A Paper Heart Craft to Help Kids Show They Care
When you see a heart shape, one word in particular likely comes to mind: love. This shape has been a symbol of romance and affection for hundreds of years, first appearing in the French manuscript of Le Roman de la poire (Romance of the pear) in the thirteenth century.
For many, artwork featuring hearts is a beautiful way to make someone feel loved and cherished. If your kids want to flex their creativity and show a friend or family member they care, a paper heart craft is a great activity to try at home.
This DIY paper heart craft uses techniques from origami, a Japanese art style that uses paper to create intricate shapes. Although paper was invented in China around two thousand years ago, Japanese papermakers later developed a talent for creating thin, foldable paper. The earliest evidence of origami—which translates to “folding paper”—is a written account in the work of Japanese writer Ihara Saikaku in 1680 that suggests the activity was by then a part of Japanese culture. As paper became more accessible and appreciation for the art spread to other cultures, origami evolved into the popular leisure activity it is today.
Origami is a wonderful craft for children because it combines art and learning. While you create your hearts, introduce your kids to the interesting history of the art form—and when you’re finished, everyone will have their own cute paper creation to keep as a memento or share with someone. This is the perfect paper heart craft for beginners, so grab your supplies, and let’s learn how to make a paper heart!
How to Make an Origami Heart
Traditional origami doesn’t involve anything but paper (and a bit of patience)— you simply (but oh-so-creatively!) make shapes by folding pieces of paper. This makes origami an excellent activity for kids who are still too young to use scissors or glue.
But that’s not to say it’s just for younger kids. Children of all ages can enjoy origami without assistance, though you may want to double-check their folds to ensure they’re on the right track.
For this craft, you need origami paper, which is square instead of rectangular. If you don’t have origami paper handy, we can still show you how to make a paper heart with rectangular paper—but it will involve a few extra steps.
Here’s how to make a paper heart with your kids:
- Child-safe scissors (if not using origami paper)
- 8.5-inch × 11-inch (21.6 x 28 cm) paper or origami paper
Note: If using origami paper, skip to step 4.
1. If you’re using standard 8.5-inch × 11-inch paper for this craft, an adult will need to cut it into the appropriate size for origami. Orient your paper with the short side at the top. Take the upper left corner of the paper and fold it diagonally until the top horizontal edge lines up with the right vertical edge. You should now have a triangle shape with a long rectangle at the bottom.
2. Fold the long rectangle upward and crease the edge with your finger.
3. Unfold the sheet and cut off the bottom rectangle marked by the crease. You will be left with a square sheet of paper perfect for origami folding.
4. Help your children fold the origami paper in half on a diagonal by bringing two opposite corners together to create a triangle shape. Crease the paper with your finger, and then unfold it.
5. Repeat this process by folding the other two corners together, creasing, and unfolding. When this step is complete, the paper should look like a square with two creases forming an X.
6. Rotate the paper so it’s oriented as a diamond (not a square) and fold the top corner down so that the tip touches the center crease.
7. Fold the bottom corner up so the tip goes past the crease and touches the top edge of the fold from step 6.
8. Fold the lower left and right edges upward (as in steps 4 and 5 in the image above). The edges of these folds should touch in the center of the paper and align with the center crease.
9. Fold back the pointed corners on the top and sides of the paper to make a more rounded edge. Just like that, you’ve made a paper heart!
Color and Decorate Your Paper Hearts
Once the paper heart is complete, your children can add a personal, artistic touch. It’s time to whip out all their favorite crafting supplies: markers, stickers, glitter, the works! Your kids can write a special message to a loved one, add glitter in their best friend’s favorite color, draw a family portrait—anything they want to make their paper heart one-of-a-kind.
This paper heart craft makes a precious homemade gift for Valentine’s Day (along with a Valentine’s Day hugger), birthdays, or any other time your kids want to make a special person smile. And once they master this origami project, they can try more advanced crafts like these gorgeous paper tulips or a full paper bouquet.
No matter which craft project your kids try, one thing is certain: it will put a big smile on the face of the person who receives the finished product!