Tape the pieces of newspaper out on a table with the masking tape and then cut a 2 square foot long rectangle of contact paper. Fold that big piece in half and cut it into two equal pieces to make one piece a base for decorating and the other a top layer for sealing it later.

Take one piece of the contact paper and peel the back off and CAREFULLY lay it on the newsprint (sticky side up!). This is the trickiest part - it really wants to stick to itself so go slowly to avoid ending up with a ball of crumpled contact paper. It was at this point that I realized I'd gotten white, not clear, contact paper. Head smack. I decided to just go with it as it was too late to stop without disappointing Miss M and I figured it could still work.

Draw a heart shape on the sticky paper with permanent marker so there are some lines for the kiddos to work within and it will give you a pattern to cut later.

I set out a selection of decorations that Miss M and I had chosen earlier - glitter, the tissue paper, and some foam hearts. You can use whatever you have - ribbons, buttons, stickers, etc. - to create the patchwork look. Ideally they're within the same colour family but not necessary.

Miss M dove right in sticking hearts and rolling up tissue paper and spreading it out and glittering her little three year old heart out. I tried to force-craft Mr. M by holding him still with a foam heart in his hand and he finally did stick a couple things on but then he was gone off to more exciting adventures. I'll consider that a successful crafting session with a 16 month old.

Miss M happily took his over and completed two hearts on her own and I worked on a third one (as we didn't need the top part once I found out it wasn't clear).

Once all the decorations are on CAREFULLY peel the backing off the top sheet of clear contact paper and press the top clear sheet over the decorations to seal them. If you don't have clear contact paper you can press down a sheet of plastic wrap to prevent glitter and any other loose bits from falling off.

Yeah, it looks like a bit of a gong show right now but have faith...

Cut out around the hearts using those handy black lines you drew earlier. You may wish to leave a little bit of edge to have room to seal the edges, especially if you have 'bumpy" decorations, or use clear cellophane tape to seal them up, which is what we did.

When we finished we hung them up on the window with cellophane tape on the back. This is where the clear contact paper would be extra amazing as the sunlight would shine through the tissue paper and glitter creating a stained glass look that sparkled and amazed passersby (or at least in my mind that is how it would be).

The Lowdown:

Suggested Age: 18 months+

Time to prep: 10 minutes or less

Skill level for parent crafter: Low

Time for activity:

Miss M (3 1/2 years old): 20 minutes

Mr. M (16 months old): less than 5 minutes

Skills used during the activity:

Fine Motor development: coordinating small muscles in hands through tearing paper, cutting, pressing pieces on, crumpling paper up

Social/Emotional development: sharing the supplies, helping prepare and clean-up crafts

Cognitive development: sorting tissue colours in prep, creating abstract art, being purposeful about using art supplies

Language development: participating in conversation by talking about the activity

Did you try this craft? I'd love to hear your stories and see the results in the comments below!