Since I teach 4th grade, the students are still at an age where they decorate a bag or shoebox and make Valentine deliveries to classmates in honor of Valentine’s Day. Many of my sweet students bring me a Valentine along with the Valentines they share with classmates. I like to reciprocate and give my students a cute Valentine too. This year, my teacher teammate and I are wrapping erasers with white tissue paper to look like a piece of taffy. At this point in the school year, the students have rubbed, chewed, or picked away every pencil eraser they own and desperately need a way to cleanly fix writing mistakes or remove stray marks from their papers, so this little Valentine is actually more of a gift for the teachers!
rectangular erasers (I used PaperMate “Expressions” erasers, but you could also choose something like the classic “Pink Pearl”)
white tissue paper, ~6″ x 3 1/2″ (wrap a test piece of tissue around your eraser to determine the best size)
small stickers (I used Avery 5195, 2/3″ x 1 3/4″, 60 labels per sheet)
Determine the tissue paper size you will need. I wrapped the tissue around one eraser, so the tissue covered the wide flat side two times. I had about 2 inches on either end of the eraser for twisting. Cut all of the tissue paper rectangles that you need first, so you can create an assembly line for wrapping the erasers.
Wrap a tissue rectangle around each eraser and twist both ends.
Put a sticker with your name and/or Valentine message on the side of the eraser with the edge of the tissue paper to keep the tissue from unwrapping. I had a tiny glitch with my labels. If you choose to print with a return address sized label like I did (Avery 5195), make sure your words or any images are not up against the edges of the label in the document. The labels are so small that if the printer does not grab the label sheet at exactly the right starting point, the labels print into the label below (see my cut off hearts in the pictures). Yes, the mis-alignment makes me CRAZY, but I ran out of labels and I am trying not to let the OCD side of me take over on this. I think little heart or Valentine themed stickers would be a good option too.
Cut the edge of the twisted ends off a little if they seem too long and flappy.
I tried parchment paper and wax paper before settling on the white tissue paper. The stickers don’t adhere, and the twisted ends with the parchment and wax paper do not stay twisted together as well.
Yes, we start planning class Valentines early at our house. I am sure that is no surprise to the readers who have been with me for awhile. I always need a Valentine of some kind for my students, and Miss Priss and Mr. Star Wars are still at ages where they bring in Valentines to distribute to their whole class. While it would be the most efficient to think of one type of card and mass produce it, the three of us usually make different kinds of Valentines for each of our classes.
This year, Miss Priss is filling small colored paper sacks with assorted jelly beans. We closed the little bags with a label that says, “Keep Calm and Eat a Jelly Bean.” To finish, Miss Priss signed her name at the bottom of each label.
We could have bought a box of pre-printed cards to give to classmates for Valentine’s Day, but that would not have been complicated or original enough for my tastes. I had multiple suggestions like Paper Fortune Cookies and Button Paper Clip Bookmarks, but Mr. Star Wars and Miss Priss were having none of it. They just wanted to give a snack size bag of Valentine M&Ms or a box of candy hearts with their name written on the back in Sharpie pen.
We compromised. I cooked up these little Valentine “medicine bottles” that are filled with mini M&Ms. We printed stickers that looked like prescription labels. The labels say, “Heart Medicine” and have a use by date of 2/14/15. I got the satisfaction of a homemade, crafty Valentine, and my kids are happy because it involves candy.
Mini plastic bottles with lids (I used Bead Landing 6.3″ x 5.3″ x 1.4″ bead storage jars, sold in a box of 30)
If you have seen the American Girl or the Bitty Cupcakes post, you may already suspect that I am partial to mini things. I have a whole Pinterest board dedicated to mini things. Last year, I was visiting Sewing Sister and discovered a mini matchbox Valentine that my nieces made. I have been hanging on to that idea ever since, and I am happy to report that we will be sending mini matchbox Valentines this year. As usual, Michael’s and Hobby Lobby are reporting increased sales.
small matchboxes (I found bricks of 10 at the grocery store)
festive scrapbook paper
paper cutter or scissors
craft scissors with the fancy cutting edge
decorative brads and mini screwdriver (optional)
mini candies (mini M&Ms, candy hearts, chocolate covered sunflower seeds…)
Measure the width of the matchbox and cut strips of scrapbook paper to match width (my matchboxes were 2 1/4″ wide). I own a paper cutter, and if you want these kinds of projects to look good, you should invest in one too.
Wrap one cut strip around box to get the length. The paper should overlap across the top about 1/4″ to 1/2″ (my strips were ~4 1/2″ long).
Using the fancy craft scissors, cut the end of the paper to the needed length.
Smear glue on the back of the scrapbook paper and begin wrapping around the box. Make sure you wrap so the inner box still slides out. Begin gluing the plain end of the scrapbook paper to the top of the box, press the paper around the sides, and glue down the fancy end to the top of the box last, overlapping the starter end, as it comes back around to the top of the box.
OPTIONAL PART: Remove the inner box. Using the little screwdriver, gently drill a hole in the center of the top of the box. Push the prongs of the brad through the hole and flatten brads to attach to the box. Carefully slide inner box back into the outer part of the matchbox.
Fill box with mini candies. (This is the part Miss Priss and Mr. Star Wars get to do. After all, the Valentines are for their friends.)
Cut a piece of baker’s twine. If you do not have the brad, wrap the baker’s twine around the matchbox like a Christmas present. If you opted to use a brad, fold your piece of twine in half and wrap the loop over the top of the brad. Pull both ends of the string around the box covering the sliding ends of the matchbox. Wrap the loose ends around the brad again the way you would close an interoffice mail envelope.