While this is about how to make cat valentines, it’s really about much more than that. It’s about re-learning how to play…
Remembering how to play
This week I decided to try something totally out of my norm with art supplies and make cat valentines using colored paper, scissors, and glue. It was SO MUCH FUN!
I’d been inspired to do cut-out, flap cards by a ‘Draw Along’ Zoom meet-up I attended earlier in the week. Even though it was a draw-along. I didn’t draw. I just watched everyone else play.
But that little Zoom meet-up didn’t leave me alone. I kept thinking about the simple cut-out elephants with ear flaps that you lift to read the secret message (I mean, look at how cute they are!). It wasn’t long before I cracked out a stack of colored paper, scissors, and a glue stick. I needed to try some on my own.
Nearly everything I create in my ‘normal’ art life is done with paint. If I want to cut it apart, I do it with digital programs like Photoshop, after I’ve finished painting. Using non-typical supplies like scissors and glue had unexpected results. It was so freeing, and it made me smile (even laugh). It reminded me of how it was when I was little–where playing with art supplies WAS the whole point (instead of having a perfect outcome at the end).
It also made me realize how important it is to play. Even as an adult. Even as an artist who ‘needs’ to make art that will sell. Playing is essential. I can’t even remember the last time I just played with art supplies. (Can you?)
So. Let me show you how easy it is to play. I only had colored paper, a pencil, a pair of scissors, a marker, a glue stick, and a paper punch (which is not necessary, but which I used to make ‘toe-beans’ for some of the paws). These supplies were just hanging around the house. Use whatever you have.
How to Make Cat* Valentines
*Of course, you can make whatever animal or objects or shapes you want to make. It doesn’t have to be a cat. You can use the same general ideas I used and put your own spin on it. That’s how play works.
First, I took an empty envelope and measured it. I cut a rectangular piece of colored paper just a tiny bit smaller than my envelope (so I knew it would fit inside). I drew a very basic cat head and body onto this paper. (This was, in fact, the only time I used the pencil–the rest of the time I just wildly wielded scissors and hoped for the best).
The important thing is: just play.
I used the parts I cut off this rectangle to cut arms for my cat. Then I cut out all the other parts I thought I needed–hands, eyes, hearts, flowers–using various colors of paper. After everything was cut out, I just glued it all together. (One thing to keep in mind is that if you have arms that flap open, make sure to ‘finish’ both sides of the arms since the person you’re giving the card to will see both sides).
You can see the video I made below for a start-to-finish time-lapse. It will give you all you need to know.
Play is Good Medicine
You can be as serious or playful as you want to be when you make your own cards. The cards I created only took a few minutes each, they’re perfectly imperfect and look like a child did them. But you know what? It was such a blast making them, I don’t care that the eyes are different shapes and nothing is perfectly cut.
Laughter (and therefore play) is Good Medicine. And I for one needed a good hit of that this week.
I hope you try making your own cat (or other) valentines (or just cards). And I hope you re-discover the power of play. It’s worth getting your fingers a little sticky with a glue stick. I’m thinking this needs to become a regular practice!
PS If you’re interested in the Draw-Along Zoom calls where you, too, can be inspired with a monthly creative meet-up, you can find out more about them here.