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An interactive sensory Valentine that allows kids to "draw" on pretty shaving cream art... This was a huge hit at our preschool!

Tutorial: Shaving Cream Valentine

It’s almost February and that’s got me thinking about, what else, Valentine’s Day.  I love that C is finally old enough to get into holidays so I wanted to make something special for him to give to his pals.  Since chocolate candy isn’t really appropriate for a bunch of 2 year olds (at least not in my world), I came up with this instead.


Process based art and play has been big around our house lately (as evidenced by Monday’s post) so these shaving cream Valentines were kind of a no-brainer.  The mixing colors are lovely to look at and C’s friends will have fun drawing shapes with the included Q-tips.  Click through for all the details on how to make your own.



The supplies for this project are pretty basic.  You’ll need shaving cream, food coloring, photo frame cards, small reclosable bags, duct tape, Q-tips, and whatever you want to use to decorate the front.  I found both the photo frame cards and the bags at my local craft store.  The cards have pre-cut photo openings that work perfectly for holding the bags.  The windows in my cards were 3 1/8″ x 4 5/8″ and my bags were 4″ x 5″.



I recommend saving the messy parts for last so we started with the message inside.  We used stamps but you could do crayons, glitter, or whatever your heart desires.




For the cover we tried two approaches.  For the first card I asked C to color a picture with crayons.



For the second card I cut out simple hearts from my leftover stocking felt.  It looks like I sewed them to the paper but I really just stitched a quick X and glued them in place.  I prefer the version C made – no contest.



Now onto the fun stuff.  Fill one of the bags with a few drops of food coloring and some shaving cream.  You’ll need a lot less than you think because you don’t want the bag to be very thick once you push all the air out.




Push the shaving cream down to the bottom and squeeze as much air out as you can before sealing the bag.  Then let your kids go crazy smooshing it all around until you get the color effect you’re after.  My favorites were the ones with two colors that weren’t completely mixed.



This next step is crucial – duct tape both ends of the bag to prevent spilling.  Just lay the tape sticky side up, place the edge of the bag on top, and fold the tape back onto itself.  I also taped the end that doesn’t open so the bag would be longer than the window and would stay in place.


The cards I bought were designed to have the window on the cover but I wanted it inside so I just folded it inside out and pressed it between some books.   After a little time passed I slipped the shaving cream bag into the opening.  Originally I was planning to sew the opening shut once the bag was in (right below the fold) but my bags actually stayed in place pretty well without this step.



Lastly, I threaded some waxed cotton through two small holes to make the Q-tip holder.  I realize that Q-tips aren’t the most obvious choice for a Valentine but they are the perfect tool for drawing in the shaving cream.  Plus in my former life I was an audiologist – which means in my house Q-tips are for art, NOT for ears.


One thing to note: you’ll want to make these 12 – 24 hours before you give them away.  After that point the shaving cream starts to morph and, although it does become sparkly, the whole thing goes a little limp.  So that’s it, you’re done and hopefully your kids have as much fun making these as they’ll have giving them out.




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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Amy@Let's Explore January 26, 2011 at 5:11 am

Wonderful! Love a valentine you can interact with! :)


Destri {The Mother Huddle} January 26, 2011 at 11:46 am

Cutest thing ever. For realz. So so cute.


Ginnie January 26, 2011 at 3:40 pm

This is so awesome… I love it!


rachelle @ tinkerlab.com January 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Fun! Interactive Valentines! Happy Valentine’s Day.


Katie Booth @covestreetblog.blogspot.com January 26, 2011 at 7:08 pm

Love it Steph! What a great idea! My boys’ and their friends would think this is so cool:)


Mara January 27, 2011 at 3:56 am

Wow, what a great project! We just engaged in our own shaving cream project not that long ago. Love this!


Regina @ Chalk In My Pocket January 28, 2011 at 12:35 am

What a fantastic idea! I saw your link on the ohdeedoh post that featured my apple chips, so glad I clicked over to see this Valentine! I love that you’re giving a piece of art that can evolve as the next set of hands touches it! So cool!


Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com January 28, 2011 at 5:21 am

So glad everyone is liking this project – it really is one of my all time favorites.


Kristi @ Creative Connections for Kids January 29, 2011 at 4:36 pm

Yes! This is one of the best!


Darcy January 30, 2011 at 6:38 pm

Lovely idea!


