Happy Valentine’s Day! Well, almost… As usual I’ve been in the creating mode and decided to have some fun with felt and make a Valentine Garland. I was inspired by the beautiful felt from Benzie Designs and the discovery that our library has a laser cutter. Score.
I love creating cut out snowflakes and wanted to apply a similar technique to these heart designs. Knowing I would have a laser cutter to make all the cuts freed me up to have a lot of fun with the designs without worrying about cutting difficulties. I started with a sketches in my dot journal:
After making a few sketches I brought the images into Illustrator and started vectoring them up. For those that aren’t familiar, a vector is a path- much like physics… It has a direction, angles, curves. They’re pretty awesome. I made half of each heart design then reflected them on their axis to make them perfectly symmetrical.
Below you can see the finished heart designs clustered together:
These are vector files so all of the shapes can be sized to your hearts desire, but I actually made the complex dark red tulip the largest of the group for my felt cut outs. The felt I purchased was 9″ x 12″, so I made a series of 9″ x 12″ artboards and grouped the hearts close together so that I would maximize my felt use. I tried to pay attention to what colors I would want these to be. For example, I wanted the “fancy” hearts to be made of the same felt color, so I didn’t place any of the same intricate hearts on the same artboard.
Here is what one artboard looks like. Once again, each artboard basically represents a sheet of felt.
Felt laser cutting
Watching the laser machine cut out these felt pieces was incredibly gratifying. I’m a girl that loves efficiency and seeing all those little pieces get zapped out at lightning speed was the coolest thing ever. The most complicated designs still took about 4 minutes, but that’s about 1,000 times faster and neater than hand cutting. Bless technology.
I was so excited about watching the laser cutter that I didn’t realize just how many hearts I made. Check out my Etsy shop for my extras…
Arranging the Valentine Garland
I started by hanging the garland where it would be displayed and then taped the hearts in place. Sorry about the lighting, it’s hard to photograph anything here because of the window.
Once I was happy with the placement I tacked each heart to the twine with doubled up grey thread. I used the tack glue to attach the layered hearts. And yes, that is a classic late 70s laminate counter. I know you’re jealous;)
Here’s a better picture of the garland all strung up, moved to a more photo friendly location:
Laser cutting glory
I’m ridiculously excited about the world that has been opened to me with the discovery of this laser cutter. There are limits. They will kick me out if I start to turn the place into my own production lab, but I do plan to make some more fun pieces for my own home and share the limited left overs with others on Etsy.
For those of you who might have a similar service at a library near you, I have the files I used for sale on Etsy. This Valentine package includes the vector file with prepped artboards, but it also has the felt hearts digitized for scrapbooking use. I think you could also use these files to make paper cut outs with a Cricut cutter, but I haven’t personally tried that.
For those who are hoping to try the felt cut outs, I ordered Brick, Red, Strawberry, Coral, Blush and Ecru. If I had to drop a color I would have left out the coral. Don’t try the crimson, it is way too dark for Valentine hearts and little brownish. On the other hand, if you’re going for an anatomical heart crimson would be perfect.
Other Valentine Options
Looking for some additional Valentine inspiration? Check out my printable Valentine coloring sheets. I use these every year for my kids. I just print them on card stock, cut them into fourths and tape on a piece of candy. Done.
I also have this free Valentine graphic available, check out this post for more.