A heart-shaped box filled with chocolate is one of the most cliche valentine's day gifts to give. Using a few hours, and a few dollars worth of supplies that you might already have, you can turn an ordinary chocolate-filled heart box into the best valentines day gift your sweetie has ever received!
Step 1: Gather the Materials
For this project, you will need the following tools and materials:
-- A heart box full of candy (make sure it's big enough for the message you want to put!)
-- A bag of Conversation Hearts (Brachs) or Tiny Sweethearts (Necco)
-- Scotch Tape
-- A few sheets of black cardstock
Step 2: Choose Your Pattern
I find that Chinese characters are a perfect fit for this project, but it is possible to use symbols or English words as well. My girlfriend is Chinese, so I decided to use her name character. For something more general, consider using the Chinese character for love (the second picture), a symbol (like a heart), or the very common representation of the word "love" with one letter in each of four corners (third picture). Anything generally square shaped should fit perfectly.
Step 3: Preparation
Now we need to get everything ready to get to work! Start by taking the little plastic tray with the candy out of the heart box. Then put down a single piece of cardstock on the bottom of the box to make sure that none of the white will be peeking through any gaps. Finally, since you will be moving all the chocolate pieces around, you may want to create a new "map" so your sweetheart knows where each type of candy is. I did this by writing a number by each piece on the actual map, and writing that number under each piece of chocolate.
Step 4: Lay Out Your Pattern
Before you start cutting out the guards to hold the chocolate in place, you want to lay out your pattern to make sure it looks just right. Since you will be handling the candy, I recommend that you wear some food processing gloves. You will also want to ensure that the room you are working in is fairly cold. Your body heat will heat up the chocolate and cause it to start melting, even if you are wearing gloves.
Step 5: Creating the Candy Guards
This is the hard part. First you will want to make a fold on one edge of a sheet of cardstock that is just slightly shorter than the lip of the box, as shown in the first two pictures. Then put all the candy from the row that you are creating the guard for on the piece of cardstock, and make another fold on the other side (pictures 3 and 4). Then you can fold off the ends. Just cut the cardstock on both folds on each end about the same length as the height of the guard. Then fold it up, and fold the two sides over. With a little tape, you have a pretty solid little guard (pictures 5 and 6). You may need to trim it a bit if one of the sides is uneven. Once you are satisfied, just make a tape loop or two and stick it to the bottom of the guard, and put it in the appropriate place in the heart box. Note that you may need to cut off a corner to make it fit the curve of the box.
The last picture shows an alternative method for creating the guards. Cut off the ends first, then fold over the sides. I'm not really sure which I liked better... experiment a little!
Step 6: Combining the Guards
To make sure that each part of your symbol/message look contiguous, you will need to combine the guards for that part. To do this, just use the scissors to make vertical cuts at the interface between two guards. Then fold over the resulting flap of cardstock and use some tape to secure it. Then use some tape to fasten the edges of the two guards together. This is surprisingly sturdy! Once you are done, put all your the chocolate pieces in their respective places.
Step 7: Fill the Gaps With the Candy Hearts
Now just fill in the gaps with the candy hearts. The hearts provide a nice colorful contrast with the dark colors of the chocolate, to make it easy to read the message. The black guards that hold the chocolate in place are also really nice to make the pattern look more "solid".
Step 8: Give It to Your Valentine!
Happy Valentines Day!