In my opinion, the best kind of handmade card is one that surprises you! In today’s tutorial, you’ll learn how to make a DIY Valentine’s Day card that features a folded heart tied together with string. When the recipient unties the string, the heart folds out to reveal a message.
The Inspiration for This DIY Valentine’s Day Card
This DIY Valentine’s Day card idea was inspired by my immensely talented friend, Phyllis Macaluso. (If you don’t follow her on Instagram — @fpmmac — you are missing out; she is so creative!) I received a beautiful handmade card from her featuring a heart similar to the one that I am showing you how to make today. Here is what Phyllis’ card looks like:
When you undo the string, this is what the inside reveals:
Fantastic, right? I was inspired to make my own rendition, which I’ll show you how to make below:
1. Make a Hearts Template
First, start with a 3″ x 3″ (76 mm x 76 mm) square of printer or scrap paper.
Fold that piece of paper in half, then draw half of a heart on one side of the paper using any writing utensil.
Hold both sides of the folded paper together, and cut the pieces along the line you drew, as shown below.
Unfold your cut paper, and you’ve got a heart!
Next, take any piece of scrap paper or card stock and use your heart cutout to trace four hearts onto it. Make sure all of the hearts’ tips touch in the center, as shown in the photo below. It’s okay if their sides overlap a bit, too.
The result will resemble a four-leaf clover.
Now, cut out your four-leaf clover shape, and you now have a folded heart template!
2. Use Your Template on Decorative Paper
Now, designate a piece of paper that you’d like to fold into a heart. I have chosen to use some printed scrapbook paper that I purchased at an arts and crafts shop.
Turn the paper around. Then, use a pencil to trace around the heart template.
Cut the paper along the pencil lines. Doing so will leave you with a shape that looks like the one below:
3. Make Folds
Now, you want to work on getting your hearts to neatly fold into one heart. To do that, fold everything over in half to the left.
Then, unfold the hearts and fold them up the opposite way.
Smooth out the paper, flip it over, and fold it through the middle of two hearts, as shown below:
You should now be able to fold the heart in, like so:
4. Add a String
Once your heart is folded, use tape to affix a ~ 10″ (25.4 cm) piece of string or twine to it.
Now, let your heart hang tight while you make a base for it.
5. Make a Card Base
Place the lone folded heart you made earlier on a 5″ x 7″ (12.7 cm x 17.78 cm) piece of watercolor paper. Then, trace around it in pencil. The heart should be oriented at an angle on the left side of the paper, as shown in the photos below.
Now, write a message to the right of the heart. I have chosen to write “You are Wonderful” in Amy Style calligraphy. (“Happy Valentine’s Day” would make for an excellent greeting, too!) Be sure to use a waterproof ink such as Ziller Soot Black. We’ll expose this calligraphy to watercolor here in a bit, and you want to make sure it won’t smudge or run!
After you write the calligraphy, freehand draw a parallel line around the heart in pencil.
Go ahead and trace over that parallel line in black ink. The resulting black heart outline will help your folded heart to stand out more.
6. Add Watercolor Spatters
Next, get out your favorite watercolor palette — I have chosen the Finetec Pearl Colors palette — and moisten the colors you would like to use on the card. Pre-moistening your watercolors like this will ensure that they are nice and easy to use.
Now, use the blowing technique as outlined in the Artistic Ornaments-Themed DIY Christmas Card Tutorial. You’ll start by painting a blob of watercolor inside the heart …
… Then blow on it to make the paint run!
Continue blobbing paint around the inside of the heart and blowing it out, then use your paintbrush to flick colors all over your paper.
7. Assemble the Card
While you’re waiting for your paint to dry, unfold your heart and write a note in it.
Use double-stick tape or glue to affix the back side of the folded heart — the side with string taped to it — to the paper. The heart should be placed exactly where you drew the pencil guideline.
Fold in the heart, then tie your string into a bow to secure the fold.
And … voilà! A simple and interactive handmade card that is sure to delight.
Though I have shown you how to create this DIY Valentine’s Day card using printed scrapbook paper and a watercolor paper backing, you can modify the concept however you’d like. Go wild using different papers and materials — no matter what, your piece will end up looking fantastic. It’s a quick, fun project that you will enjoy making and your recipient will be happy to receive!
If you have any questions about this project, please feel free to ask! I’m happy to answer. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading TPK, and enjoy the rest of your day!
This article was first posted in February of 2016. It has been updated with clearer instructions.