Darcey January 30, 2011 at 7:06 pm

This is a really cute idea. I also like that it’s interactive and fun to make. It’s one of the most original Valentines cards I’ve seen. I’ve linked up to your post on my weekly favorites here: http://play2grow.blogspot.com/2011/01/weekly-favorites-for-january-30-2011.html


kristin February 4, 2011 at 12:41 pm

oh. my.

really, really cute.

i’m glad i found your blog, it feels familiar!

especially since our preschool shirts say: GET MESSY!


annie February 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm

Love this!

And I LOVE the no-q-tips-in-ears advocation! I went to school to be an audiologist and no one listens to me. :)


pink and green mama MaryLea February 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm

These are great!! I love it : )

xoxo MaryLea
(pink and green mama)


SpartanGirl February 8, 2011 at 5:51 pm

These are amazing! I bet C’s friends will have a blast with these. Thanks for sharing!


Sky Buffat February 9, 2011 at 7:11 am

Really, really cool! My boys will love “drawing” in the shaving cream even if we don’t make an actual card. Thanks for a great idea!


Emily February 10, 2011 at 6:51 am

Super cute, and so creative!


Ali Rockwell February 10, 2011 at 2:10 pm

This is amazing!


Miss Elizabeth March 2, 2011 at 5:57 pm

This is such a great Valentine idea! I wish I had come across it earlier. It is such a great stand out Valentine that the kids will be excited about but tht doesn’t include candy.


Rachel at Sun Scholars March 18, 2011 at 1:08 pm

OMGosh, these are AWESOME!! I am SOOOO bummed I’m only now finding them. I’m coming up with an excuse to make them… they are just too cool!

I’d love to have you share at my For the Kids Friday Link Party! I’m sure you’ll find some fun ideas while you are there! Come join the fun!



Michelle September 20, 2011 at 5:07 am

Wonderful Idea, I think I’ll use this for Christmas Cards… Do you think there could be another longer lasting item than Shaving cream? I wonder if Corn flour and water might work.. i’ll have to put my thinking cap on. :)


Cristy January 27, 2013 at 5:50 pm

clear hair gel and food colors. Vibrant, translucent, and lasts until the bag gives out.


Miss Bridget January 4, 2012 at 4:27 am

This is a wonderful idea. I teach two year olds and I agree that this is a much more appropriate gift than chocolate. I think I will use it this year for Valentines day.


momoffive January 26, 2012 at 7:11 pm

These are great! I can’t wait to make these with my little guy!


Marnie Craycroft February 8, 2012 at 4:29 am

I am prepping for this activity! Can’t wait!! Thank you!

Marnie (Carrots are Orange)


susan February 12, 2012 at 11:45 pm

These are fantastic. How long did they take to make?


Steph at ModernParentsMessyKids.com February 13, 2012 at 5:06 am

Hi Susan, not long at all – maybe 15 to 20 minutes?


Sheela January 23, 2013 at 4:53 pm

What an awesome idea for pre-schoolers! Thank you for sharing! The step-by-step photo instructions are amazing.


shirley February 5, 2013 at 8:12 pm

If you tape both ends, how do they paint with this? Maybe I missed something but I don’t understand what the Q-tip was for if not to paint with the colored shaving cream. Do you cut the bag open in the center? seems it would be better if you opened the end and re-sealed if they didn’t use all the “paint”.


mpmk February 5, 2013 at 8:24 pm

It’s kind of like an etch-a-sketch. You use the q-tip to push the paint around inside the plastic bag and make pictures.


Wendy B January 30, 2014 at 9:18 am

Got to this site from a link on a diy Valentine’s list on BuzzFeed. I love this project! Wish my kids were younger or granddaughter lived close so I could do it. I am going to have to make her one for Easter!! When I have time I am coming back to look at everything else! Thanks for sharing!


Sam January 31, 2014 at 9:33 pm

I don’t understand the point of the shaving cream and q-tip, how do you write with it??


Steph (MPMK Founder) February 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm

It’s kind of like a DIY magnadoodle – children use the q-tip to draw on top of the bag (the pressure moves the colored shaving cream around to make shapes and letters).


Shelly Rios February 12, 2015 at 7:36 pm

Beautiful looking valentines! I’m an artist and art teacher and this is a great, non-messy idea for little ones! But, you’ve got to loosen up on the chocolate, mama. Really. Relax and enjoy what the Aztecs have blessed the world with. Everything in moderation-eh?


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