February 2, 2012

A Year of Valentines (with DIY scratch-offs)

I am so excited for Valentine's Day to come so I can give these special valentines to my kids.

Before I get into the tutorial, though, let me tell you how the idea came about because it shows you just what it's like inside this tired mom's brain. 

When I first joined Pinterest several months ago, I came across this awesome tutorial for DIY scratch off tickets.  For months and months, those tickets stayed in the back of my mind, just waiting for a chance to use them.  Then, just before Christmas, I came across this great idea for a Year of Dates with your kids.  I loved the idea of monthly activities, but I didn't have time to make them for Christmas.  So, those two ideas were floating around my brain in the sea of useless facts and half-baked ideas until ... BAM!  They collided! I decided I could make each of my kids twelve Valentine's cards, each with a monthly activity concealed beneath a scratch off!!  

Even though my mind can be a scary place sometimes, I love this idea and I'm sure my kids will be thrilled in a couple weeks.

Okay, let's get to the tutorial!

Here's what you'll need...

    * blank monthly 
       Valentine's notes  
     ( Here's a link to the printable!)
     * coordinating scrapbook
        paper (optional)
     * silver metallic 
         acrylic paint
     * dishwashing liquid
     * clear contact paper

Here's what to do...

1.  Cut out your cards and write a monthly activity on each one.  Obviously mine are kid-oriented, but you could easily make a set for a special adult too.

I ended up making three sets, one for each kid.  They'll each have the same activities, just in a different order so their month's activity is just for them to have some one-on-one time with me.  Most of the activities are free or fairly low cost, but all things that can be rather difficult (or too costly) for me to do with all three kids at once.

Here are the 12 monthly activities I came up with...

  • Mommy reads a chapter book  at bedtime
  • Go roller-skating or ice-skating
  • Breakfast at a restaurant
  • Go to a museum
  • Go to an amusement park (we have season passes)
  • Go for a long bike ride
  • Play mini-golf
  • Go on a hike
  • Go to the movies
  • Dessert at a restaurant
  • Have a craft night/game night
  • FREE CHOICE (they can pick that month's activity)
2.  Next, attach your Valentines to some pretty paper.  ( This is optional, you could always just print your Valentines on cardstock instead, but the different patterns will help me keep the cards going to the right kid ~ plus it looks pretty!)

3.  Then you'll want to cover the fronts of your cards with contact paper.  I just  peeled off the paper backing, set my cards face down, then cut them out.

No picture of me flipping them over and cutting them out, but you get the idea!

4.  Now for the fun part ~ turning them into scratch-offs!  Mix together a bit of your acrylic paint and the dishwashing soap.  I did about two parts paint to one part soap.

5.  Then just paint the mixture onto your card where you want the scratch off part to be.  I found a foam brush gave great coverage and only needed one coat.

I outlined with a thin brush, then used the foam brush to fill it in.
6.  Do the same for all the cards, then set aside to dry.

That's it!  As you can see in my first picture, I picked up some little mailboxes in the dollar bins at Target to hold the 12 scratch-off valentines.  The kids will be able to scratch off February's ticket on Valentine's Day, then a new one at the beginning of each month for the rest of the year!

These DIY scratch-offs really worked!

I'm really looking forward to the one-on-one time with each of my children throughout the year.  Even though many of these activities are ones we'd do anyway, I think having a new one to look forward to each month will make this gift extra special!

If you'd like to make your own, here's a blank printable version you can use!


  1. These are awesome!! Your kids will love you!!

  2. Wow! How cool! I never imagined it would be that easy!

  3. awesome idea!!!!!!! totally stealing it!!!!

  4. It is a fabulous idea! I'm stealing it too!!

  5. This is so cute! I love that you took it to the next level and included fun activities to do with your kids! They will love it for Valentines Day! I pinned it to my Valentines board http://pinterest.com/kate_yospe/valentines/.
    Happy Valentines!!

  6. Laura - I think these are amazingly adorable! Your kids are going to LOVE them!

    My girls are loving their monthly dates so far - it's such a fun way to spend some special time together. :)

  7. Those are SO cute!! Your kids are so lucky to have you as their Mama! My boys would go crazy for those. Pinning it right now!
    Laurie @ Gallamore West :)

  8. Oh, and I'm your newest follower! Weird because I thought I already was following you, but I guess I wasn't... now it's official :) I'd love for you to stop by my blog and follow me back if you'd like.
    Have a great weekend!
    Laurie @ Gallamore West :)

  9. I love this idea!! thank you! I think I am going to theme the scratchy thing to red for vday!

  10. Love this!!! Thanks for sharing Laura! And thanks for linking up at For the Kids Friday! :)

  11. Love the combination of the two (totally understand mom brain). We'll see if I can get these done before Valentine's Day!

