You Will Need:

Art Materials
Construction paper
---- at least 9" by 12"
Glue stick
Markers or colored pencils

letter border

Letter assortment from your letter file. Sorting them in a plastic box with compartments is very helpful.

Assorted Cut Out Letters

Have you ever wanted to disguise your handwriting so that you could send an anonymous or secret valentine to someone? You won't have to write a word if you make this ransom-style card. Magazines are full of interesting type styles and letters. Usually they appear as article titles, but some of the best ones are used in advertisements created by people known as commercial artists. One of their jobs is to choose the type style or font which will appear in the article or ad. This is a very important part of the designer's work, because the type style of a printed piece can instantly communicate an idea or set a mood. Some artists specialize in the design of lettering.

Look through magazines to find colorful, interesting type styles. Begin by cutting out whole words. Then cut out each letter separately, being careful to leave some of the background color attached. Keep the letters organized by filing like letters together. There's no need to separate capitals from lower case letters, however. Mixing letters is part of the charm of making a ransom-style card.

After you've collected a good supply of letters, it's time to make your valentine. Fold the construction paper in half. You may wish to illustrate or draw a picture on part of your valentine, or the lettering can appear on both the outside and inside of the card. Write your message or verse on a scrap of paper, and begin looking for the letters you'll need. When you've assembled the letters, arrange them on your card, and glue them in place.

valentine messageoutside of valentine card

Tips and Tricks:

In addition to magazine pages, consider using brochures, junk mail, flyers, or any printed material with large letters like those found in magazine ads and articles.

It will be easier and more fun to make your valentines if you keep the letters organized. Reuse a couple of egg cartons to hold and keep your letters in alphabetical order.

Decorate your card with hearts, cupids, arrows, and other valentine symbols cut from scraps of construction paper. Instead of using new construction paper for the card portion, use scraps of paper to make a smaller card or obtain preconsumer waste paper from your local printing company.

Don't wait till next Valentine's Day to use cut paper letters again to make cards. Create them for any occasion, including birthdays and holidays like Mother's Day.

When you've taken everything from the magazines of interest or use to you, take them to your recycling center or drop-off point to be recycled.

Here's a BIG recycling tip: After holidays, stores often return unsold cards to the manufacturer for credit. Some retailers sell the matching envelopes, but many times, they're just thrown in the trash. Help save landfill space and natural resources by asking the retailer to save the envelopes for you. Just be sure to collect the envelopes on time, so they don't gather at the merchant's business. Don't forget to say "Thanks!"



© 1997-2010 Marilyn J. Brackney (updated 2018)
Volume 5 No. 2
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