DIY scratch-off valentines

DIY scratch-off valentines (Amanda Formaro photo/for the Tribune / January 23, 2013)

Here's a wonderfully original way to make your own valentines: Create scratch-off cards that kids and adults alike will love.

Combining paint and dish soap lets you create a scratch-off heart, under which a personalized gift waits for each of your recipients: Kids will love a trip to the park, their favorite treat or maybe an extra book at bedtime. Grown-up valentines might appreciate a back rub, date night — or an interruption-free bubble bath.

Materials needed

Clear contact paper (approximately 12 by 6 inches)

Red or silver metallic paint and paintbrush

Dishwashing liquid

Colorful patterned card stock

White copier paper

Glue stick

Cutting board or scissors

Note: Although we suggest red or silver paint, any color can be used. Also, any craft paint will work; we liked metallic because it resembles a typical scratch-off card.

Directions


Pictures: Zombie Walk in downtown Fort Lauderdale

1. Allow enough time to make the scratch-off hearts. Place contact paper, backing-side down, on a work surface. (If it curls, anchor the corners with heavy objects to hold it flat.) Mix together 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid and 2 teaspoons red metallic paint; paint the paper with the mixture. Allow paint to dry several hours. Repeat for a second coat, if needed. Allow paint to dry overnight.

2. Meanwhile, make the cards. Create your messages on the computer (you can write them by hand too), being sure to center the text. Use a title, such as "Valentine Gift Certificate," customizing the color, size and font.

Below the title, add the following words: "This gift is redeemable on Feb. 14. Scratch off heart to reveal your treat!" (Or choose another special day, such as a birthday or anniversary, or, for a child, a sick day.)

Below that write the treat ("trip to the park," "back rub," etc.), leaving enough space above and below the treat for the scratch-off heart that will cover it.

3. Print your gift certificates. When you are happy with the size and placement, use a paper cutter to trim. (Alternately, use a ruler and pencil to outline the sentiments, then cut with scissors.)

4. Use a glue stick to attach the printed certificate to your patterned card stock. Use paper cutter or scissors to trim the card stock, leaving a border around the certificate.

5. Cut hearts from your painted contact paper. Peel off the backing; adhere the heart over the top of the gift on the certificate.

6. Your valentines can use their fingernails or a coin to scratch off the paint and find their surprise!

Amanda Formaro is a professional crafter; find more projects at craftsbyamanda.com.

sunday@tribune.com