This year no one’s making panicked last-minute Target runs for boxed Valentine’s Day cards. No class parties, but love is still in the air! Here are six easy, handmade ways to celebrate the people you love:

If you draw a design with white crayon on white paper, it will be revealed with a light wash of watercolors. (JiaYing Grygiel)
If you draw a design with white crayon on white paper, it will be revealed with a light wash of watercolors. (JiaYing Grygiel)

Write a secret love note: The white crayon is always the least used one in the box, because white crayon on white paper doesn’t look like anything. Which makes it perfect for writing a secret message! Write a note or draw a design with white crayon on white paper, and the invisible message is revealed with a light wash of watercolors. The science lesson behind this cool technique: Water makes the paper wet, but wax repels the water and keeps the paper dry. Or just call it magic.

Create roses out of egg cartons. (JiaYing Grygiel)
Create roses out of egg cartons. (JiaYing Grygiel)

Rose bouquet: Nothing says Valentine’s Day like the jacked-up prices on long-stemmed roses on Feb. 14. You can cut surprisingly beautiful roses out of egg cartons (really!). This project is best done over a couple of days to let it dry overnight between steps.

Pull apart the cups of a cardboard egg carton and cut four petals out of each. This is the hardest part of the project because it’s awkward to wedge scissors in there, and younger kids will need help. For each flower, you’ll need two layers of petals, plus a long rectangle to wind into the center of the blossom. Coat all the pieces with poster paint and let them dry overnight before assembling. Use glue to attach the three parts of each flower, and again, allow it to dry overnight. Finally, poke a hole at the bottom and insert a skewer for the stem.

For a personalized Valentine, make a handprint heart. (JiaYing Grygiel)
For a personalized Valentine, make a handprint heart. (JiaYing Grygiel)

Handprint heart: A truly one-of-a-kind Valentine: Press your hands onto an ink pad and position your hands in a heart shape onto a sheet of cardstock. If you don’t have a big stamp pad, you can use poster paint, with a goopier result. Make sure to wash up straight away or you might end up with handprints on the table, handprints on the walls, handprints on the couch …

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There are several ways to do a string-art project. This one includes a wood block and nails. (JiaYing Grygiel)
There are several ways to do a string-art project. This one includes a wood block and nails. (JiaYing Grygiel)

String art: Use a cookie cutter to make a template of a heart on a piece of paper, then hammer nails along the heart shape on a wood block. Wind red yard around the nails.

If you’d rather not risk any smashed fingers, you can use push pins on cork board or foam core instead of nails. The very easiest, fail-safe version is cutting notches along a cardboard heart.

It may sound a little cheesy, but you’d be surprised how touching an “I love you because …” jar can be.  (JiaYing Grygiel)
It may sound a little cheesy, but you’d be surprised how touching an “I love you because …” jar can be. (JiaYing Grygiel)

An “I love you because …” jar: Have everyone in your household write compliments for each other on a slip of paper and put them in a jar, one jar for each person. It sounds a little cheesy, but you’d be surprised, even kids you’d think would be too cool are genuinely touched by the nice messages.

Friendship bracelet: String pink, red and white pony beads to make friendship bracelets. Pipe cleaners are best for small hands, and as a bonus, you can also shape the bracelet into a heart.