Tugging on Heart Strings

I hope no one is getting tired of all our Valentine’s crafts – I have a few more to post! This idea came from the Feb 2011 issue of Family Fun (great magazine, I dog-ear at least 10 pages each issue which is my criteria for keeping a magazine subscription).
I did run into some issues with the cornstarch glue. It seems I’m not the only one – at least Kim from Life of a Modern Mom had the good sense to jump ship and move on to the Elmer’s glue. I was trying to reach “translucency” with a bunch of white goop in my pot that seemed ready to solidify. I took the mixture out of the pan and found the perfect solution…
helllloooo, microwave! A few zaps of the microwave and 45 seconds later I had the holy grail of cornstarch glue – sticky, translucent and gelatinous.
Here’s the before:
And here’s the paste midway through the microwaving – see how it’s turning clear? (Or maybe you can’t because I have no clue how to photograph a tub of see-through-goo, sorry)
While I was busy messing with the paste Claire was cutting up the yarn. She’s still getting the hang of the whole scissor thing and snipping yarn was a low frustration way to practice. You’ll want the strings to be about 12 inches in length.
January 20112
Next comes the messy part. Plunge the strings into the paste and let them swirl down onto a parchment covered surface (we used a cookie sheet). Having some kind of a mold is key here, cookie cutters would work best but I didn’t have a large enough heart available so I winged I with a pipe cleaner. I’m sure the pipe cleaner could be made part of the whole ornament but I opted to take it off, primarily to reuse it so we could make more than one heart!
Once the area is covered with the string squash all the yarn flat (I used a piece of parchment paper because the yarn was s-t-i-c-k-y!) and let it dry. If you’re impatient through the whole thing in the oven for an hour on warm. The lowest setting on my oven was 160 and that dried all the paste up in about an hour and fifteen minutes. The final product makes a super cute hanging ornament. Alternatively, you can wear it like Claire - and I must add I was immediately reminded of Flavor-Flav and his oversized watch necklaces upon seeing this morning! Heehee!

And do tell if you have a secret recipe for homemade paste and glue. I suppose it won't be secret anymore but I will be forever grateful!


For more Valentine's Day goodies check out our swanky pink tissue paper wreath, my post on Heart Apple Chips and don't miss our homemade heart stamps:


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  1. What a neat Valentine! I just hopped over here from Easie Peasie...I have a 12 year old boy - so I'm thinking my Valentine making days are sad...

  2. Those turned out so neat! So in other words, you wouldn't recommend that particular recipe for paste?

  3. Oh these really are lovely. How sweet!

    And what a lovely little smile at the end!

    Thank you for linking up to Kids Get Crafty!

    Maggy x

  4. @Brimful Curiosities --

    No, I don't recommend this recipe - it turned nearly solid so quickly in the pan. I think if I kept going on the stovetop I would have had a rock hard white mass in there. That cleanup would have been horrendous! I'm going to work on a microwave version to post -- I'm thinking something in a glass jar that we can make 4 oz at a time would be perfect. I might adapt this recipe (it was 2:1 water to cornstarch) or start from scratch. If other ladies have any ideas I'm all ears!

  5. @Maggy - Thanks! I always love to check out what everyone has going on!

    @Affectioknit - He may act too cool for a Valentine from Mom but something tells me he'd still appreciate it. Love your screen name by the way!

  6. Yours turned out so great! Our cornstarch glue did the same thing on the stove, total mess. The microwave was a great idea. If you come up with a good recipe for it, let me know. :) Happy Valentine's Day, thanks for the link!

  7. I love a good get messy project and this one turned out so cool. Great blog you've got here!

  8. Thank you for the how-to on these. Yours turned out wonderfully! My daughter would love to make these!!

  9. @Steph -- thanks so much! I love a good mess too, this was definitely a fun afternoon.

    @Our Homeschool Fun -- Thanks! Hope you have fun making these too!

  10. This is super cool! I think we'll have to give this one a try! Thanks!!!

  11. Love this! I think I'll give it a try but maybe a different shape. We are over run with hearts around here! Thanks bunches for linking up to Fun For Kids Friday. You are one of my features of the week(Monday). Come pick up a featured button if you like and I hope to see you link up again!

    Jo @

  12. These are adorable. I found you through Smile Monsters and am so glad I did. Can't wait to see what other ideas you have!

  13. That is awesome! I am definitely trying this with my kids. I already have everything at home and it looks so fun and easy : )

  14. how fun! thanks for sharing!! :)

  15. They turned out neat---I've been wanting to try these ever since I got My Family Fun issue. Thanks for warning me about the potential disasters! Yours look great! Would you use the glue?

  16. Hi Melissa! If I did this over again I would probably use plain old white school glue. The cornstarch paste was really thick and I had to help (a lot) with coating the strings. Using white glue would allow a younger child to complete the project pretty independently. Of course the glue would be runnier and probably messier as a result. It's a toss up!

  17. These are really cute! I've featured you on Craft Gossip here

    If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here!

  18. As children, my mother would always mix up flour and water for the glue we used. I don't know what ratio you use, but just mix in the water until you have the right consistency. For this valentine project, it should be thinner than if you were gluing paper to paper. No cooking necessary!

  19. I love these! I've seem them around and really wanted to try them for Valentine's Day... but we didn't have the time this week. I'm thinking Eggs for Easter!

    I always love your site and your crafts.

    Jamie @ hands on : as we grow

  20. I did a little experimenting with this project. Tried your microwave method 2 parts cornstarch and give or take about 4 parts water at 45 seconds and that worked really well! Thanks for the microwave tip! Glue and water with the same proportion worked well too. I used the same proportion Glue:2 Water:4. I tried liquid starch and that worked o.k. to stiffen the yarn, but not to hold it together. The more yarn you use the better and thin yarn doesn't work as well. My daughter and I really enjoyed this project!

  21. We always made pinyatas by mixing flour and water for the glue. It always worked well and dried clear. Thats what I will try using with my Pre-School group.

  22. on "" she does this craft and I think her recipe is 1/4 cup cornstarch and 1 cup water. Im doing these this week with my art class at school but am opting to just use the Elmers School glue. We are getting ready to do practice samples today to show the kids what they will look like. Thank you for your site!

  23. Try liquid starch....not as messy...comes premixed...ta da!