DIY “Wild Thing” Valentines for Kids – Free Printable & Tutorial

DIY “Wild Thing” Valentines for Kids – Free Printable & Tutorial

Make these adorable DIY “Wild Thing” Valentines for an inclusive, classroom-friendly alternative to sugary treats this Valentine’s Day.

No allergies, no restrictions, 100% fun!

First, a little project background…

Every morning, when I walk into my son’s preschool classroom, I’m met with a dizzying display of childhood excitement. Three, four and five-year-olds jocky for position to wash their hands first, enthusiastically great their classroom guinea pig – Gizmo – with screeches and squeals, and exchange “good morning” tackles with the zeal only a child could muster.

To put it mildly, my son’s classroom is a zoo, but I mean that in the most affectionate way possible. Come to think of it though, what preschool classroom isn’t that way? That’s why these DIY “Wild Thing” Valentines for kids are so appropriate for a child’s classroom.

leaf shaped Valentine with animal figurines and the words "Wild thing, you make my heart sing."

Classroom friendly – No sugar, no gluten, 100% fun!

If your school is anything like ours, it has a strict NO CANDY policy when it comes to bringing treats to share for holidays and birthday celebrations. A few of my son’s classmates also have allergies, including gluten and dairy, so other universally beloved snacks – like Goldfish, Teddy Grahams and animal crackers – are not an option.

These “Wild Thing” Valentines for kids are a great non-edible and totally age appropriate option for classroom Valentine’s Day celebrations.

(If your school has the same policy and you are looking for a non-edible birthday treat, also check out my “Wheelie” Great Summer Birthday Treats.)

Anyway, back to the task at hand! These Valentine’s Day treats are super easy to make – either with or without a Cricut to help you cut and write.

womans hands using scissors to cut green paper and child's hands holding a "Wild Thing" Valentine with panda bear

Two Tutorials for My DIY “Wild Thing” Valentines

Today’s post includes TWO tutorials for these easy DIY “Wild Thing” Valentines for kids. No Cricut? No problem. I’m including both a free printable template so you can make them by hand and a step-by-step Cricut tutorial, including how to create this svg in Cricut Design Space. Read on for all the details!

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through them, I may receive a commission from a third party at no extra cost to you. All opinions are my own, and I only share links to products I personally use, love and trust.

Child's "Wild Thing" Valentines with panda bear, elephant and cheetah figurines

Option 1: Make these DIY “Wild Thing” Valentines By Hand in 5 Easy Steps

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Step 2: Download & Print My Free Palm Leaf Template

Download my free palm leaf template (see below) and print the desired amount on your green cardstock.

tropical leaf template on green paper with washi tape and plastic animal figurine toys

palm leaf silhouette from www.nataliemenke.com

Step 3: Cut Out Each Leaf

woman's hands using scissors to cut leaf shapes from green paper

(Pretty self-explanatory here, folks)

Step 4: Add Your Embellishments

Using a black Sharpie, add the words:

“Wild Thing, You Make My (leave a space) heart sing! Love, (add child’s name)”

STEP 5: ADD HEART STICKERS AND TAPE ON YOUR ANIMALS

I found this animal print Washi tape and the bright-colored animal print tape reminded me so much of the Lisa Frank motif I loved as a kid in the early 90s, so I had to use it for this project!

Also, I found tiny glittery heart stickers at the Dollar Tree, so I added these to the Valentines after leaving the space between the words “my” and “sing.”

child watching a Cricut cut and draw

Option 2: Make these DIY “Wild Thing” Valentines using a Cricut

STEP 1: GATHER YOUR SUPPLIES

STEP 2: DOWNLOAD FONT & UPLOAD IT TO YOUR CRICUT DESIGN SPACE

I am not a member of Cricut Access, so many of the fonts for writing are not available to me for free. Instead, I find thin fonts on dafont.com and download them for free and then upload them to Cricut Design Space.

