Look no further for an awesome, easy kids Valentines craft. This week we crafted these adorable, homemade heart shaped frames, decorated with some leftover rotini from dinner!
Because we love making homemade gifts, my kids sent their creations to family members for Valentine's Day. The heart shaped frames would even be great gift for a birthday or as an anytime gift. My daughter made some art frames (with her drawings) and a few with photos of the family dog.
Why is this such an easy, kids Valentines craft?
First of all, you likely have all the key supplies around the house. My sister actually came up with this as an impromptu craft. She used everyday materials in her house and leftover, uncooked rotini pasta.
Secondly (and in our experience), kids love this craft. It took zero convincing on my part for my kids to give it a go. My daughter was so amped that we actually ended up making five frames and could've kept going. I was surprised to see my little 5 yo engaged in an activity for so long.
Third, this easy kids Valentines craft can also serve as a homemade gift. So, you don't have to go out (or online) and buy any Valentines gifts. Your kids can give these to friends, family, teachers, etc. It's an activity that also serves as a no-cost gift (except for maybe postage if you're mailing it somewhere).
In our house, we actually had all the materials for this easy kids Valentine craft. You might too!
You likely have annoying cardboard lying around if you are doing any online shopping instead of physically going to stores these days. If you're trying to get rid of it, this is an excellent reuse of your cardboard!
Kitchen & baking staples:
Baking sheet, parchment paper, Ziploc bags (or any sealable, plastic bags), bowl, teaspoon, white vinegar, and food coloring! I imagine that if there are any 2 supplies from this craft that you don't have, it may be the parchment paper and food coloring. Both are pretty inexpensive. But in a pinch you could also use wax paper or newspaper (being careful to not let the pasta stick to the paper). And you could either paint the pasta or color it with markers.
Pasta! Most of us have pasta laying around in our pantry, even if it's just a box of mac n cheese. Any pasta in your pantry will work for this craft, really. We like rotini because its grooves really held the food coloring well and they are a cool shape for crafts. Plus, we had extra from dinner that we didn't cook. Lol. Other good ones you may already have: macaroni (the mother of all crafting pastas), penne, or bowtie pasta.
Make it a Family Activity
I know these Valentines frames are supposed to be kids crafts. But I - the adult - couldn't stop making them. It's seriously so fun. And it's satisfying when you see your heart shaped frame standing up on its own.
What makes it an all ages craft is how customizable it is. It can be for Valentines day, a birthday, or just to say hello. My daughter even made some of them about a family dog she loved that passed away. And another she made a drawing of our family.
You can decorate the frame however you want. Plus, you don't have to make it a standing frame. You could tape the heart to a wall, use a hole puncher and string to hang it, or put it in an envelope and mail it to someone special as a unique Valentine.
Coloring the pasta
When you add vinegar and food coloring to the bag of dried pasta and seal it, you really gotta shake it baby! You don't want the color to pool into certain areas or only some pasta pieces; so, use your hands to move the pasta around until the color is evenly distributed. Note: the more food dye you use, the brighter the color. Start with 2 drops and see how that goes.
We chose to do three colors: purple, green and blue. Each coloring process used its own plastic bag (we used sandwich sized Ziploc bags), 1/3 cup pasta, 1 teaspoon white vinegar and several drops of food coloring. Of course you can do just one color too.
While making this easy kids valentines craft, you and your kids could take a moment to learn some fun facts about:
- Rotini is a short pasta that's shaped like a corkscrew.
- Because of the grooves in its shape, rotini captures sauces and meat well.
- Rotini originated in Northern Italy.
- Rotini pasta is a good source of carbohydrates, which give our body energy.
Ingredient: Rotini pasta
Corresponding Recipe: One Pot Chicken Sausage Pasta
Skills supported: Fine motor (cutting, folding, gluing, tracing), following instructions, math (composing shapes)
- baking sheet (preferably rimmed) & parchment paper
- small bowl & teaspoon
- 1/3 - 1 cup uncooked rotini
- 1-3 Ziploc bags
- white vinegar
- food coloring
- colored construction paper
- photo [for a photo frame]
- markers, crayons or colored pencils
- Elmer's clear glue
- [optional: other decorating materials]
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Consider setting up this easy kids valentines craft before cooking so kids can get to work right away!
- COLOR THE PASTA: Cover a baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper. Pour 1/3 cup of uncooked rotini into a plastic Ziploc bag. Add 1 teaspoon white vinegar and a few drops of food coloring.
Seal bag and shake vigorously until pasta is evenly colored. [the more food coloring you add, the brighter the color]. Pour pasta onto parchment paper to dry ~ 10 minutes. [Optional but highly recommended for maximum creativity]: Repeat 2x more with different colors and new bags].
- MAKE YOUR HEART: Meanwhile, fold a piece of colored construction paper in half lengthwise and draw a half-heart shape along the folded edge. Cut the heart out. If this will be an art frame, now have your child draw on the heart.
If this will be a photo frame, take your photo and cut it into a heart that's a little smaller than the paper heart. Glue the photo onto the middle of the heart.
Put your heart on top of a piece of cardboard and trace lightly with a pencil. Then cut out the heart. Glue your heart onto the cardboard heart.
- DECORATE: Now decorate your frame however you like! Glue on your colored rotini, use stickers and glitter, or write a personalized note. Whatever you want!
- MAKE IT STAND: Cut out a long strip of cardboard that's maybe 1 1/2" wide. Fold and glue it into a triangle, as pictured below. You can use a rock or something heavy to hold it down, as it dries. Once the heart and the stand have dried, flip your heart upside down and glue the stand to the back of the heart. Make sure a little bit of the stand extends below the tip of the heart so that the frame can stand.
This easy kids valentines craft is adorable! Your heart shaped frames will be loved!
Other Crafts Using Colored Pasta
*For toddlers especially, these tasks may require adult supervision and/or assistance.