Get crafty with the ones you love this Valentine's Day

At this time of year we think about loved ones. We show them how much we care by sendings cards, flowers and gifts. This year, more than any other, it is important to let people know we care. Our Community Engagement Manager (West Region) Vicki Gillow has came up with three great activities to inspire you to get making, and sending messages of love and friendship to family and friends. All activities use minimal materials, so that activities stay inexpensive and accessible to all. 

With a background in fine art, a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and history as an Art teacher, Vicki takes great pleasure in utilising her skills to create easy to do activities for both our residents and older people in the community. 

Vicki said "I'm very passionate about helping people connect with their communities, enhance their skills and learn something new. I have been a part of many community art and garden projects with Abbeyfield houses in the West region. It's a privilege to be able to help with the design of community spaces and maintain engagement with community partners for new developments.

"My original ‘How to‘ videos started as a way for supporting our residents, staff and volunteers to engage in art and creativity in our homes and houses whilst we were in a national lockdown. Art activities are often physical and hands on, with good opportunities to socialise, meet other like-minded people and share experiences. My hope is that the videos work as an alternative to communicating in a personal way, helping to compensate for the interaction and activities we like to do under normal circumstances."

These activities have been laid out in a specific order for you to follow as you go. 


Activity one: Valentine's Print

Materials needed:

  • 1 piece of polystyrene (the back of a supermarket pizza cut into squares)
  • 1 tube of red acrylic paint (use another colour if you prefer)
  • One old piece of perspex or a flat plastic tray
  • 1 brush
  • Water for washing your brush
  • Pieces of paper cut to your desired size (A5 is used in this video)
  • A blunt pencil or biro
  • Optional: Roller for printing and print extender or PVA


1. Draw a simple heart on the polystyrene. I did a little preliminary drawing on paper to decide what I wanted to do. You can do two or three different designs. Go light with your line and then slightly more pressure. Do not press so hard that you go through the back of the polystyrene. Keep it simple.

2. Paint, or roll the red paint on to the polystyrene design (use printing ink or print medium, if you have them). Make sure the colour is evenly spread (rolled until it is matt/not shiny). Wipe hands/or wash.

3. Carefully place a clean piece of paper onto to design and apply pressure with clean hands evenly on the back of the paper (use a clean roller if you have one)

4. Peal off the paper and you will have a print.Ink up again and repeat until you have as many prints as you desire.

Activity two: Collage Balloon with Hidden Message

Materials needed:

  • Varied pink and red tissue paper
  • Printed words or poems (for collaged message) 
  • PVA glue
  • Old bush for gluing
  • Water pot
  • Cartridge paper or card – cut to desired size
  • Pencil


1. Lightly draw your heart in pencil

2. Collage the words or poems into the heart

3. Use light pint tissue over the whole of the background

4. Use coloured tissue to build up the heart in red or deep pink.

5. Once dry add the cord of the ballon (optional)

Activity three: Valentine's Little Heart, Big Message

Materials needed:

  • One tube of a dark paint (Vicki uses black acrylic)
  • One tube of red paint - you can use blue, yellow, orange for your hearts if you prefer (each colour heart has a different meaning i.e. yellow heart means happiness/friendship, blue means trust, red means love)
  • Small piece of card
  • A fine brush with a pointed end
  • Pencil (optional)


1. Paint the square card with your base colour, Vicki uses matt black. Let it dry.

2. Using a fine brush paint your coloured heart. Lightly pencil your design, if this helps. Work from the inside with a good amount of colour- do not water the acrylic down. Work the paint carefully into the edges - cutting in.

3. Allow to dry and mount on a card or in a picture frame. Finally, give it to a loved one!