We love incorporating heart designs into our art—not only on Valentine’s Day, but any day of the year. This 3-D paper hearts project designed by Jenn Mason was featured on the cover of our special issue, Paper Art. It’s a beautiful piece of art you can give to a loved one or display in a special space. And, it’s incredibly easy to make using Jenn’s step-by-step tutorial below!
Paper Hearts by Jenn Mason
When books fall apart and their covers run away from their pages we are often tempted to discard them. What if we could reuse those pieces? This project is a great way to reuse the cover and the text from well-loved books, and create a unique piece of art for your home. It is quick and satisfying to make this three-dimensional work of art, and it comes together in no time at all.
- Old book cover
- NOTE: Avoid books with brittle covers.
- Cardstock or lightweight cardboard
- Decorative paper (I used book pages and sheet music.)
- Awl, heavy-duty
- Needle, tapestry
- Embroidery floss
1. Draw a heart shape on the book cover, centering it.
NOTE: Before drawing, test erasing the pencil from the cover to know whether you will need to cover the pencil line completely, or erase the outline after the project is completed.
2. Draw and cut out a heart from the cardstock or light cardboard to create a template. (FIGURE 1) Cut 2 templates of slightly different sizes. The different sizes will add extra dimension to your work.
NOTE: For this project I used a heart shape, but any simple shape can be used.
3. Use the templates to trace and cut 20–30 hearts in each size from the decorative paper. (FIGURE 2)
4. Stack the templates and use the awl to create 2 evenly spaced holes for sewing. Then, use the templates and the awl to create sewing holes in each cut heart. (FIGURE 3)
5. Place the cover right-side up on a folded towel to create a safe work area. Using the awl and a template, create sewing holes within the drawn heart. (FIGURE 4) Don’t worry about how many holes you will need to fill your design; you can always add more later.
TIP: Hold the template or a cut shape against the drawn shape on the cover to plan the positioning of the cut hearts when creating the sewing holes.
6. Thread the needle with a length of embroidery floss and tie a knot in the end. Starting on the back side of the cover, layer 2 paper hearts, and begin sewing the hearts to the cover. (FIGURE 5) The hearts can be bunched up, laid flat, or nestled against each other.
7. Continue adding hearts until the shape is complete, adding more sewing holes as needed until you are satisfied with your design.
Jenn Mason is the former editorial director of Cloth Paper Scissors magazine, and the co-host of The Mixed-Media Workshop series from F+W Media.
Want more mixed-media paper art projects? Here’s Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s tutorial for creating a lovely heart-shaped paper feather wreath. Plus, check out the products below for endless ideas and inspiration: