For this Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share a DIY Valentine idea that costs next to nothing and only requires some time to make.
Ever since I was a kid I loved making origami stars from strips of paper. In Asian folklore it is believed that when given 100 of these lucky stars, you may make a wish.
With this meaning in mind, why not make this concept even better by writing mini love letters in each star as a Valentine’s Day present? I created 300 stars, each with a unique reason why I love Jun. *cue oohs and ahhs*
So this is my challenge to you: Can you make at least 100?
Music by www.bensound.com
This gift is much more than chocolates – each star is a carefully curated reason why you love everything about the person you’re giving it to. The thrill of opening each star up and reading them gives them 300 moments to smile and take pride in being your Valentine. You won’t be able to find a more unique gift anywhere – this DIY Valentine idea is completely customized to both your individual personalities.
- A jar: I bought this cute one for $4.95 on Amazon because it comes with a chalk label.
- Chocolate or candies to fill the jar. This could be optional depending on the size of the jar you use. I bought two bags of Hershey’s Kisses from the Dollar Tree that were pink and red.
- A red colored pencil (I’ll explain this later)
- My free printable PDF origami star worksheet
- Paper, a printer, and some ink
- An affordable alternative would be wide-ruled paper (college-ruled is too narrow and won’t fold successfully), but you’ll most likely have to hand-write everything which could take some time. If you’re tech-savvy you could perhaps figure out a way to alter the spacing on Microsoft Word or Google Docs for the printed words to align with the lines.
- A time-reducing alternative is buying origami star strips. Most star strip sets are under $10 on Amazon, however, they won’t be numbered.
- Optional: Chalk. I bought a box for 55 cents at Walmart.
Step One: Writing the stars
50% of the work in this project is taking the time to write all of your reasons. I worked on this over a span of a few days and would pump several out during each session. Throughout the day as more thoughts came to mind, I’d punch them into my phone’s notes before I forgot them. Once you get the ball rolling, the thoughts will come to you very freely. Find one idea and then branch off from there.
For example, “I love your smile” could easily branch off into:
- I love the way your eyes wrinkle at the corners when you smile.
- You have the prettiest blue eyes.
- Your lips are so tempting to kiss when you smile.
- The way you smile when I make you laugh makes me want to make you happy forever.
- I love your dimples when you smile.
- You probably don’t notice it, but your nose twitches right before you smile and it’s adorable.
Etc. That single idea became 7 altogether. Okay, let’s move the sappiness along and save that for your personal project, lol. #gettingtoopersonalhere
I highly recommend using your computer and printer and the printable PDF I’ve provided, since I’ve handwritten them before and got major cramps from writing, cutting and folding several hundred stars. It’s no fun, trust me on that.
*For you ambitious ones, I’ve included 365 rows if you’d like to do an entire year!*
Step Two: Cutting the Strips
- After you have printed out the completed sheets, cut the outer edges off.
- You should now have no bordered edges.
- Flip the trimmed page over and using the red colored pencil, color about a 1-inch thick strip vertically down the page on the side that matches the numbered lines. Make sure that you are coloring the correct side!
*The reason we are doing this is to mark the spot where your Valentine can open the strip. If all of the folds are white, it can be tough to identify where to begin undoing the folds.*
*I recommend using a red pencil instead of a marker so that it doesn’t bleed through. I’m sure there is also a way to print on the other side of the page with a choice of your own design or color, but I’ve simplified the process to reduce production time. However, there are no creativity limits here!*
- Proceed to cut all of the strips. It is up to you if you want to trim off the numbers or not – I left them on there as proof that I really had 300. 😉
Music by www.bensound.com
Step Three: Folding the Stars
This is the tricky part that may take some time to learn, so I advise practicing on some test strips until you master the technique. The steps here are extremely similar to creating origami paper stars, but I’ve revised the folds so that it is easier to unwrap without ripping the star apart.
For reference, watch the video tutorial above to get an idea of the steps!
- On the unwritten end of the strip with the text side facing up (facing you), fold the top right corner so that it meets the bottom right corner.
- Using the long side, fold the strip across the previous fold, making sure the edge of the strip aligns with the corner of the previous fold. Imagine you are making a pentagon shape.
- Flip the star over and continue folding the strip over the forming pentagon, making sure that the folds are tight and have no slack. The looser the folds are, the harder it will be to form a properly-shaped star at the end.
- By now you should be getting to your words. Continue folding. If your words are facing the outer side, you started your folds on the wrong side of the strip. The words should be hidden inside.
- This is where you will see the red marking on your star now. This red mark is so that the person unwrapping the star can easily identify where the end of the strip is.
- You should have enough on the end to tuck into the top-most fold. If you have too little, backtrack one fold and then fold the remaining strip if it is too long.
- Tuck the end of the strip under the top-most fold.
- Pinch all 5 edges one by one, being careful to not crumple the star up. You will be able to feel here if your folds are too loose because the star will not puff up if it is not tight enough.
Opening the Star
All you have to do is press the star down flat and untuck the red flap. Simple! Using my modified version instead of the original origami method, your Valentine will be less prone to ripping the star open out of inconvenient folds and frustration.
Packaging it up
I personally used this chalkboard label jar that was only $4.95 on Amazon. I got the 25 1/4-ounce size, but my 300 stars only filled the jar about halfway, so filling it with candy and chocolates will help fill it up. You can use just about anything here.
Some possible options that would make great stuffers:
- Green Tea Kit-Kats
- Hershey’s Kisses
- Lindt Lindor Chocolate Truffles
- Assorted Bite-Size Chocolates
- Dove Promises – although I don’t know how you would feel about the promises in the wrapper stealing the spotlight from your own writing 😉
- Any chocolates or candies from the dollar store will do!
That’s pretty much all there is to this DIY gift! Let me know in the comments if you make these for your Valentine this year.
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