Oh the cheesy, kid-friendly Valentine lines.
That's the first thought that came to my mind as I began writing this Instructable.
My four-year old daughter wanted to make these cute little bugs for her 15-member pre-school class, and I will admit, this was not my first choice for her valentines.
But, they did come out cute and she did much of the work.
This is another one of my do-it-yourself with your kids Instructables - patience required, a gluey-mess, and lots of "are you sure you want to do that?" questioning, where in the end, I am the one that learns something about my child that I can only get by doing projects like this with her (or them).
It took us about an hour each day we worked on this project, and I divided up these instructions into the parts we did them in. These fifteen bugs took us about four-hours total. They were relatively expensive as far as class valentines go, and I believe I spent about $15, but I also had the pink cardstock on hand for the printable.
Like I've said in previous Instructables, sometimes, it's not about the money.
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Step 1: Materials and Printable
You can make a new version using word, with various fonts, but, I figured some may want to use the printable instead of re-inventing.
Also keep in mind that we had 15 bugs to make. You would use less materials if you made fewer of the bugs. My daughter was specific on the colors that she wanted to use.
[All of the materials could be picked up at the craft store, but for reference, you can click on the link that will take you to Amazon to see what the items are and an idea of the costs.]
- cardstock (we used hot pink I already had)
- various colors of pipe cleaners (we purchased a pack of 100)
- various colors of pom-pom (at least 100 - we used two bags for 15 little guys, but I think one [of 100] would have worked)
- googly eyes
- Alene's tacky glue (or 'hot' glue, depending on the age of the child - the one shown is low-temp, but we ended up not using it ourselves)
- lollipops (optional)
You may also need a plastic tablecloth (or wax paper) to protect your surface when you get to gluing. A paper plate would work, and when we glued the eyes, we used q-tips (swabs) to apply the glue to the googly eye.
Step 2: Print, Cut and Sign
For the fifteen valentines we made, this step took a little over an hour.
I cut out all the hearts after I printed them.
My daughter used her best handwriting to sign them all.
(That's a proud mommy moment right there for those who don't recognize it!)
Step 3: Glue Down the Legs
So, you can choose to use hot glue (or low temp) if you feel comfortable with that. I wasn't.
I wanted my daughter to do most of the work herself, so after I cut the pipe cleaners in half, I laid down three stripes of tacky glue on the unsigned, unprinted side of the heart.
She then placed the "legs" on her bug, in her random color scheme. She is a patient girl, and asked me several times what order the colors should be in. She made it a point that every bug had three different colors of legs.
Little (then 2-years old) brother helped on a few, although a couple times I had to readjust the legs before they dried to make them more even on both sides of the heart.
Step 4: Bend the Antennae
Still using the half-cut pipe cleaners, while the glue for the legs dried, I showed my daughter how to bend the antennae for her bugs.
She really enjoyed bending the pipe cleaners and putting different bends on the ends of them.
We waited about 24 hours of drying time to glue the pom-poms on for the bug bodies.
Step 5: Glue the Pom-pom Bodies & Antennae
We worked on placing the pom-pom bodies the day after the legs had dried.
This was by far the most exciting part. There was a gluey mess, and I should have used wax paper (or a plastic tablecloth) to keep my table clean. After about the third bug being glued, I realized that I could use a paper plate for her to glue her pom-pom body parts onto the bug.
That's a note for you!
I poured the tacky glue into a recycled container for her to dip the pom poms (and antennae) into to stick to the body, over the pipe cleaners.
My daughter chose every single pom pom, and the color of the antennae to go with the bug.
Her creativity amazes me sometimes. She was free to use different colors for eyes, different sizes of pom poms for each bug, and told me where the eyes were going to go on each bug.
Every single bug is unique.
Step 6: Glue the Eyes
We used q-tip (cotton swabs) to place the tacky glue onto the back of the googly eyes. From previous projects, I had different sizes of eyes for my daughter to choose from.
She showed me where to put some of the eyes after she applied the glue, and this step probably took about 15-minutes to do all of the bugs.
Some of the eyes ended up on the ends of the antennae, some on top of the front pom poms and some on raised pom poms. All of them were placed with love and it was up to her.
We waited about 4-5 hours of drying time before bending the legs.
Step 7: Bending the Legs and Placing a Lollipop
To me this part is pretty self explanitory.
I showed my daughter how to bend the legs around the heart so the bug would stand up off the table.
In some instances, there was not enough pipe cleaner overhang to bend a "foot" so we just left it bent down.
If you have one of those school rules where you can't give candy, then you'll probably be done after bending all the legs down.
We are allowed to give one piece of candy at our schools, so we attached a lollipop to each bug.
I did most of the work for this, but my daughter selected the lollipops that went with each bug. I curled some of the overhang of the pipe cleaner "foot" around the stick and if I was able to do all of the feet, then I did.
At least twice I had to cut the excess overhang, even after I wrapped it around the lollipop stick.
This step took us at least half an hour, but I was taking pictures while doing it!
Step 8: Enjoy the Cuteness...
My precious little girl is so fun to be around and crafting together is part of our bonding time.
I said in the intro that this was so much fun to do. There wasn't any drama for us, we carved out time to be together, and she got to "control" everything that went into making these.
I just think they are so darn cute! We made a little army of bugs together!
Happy Valentines Day from our family to yours!