Party Crafts and DIY

A DIY Valentine’s Gift for Teacher with Apple Barrel Craft Paint

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This is a sponsored post with Blueprint Social on behalf of Apple Barrel Craft Paint. All thoughts, opinions, and projects are my own.

Do your kids take a present to their teacher for Valentine’s Day? I have such happy memories of Valentine’s school parties; Valentine’s Day was exciting! Through lower elementary school we always decorated shoe boxes at home and readied a stack of sentiments for everyone in class. It was so much fun to see all the boxes decorated with hearts and lace paper doilies! Sometimes one of the classmates would write something personal on the Valentine and that made you feel extra-special. My mom was always what we called “room mother” so she planned parties and brought the coolest treats for the entire class; I felt so proud of her.  

It’s been years since I’ve decorated a Valentine’s box, but this year I had the opportunity to create “something” using Apple Barrel Craft Paint products. In honor of all those elementary teachers who provide fun opportunities for celebrating friendship (and young crushes), I decided to make a Valentine gift box for Teacher. Since we’re about boys around here and frills aren’t appreciated, I didn’t use any lace…but I did include a ribbon…just one. In red!  

This was an easy project. I have used Apple Barrel craft paints before and I appreciate their quality. They go on smoothly, they cover well, and the colors last. I used a wood box (no cardboard shoebox!) and the paint dried quickly. The bottle says to let the paint dry an hour between coats so I did but it didn’t take anywhere near that long before it felt dry.

I think my favorite part was how easily the acrylic paint cleaned up with just water. I HATE having to use the chemical stuff to clean up. Apple Barrel craft paints have lots of pretty color choices (and bottle sizes), but I knew I wanted to use a limited palette so I chose: white, cardinal crimson, bright magenta (I couldn’t help myself…Valentines NEED some pink!) and cameo pink.

This is the materials list:  

  • wood box; mine is 5” square, 2 ½” deep
  • wood teacher figure; mine is 1 11/16” and the package calls it “boy/game piece”
  • wood student heads; ½” round ball
  • wood student bodies; 5/8” candle cup
  • mini wood spring clothespin; 1 ¾”
  • spring; mine is 3” x ¼” (my first spring-in the materials pic-wasn’t stout enough; the little guy kept dive bombing the teacher!)
  • red ribbon; 7” x 1/8”- it was easier to make the small bow w/this amount, I cut part of it off after it was on the heart
  • glue dots or glue
  • white and red card stock
  • paint brush (1” foam for the box and a small artist brush for the “people”)
  • round pencil eraser
  • scissors
  • hole punch
  • heart stencil (1 ½”)
  • fine tipped marker pens

I enthusiastically began painting my wood box and realized I should have sanded it just a little. After the first coat dried, I wadded up a piece of brown paper sack and rubbed it all over the box to knock the rough pieces off. That meant I had to do another coat of paint so everything would look even but it was worth it. I painted the clothespin at the same time since I wanted it white also.  

Next I taped a small heart stencil on the top of the box to use as teacher’s “platform”. I think it would have been just as easy to trace a heart outline and fill it with paint…and maybe the edges would have been smoother…but the stencil was quick if that matters to you.

The wood “bodies” have small holes in them so that worked perfectly for painting and not leaving finger prints.   

While the bodies were drying, I used the eraser end of a new pencil to make random polka dots around the sides of the box. I started with the lightest color and when I thought I had enough, I used hot water to rinse the paint off the eraser and I was ready for the next color. I did the top of the box last, keeping in mind where the students would be placed.  

I cut a small strip of white cardstock for the plane wings. They measure 2 ¾” by ¼”; I rounded the “tips”. I used a small heart punch for the small hearts and stuck them on the wingtips and the plane tail with small glue dots. The teacher also received a small, white heart.   I used regular glue to adhere the round ball heads to the bodies. When it dried, I used fine point marker pens for the faces and hair. The markers were easier for me to use instead of a paint brush.  

The ½” 3D glue dots were just the right size to fit on the bottom of my figures—and I didn’t have to wait for them to dry—but regular glue would work just as well. I placed the teacher on her heart platform and put the student figures in a semi-circle facing her. On one spot I smooshed a glue dot to hold the spring. The flying ace was glued to the airplane and another glue dot adhered the plane to the spring.  

I printed and cut “Teacher, you help me soar” and “Happy (heart) Day” and glued the message onto each side of a 1 ½” red heart. I punched holes in the top of the heart and made tiny bows. I also put glue dots under the bows to hold them in place. Then I hung the heart from the airplane. 

All that is left is to put special chocolate candies inside the box or, if you prefer, supplies like rubber bands, paper clips and push pins…and tell your little guy Teacher might like a hug, too.    


Get more DIY Valentine inspiration with these great ideas:


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Layne Quintanilla

Layne is a boy mom in love. Surrounded by three adventurous little men and her ever patient husband, she's in pursuit of an empty laundry basket, the perfect cup of coffee, and sleep. She blogs, parents, and manages social media while wearing her tiara. You can join her party at My Best Laid Plans and Coupons with Q.