Green DIY Valentine’s Day Cards


Every Valentine’s Day approximately 1 billion greeting cards are exchanged. It is the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, (Christmas is the largest with an estimated 2.6 billion cards sent)! That’s a lot of loving sentiment, but also a lot of waste after the holiday is over. If you’re not feeling particularly crafty, look for Valentine’s Day cards made from recycled paper, or cards made out of seeded paper. Seeded paper cards can be planted to turn into wildflowers.

But if you ARE feeling crafty, here is a Valentine’s Day card alternative that is sure to please your Valentine(s) without creating paper waste. It’s also fun for kids to help.


 [typography font=”Satisfy” size=”24″ size_format=”px” color=”#210c21″]Salt Dough Hearts Made with (optional) Homemade Dye[/typography]

Step One: Make the salt dough using 1/2 cup of salt, 1 cup of flour, 1/2 cup of water. Mix the dry ingredients first, then add the water slowly. The dough shouldn’t be too sticky. If it is add more flour.I doubled this recipe so I could do two different colors. It yielded 36 small hearts and we only used 3/4 of the dough before the kids and I tired of it.

Instead of using water in the recipe I made a homemade dye. I made a red beet dye and a blueberry dye. I already had the foods on hand. Chop the beets into chunks, place in a pan and cover the beets and with water. Boil then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until your liquid is reduced by half (you will want at least half a cup when all is said and done). With the blueberries I did the same using just a handful of berries. I wished I had raspberries on hand, that would make a great red/pink. Filter the dye with a fine mesh strainer, like a tea strainer, and cool.

photo 3

Sure, you could use food coloring, but the homemade dyes were a really fun experiment and you can use them for other things like dying Easter eggs and playdough. Here is a link to more homemade dye colors, or you could just experiment with foods you have.

Step Two: Roll out the dough so it is 1/4″ thick, and cut out heart shapes with cookie cutter. To get marbled hearts knead some of both doughs together (don’t knead too much or the colors will start to blend and create a new color). Use a toothpick or other pointy utensil to poke a hole in each heart.  Make sure it is big enough and goes all the way through the dough so you can attach a string later.

photo 1
Rolling and cutting

Step 3: Lay the salt dough cutouts on a sheet of parchment paper. Dry them in the microwave for 3 minutes. If they are still wet put them in for another 30 seconds and repeat until they are dry. Let them cool on a cooling rack.

Note: The microwave option is quick, but it can also make the dough appear a little bubbly. To avoid this, cook them on a cookie sheet in the oven at 250 degrees for 2 hours.

Step 4: Once they are cool double check the holes to make sure they are still big enough to get string through. If they have closed up a bit use a knife or scissor blade to reopen the hole. Use a gentle twisting motion so the heart doesn’t break. If you didn’t use a homemade dye let your kids paint them with acrylic paints. Once they are dry again tie a string through the hole so they can be hung.

photo 2
orange-pink hearts (red beet dye)
Purple hearts (blueberry dye)

Optional Step 5: Write the name of your Valentines on each heart using a Sharpie pen. You can also paint them with a sealant like mod podge to help preserve it. I like the mod podge with sparkles in it.

Final Note on Storage: When salt dough gets wet due to humidity it starts to crumble. To help preserve the heart, wrap it up in tissue and store in an air tight container. I still have salt dough ornaments I made when I was in preschool!

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Sandra O'Flaherty
I am stay at home mom to two wonderful kids. I grew up in Vermont, but it wasn't until I left this great state for a few years that I truly appreciated what a wonderful place it is. My husband is also a Vermonter, so we are happy to be able to raise our kids here surrounded by a large extended family. In fact, we like it so much that we bought the house next door to his parents, and my mom lives in an apartment on our property. We enjoy playing outdoors and poking around our little "gentleman's farm" that we started in 2010. We have chickens, goats, a work-in-progress vegetable garden, fruit trees, and we tap our own maple trees for syrup. I have a BA in environmental studies and an MA in urban planning. I try to keep a toe in the professional world that I left when my oldest was born by serving on our local Planning Commission. You can learn more about me and my passion for this planet we call home on my blog: Mama of Ma'at



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