Cookies, crafts and festive decor make for one sweet celebration.
Craft styling by Suzonne Stirling
Pretty paper flowers are the perfect backdrop for a table loaded with homemade treats and decorative touches.
Here's how: Hang paper flowers above the table with monofilament. Create a tiered centerpiece by stacking three cake stands, one over the other, and filling with decorated cookies, candies and cupcakes. Make a garland about 6 feet long by folding a 14-foot length of baker's twine in half and tying a knot at the end. Thread ends into a tapestry needle, insert through a blue felt ball, and tie another knot. Continuing to knot as you go, add a pink sequin, followed by a paper cutout disk, another pink sequin, a red felt ball, another pink sequin, five cupcake liners, another pink sequin and so on, ending with a felt ball. Pull the threaded needle back through the felt and knot. Arrange bouquets of small flowers made from cupcake liners, following directions on slide 3.
Give your main squeeze an old-fashioned valentine that shows off your crafty side.
Here's how: Set up a card-making station with colored paper heart cards and baskets of supplies—patterned tape, decorative-edge scissors, stamps and ink pads, markers, glitter glue, colored pens, stickers, ribbons, sequins and buttons.
Instead of red roses, arrange a cheerful bunch of frilly paper blooms.
Here's how: Create a loop at the end of a piece of paper-covered floral wire. Stack two mini cupcake liners and three regular-size liners, and use a needle to make a small hole in the center of the liners. String a mini cupcake liner through the bottom of the looped floral wire, adding a bit of gel adhesive to the loop. Push mini cupcake liner up and gather it at the center, adhering it to the glue. Repeat with second liner, gathering it over the first, then do the same with each of the three regular-size cupcake liners. When the flower is complete, wrap the stem with floral tape.
Let guests ham it up at a DIY photo booth with cartoon-style props you make yourself.
Here's how: Download templates for props—hats, mustaches, lips, glasses and more. Trace onto colored card stock, glitter paper or felt. Cut out designs and glue each onto a 1/8-inch-diameter wooden dowel. Take pictures of guests posing with props, then print out or e-mail as a thank-you for attending.
Sugar cookies become mini masterpieces when decked out in colored icing and candies.
Here's how: Before the party, bake batches of simple sugar cookies in various sizes and shapes, frosting some with royal icing and leaving others plain. Set out icing tubes and pens, and fill bowls with sprinkles, nonpareils and other sweet toppings. Have festive bags and stickers (for sealing) handy so guests can package their creations.
What's Valentine's Day without a healthy dose of sweets? Go all out with chocolate and vanilla cupcakes.
Make sandwiches extra special by slicing them into heart shapes with cookie cutters.
Serve up sweet beverages garnished with fruit.
Originally published in the February 2013 issue of Family Circle magazine.
This piece was accurate at publication time, but all prices, offerings and styles are subject to change.