Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Retro Valentine Votive DIY

I always seem to get into the Valentine’s day spirit pretty early. Not because I’m a particularly mushy person. Not because I love pink and glitter and stuffed bears and chocolate. Nope. It goes back to the fact that I have to have plenty of time to get Valentine’s crafts in. Every year growing up, I would make valentines for everyone in my class, my teacher, friends, and relatives. All completely homemade. This tradition went back to my great-grandmother and each year, my mother, brother and I would pore through heaps of paper doilies, glitter glue, sequins, buttons, ribbons and books with old Victorian photos we’d cut out and use.

We would sit around our dining room table coming up with new variations on “Roses are red, Violets are blue…” only sometimes reusing what we had masterfully crafted in years past. And we would write each poem with care into the little construction paper heart cards covered in all kinds of lacy, heart-filled goodness. This was a real commitment, folks. And worth every second. The whole Valentine’s season just screams “be crafty!”— it is ingrained in me.

Not until recent years have I continued to come across retro valentines with hilarious, corny and sometimes downright creepy sayings and characters. The last time I saw some in an antique shop, I knew I had to snatch them up, though I didn’t know what I’d do with them.
Since our Christmas decorations have come down (admittedly a little late) there has been a void of candles and mantle-type items. The fact that we have an odd amount of votives (or vases I use as such) and the inspiration of the weirdest of all valentines with a girl in a cauldron being cooked over a fire, I thought these would be the perfect use for the valentines.

All you need is:
a paintbrush
clear candle votives
old valentines or clippings
tissue paper (optional)

Let’s get started:
First, wash the votives with hot soapy water and dry. Make sure your clippings or cards are cropped as you’d like them. For heavier stock paper that will be adhered to a round votive, it’s best curl the paper to the shape of the votive by placing your thumbs on the underside, index fingers on the top, and rolling your wrists outward to make the shape into an arc. The paper will begin to conform in the same manner as if you take scissors to a ribbon. This will prevent the heavier stocks from cracking or peeling away from the votive.

Paint Modpodge onto the back of the valentine and stick the valentine to the votive. Starting in the middle, press the paper down in small motions, making sure to get out any air bubbles. Paint Modpodge over valentine and glass, going in one direction and paying special attention to the edges, where they are prone to curl up. If this is your first Modpodge experience, don’t be alarmed, it will dry clear though it looks white at first. Let dry completely, about 15-20 minutes. Cover with a second coat, let dry and viola! Mantle-ready.

Another variation is to use tissue paper as a background to the valentine. In this case, paint one stripe of Modpodge the length of the vase or votive. Press tissue paper gently onto this strip. Continue to paint in strips around the votive, pressing the tissue paper gently down each time, all the way around. Cut off all but 1/4 in. of excess tissue paper at the top and bottom. Fold in the top and under the bottom, and Modpodge them into place. Cut off excess where the seam meets and Modpodge into place. The Modpodge will soak through the tissue paper, so allow to dry completely before touching, or it will tear. Once dry, cover the back of the valentine with Modpodge and add to the tissue paper covered votive. Cover entire votive with one coat of Modpoge. Allow to dry, then cover valentine portion with one more coat. There you have it!

I hate to play favorites, but the girl in the cauldron is really taking the cake on this one.

Happy Valentine's Day! - Molly


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