We've made egg carton flowers and egg carton dinosaurs and egg carton snowmen, but we didn't have an egg carton Valentine's Day creationin our collection...until now! Introducing our fancy little swarm of valentine LOVE BUGS! Wait, swarm doesn't sound all that lovely, does it? Team? Crew? Family? Eh...we'll come back to that 🤓

This is one of those magical unicorn kid art projects. No, not like actually making a magical unicorn. I mean it's one of those ultra rare ones where you get to do a little crafting and a little process art that never turns out brown and muckyish (thank you Valentine's Day color palette!) and then you put the two together and you get something flipping adorable every single time!
Now, as good as all that sounds, before you get started, you should know that this is a two day project or at least a two-steps-spread-out-over-the-whole-day project.  The first part is a little bit scissors practice and a lot bit messy painting + a little waiting for paint to dry and the second part is the assembling of the little bods which isn't messy, but does require getting quite a few bits and pieces out that you probably don't want dragged through all of the squishy paint mess.

You still in? Okay, let's do this!

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For part one, you'll need:
  • an egg carton (not the styrofoam kind), cut into two-egg-cup little bodies
  • scissors
  • white cardstock
  • paint in Valentine's Day colors, tempera or acrylic
  • paintbrushes
  • glitter (totally optional, but extra fun!)

1. Paint the bods. We used three kinds of paint to paint ours: tempera, craft acrylic, and IKEA squirty paint. They all worked equally well, so use what you've got, and make sure it's washable if you are working with tiny humans.

2. Cut out the wings. Did you know if you trace a heart on the fold of a paper (see picture) and just leave off the point, when you cut them out, you'll have a perfect wing shape?! Oh you did? Well Kinley didn't and that blew her MIND when I showed her 😂

3. Squishy paint the wings. When you've got your wings ready, open them up and squirt more of that paint on one side of them -- check out the pictures if you don't know what I mean. You don't need lots, just little dots of each color.

When you've got your paint squirted just right, close the wings up on the fold, and give them a good rub. Extra paint is gonna be squishing out the sides of the heart wings and that's totally fine! Just make sure you've got a tray or newspaper underneath to catch it all.

4. Sprinkle with glitter. No glue necessary. Just sprinkle the glitter if you want it on the wings' wet paint.

5. Let dry. You can't move on to part two until your little egg carton body at least is dry, but no worries! Egg cartons soak up paint and dry pretty quickly. Go eat some chocolate in the meantime 😁

For part two, you'll need:
  • white glue
  • hot glue gun + hot glue sticks
  • googly eyes
  • yarn
  • pipe cleaners
1. Attach eyes and yarn mouth.  We used hot glue (speaking of which, Kinley started using hot glue all by herself with me supervising when she was four and got her own mini low-temp glue gun when she was five. Don't be afraid to let them try it after you explain the rules and warn 300 million times about the hot part 😁) , but if the kiddos you are working with do not have glue gun clearance, white glue will work just fine.

If the yarn + glue mouth combo is giving you some trouble, a permanent marker would work just fine too!

2. Hot glue on antennae.  We used sparkly ones because Valentine's Day, but any ol' pipe cleaner or wire will do. Add paper hearts at the ends like we did if you wanna kick it up a notch, or mini pom-poms would be cute.

3. Hot glue body to wings. Well, hot glue that puppy WHEN the squishy glitter paint finally dries, I mean. If your tiny humans squirt paint like my tiny human does, it might be awhile. Help yourself to some more of that valentine chocolate while you wait 😉😉

SQUAD! That's it!! They are a love bug squad. Ahh, I feel so much better now that that's settled. 😁🤓 I was sitting here writing this whole entire thing trying to remember what it is that T. Swift calls her band of homies and it FINALLY came to me 😂 #blameitonthemombrain

Anyway 😜 what do you think? Are there egg carton love bugs in your future? I hope so! If you take a pic and post them on social media, tag me (@raising.kinley) and I'll put them in my Instagram stories and come gush and get all heart-eyed and swoony over them. It's so fun and exciting to see something that came out of your brain making other people smile.

Happy crafting + squishing! and HAPPY V-TINE'S!!
xoxo Cara

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