Lex’s class is having a Valentine’s day party. The teachers explicitly asked us to make valentines and not buy them. While I understand the idea behind it, I’m a little conflicted. My kids paint and draw and color a lot. I’m already wading through a pile of toddler-preschool “art.” Of course, I think that my kids are miniature Jackson Pollacks in training and treasure every little they make.
But if I’m going to be totally honest, most of the time I chuck their “art.” I see years of therapy in my kids future after that earth shattering revelation. Nondescript squiggles that they stopped drawing 3 seconds after they picked up the marker? Toss!
I really wasn’t keen on the idea of thrusting more kid “art” onto the parents of Lex’s schoolmates. Because, unless these homemade Valentines look like something I really want hanging on my walls, into the recycle bin they will go.
All that to say that I was inspired by this post that I found on Pinterest (duh, where else?). It proves that kid “art” can cross the line into being Art-with-a-capital-A. I could see this hanging on my walls. It’s beautiful.
Lex doesn’t have the fine motor skills or patience yet to be able to paint in teeny tiny squares for extended periods without oodles of frustration. Not wanting to set him up for failure, I decided to use watercolors instead. Maximum color impact with minimal mess and frustration. I <3 watercolors for kids.
I bought a pad of watercolor paper at the big box crafts store, laid down a tarp on the table, added water to food coloring for fully saturated colors (similar to what I did for the coffee filter leaves) and let him and his sister go to town. I wanted the colors to be Valentine-y without being big pink blocks. The colors used are yellow, red, dark red, bright pink and orange.
The only “rules” I set for him were he had to use all the colors and he had to fill the entire paper. He followed those directions pretty easily. Full disclosure: This watercolor sheet he’s holding is not the ones used in the rest of the pictures. I forgot to get a pre-cutting picture of the first sheet. He painted two and a half sheets, since each sheet makes 12 Valentines and we need 24 for his class plus 3 for the teachers and 1 for our incredibly awesome sitter.
The watercolor paper measures 9 X 12 inches, so I cut it up into 3 X 3 inch squares. Using a thin layer of Mod Podge, I mounted the squares onto white cardstock squares measuring 3.5 inches.
Lex signed the backs, added a stamp and a heart sticker. He’s still getting the hang of handwriting. I didn’t want to frustrate him by having him write the names of his classmates too.
Lex had a blast painting with the watercolors. He keeps asking when he can bring them to school. I just love to look at them.