The key to writing with your Cricut is finding a very thin font that will fill itself in as the machine writes so you don’t end up with an outline of your letters (i.e. bubble letters).

I used MRF Fields of Wildflowers for this project, which as of 1/13/2020, is free for personal use.*

*Always double-check the licensing for the fonts you download. I am using this font for personal use and will not be selling these Valentines. 

hand holding a "Wild Thing" Valentine with panda bear and washi tape

Download directions:

  • Go to Dafont.com and search for the font name or click on the link above. Next, click on the gray “download” button to the right of the fonts.
  • Once the zip file has downloaded to your computer, open the file and double-click on the TrueType font file to open it.
  • Then hit the “install” button at the top of the document.
  • Once the install is complete, open Cricut Design Space and select your new font from the font drop-down menu. (If you are already working in Design Space, you’ll want to refresh it or log out and back in so you can see the new font selection).

STEP 3: DOWNLOAD A PALM LEAF IMAGE & UPLOAD IT TO CRICUT DESIGN SPACE

If you are not comfortable hand drawing and uploading an image to Cricut Design Space, there are plenty of svg image options available on Etsy. My personal favorites are these tropical leaves and this leaf svg.

Upload directions:

  • Purchase and download the svg to your computer.
  • Open Cricut Design Space and in a New Project, click on the “Upload” button on the left sidebar.
  • Click on the “Upload Image” button and then the “Browse” button to navigate to where you’ve saved your image.
  • Double click on the file
  • Add an image name and tags and click “Save.”
  • Now your image will be saved to Recently Uploaded Images under the Upload tab.
  • Click on your image and hit the “Insert Images” button, which will take you back to your canvas for further manipulation.

STEP 4: DESIGN & SELECT DRAWING AND CUTTING FUNCTIONS

Start by adding the leaf image to your canvas. I needed to make 16 Valentines for my son’s class, so I wanted to have 4 leaves per 12″ x 12″ sheet of cardstock. To cut this many from each sheet, I made each leaf 4.75″ wide and 5.5″ long.

Next, I added my text and played around with it until each word looked right on the leaf. Once I was satisfied with the placement, I selected all the text and chose “Draw” from the Linetype dropdown in Design Space. Making this selection will let your Cricut know you want the text to be written using a marker and the leaves to be cut out around the text.

Cricut Design Space screen shot of palm leaves and text

Then I selected the text and the leaf shape and selected “Attach.”

Finally, I highlighted the attached leaf and text and copied it three times to make 4 total leaves (the amount I want cut out of each sheet).

STEP 5: SEND THE PROJECT TO YOUR CRICUT, SIT BACK AND WATCH THE DRAWING BEGIN!

Adhere your green cardstock on one of your Cricut cutting mats, and load your machine like normal. Follow the prompts and watch as the design takes shape!

STEP 6: ADD YOUR STICKERS AND TAPE ON YOUR ANIMALS

I found this animal print Washi tape and the bright-colored animal print tape reminded me so much of the Lisa Frank motif I loved as a kid in the early 90s, so I had to use it for this project!

Also, I found tiny glittery heart stickers at the Dollar Tree, so I added these to the Valentines after leaving the space between the words “my” and “sing.”

And there you have it! The cutest DIY “Wild Thing” Valentines I ever did see!

child's hands holding a "Wild Thing" Valentine with panda bear and washi tape

If you use either one of my tutorials, I’d love to hear about it! Leave me a comment below or tag me on Instagram!

AS ALWAYS – IF YOU NEED HELP BRAINSTORMING OR CREATING A CUSTOM GIFT, PLEASE REACH OUT TO ME! I’D LOVE TO HELP!

More later! The craft room is calling, and I must go…

OTHER VALENTINE’S DAY PROJECTS YOU WILL LOVE:

Natalie Administrator
Natalie Menke, the self-proclaimed Gift Guru, is always thinking about the next gift she is going to give. Her hope is to provide boundless inspiration for completely customized and personalized gifts. Happy gifting!
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