Sunday, January 24, 2010

Valentine Diorama

Here is a special Valentine Diorama that the Grade 1's are going to make. The inspiration comes from a vintage photo I came across about a year ago.

Made from a frozen juice have this decorated container which inside.....

.....contains a photo of the sender, a token heart, and the saying "you captured my heart".

Easy to make with recyclables and bits and bobs you have lying around the house.

Let's get started.

Materials Required:

frozen juice container
newspaper or old book pages
white and colored tissue paper in Valentine colors
blue paint
white paint
photo of sender in sitting position
wing template (you can use mine if you want)
colored pencils, crayons, or paint to add color to wing
thin cardboard or chipboard (cracker box)
colored paper
pipe cleaner for handle
string or embroidery floss
2 pony beads

Now when I was making the sample I pre cut the door before applying the decoupage papers...I now realize it is probably better to leave the container intact, decoupage and then cut the door...less warping that way.

I had also put a layer of gesso on the can but you can skip this as you are covering the can anyway.

Cut or tear your newspaper or book pages and decoupage them onto the can with a diluted glue mix..about 2 parts glue, 1 part water.

You can cut some hearts out of the tissue paper and lay them on top of the decoupage while it is still wet and they will stick on nicely.

Let dry.

Now cut out your door.

Paint the inside of the remaining can and the door sky blue.

I painted the bottom sill of my door silver.

You can add some white clouds if you want.

Let dry.

Take the metal top of the can and trace out a circle in thin cardboard and 2 circles in colored paper.

Cut them out and glue the paper to both sides of the cardboard circle.

Set aside, this will be the top of your container.

Take your photo and cut out figure from want your figure to be about 2 and 1/2 inches tall.

Here is the inspiration photo.

Make a can use the wing templates or make up your can be a butterfly wing like mine or an angel wing, even a dragonfly wing.

Add some color....I'm using some watercolor pencil but I think the kids will use pencil crayon.

Cut out your wing , add a little glue and secure to the back of your photo.

Instead of the ugly metal bottom to the can you can glue in some white tissue paper like a cloud.

Take your photo and glue into the can....with the person sitting on the I only glued the wing and the feet of this photo because I wanted it to sit a bit forward...

If you're looking down into the can you can see how the photo is sitting a bit forward and not stuck to the back.

Now add your token heart...I lucked out on that trip to the dollar store and found these jewel hearts (18 for $1.50)...but you can cut a paper heart, a felt one, or make one from what you have lying around.

I glued mine in place because this is a sample and it will get handled a lot but you leave yours free if you want.

Using an awl or knitting needle, or tip of scissors punch some holes at the top on either side for the handle.

Insert pipe cleaner and twist to secure.

Now if you wanted you could leave it like this and just write "you captured my heart" at the back for a simpler project.

If you want the door punch matching holes in the door and on one side. I did one at the top and one at the bottom.

Now I used embroidery floss and sewed little hinges...but before you do this its a good time to either write or stamp in the words "you captured my heart" on the inside of the door and the name of the recipient on the outside.

I did this after it was put together and it was a bit tricky.

Make sure your hinges have some slack so the door will open.

Punch a hole on the other side of the door for the door handle.

Add a length of string or floss.

Glue 2 pony beads on the side of the can next to the door for the lock.

Bend your handle down and glue on the top...when dry you can bend your handle up again.

Embellish all you want.

That's it...why not make a "pretty valentine" for your favorite person.

Much more appreciated that anything you buy in a store.

See you next time.


  1. I love this!!! How wonderful, my children would love to get one for valentines day. I will make room on my project table for this one.

  2. wow how clever! i would love to make one of those myself! :)

  3. oh,I am going to make this for my grandson. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. This is so cute! Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

  5. I love your diorama! It reminds me of a box by Joseph Cornell, or of a retalbo.
    Great project!

  6. These are lovely! I'd like to give them a go with my teen class.

  7. I love this soooo much! Each of my grandchildren will get one next Valentine's Day for sure. Thank you for sending me the link for this sweet project.

  8. very clever and nice diorama.

  9. I love your blog! I wonder how can you cut so many cans and do not they cu the children's fingers? Maybe there is something I skipped..

  10. Hi Maria, Some kids can cut their own, it's the same weight of cardboard as a cereal box it just has a coat of wax on it so it's not too hard to cut. I pre cut as many as I can before class.
    Take care