Just the other day I had a mom ask, “What can I do with all these dang conversation hearts?” Evidently her daughter’s school has a fundraising tradition of selling boxes of those message-bearing candy hearts, and every year her daughter comes home weighed down with pounds of the pasty pastel-colored well wishes. And every year, they sit on a shelf gathering dust until spring cleaning, when they are unceremoniously dumped.
I’m not a huge fan of the powdery confections as an edible treat, but I do find them to be a magnificent crafting supply!
The first step though, is to preserve the little buggers. You’ll want to buy some spray shellac, available at most hardware stores in the paint section. Before you start, lay out a tarp or protective sheet over your work surface. Place a paper towel or piece of cardboard on your work surface, then line up all your hearts (front sides up), so that they lay flat and separate from one another. Following the directions on the can, apply one coat of shellac to the hearts. Let dry and apply a second coat (this makes them nice and shiny; one coat will leave them with a matte finish). Once they are dry, flip them over and apply one coat to the back (you should only have to do one coat, unless you want the backs to be shiny too). Once they are totally dry, you are ready to use them as embellishments on just about anything. Place them in an airtight container and you should be able to keep them for future projects.
Bracelets and Chokers
Measure a length of ribbon that fits your wrist or neck. Add about 9 inches extra on either side so you can tie it off. Hot glue hearts to the ribbon, let dry, and then tie the ribbon around your wrist or neck.
I like to use an epoxy, such as E6000 glue, whenever I am gluing to metal like hair clips, barrettes, and bobby pins. Hot glue tends to peel right off for some reason. Simply glue your hearts to the end of a clip, or line up a few on a barrette.
Glue the hearts to a basic store-bought headband. Make sure to leave about 2 inches uncovered on either side though, so that you don’t hurt your ears when you wear it!
Remove the glass and backing from a wooden or cardboard picture frame. Hot glue conversation hearts all around the frame (if you use a metal frame, use E6000 glue). If you like, for a bit of extra shine, add a quick spritz of shellac to the finished product, then gently shake on some fine glitter. Once the shellac dries, add one more coat to seal in the glitter.
Fancy Push Pins
I love this idea. Simply place a dollop of E6000 glue on the back of a heart and place the flat end of a push pin (the kind that have the little plastic head on them) in the glue with the point side facing up (please do this in a safe place, out of the reaching hands of young children or leaping pets). When dry, use on your favorite bulletin board. You could also do the same thing with magnets.
Just remember, keep your shellacked hearts separate from your edible hearts! No one wants a trip to the dentist as a Valentine’s Day present.