I ART you!
Mahatma Ghandi said “Where there is love, there is life.” I couldn’t agree more! And while Valentine’s Day is often celebrated as a day to celebrate romantic relationships, I have always loved the platonic love celebrated by friends and classmates in school. I remember taking such care to choose my favorite pack of Valentine’s cards for my classmates and delighted in helping my mom create red and pink cupcakes for the class. I would feel such a connection to my peers as I flipped through my cards, all personally signed. Some even handmade cards for the class, and those were the most precious of all. It was such a simple, sweet holiday in elementary school, before the pre-teen angst set in.
In honor of that much simpler time, I searched far and wide for heart themed projects that your class is sure to love. Below are some of my favorites.
I am a sucker for fiber art projects and I found a few that would be great for elementary students.
The first is a plate weaving project found here.
You can use brightly colored printed plates or extend the project and let your students decorate plain plates themselves. For younger students, you can pre-punch the heart shape into the plate if needed.
I also love this project, cute hand stitched felt hearts.
The article uses the hearts to create hair clips but you could just as easily create pins to adhere to backpacks or jackets. This could be a fun project for your own children to make and hand out as their handmade valentines!
Lastly, I always adore the projects that Cassie Stephens uses in her classroom. If you’re looking for a collaborative project, her multi-grade heart mural might be of interest.
Several of the projects are fiber based and they turned out great! I especially loved the yarn-bombed hearts because the supplies are simple: pipe cleaners, yarn, and pony beads!
Dot art projects are great because they are flexible: you can create with your fingers, q tips, a brush, or markers/crayons. This style adjusts well to different ages and skill levels.
I’m not sure why I’m such a sucker for a good fingerprint tree but I love them! Maybe because they are personal and make for a nice keepsake. Depending on age group, they can create the base of their tree or you can use a template for your younger artists. This heart-shaped fingerprint tree is lovely and would make a nice Valentine’s card for a parent or guardian.
Resist projects are always fun and this one is inspired by one of the artists in our permanent collection, Robert Indiana. Again, depending on the grade/skill level, students can make their own letters or you can provide the templates. They can use their fingers, Q-tips, or small paint brushes. Adjust as needed for your students. Stop by the museum to see one of Robert Indiana’s works on display now in our Blumberg Gallery.
If you’ve been reading the blog, you know I’m a fan of using leaves in art projects, perhaps because I always seem to have plenty on the ground at my house! This project creates dot-art hearts by making eco-friendly confetti with leaves and a hole punch.
For a more colorful palette, I bet you could use dried flowers. You would just need to be careful as even dried the petals would still be really delicate. Remember the paper plate weaving project? You could also make something similar using the holes you punched out for a dot art collage piece. Still eco-friendly!
If you like the Robert Indiana project above but want to challenge your students a bit more, try this project on for size.
This project calls for paint but you could easily use pastels and then Sharpies for the details. Individual projects could be displayed together to create a beautiful love mural in your classroom or the hallway.
Jim Dine is an American pop artist who is known for a series of heart paintings he created. His work is full of wonderful texture, and this project uses pastels and tissue paper to achieve a similar effect.
And here’s some more information about Jim Dine and his process.
These Mondrian-inspired hearts are a great project for those who aren’t really feeling the red and pink color palette associated with Valentine’s Day. This project is flexible for age and skill level as it comes with downloadable templates if desired. The article also contains some easily digestible information about Mondrian and Abstract Art:
Peter Max is another Pop artist who I love. His use of bright color and sense of whimsy appeals to students. This article includes a video with Peter talking about his process as well as a lot of samples created by third-grade artists.
If you enjoy dot art, you should enjoy this project inspired by the work of Yayoi Kusama. The simple yet striking flowers can be made more complex depending on grade and skill level. The article contains hyperlinks to videos and other websites with information about Kusama and her work.
If you’re not into hearts but still want to create some striking Valentine’s cards, take a look at this Helen Frankenthaler project.
This particular project calls for liquid watercolors but if you don’t have your own you can watch our tutorial for how to make them with old markers.
For another non-heart-related but beautiful Valentine card idea, consider this project inspired by the work of Alma Woodsey Thomas.
Thomas created large, abstract paintings with geometric patterns in bright, bold colors. Create cards inspired by her work with either paint, as this project calls for, or through collage. Another fun, flexible project idea!
There you go –14 project ideas for the 14th and beyond! I hope you found some inspiration in these projects. After the year we’ve had, celebrating love sounds like a really great idea! If you use any of these projects in your classroom, be sure to tag us in any photos you post. We LOVE to see what your students are creating!