Simple Shapes & Custom Cards

This year, picking Valentine’s Day cards for school was a challenge.  While my six-year-old hoped to find whale-themed cards, my nine-year-old insisted that cards prominently featuring Guinea pigs must be available somewhere.

Well, they were not so easy to find.

Using simple cut paper shapes and a bit of creativity, we turned an afternoon craft into custom cards to distribute to friends and family.  The kids had already picked themes, so using construction paper, paper punches, stencils, markers and assorted stickers they created their own mini-masterpieces.

For the “whale” Valentine, my son was intimidated by the daunting task of drawing a “whole whale from scratch,” so we broke it down in to simple shapes.  Using a  half circle, heart and two droplet shapes cut from blue paper, he created a simplified tangram-style whale to which we added a few details using white paper and a blue colored pencil.  Placed on an “ocean” of light blue paper with wavy lines, the whale was complete.  Using our heart-shaped paper punch, he created a “love-themed” spray above the whale.  Thinking the pun “Whale you be my Valentine?” was simply hilarious, he wrote it out on a separate piece of paper so we could cut the words into fish shapes to complete the art work.


The artwork for my daughter’s Guinea pig card was a bit more challenging.  Of course it had to feature our Guinea pig, Daisy, not just any Guinea pig so we would need to incorporate photography.

Again we started with simple paper shapes, so she could create the scene for the love-and-Guinea-pig-themed artwork.  Using assorted rectangles cut with our handy straight edge paper cutter, she built a simple “kissing booth” complete with a stenciled sign.  Using stickers and heart-shaped paper punches, she added a few details like flowers and a festive banner.


Once the “scene” was complete, we discovered the most challenging part of the project:  getting our pet to sit still for a photo.  Originally we planned a white or light blue background to blend with the construction paper scene, but Daisy would not stay put in our tiny photo studio (complete with white backdrop and lighting).  Even bribing with lettuce and parsley would not get us the “perfect” shot.  After several frustrating minutes, we opted to hold her steady on our laps taking turns snapping photos and then picked the best of the bunch…and there were a lot.  (The lower left was the winner after a bit of cropping.)


Next, I photographed the kids final art pieces and cropped the images.  Sizing the images to fit a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper, 8-9 cards easily fit on a sheet.  I imported our cropped image of Daisy and placed her right on top of the backdrop photo to keep the project quick and simple enough for my daughter to follow along incase she wants to make more Guinea-pig art using digital media in the future.


A quick trip to the local copy and print shop with our pdf files in hand and we had our cards in minutes.  Using the paper cutter we cut them all to size right there.  For a total cost of $11 both kids had neat stacks of 30+ custom cards to address to their friends.



Plus, the delighted looks on their faces as they saw their own artwork miniaturized and duplicated was priceless.  I suspect this will be an annual Valentine’s Day tradition!

For similar art and math-inspired projects, Explore Positive and Negative Space with Valentines, create Celery Print Flowers and make fun Geometric Prints.


One thought on “Simple Shapes & Custom Cards

  1. Pingback: Exploring Positive & Negative Space – with Valentines! | Design in Play

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