Painting a Map of My Heart :: A Family Valentines Day Art Activity

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

Our family participated in a lovely Valentines Day art activity this morning with each of us painting a map of our hearts. We included images and words for the things and people we love and value.

This is not the first time we’ve done this Map of My Heart painting activity. Maia and I painted our first heart maps three years ago when I came across the activity in Mariah Bruehl’s great book, Playful Learning. But Valentine’s Day seemed like the perfect time to revisit the activity.

Watercolor Heart Activity 2

This time around I added in an idea from another blog friend, Alissa of Creative with Kids. I’ve been wanting to try Alissa’s make-your-own paint with water pages since she first posted about them. I don’t know what took me so long, but I finally did (3 years later!), in combination with the Map of My Heart activity.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The two ideas worked wonderfully together!

I cut out large hearts from watercolor paper, squeezed little dots of watercolor paint (from tubes) along one side, let the paint dry, and wrote “Map of My Heart” in small letters across the top.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The family woke up to DIY paint-with-water heart maps at their spot at the table, a black pen, a paint brush, and a cup of water. And everyone drew and painted the things that they held near and dear to them on their maps — all before breakfast.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

Nothing like a little family bonding and reflection time disguised as a Valentines day art activity to make this mama happy.  :)

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

The little dots of dried watercolor paint worked surprisingly well–better than I expected. And the kids loved the idea!

Note: The watercolor tubes I bought were the cheapest possible ones from Michael’s and the paint cracked a bit as it dried. Not a big deal, and the project still worked well, but if you want a paint that doesn’t crack, then maybe buy a mid-priced watercolor tube rather than the bargain basement stuff.

Map of My Heart Art Activity combined with DIY paint with water hearts

We grouped our family heart maps on the side of the fridge above our motley collection of cookbooks for now. I’ll probably migrate them over to the kids art display wall soon, though.

How about you? Did you do any family Valentines day art activities today? Another good spur-of-the-moment one is the interactive heart mandala. And, of course, either the Map of My Heart or the interactive heart mandala can be made any time of the year, not just at Valentine’s Day.

Heart-Printed Paper Gift Bags for Valentine’s Day


Yes, I'm still printing with these heart doilies. I don't know what it is with Valentine's Day and hearts. It's such a simple image and theme, you'd think I'd tire of it quickly. Some holidays I almost completely skip over, yet every year I seem to get sucked into the Valentine's theme. 

But… Before I get into the heart prints (which you've probably heard enough about already, anyway), I want to tell you about these gift bags that I sewed using paper grocery bags. It's a lovely idea, but it's not mine. I found it on a blog before Christmas and sewed up some to wrap gifts in then. However I can't remember where I saw the tutorial and no matter what search words I type into Google, I can't seem to find it. Does anyone know or remember? I'm bummed, not only because I want to give credit where credit is due, but also because I want to send you all to this great tutorial that shows you how to make them, step by step.

The quickie version is that you cut out a section from the front and back of a paper grocery bag, reverse them so all the printing is on the inside, line up the handles, and sew along the bottom three sides. Add your gift, then sew it closed. The tutorial was really nice though, and she used fancy sewing stitches to add a nice decorative touch. My sewing machine is limping along and is in dire need of a tune up so I stuck to a simple straight stitch.


Now, for the printing… I used red glitter tempera paint and also some red activity paint (kinda like tempera) just because I had it and wanted to try it. But other than the paint I used (and the paper bags), everything else was the same as when I first did the heart doily prints.


Pretty, huh? I think these worked well.



I'm using these bags to wrap my soothing heart pillows. At Christmas I used them for wrapping things like wool felt potholders and hats — things that are a bit hard to wrap traditionally unless you put them in a box first. And I just used a simple rubber stamp to add an image to the front then. But I'm enjoying how the image on these bags mirrors the image on the pillows.


I think these would be a cute way to present a heart-printed t-shirt as well…

If you liked these Heart-Printed Paper Gift Bags, then you might like the other Valentine's Day crafts and recipes in The Artful Winter ebook:

The Artful Winter Ad 690 Valentines

Watercolor Painted Valentine’s with the Toddler Art Group

Watercolor Painted Valentines with Toddlers

The toddlers painted crayon resist Valentine's for art group last week. We started out with just crayons on the table so they could draw on the hearts. Then we brought out the liquid watercolors for them to paint over their drawings. They loved it! Especially painting with the watercolors. They worked longer than usual and most of them were very prolific!

Watercolor Painted Valentines with Toddlers

Watercolor Painted Valentines with Toddlers

Watercolor Painted Valentines with Toddlers

Watercolor Painted Valentines with Toddlers

Fun times in the studio!

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Soothing heart pillows and more heart doily printing


I'm still loving the heart doily prints! Besides the t-shirts I printed last time, I also printed some hearts on plain fabric — white cotton and natural muslin. These I sewed up into little heart pillows. They are each stuffed with a combination of millet and lavender flowers, so besides being decorative, they can be used as soothing hot/cold packs. They can be heated up in the microwave (or in a low oven for us since we don't have a microwave) or put in the freezer. And the lavender is nice and calming.


I'm thinking these would be nice to send a child to bed with at night, perhaps warmed up first, to help them fall asleep. Or to use to soothe a bruised knee (or ego).


I love the weight and heft the millet gives these, too! They feel great in my hands.


I had some friends over for some more heart doily printing recently. I was going to print some more myself for the heart doily pillows and decided it would be a good opportunity for friends to bring a t-shirt or two to print while everything was set up.


We started with red hearts, then got out the black fabric paint and tried some black ones as well! This is getting rather addictive…

If you liked these Soothing Heart Pillows, then you might like the other Valentine's Day crafts and recipes in The Artful Winter ebook:

The Artful Winter Ad 690 Valentines

A collection of painted hearts


Maia painted about twenty of these coffee filter hearts that she told me were to sew on my shirts. She was really very insistent about this — that she had made all these beautiful hearts for me and she wanted me to sew them on my t-shirts. I was touched, but explained that since they were made of paper, they would disintigrate as soon as they were washed. So we talked about other ways to use the hearts. She didn't want to hang them in the window. Finally, I asked her if she would like to frame them and hang them on the wall. Yes! I brought out a few acrylic box frames from our stash and she arranged the hearts carefully in them. We now have a collection of painted hearts hanging in our bedroom!

Valentine butterflies


This Valentine butterfly idea was all Maia’s. We were cutting out and folding tissue paper hearts yesterday to make these valentine doily suncatchers and she disappeared with one of the pink hearts. When she came back to the table, the heart was glued to a wooden clothespin as butterfly wings. She had even drawn a face on the butterfly. Maia asked if I would cut out some circles for her out of the red and white tissue paper. I did, and she glued them on the wings. (She actually made two; Daphne crumpled the first one.) When her friend Stella came over, she made a heart butterfly as well, decorating hers with lots and lots of tiny black dots.

I love these! They are quick to make, too. You could easily make a bunch to give to friends — maybe writing a Valentine message along the body of the butterfly. I’m not good at catchy messages. I thought of “You make my heart flutter,” but would you really give that to your friends? This is why I stick to “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

Pretzel hearts – stretching the Valentine theme!


Maia and I made these yummy pretzels again yesterday to go with our soup dinner. We made them in heart shapes for Valentine's Day. Not that you can tell. They just look like pretzels. And maybe the heart thing is getting out of hand. But it was fun!

Maia's wearing a cute top that her aunt and uncle sent as a Valentine's gift. And a matching headband from a friend. She looked so darn cute that I had to take pics. (And you thought it was because of the pretzels!)




Handmade tissue paper heart doilies


Oh! I'm so excited about these! I made tissue paper heart doilies yesterday, inspired by the papel picado I did last year. And then I turned them into suncatchers!

To be honest, a week ago I was not that excited about Valentine's Day and all the hearts. Not that I have anything against hearts. I guess it's the assumption that our arts and crafts should be heart-related for a few weeks. Just like around Halloween it's all about pumpkins and ghosts. And, well, it sounds a little too limiting to me. And maybe a little boring.

But for some reason, every year I really get into it. Five out of my last six posts have been Valentine related. I thought I'd just post one or two ideas and that would be it. But no. Each idea seems to spawn other ideas.

And really, there is A LOT you can do with a heart. Maybe that's what makes it fun. Holiday themes give you a framework around which to work, but you can let your creativity loose within that framework.

(See here for some Valentine's ideas I came up with last year for a local paper.)


Anyway, back to the tissue paper doilies… I started by cutting a heart out of tissue paper. You can make two or three at a time, since the tissue is so thin.


I then folded the heart as if I were making a paper snowflake (which is essentially what I did).


I cut out my shapes, including a few little hearts.


And opened it up to see the doilie.


I layered mine with contrasting tissue paper hearts and sandwiched them between two sheets of con-tact paper to make the suncatchers.


Here's one I made with the hole punch, taking my lead from Maia.



So what do you think? Are we going a little heart crazy over here?

If you liked these Handmade Tissue Paper Heart Doilies, then you might like the other Valentine's Day crafts and recipes in The Artful Winter ebook:

The Artful Winter Ad 690 Valentines

Stained glass for Valentine’s Day


I love suncatchers and stained 'glass'! Art to capture light. We've made so many different kinds now, many of which are on my artsy ideas list. They even have their own category! It seems like we make a new slew of suncatchers for most holidays and often in between. Last Valentine's day we made these hanging stained glass hearts (which I'll probably hang up again).

And yesterday Maia and I made these suncatchers with con-tact paper and red, pink, and white tissue paper. So simple. The plain jane version is above. I think it would also be fun to outline the hearts with sharpies, like on this Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired stained glass.


Maia also made a glitzy version with pink lace and generous amounts of glitter.


I framed both with masking tape, although I wish I had some fun colors like red or lime green.


And here's one more that I made with the leftover tissue paper hearts glued onto a sheet of white tissue paper. Maia had moved on by this point, but this would be easy for a kid to do.


I made a frame for it out of red construction paper, but it just looks black in this photo. Looks beautiful in the window, though, with the light shining through!