Tips, Techniques & Ideas on Making Your Own Valentines Using Papercutting, Origami & Other Techniques February 12, 2011 17:11

One of our favorite "Galerie Escalier" artists is Greta Kessler, a talented artist and craftsperson who has shared her skill at making truly beautiful handmade Valentines using papercutting, Origami and other techniques in an annual workshop at CADEAUX du MONDE for the first Newport Gallery Night in February over the past several years.  I am going to share a brief overview of some of her tips and techniques here.  You can also come into the gallery to view some of Greta's wonderful Valentines which are, of course, the best demonstration of her fine work!

1.  Envelope Selection:

Before you get carried away doing your one of a kind creation for your loved one--choose the envelope that you will be using.  You don't want to make a fabulous creation and then get bogged down in a fruitless search for an envelope only to be frustrated at not being able to find the right size.  This is a Valentines card so remember to choose an envelope that is unique--nice paper with a good texture and/or color.  You can stick with the classic red and pink hues or branch out into some non-traditional colors as well such as green, orange or yellow.  With every choice, express your creativity!

2.  Decide on Card Style:

You have many options here:  a classic square/rectangular card that opens up, a card that unfolds, a card that is just basically a mounting paper for all of your decorations, etc.  The list is endless.

3.  Start Creating Your Valentine:

Collect some paper--colored, patterned, different weights.  Collect some ribbons--paper, metallic,etc.  Collect some stray beads, sequins, etc.  Print some endearing love messages in colored ink from the computer such as "Yours Always", "Love in Bloom", etc.  Then start cutting flat hearts, fold some paper and cut heart shaped snowflakes.  The key is to be creative and let your imagination flow.

Paper is a wonderful medium to use--you can cut it, you can fold it into different shapes, you can curl it, you can crush it.  You can create pockets or windows with hidden messages.  You can make pop up hearts.

The card below is an example of an origami folded paper bouquet holder filled with cut paper flowers, hearts and endearing love notes using a patterned paper, ribbons, glued on beads, etc.

Greta Kessler's Handmade Valentine

The card below is an example of a 3 dimensional card that can be presented in a handmade box.  Using metallic paper as a backing board, the heart paper is folded and cut like heart shaped snowflake and then mounted on the metallic paper.  Valentine messages are laced through the open space and other messages are mounted and curled under a cut paper heart shaped flower highlighted with a bead.  Other metallic ribbons are curled and decorated with origami folded hearts.

Detail view of handmade 3D Valentine

Finally, here is a close up of an origami heart with Valentine's messages.  The directions for folding this heart can be found in "The Encyclopedia of Origami and Papercutting Techniques" edited by Emma Callery.

Origami Paper Heart

4.  Present your creation to your Valentine:

Now that you have put together a Valentine that expresses your creativity in words, hearts, paper, color and beads--share it with your Valentine!!!