On a recent trip to the supermarket, I took a stroll down the valentine aisles. Holy Canoli, that’s a lot of garbage is all I have to say about the experience.
The good news, amongst the THREE aisles full of valentine-y JUNK, I located 3 different boxes of eco-conscious Valentine cards (the little classroom trading cards). Each had a different earth message, one was about saving the rain forests, another was about recycling, and the third was about animals. They were labeled as using recycled paper and soy based inks.
I still wasn’t convinced to buy them.
We like to make our Valentines around here… it goes hand in hand with our handmade holidays theme. In the past we’ve made heart shaped playdough, used pencils to anchor a paper greeting, and made traditional doily heart cards.
This year, we’ve decided to reuse all the (hundreds) of crayons we have laying around the house. I purchased a heart shaped silicon mold (which we will use for all kinds of projects and goodies). It was $8.00. Since I have four school aged children, it was less expensive than packages of paper cards. I opted for silicon because its much easier to push the new crayons out… and easy to clean. (You can find molds and tins at thrift stores and yard sales.)
Next, we simply removed the wrappers and broke up all the scrap crayons we had. Then when placed them into the mold, baked at 200 degrees F for about 20 minutes and allowed to cool. The trick for me was to place the mold onto a cookie sheet, this helped prevent spillage when moving. Once the crayons reached room temperature (about 30 minutes), I popped them out and started the next batch.
For the “card”, we are cutting heart shapes from scrap paper… cereal boxes make great firm backing, then we cut another piece that has one clean side and glue them together (printed sides facing in).
If you want to get really fancy, tear up a bunch of scrap paper and use it to decoupage the cardboard hearts (mix glue & water, and simply paint each torn piece of paper to the backing, overlapping for desired look). I don’t recommend the decoupage option if you have to make a lot of cards… it is a bit messy and time consuming, but the finished look is adorable!
Then we wrote on the back of each heart and attached a crayon to the center using a piece of rolled tape. The good news is… not only are these cards recycled, they are also recyclable! The crayons will hopefully get used down to nubs and then can be melted into new shapes, the paper cards can go right into the recycling bin. Another tip is to include a short how to paper so that parents can make their own crayons in the future.
Have a Happy Eco Valentine’s Day!
Photo Credit: Yours truly. The card on the left is a cereal box backing with decoupage scrap paper, the card on the right is a cereal box backing with Sunday comics on the front.