Be Mine with Handmade Valentine Cards

Add a personal touch and heartfelt meaning to homemade cards for the ones you love.

| February/March 2007

In an age in which digital words pass from one to another as quick as “point and click,” reaching over oceans and mountains, across date lines and borders, the nostalgia of sending a card by post and receiving a hand-delivered note from afar holds great appeal. Taking the time and effort to handcraft a valentine offers a sweet opportunity to show your affection. Add to that the scent and shape of plants, and your friends and loved ones are sure not only to admire, but to treasure your sentiments for years to come. Here are a few suggestions for creating your own botanical valentines. May the plants, papers and designs echo your heart’s affection and be appreciated—and reciprocated.

Drying Botanicals

I used to always press my botanicals before using them on cards. Then one day I got distracted and didn’t return to my sage leaves until they had started to dry and curl. They looked so lovely, I attached them as they were and, though the result wasn’t flat for mailing, I loved the natural look.

If you need or want the flat, dry look, press leaves by simply layering them between a few sheets of absorbent paper and placing them beneath a stack of books. Within a couple days, they should be flat and dry enough to attach to your cards with a small amount of glue.

Choose a Size

Start with the envelope. There’s no use spending time creating a card if it’s going to take twice as much time to find or make an envelope in which to send it. Then, let your paper be your guide. Cut it, fold it, twist it or cajole it as long as it will fit into an envelope. If your design will make the card fairly thick, make sure the envelope is significantly larger than the dimensions of the flat card to accommodate the added girth.

Sliding Door Fold

Divide a sheet of paper into thirds, score and fold inward. Then, measure the outside thirds and score halfway between each edge and the fold. Fold this section backward. The two new folds should meet in the center, covering the center section of the card. Simply pull the outside edges to reveal your sentiments. If you like, you can punch a hole in each outside section and tie the two sides together with a small, narrow ribbon.

Folding Paper

Never underestimate the simple beauty of a page folded in half and decorated by hand, signed with words of adoration. But if you’re looking for a little more variety, try folding your page in thirds and back and forth (zig-zag) or like sliding doors opening to reveal the message inside (see “Sliding Door Fold” below).

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