Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dollar Store Craft - My Crafty Valentine

I love the foam stickers and shapes, pompoms, chenille stems, table scatter, and other craft items that regularly rotate through the Dollar Tree stores. Super cheap, so I don't mind sharing them with random other kids friends' kids, cousins, etc. Or letting Little Z 'waste' them (by using them, of course!)

Little Z's preschool lets us exchange Valentines, in the kids' cubbies above their coat hooks, if we want to. Last year, one of my friends made little heart-shaped crayons (click here for my crusty attempt,) and another friend made awesome, yummy goodies! So I wanted to do something clever and creative too! But with less effort!

Luckily, the Dollar Tree had everything I needed to make a fun DIY Valentine craft for her school chums!

Valentine Picture Frame Craft Kit

  • Foam shapes (they have circles, rectangles, 8.5"x11" sheets, various seasonal shapes throughout the year) - $1 per 12-24. Enough for 1 shape per child (or cut larger sheets into enough shapes.)
  • Foam shape stickers - Valentines mix. 1-2 bags, $1 each
  • Foam letter stickers - 2 baggies for a class size of 15-20, 4 baggies for a class of 30. Or enough of the 4-sheet packs of larger letters to pop out letters for each child's name. - $1 per pack/bag
  • Glitter Valentines Table Scatter. 1-2 bags, $1 each (Optional)
  • Pompoms. 1-2 bags, $1 each (Optional)
  • Chenille stems, 1 bag, or spool of ribbon. $1 for either (Optional)
  • Packs of 4 squeezy glue - enough for 1 per kid. $1 per 4. (Optional) 
  • -Or- Glue Dots (available from craft stores, or if you have them on hand. Price varies. Optional) You can also just assume that everyone has some Elmer's at home, or else just stick with the stickers and not bother with the glueables. Especially for kids under 3.
  • Zip-top sandwich bags or cellophane Valentines bags - $1 per 24. Enough baggies for 1 per child.

Tools: (Optional)
  • Circle cutter 
  • -Or - Scissors and small circle or heart-shape (computer printout, jar or cup, stencil, cookie cutter, etc.) to trace and cut
  • Hole Punch
Valentines foam stickers, glittery heart table scatter,
foam circles
Halloween foam letters, large year-round letter stickers
large Spring letter stickers, Easter letter stickers
Chenille stems and pompoms from throughout the year
Large and small Glue Dots from Oriental Trading Company
Step 1 (Optional): Use circle cutter or trace and cut out circle or heart shape from center of foam shape. You can skip this if you don't want them to be picture frames.

Step 2 (Optional:) Using hole punch, punch a hole in the top center (or 2 holes at the top, evenly spaced from center.)

Another option, in lieu of punching a hole and giving each person some ribbon or a chenille stem, would be to cut up a thin flexible magnet sheet into little 1" squares for people to glue on, 1 to 2 per person. I use free magnets with ads on them that come in the mail, on the Yellow Pages book, freebies at fairs, etc, and save them with my craft supplies.

Step 3a (Optional): Sort stickers by color and shape (and letter.) I chose to do this so that one kid wouldn't get a clump of, say, all red doves, but no hearts. And also to avoid putting dark purple stickers in with the dark purple circle frames, and ditto with the dark pink, since they are the same shade and just blend in.

Step 3b: Divvy up the stickers (and glitter table scatter, pompoms, chenille stems or ribbon, etc amongst the kids' craft kits.)

Step 4 (Optional): If you are putting letter stickers in for each child's name, choose the stickers for each child. I put them immediately into the baggies the whole craft would be going in, so that I didn't lose any or get them mixed up later. You can use a permanent marker to write each child's name on the bag, or have a paper Valentine inside with the "To" and "From" filled in. Sorting the letter stickers helps here, to avoid getting a clump of all one color in a name, and to avoid letters that match the foam background shape! Also so you aren't sifting through the same ones over and over again for each subsequent name.

Each kit should have a baggie with 1 foam shape base, Valentines stickers, letters for that child's name (optional,) 5-6" of ribbon or a half or whole chenille stem (optional,) some glitter Table scatter (optional,) and pompoms (optional.) Also a glue dot per pompom and table scatter piece (optional,) or a glue tube (super optional.)
Finished product! 
I ended up giving each child 1 foam circle frame, 1 each of the Valentines foam sticker shapes (dove, heart, flower, plus 2 X's and O's,) the letters in their name (for names with common nicknames, especially when I hear them called both by their parents, like Daniel/Danny, I put in "daniel" and added an extra N and Y in case they opted to put "danny" on instead.) 3 large glittery table scatter shapes (2 large hearts and 1 smaller double heart shape per kid,) and 2 white and 1 red pompom from the Christmas mix (red/white/green/black,) plus a chenille stem to use as a hanger with the hole, and 6 Glue Dots (for the 3 pompoms and 3 Table Scatter shapes.)

My little craft kit Valentines.
Additional Ideas/Tips:
You can jazz it up by putting in some pony beads for them to string onto the chenille stem hanger, which you can also get at Dollar Tree, for $1 for a good-sized little baggie of them.

You can also type up a little blurb to go in each bag, telling them that they can cut the foam shape into a heart, or cut a picture frame hole out of the center, punch a hole or re-use free magnets for hanging, or suggest other items they might have at home to glue on, like noodles or pompoms or whatever and save yourself a bunch of the steps/materials.

This craft can be as cheap as $2 if you already have Sandwich-size zip-top baggies at home, and just get the foam shapes and a pack of Valentine stickers, for a class size of 24 or under.
If you get a little bit of everything and a glue for everyone, it can be as high as $24 for a class of 30 (2 packs each of foam shapes, pompoms, chenille stems, baggies, Table Scatter, Valentines stickers, 4 bags of foam letters, and 8 4-packs of squeeze glue.)

Also a great, cheap, craft activity to do with a preschool or Sunday School class, moms group, or a family gathering with a bunch of Oompa-Loompas.

I will be submitting this to Dollar Store Crafts and JDaniel4's Mom's Virtual Valentine's Day Party


  1. Oh, that is a really good idea for Valentines day! I was just looking at those foam things at the dollar store last week. I'm getting them! I'm going to have my Girl Scouts do them too!

  2. I love the kits you put together. This is wonderful idea!

    Thank you so much for linking up to the Virtual Valentine's Day party. I hope you will have many party guests stop by.

    Thanks for adding my link to your post. It makes you eligible for the $10 Visa Gift Card drawing on the Feb. 14th.

  3. Love the idea of bagging it up for many kids to use! Thanks for linking up at Thematic Thursday.


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