We’re not big decorators for Valentine’s Day round here but I have made a pretty garland using recycled paper to add just a little romantic Valentine-i-ness!
I made my paper heart garland with a sewing machine but if you don’t have one you could do the stitching by hand. Just use a simple running stitch.
Bear with me now as I appear to go off topic for a moment, it’ll all make sense in a second.
In our house we use a recycled toilet paper which we get delivered in bulk from a fabulous company called Who Gives a Crap. I love the ethos of this company, they give 50% of their profits to provide toilets and sanitation in places in the the world without them, their products are recycled, their entire ethos is about helping people and the planet. This is not sponsored by Who Gives a Crap at all, I just really love the companies ethos and the actual toilet paper is perfectly acceptable too - bonus!
To meet regulations and avoid plastic each roll of toilet paper is wrapped in a thin patterned paper and as a consumer you are encouraged to find a new use for this paper. I give mine a quick iron to smooth them, I leave them in the ironing basket and do them as I’m waiting for the iron to warm up and cool down whenever I iron clothes.
Then I cut them into 11cm squares and fold them into origami paper cranes which I pop into parcels from my Etsy shop. I always have some off cuts though which I normally just pop in the paper recycling bin. With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, this time I decided to use the off cuts to make a heart garland - you see, I said it would make sense in a moment!
So to make your own simple recycled paper heart garland you will need:
Patterned recycled paper - mine is the wrappers from Who Gives a Crap toilet paper but you could use magazine pages, used wrapping paper, coloured envelopes or something similar
Scrap of card
Sewing Thread - this is a good project to use up any cheap thread that you might have bought thinking it was a bargain but later realised it was a false economy (not just me surely!)
First make yourself a template. Draw half a heart on the scrap card, mine was about 1.5” tall and 1” wide. Use this photo as a guide, the squares on my craft board are 1” squares.
Now fold your patterned paper in half and laying the straight edge of the template against the fold cut out a heart shape. Repeat lots of times!
If you are using something thin like the Who Gives a Crap wrapping paper then you can layer multiple folded papers up, I cut 6 out at a time.
Once you have a nice little pile of hearts you are ready to turn them into a garland.
Before you begin put an old needle in your sewing machine. I keep a couple of old needles especially for sewing on paper, don’t sew paper with a newish needle!
Pull both the top and bottom threads from your sewing machine out a bit, so you’ve got enough length to tie your garland up when it’s finished.
Take 2 hearts and lay them back to back, then stitch through the middle, top to bottom.
Lift the foot of your sewing machine and pull the heart out to the edge of your sewing machine. Place the next 2 hearts back to back in place under the foot, drop the foot and stitch again. This helps you to space the hearts reasonably evenly.
It helps to hold the threads at the back firmly as you start stitching, this stops them tangling at the back or going loopy.
Continue until you’ve run out of hearts or your garland is as long as you’d like it to be.
Pull out another nice long length of threads and then cut off.
Hang your pretty garland up, dangle it in front of a window, drape it on a mirror - whatever you like.
This garland is nice for windows or mirrors as it is double sided.
Garlands are very difficult to photograph - just saying!
This was such a quick and easy valentine craft project. I cut out 36 hearts which made 18 hearts in all for the garland. My garland measures 70” (180 cm) altogether and took about 30 minutes to make, start to finish.