Today we are creating a vintage-inspired heart garland DIY, one of my favorite Valentine's day decorations. It is an easy, fun project using air-dry clay. If you love hearts, vintage, and decorating for Valentine's day then you will fall in love with this romantic holiday decoration. It's a Valentine's day craft the whole family can make together.
For years I have decorated our hutch for Valentine's day with this doily heart garland that I also made. However, this year I wanted to break the tradition and do a different Valentine's day decoration so I went looking for a new, great idea. I wanted a Valentine garland that still says vintage, old-fashioned, and charming.
In addition to my new design idea, I wanted to make something with air-dry clay. I saw on Pinterest a gift idea using air-dry clay and I couldn't wait to give it a try. This is one of my new favorite Valentine projects. And it was the easiest thing!
Let's just say I am seriously hooked. The air-dry clay creates beautiful 3-D hearts. It is definitely one of my new favorite things. Full disclosure – you might be seeing more easy DIY projects with this medium in the near future. LOL!
Okay, so enough about how this heart garland DIY came to be — let's get started making a Valentine garland for your home too.
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Easy Vintage Heart Garland DIY
Start by gathering all your craft supplies. Here is a checklist of what you will need. Once you have all these items on hand then you can get started.
- Air-dry clay
- Wooden dowel or acrylic dowel
- Heart shape cookie cutters (you can use large heart shapes, small heart shapes, or both!)
- Embroidery floss or thread or thin yarn
- Yarn needle
- Rub n Buff (color gold leaf)
- Lint free cloth
- Parchment paper
How to Work with Air-Dry Clay
When the clay is all warmed up you can easily start shaping it into what you want it to be. For this project, your next step is to press the ball of clay onto the parchment paper. Keep pressing with the palm of your hand until it is thinned out to about a quarter of an inch.
After that, take your dowel and start rolling from the center outwards. Next, turn the clay and roll some more from the center. Keep doing this until it is as thin as you want it.
Air Dry Clay Cookie Cutter Hearts
Take your heart-shaped cookie cutter and press it down onto the clay. I like to use both large heart and small heart-shaped cookie cutters. Once you have it pressed through the clay, twist it slightly right and left, then pull the cookie cutter straight up.
Remove the excess dough from the outside of the heart.
Carefully lift the heart from the parchment paper.
Gently tap the edges of the clay heart to smooth it out.
Add holes on each side at the top of the heart. I find the easiest thing to use is a toothpick, however, you can use the yarn needle. Make sure that your yarn needle will fit through the hole by simply placing the tip of the needle down into the hole. If there is plenty of room, you are good to go.
Repeat these steps to make nine hearts or more depending on the length of our garland. Make sure you have enough hearts that the garland can hang to your desired depth. After that, let your hearts dry for 2 to 3 days.
Painting Air Dry Clay Valentine Hearts
Now that your hearts are dry and hard it's time to paint them and give them a romantic vintage finish. First, use a pale neutral color to paint them. Feel free to use what you have on hand. I used Sherwin Williams agreeable gray house paint. LOL!
You can use chalk paint, acrylic paint, or pretty much anything you have. If you need to purchase paint I would suggest acrylic paint. It is cheap and easy to find.
Simply use an artist brush and brush on a small amount of paint at a time until you have covered the heart. Let it dry or use a blow dryer to dry it quickly.
Next, grab the Rub ‘n Buff and dab a clean, lint-free cloth with the gold paste, rub a little out on the parchment paper. Rub ‘n buff is one of my favorite things. It is a special paint that gives anything a vintage finish.
Starting on one side of the heart, simply brush the gold finish across the heart and repeat until you have applied the vintage gold finish on the whole heart.
When brushing across the clay with your rag, the gold will adhere to all the raised areas and this will give it that old-fashioned vintage look.
Be as light-handed as possible. The main thing is that you don't want to press down too much where the gold goes down into the grooves.
Stringing a Valentine Heart Garland
Once your hearts are finished, it is time to string your vintage heart garland. Start by determining how long you want your garland to be and cut some embroidery floss that length.
Lay out your hearts on a table. I used both large heart and small heart-shaped cookie cutters, so I laid out my hearts on the table, alternating large hearts and small hearts, to see how they would look.
Thread your floss onto a yarn needle and tie one end with a loop for hanging. Then start running the thread in on the top of one side of the first heart and then under and up on the other side.
I like to have a larger heart at each end. Repeat this on the next heart and continue until you have all the hearts threaded with twine. I like to ensure there is a heart in the very middle and then I split half of the hearts on each side.
You are all finished making a vintage Valentine's day heart garland.
Such a simple, fun Valentine's day craft!
Now for the fun part! Finding a place to hang your clay hearts. One of my favorite places to hang garlands, and a Valentine's day tradition at my house, is on our antique hutch.
I simply placed it on the hutch along with other garlands I made like this pom garland, placing the pom garland just a bit above the top of the hearts. I have all the details on how to make a pom pom garland if you want to make one too.
Other fun places you can hang garlands are the fireplace mantle, bookcases, and mirrors. You can also hang it over your front door. These Valentine's porch decor ideas will give you inspiration for decorating the rest of your porch for this holiday.
This garland Valentine's day craft is a great idea and an easy project for a subtle Valentine's day decoration. It's also a fun activity for the whole family.
I think this will be one of your favorite Valentine's day crafts. But you can use it for more than just Valentine's day! This is also a perfect, fun craft decoration for bridal showers, parties, and baby showers. Whatever the occasion, it's a simple way to brighten any room. I love how it turned out and I am seriously hooked on working with air-dry clay.
In fact, I've already got another holiday decoration idea drying right now. If you want a peek at my next project here is my how to make clay bowls post where I show you the sweetest clay heart design.
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- Roll a ball of air-dry clay in your hand.
- Pat it out on a piece of parchment paper on a flat surface
- Roll out the clay from the center turning the clay as you go until it is a thin layer of clay.
- Next, using a toothpick or the yarn needle make two holes on the top. One on the upper right and one on the upper left.
- Repeat these steps making 9 hearts for a garland that will hang on a hutch.
- Let the clay dry for 2 to 3 days.
- After the clay is dry simply brush an off white paint color on one side of the clay heart and then let it dry
- Next dab a tiny bit of gold leaf Rub n Buff on a lint-free cloth. Remove excess on the parchment paper. Then with a light hand brush the gold color across the heart. The gold will pick up all the clay that is on the top.
- Measure how long you want your garland to be and cut a piece of embroidery floss.
- Tie one end with a loop for hanging
- Thread the embroidery floss with the yarn needle.
- Lay your hearts on a table in the pattern you want them to go when you hang the garland.
- Start with the first heart and run the needle through the top of the right side and then up the back through the left side.
- Repeat until all the hearts are strung on the embroidery thread.
- Tie a loop into the other end and you are ready to hang your vintage minimalist Valentine's heart garland.