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Valentine paper heart chains
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Friday Fun

Valentine Paper Heart Chains

What you will make:

Create chains of paper hearts by cutting accordion-folded paper strips. You can easily make paper heart chains for Valentine's Day. It's just like cutting Paper Doll Chains—only easier! Use strips of red paper, plain or patterned, to decorate for a party, in the classroom, around the house or for a special dinner with your loved ones. Tape several heart chains together to make a chain of any length you like.

This craft project is great for family, classroom or group craft time. With a little preparation by the adult or teen leader, this project is both quick and easy for groups of kids.

Related craft: Have more paper crafting fun by making Paper Angel Chains!

Here's what you need:
  • Lightweight computer or craft paper
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Markers
  • Optional: Colored paper, cardstock and tape, glitter, glue, chalk, colored pencils

This project is rated VERY EASY to do.

How to Make Paper Heart Chains

Read all of the steps before starting.
 Step 1: Project Preparation

Read through the project and gather the materials needed for creating chains of paper hearts. If you are doing this project with a group, pre-cutting the strips of paper will make the craft go faster.

You may also want to make some heart templates that can be traced. Create your own by drawing half of a heart-shape on poster board to a size that fits the folded paper strips. Pre-cut enough templates so there is one template for every three or four people making heart chains.

Step 2: Cut Paper Strips

Cut strips of paper that are 8" to 12" long by 2" to 3½" wide from lightweight craft paper or computer paper—use patterned or solid-colored paper. Each strip will create a chain of four hearts.

Tip: If you are planning to use construction paper, it is best if shorter strips are used to reduce the bulk of the folded strip. Try strips that are 6" long, folded in four equal sections to cut a chain of two hearts. These shorter chains can then be taped together.

Step 3: Fold Paper Strips

Fold the paper strip into eight equal sections of accordion pleats.

1) Fold the strip in half, matching edges and making a sharp crease.
2) Fold one edge back to meet the fold just made, and crease. Turn the paper over and repeat with the other edge.
3) Fold the top layer back to meet the center fold, turn over and repeat.
4) Open the center fold like a book. There are three layers on each side with a single layer in the center.
5) Fold one side of three layers in to meet the center fold. Repeat with the other side.
6) Fold the center fold back to complete the accordion folds.

Step 4: Draw or Trace Heart

With the cut edge of the folded strip to the right, draw half of an heart along the left (folded) edge with the width of the heart extending to the right edge. It's easiest to draw the top half of the heart then the bottom half, leaving a ½" to ¾" space along the right edge. The space is critical, it is where the hearts join to form a chain.

Tip: If you plan to join several strips together,  tracing a precut heart template will make the chains uniform.

Step 5: Cut Hearts

Hold the folded strip firmly and cut carefully around the heart outline. Do not cut along the folds.

Unfold the paper strip to reveal your chain of hearts. Tape two or more chains of hearts together to form longer chains. You could also layer two chains of hearts—see the sidebar of instructions.

Step 6: Decorate Hearts (optional)

Leave the hearts plain or decorate them with markers. You might also add glitter to the hearts!

That's it! Your paper heart chain is done!.
Paper heart chains

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Before you start:
  • Make a place to work.
  • Read all of the directions.
  • Gather everything you need to do the project.
  • Think about the project. Imagine how it will look and what you will do with it.

Are you ready?
Okay, get started!!!

Longer chains of hearts

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Tip: To make longer chains, tape two or more heart chains together. Use invisible tape, if you have it.

Doubled heart chains

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Tip: Enhance your heart chains by layering two chains. Start with two strips of paper, patterned and solid, that are exactly the same length, but the solid colored strip is 1" wider. Cut the first chain from the patterned strip, then cut taller hearts, with the same shape, from the solid colored strip. Glue the strips together.

Paper doll chains cut from white and colored paper

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Tip: For paper doll-making fun, see the Paper Doll Chains craft project.

Valentine's Day card with heart chain pop-up

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Tip: Make a special Valentine's Day card with a pop-up inside that's a chain of paper hearts. See the Valentine with Pop-Up craft project for printable patterns and instructions.

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