Upcycling Valentines Day

Upcycling Valentines Day

Last year was my first time helping our son to make valentines for his preschool class. I figured I was being pretty crafty by printing out some online cards that I could colour in by hand with the kid. When we got to school, it was obvious that this was pretty boring. All the other kids had store bought or elaborate home-made valentines, as well as gifts to go with them like stickers, temporary tattoos and candy. Obviously I needed to step up my game as a mom. This year I didn’t want to go out and buy the same stuff that everyone else does, especially because it is probably just going to be thrown out anyway. Thankfully I came up with a great compromise: upcycled valentine treat boxes!

Some time ago, I had seen a neat craft in my Facebook News feed. It was little owls made from toilet paper rolls. My mind envisioned little owl boxes with a treat inside and a valentine on the outside. I immediately started hoarding toilet paper rolls. In the end, it turned out that the owl was a bit complex for a four year old to participate in making, so we went for a simple ‘pillow’ box instead. They turned out beautifully! Here’s how to make one:

suppliesStep one: gather your materials. Here’s what you need to make one box:

  • Toilet paper roll
  • Scrap of pretty paper (2”x6”)
  • Cup 3” in diameter at the mouth
  • Blunt knife for scoring the cardboard
  • A piece of ribbon or string about 19” long
  • Tape or glue
  • Treats for inside. We used small chocolate hearts.


step 1 

Step two:  flatten your roll using the blunt knife to crease each side. Then using the cup as a guide, score a curve that spans the width of the roll. Do this on each end and on both sides.


step 3 


Step three: fold in the scored ends. They should meet, so your tube is now a complete pillow box.




Step 4Step four: tape one of the narrow edges of the decorative paper to a side of the pillow box. Wrap it around and tape or glue in place to make a complete loop around the box. Insert your goodies.




step 5Step five: tie the ribbon around the box lengthwise; this ensures that the treats don’t fall out until the box is opened. At this point you can also add a small tag or write the recipients name directly on the outside of the box. Grandma gave us Star Wars valentines, so obviously we attached those babies to ours. It definitely kept the project preschool appropriate.


There you have it, a masterfully upcycled valentine from a toilet paper roll. I used old ribbon I had saved (I have a small bag where I keep nice ribbon that comes into our life to use in little projects just like this). You could certainly use rescued paper too, though I fully admit to buying pretty paper from a small craft store in my neighbourhood.

What do you think? Would you appreciate receiving an upcycled valentine? Would you make something like this with your kids? Comment below and join the conversation.