Wednesday, February 22, 2012

St. Valentine's Day Massacre - Car Painting, Food Stamping, Glitter, & Glue

Last week, the day before Valentines Day, I decided that Joseph needed to make Valentines cards for all of his aunts and grandmothers.

However, for some reason, I can never seem to locate construction paper in my house (I know I have some... somewhere...). So, in order to get some red in our life, we resorted to finger painting.

Finger painting rapidly turned into matchbox car painting because Joseph likes to carry around at least two cars with him at all times these days. Seriously. My morning hugs come complete with little hands clutching two cars minimum.

The car painting was all his idea.

I had nothing to do with it. Eh. When in Toddler Rome.

He had fun exploring his new painting medium and even ended up with tire tracks on his arm. As you can see, he was thrilled...

By the time he was finished, I almost felt sorry for the poor vehicles. I think they were traumatized.

The paper was so saturated with paint that I pressed another blank paper on top of it and took a "rubbing". After both papers had dried later that evening, I cut out enough Joseph hand prints to send a pair to each of his ladies.

The plan was to attach a pair of handprints to yarn the length of Joseph's arm span and mail them as Valentines hugs. I think I saw it on Pinterest somewhere and thought it was cute.

And, really, it might have been cute... if my son's hand prints hadn't been painted bright red and didn't have tire tracks on them that made me think of car crashes. Pink would have been a much better option, but I didn't have any white paint on hand.

I don't think it helped that it was 3 in the morning and I had a bunch of hanging red hands dangling from my fist. They seriously gave me the creeps.

I imagined an aunt happily opening a newly arrived Valentines card and then getting strangled by creepy little hand prints that came flying at them to deliver their doom. Clearly, my imagination is overactive at 3 am.

I asked Stephen what he thought of them. He suggested that they looked like something I would hang from branches of a tree in the park and then let Joseph dance in naked circles around. Then, later, the town residents would all show up on our front porch with torches and pitch forks and we'd be massacred. I'd say his imagination is also overactive at 3 am... but that's just a normal Stephen response. ;)

Picture by Joseph

With visions of strangling aunts and pitch forks dancing in my head, I decided (unsurprisingly) that we needed a reboot. Even if that meant the cards would arrive late.

I scoured the internet for something cute and toddler-friendly and ultimately settled on potato & celery stamps. My celery was going bad and I had a large supply of potatoes on hand. It was meant to be!

Rose & heart cards. Those can't wind up creepy, right? As the only heart shaped cookie cutter I have is the size of my hand, I cut out the potato stamp free-hand.

Then I let Joseph do his thing. This required a little more guidance than the car painting, but not much.

I showed him what to do, occasionally positioned his hands, and let him go to town.

Then, because it was Valentines Day and I was feeling adventurous, I heavily supervised glitter sprinkling.

Something I should have done either inside a cardboard box our out on the back porch.

I don't know what I was thinking. I'm still finding little specks of glitter on the kitchen table.

While the cards dried, I gathered up the hand prints cut from the car painting rubbing. I spent over an hour cutting out hand prints and I didn't want to just chuck them. The rubbing hand prints were considerably less red and didn't seem as creepy. 

I got out a bag of foam shapes from the dollar store and picked out the hearts. I gave it to Joseph and showed him how to glue the hearts onto the hand prints.

I figured gluing hearts all over the hands would make them less Friday-the-13th-creepy and more Valentines-Day-cute. I think they had the desired effect.

Joseph's favorite part was pressing the hearts into place with all the strength he could muster. :)

Then, we folded the cards, wrote a little message, added a hand print, and "signed" each one with "letters" or, as Joseph puts it, "A, E, A, O, E".

We even stamped the corner of each envelope to make them pretty.

I started out with a simple idea to create Valentines with Joseph and somehow it turned into a 4-in-1 toddler craft party. Car painting, potato stamping, celery stamping, & gluing foam shapes. If you are looking for a single toddler craft to wile away 15 minutes, pick any of the above. Each & every one kept Little Man plenty entertained. :)


  1. so very cute. and only slightly creepy ;) i'm sure those aunts loved them!!!

  2. I TOTALLY loved my Valentine!!! :) Especially the glitter part. :)
    It didn't occur to me until days later that the hand cut-out looked slightly... bloody? I was totally successfully distracted by the foam heart. And then Rob and I giggled about bloody hand-prints... because we're 5. :)

  3. This is such a fun idea! You are SO brave to do this at home!


Your comments make my day!!