Valentine's Day Heart Project

Kids create a pointillism heart and gilded frame. Great art and craft project for Valentine’s Day.Pointillism and Valentine’s Day collides with this easy, abstract art lesson for third grade kids. On a piece of sulphite paper (12″ x 9″), kids used Q-tips dipped in liquid tempera paints to color in their abstract hearts. Using purples, reds and white gave this project a most definitive Valentine’s Day look.

Kids create a pointillism heart and gilded frame. Great art and craft project for Valentine’s Day.

To make the frame, children folded a piece of 12″ x 18″ white sulphite paper in half and marked the dimensions of their heart art. Drawing a decorative border plus painting in metallic colors added a touch of glamour to this project.

My favorite part of this lesson was making the frames. We all made a few mistakes in the sizing of our openings but with some cutting and taping, we figured out how to solve the problem. If I had more time, I would have asked the children to add decorative lines to the frames using black liquid tempera paint.

Kids create a pointillism heart and gilded frame. Great art and craft project for Valentine’s Day.

Kids create a pointillism heart and gilded frame. Great art and craft project for Valentine’s Day.

Two, 40-minute art classes are needed.

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  1. Julia says:

    What is sulphite paper and where can I get it? Is there a difference between sulphite paper and the drawing paper that you recommend in your Art Supply section?

    • Mrs. Art Lady says:

      Typical paper – including your lower-grade construction paper is made from a rough wood pulp. Thats why it rarely wants to fold or tear in half nicely – the wood fibers are not very pliable.

      Sulfite paper is also a wood pulp based paper, but the fibers have been treated with a Sulfite chemical to break down the fibers a bit more. The result is a smoother, more cooperative piece of paper. I find Sulphite papers wrinkle less when wet and take a bit more of a beating from my elementary students before breaking down.

      • Patty Palmer says:

        Great answer! The names change on the Tru-ray package…sometimes it says sulphite and other times, construction…but sulphite paper is the drawing paper that is smooth and is perfect for almost every project.

  2. Emily says:


    What is your system for getting students to clean their brushes and put them away in the right spot? Brushes in my classroom inevitably end up in the bottom of the sink or, if they do make it to the ‘Brush Bucket’, they are usually dirty. The students have verbal and written reminders about where to put their brush every time they clean up, as well as how to clean it. I also have a student brush monitor. I don’t feel like I should have to clean the brushes myself but I end up doing so every time my classes paint. What is your system for having students clean and put away brushes?

    Thanks so much,


    • Patty Palmer says:

      That’s not my system…after a project, kids place their brushes in the water containers and bring to the sink counter (not in the sink). I wash the brushes before lunch or after school. Takes less than 10 minutes, especially since the brushes are already sitting in water.
      For clean-up, I keep the kid’s part fairly simple so they can get in and out fast!

    • Kathleen says:

      When students are through painting they must bring their brushes to THE SPA. ” After working hard, the paint brush needs a nice bubble bath and a nap.” I have a container of soapy water in which the students swish the brushes. Then they lay their brush down on newspaper. I do not like for my brushes to sit in water – “would you like to stand around with your head in a bucket all day?” Standing in water can loosen the glue allowing bristles to fall out. Water can also cause the farrel to release from the brush handle. I also swish the brushes again before the next class. After a week of painting I give them a good wash with The Master’s Brush Cleaner and Preserver and shape the bristles to dry.

      • Patty Palmer says:

        Much better answer! I would like to be a brush in your art room!

      • Melissa says:

        Thank you Kathleen (and Patty). I not only teach art but am the school librarian as well, so I do not have time to clean brushes. (When I do it, it always takes me much more than 10 minutes.)

        I have never heard of this Master’s Brush Cleaner and just looked it up. I’ll be putting that on my supply list immediately! Sounds like it works for you and I have high hopes that this will make my life easier. Clean brushes are a pet peeve of mine and the kids seem to have difficulty with this, especially when using brown and black tempera. Thank you.

  3. Emily says:

    Great. Thanks for your response – something to think about.

  4. This is such a fun project! I love the addition of the frame- I sort of just want to have my kids make frames for every art project they make now…

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About Patty

I teach art to 400 school children in Goleta, California. My art library contains hundreds of free art lesson ideas. My shop has art lesson plans, videos and resources to help you teach art to kids. It's a whole lot easier with Deep Space Sparkle.

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