Fabulous And Creative Alternative Valentine's Day Card Ideas

23 January 2012

I loathe enforced holidays. Like New Year's. I hate that you're told you have to party. I'd much prefer to party because I feel like it, not because I am told to.

It is the same with Valentine's Day. Why all this emphasis on just that one day? Having said that of course, there's something really quite sweet about exchanging cards and telling people that you love them.

If you want to avoid the whole commercialism of it all, then make your own card. It also means something a little bit more, or at least that's what I think anyway. I've look around the internet and been amazed at some of the truly beautiful ideas that people come up with.

One for the kids

My girlfriend's and I had a long conversation recently about whether or not it's appropriate to do the whole Valentine's thing with kids. I think the day is about love, and the people you love. I don't see any harm in it myself. I'll be happy though if we refrain from the American tradition though of whole classes giving each other out cards. I have enough difficulty doing that with Christmas cards!

These ideas are brilliant though. It is sweet, literally and figuratively, and innocent. How can you not love a butterfly that says I love You, and gives you a lollipop?

This one is the Butterfly Valentine. The idea is simple, you make a butterfly shape, decorate, and stick some eyes on a lollipop, which is inserted to make the head.

The other idea is more involved. The Ladybug Valentine (yes I know it should be ladybird but this is an American site) is similar, but with lots more effort involved. Something to do if you REALLY want to impress!

Say it with buttons

Do you keep all those spare buttons that come attached to clothes? I do. I've never needed to use any of them, and I now have a box full of buttons. Most of which have outlasted the clothes they came from.

Before Christmas I found a fantastic way to use them as Christmas present decorations (see my feature here). Now I think I'll see if I've got enough of the right colours to try out this fabulous idea, The Button Heart Valentine's Card. There's even a video on the site to help you out.

Or if you want to avoid cards altogether try out this craft. Dad's might like it too - especially if you've decided to make presents this year. You just need to find out where she's put the spare button jar! It is the Button Heart Ornament. See the picture above - how cute is that?

Weave your card

These Woven Heart Baskets look easy enough, but I'm sure they're trickier than this blogger makes out! Still, they seem to be a classic craft for kids. So perhaps even I could make one. Even so I would have a practice first.

What I like about this one is that, as the blogger shows, you can recycle lots of different types of paper to make your baskets. In my feature on Christmas wrapping alternatives, one crafter had made good use of old map books. That had made me glad I'd still kept my old ones, and I could use some of the pages to make heart baskets too. They look pretty good in the photo!

Make a little gift

If you're looking for ideas for gifts to put in the card you could make your own sweets - I wrote about that here - or heart shaped crayons - I made some following this feature here (scroll down the page). I would suggest that you lightly oil the moulds, and as others have said online, I too have found that crayola works best. I've bought animal shaped moulds too and for little gifts have made animal crayons. I want to do something pirate themed so please let me know if you find any pirate themed moulds!

Since writing that I've found another website that explains this craft even better with some excellent photos. Have a look at Chef Messy blog.

These are just a few ideas, and as always, I'm really impressed at how creative people are. Are you planning to exchange cards or gifts on Valentine's Day, or do you prefer to celebrate in your own way and your own time?


  • chefmessy
    I am loving those ladybug valentines! Thanks for the link on the heart crayons. Just wanted to let you know that we've also had good luck with the disney-brand crayons that you can get at dollar tree (they have much brighter colors, but still melt well!).
  • Donut1713
    I really like this blogpost - some of those cards are just adorable. I love the ladybird. I completely agree with you: there is so much pressure on Valentine's Day to splurge on the significant one in your life, and florists all assemble modest bouquets of roses, which they sell for upwards of £45 in London. And pity the poor person who is alone on Valentine's Day. I also agree that a token of love is often best expressed in simple gestures, and I have made love cards for my son in the past, which I've placed under his pillow and he's found at bedtime. But I'm not sure about giving Valentine's Day cards to classmates in America. We definitely do it at Christmas, but I've never heard it being customary on Valentine's Day. But perhaps things have changed since I was a child. I also really love the heart sweeties - they look beautiful. They'd make great gifts any time of year, actually.
  • TamsinOxford
    Brilliant ideas. I adore the ladybird and the butterful. That's just genius. I may use that as birthday cards actually.
  • LynleyOram
    Those butterfly cards are just genius! I love that idea of leaving a little love token under their pillow. I think my son would be thrilled with that too. Donut, I'm going by what a friend of mine was saying, she is based on the West Coast in Washington State. Maybe it varies? The school discourages Christmas cards, but goes to town for Valentines and Halloween. Possibly because those are two non-religious holidays?
  • LynleyOram
    good to know about the disney crayons Chef Messy! I love your website, btw.
  • Donut1713
    On reading back my post I realise I meant to type heart 'crayons' not 'sweeties'. But actually, they look good enough to eat! Perhaps it is dependent on the school in America. Hmmm...
  • LynleyOram
    yeah I haven't done the crayon thing for a whole class gift bag as there's some kids that I worry might try to eat them! The moulds I use are for cooking in - you could make your own sweeties using them. I wonder if it would be possible to melt something like Fruitellas to get that same multicoloured effect?
  • Donut1713
    I somehow doubt a Fruitella would melt (I think it would survive a nuclear explosion), but I bet you could melt white chocolate, add food colouring (you can get natural food colouring but it does tend to have an aftertaste, whereas the chemical food colouring is without any flavour at all - oddly). Then, I bet you could pour different colours into the moulds and wait for them to set. The would be as beautiful as the crayons, but edible! I may actually try it.
  • LynleyOram
    interesting I didn't think of doing it with melted chocolate. I'd wonder though how to go about getting the colours mixed but not running all together. What sort of aftertaste?
  • Donut1713
    Well, it's hard to describe. A bit tangy and a bit metallic, even though they are natural food colourants. I buy them in Waitrose, and while I avoid E-numbers and chemicals this is the one time where I just can't use the natural thing coz the flavour is so offensive to me. I think you could do each chocolate colour individually, let it set, and then pour in another colour. As it's thick it isn't likely to fuse completely but will likely make a marble effect, although maybe I should ask a French chocolatier - or a Belgian one.

What do you think?

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