  12. Love this scratch-off tutorial! It would be so fun for kids!

  13. You are so creative and crafty! You always come up with wonderful ideas. Please come share this at my link party today!

  14. This is such a wonderful idea! I think I may do something like this for JDaniel's birthday.

  15. This is a TERRIFIC idea! I just love it and many thanks for the printables! :)

  16. My son is going to love this so much. He wants to make his own Valentine's day cards to give out at school. This is too perfect.

  17. This is such a cute idea! I saw the scratch of tutorial, and I've been trying to think of different ways to use it! I love your Valentine version:)

  18. Awesome idea that I can use to do some special "alone with Mommy time" for my kids!

  19. What a great idea, thanks for sharing!

  20. This is genius!!! Thanks so much for sharing in time for us to get to work on it for ourselves! LOVE IT!!!

  21. This is too awesome. I can't pin it fast enough. Thanks for sharing!! Stopping by from TT&J.

  22. what an awesome idea, Laura - your kids will LOVE them!

  23. Awesone idea and fabulous tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing. New follower!

  24. Come link up at my Sunday Show It Off Pinning Party!


  25. This was just what I needed right now for my little family. Thank you for taking the time and effort to post ideas for other people! Can't wait to make these.

  26. This is AWESOME! Definitely want to do this for my boys! I really am just amazed at how great a project this is. Thanks for sharing! I'm your newest follower!

  27. Genius - really this is a fantastic idea!

  28. Wonderful idea! I had to pin it CraftBliss Sweet Valentine Bliss Board on Pinterest and link back to you. ~Dee

  29. This is so incredible! What a special idea <3 I'm featuring this in a "Valentine Love for Your Kids" post on my blog : )
    Jaimee @ craftinterrupted.com

  30. I posted about this and shared the link on my blog! http://www.whitherthougoest.blogpsot.com/

  31. Great idea and tutorial! I've had a couple things just stick around in my mind due to Pinterest as well, but none as awesome as this! So cute!

  32. I love this! So cute! I saw this on Skip to My Lou I would love it if you would share this with our readers too for Fun Stuff Fridays! http://www.toysinthedryer.com/2012/02/14-days-of-valentines-fun-stuff-fridays_10.html

  33. Love it!!! How much time did they take to dry?

  34. Rusti, It didn't take too much time to dry at all. Maybe 10 minutes or so? It was a little longer than just acrylic paint on paper, but not so long that you really had to wait forever.

  35. So cool! Thanks so much for the awesome idea! I hope you’ll link this up today (or anytime this weekend) at One Creative Weekend on OneCreativeMommy.com.

  36. Found you from Motherhood On a Dime. I love this!! Thanks so much for the tutorial and the date ideas. I made a date a month present for my husband for Christmas, but really just overlooked the kids, so this is perfect :-)

  37. Priceless. Really great idea. Wish I could have seen this 20 years ago when I had kids at home. I will share it with my kids so that they can do it with their kids!

  38. Thank you for this great idea. I have added to my blog which is all about dating your kids. Please keep me posted on other ideas you come up with! http://dateyourkids.blogspot.com/

  39. a awesome idea,sending it to my Facebook friends . I love this idea for scratch off cards for any occasion. Thanks .

  40. How can I get the printable a? One link takes me to where I have to subscribe to something, and the google docs link doesn't give an option to print. I tried just putting it in the whole screen, but all it does is print one with the corners of the others. I am a teacher and just thought that scratch off cards would be great to add to my 'treasure chest'! I'll bet my students would love them! Another question, so I am clear. Are you actually painting onto the contact paper? And, I assume, that it's clear contact paper? Thanks!

  41. This comment has been removed by the author.

  42. can i use great value dishwasher GEL instead?
    Do you think it will be a problem?

    1. Hmm, I'm really not sure if that would work or not. Perhaps you can test it out on a sample scratch off?

    2. nope it did not work! ) =
      So fyi to everybody do not use great value dishwasher gel! ( =

  43. how did you come up with the idea? this is amazing!

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  49. Hello Laura

    Do you know if this would work with another colour paint or does it have to be silver?

    Thank you very much and kind regards,


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