Every week, Evangeline and I work on handcrafts. Some are bigger projects than others and while the crafts take time to complete, keeping those little hands busy and developing fine motor skills is good for both of us. And with Vanlentine's Day coming up, I knew we wanted to make special Valentine's gifts for her friends.
I sincerely believe in the adage, "it's better to give than to receive," and fondly remember preparing Valentine's gifts for my friends and classmates as a little girl. Making things is always fun, but making things for others brings joy and meaning to a project.
A favorite crafting project of mine is felting and, in fact, for Phoebe's first birthday party, I needle felted fawn ornaments as part of her party favors. (You can see more of her birthday party details here and here.) While Evangeline has become more adept and careful using a needle and thread, I'm not ready for her to needle felt just yet, so wet felting was perfect for our Valentine's project.
Wet felting can lead to beautiful gifts and ornaments, and these felt hearts turned out to be the sweetest little Valentine's gifts for her friends. The best part is that, by adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to the hearts, we turned them into essential oil diffusers.
This project requires some pretty-colored roving wool, heart-shaped cookie cutters, a tray to work on, hot water, a wooden fork, a needle and embroidery floss, essential oil, a little bit of patience, and a helpful hand from mom or dad. Put on an audio book or some music and watch your little ones learn a handcraft and, more importantly, the beauty of giving to others!
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- Roving wool (you can purchase here)
- Heart-shaped cookie cutters (or any fun shape really)
- A tray to work on (my enamel tray is from here)
- Hot water
- A wooden fork
- A needle and thread (I used gold embroidery floss)
- Essential Oil (lavender, rose, grapefruit, etc)
- Pull apart the wool so it's no longer clumped together and begin filling the cookie cutters. It's important to note, the more wool you fill, the better your finished product will turn out, so jam pack those little guys with as much wool as you can fit.
- Pour hot water over all the wool until they are soaked through. If you're uncertain your little one can handle the hot kettle, I would recommend taking over this part of the project. (I used a small kettle she could easily hold and we carefully poured a little at a time.)
- Next, take your wooden fork and firmly poke the wool for about 7-10 minutes on each side. This is to compact the wool together and make it tighter. It's in this step I would put on an audio book or some music or just talk to help pass the time. Also, if you have another fork, work alongside your child!
- After you have your desired shape and thickness, squeeze out all the water and let them dry over night.
- Once they are completely dry, take a needle and embroidery floss and pierce a hole at the center top and create a loop to turn the heart into an ornament.
- Pour a couple drops of essential oil and give them away!