Valentine’s Day traditions

Valentine’s Day Traditions

I’m going to venture to say that a part of the reason that Valentine’s Day has been hyped up so much, besides the history and symbolism of it all, is because after Christmas and New Year’s we need something to look forward to. It’s the height of winter, it’s pretty bleak and boring and gosh darn it, we need some red and pink in our lives!

History of Valentine’s Day

That said, there IS a long history to the holiday, which I find super fascinating. Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14th that has its origins in ancient Rome. The holiday was originally called Lupercalia, and it was celebrated as a fertility festival. As part of the festival, men would draw the names of women from a jar and pair up with them for the duration of the festival–(really hoping the women had a choice in the matter–anyone know?!).

In the 5th century AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as Saint Valentine’s Day, in honor of a martyr named Valentine who was believed to have been executed on that day. The Catholic Church recognizes several saints named Valentine, but the exact identity of the one honored on Valentine’s Day is unclear.

Over time, Valentine’s Day evolved into a day to express love and affection between romantic partners. People began to exchange gifts, such as flowers and chocolates (two of my favorite things), and write love letters to their loved ones.

Valentine’s Day tradition ideas

As you know, I LOVE this holiday and we’ve been sharing ways to celebrate for years and years. Here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate love in all its forms that would make terrific traditions!

My rules about traditions

There aren’t “rules” per se, but I’m pretty insistent on not taking on anything that overwhelms you. Find traditions that work with your interests and time constraints, otherwise you’re setting yourself up for unmet expectations. I’ve been there and done that! Take these as ideas, not have-tos!

Valentine’s Day advent calendar

Ok! Let’s start! I say, why not get all the excitement out of every holiday as we can?! Why leave an advent calendar just for Christmas?! We made countdown for Valentine’s Day and I have to say–it’s a great way to build excitement!

Valentine’s Day Cards

A classic and simple way to express love is to write a card for Valentine’s Day. I’m talking like when you’re in elementary school–handing out cards. You can do store bought cards, of course, but there’s something lovely about making your own, or even just folding a piece of paper in a unique way. We have a ton of printable options and handmade ideas.

Handmade Valentine’s Day Cards

Making Valentine cards by hand is always my ultimate goal (now, do I actually do it??? that’s the real question…). Here are some ideas!

Printable Valentine’s Day cards for teens and adults

Printable Valentine’s Day cards for kids

Valentine’s Day Giftables

A simple card is great, but add on a little tiny gift to it and it becomes a gift-able, which is  that much better! These would be great for a neighbor or friend gift to hand out.

Tootsie Pop Cherry Valentines

More Valentine giftable ideas

Friendship bracelets with hearts.

Valentine’s Day Party Ideas

A Valentine’s Day party, or Galentine’s Day, my favorite form of the Valentine’s Day party, is a great tradition idea. This year I’m wanting to do a Valentine exchange party where we all make some and hand them out.

¬†Valentine’s Day Party Decor

A party themed around love is the best kind to throw. Here are some beautiful ideas to add to your event:

Valentine’s Day food

Valentine’s Day games

Table top games are a fun idea for the event!

Valentine’s Day Home Decor

accordion heart wreath

Valentine’s Day artwork

An art print up on the wall gets you in the spirit of the season. Here are some favorites:

Give a Valentine’s Day gift

A gift for a loved one is a great idea. Chocolate and flowers is super traditional and in my mind a super win/win.¬†BUT, use this wrapping of sweet cherries or truffles¬†and it takes it up a notch ūüėČ

Valentine’s Day accessories

If you’re not one to dress up all in red and pink on Valentine’s Day (and I ask you to reconsider), maybe a simple accessory is more your style. Here are some DIY projects to get you in the mood:

wearing red and pink on Valentine's Day
Me on Valentine’s Day last year

DIY Valentine's Day heart collar pin

Valentine’s Day box

For the school-aged kids, a Valentine’s Day box is tradition (at least around these parts!). I love going over the top! Here are some ideas for you.

Valentine’s Day tradition ideas from around the world

In modern times, Valentine’s Day is a day for couples to express their love for one another. Many people give gifts, such as flowers, chocolates, and jewelry, to their partners. It is also common for couples to go out for a romantic dinner or take a trip together. Some people also choose to celebrate Valentine’s Day with their friends and family members.

Valentine’s Day is also a popular time for proposals and weddings. Some people choose to propose or get married on Valentine’s Day to make the occasion even more special.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday that is celebrated differently around the world. For example, in South Korea, it is common for women to give chocolate gifts to men, while in Japan, it is the opposite, where men give gifts to women.

Valentine’s Day traditions from readers

I asked our Instagram community for their traditions and you had a lot to say. Pretty much-you are all better people than me. I love these ideas! There were so many that I had to divide them up into themes.

For the kids

  • “My kids always made their own Valentine’s. This was pre-Pinterest!”
  • “We make a poster for each family member and each write something we love about each other every day until the 14th” [a lot of people contributed something along these lines]
  • “Homemade sugar cookies with our names frosted on them!”
  • “A small box of chocolates for each person and a heart pizza with a rom com for dinner.” [pizza was a big theme for a lot of people!]
  • “A scavenger hunt with clues for a small Valentine gift basket at the end”
  • “Writing a little note to my kids in lipstick on the bathroom mirror”
  • “Fancy breakfast, kids wake to decorate table, love notes, balloons, new book and treats”
  • “My mother would make heart shaped chocolate lollipops and set them at our bed to surprise us”
  • “I felt like it was a dumb commercial holiday, but when my kids were tiny we started “lovefest”. I make them each a handmade Valentine. It sits by their plate at dinner. We go around the table and everyone says what they love about each person. My teenage boys act like they HATE it! But they get the sweetest embarrassed smiles through the whole thing.”

For the partner or loved one

  • “My husband does at-home spa night for me and pretends to be a spa employee”
  • “We always celebrated my mom and I. A date, flowers, small gift, that sort of thing.”
  • “We do a fancy family dinner and candles and balloons and candy for all”
  • “We always celebrate it on groundhog’s day instead because we’re weird and it’s easier to find a sitter”
  • “Our Valentine’s date involves going together to pick out new cologne and perfume”
  • “We go to the ballet every year”
  • “Order Thai food and watch Princess Bride”
  • “As a kid and still, I always get a love note from my mom”
  • “Watching Notting Hill and slow dancing to our wedding song plus eating take out”
  • “No matter the day it falls on we take the day off and my husband I spend it together”

Valentines Day Craft Roundup

For others

  • “Send out a family Valentine’s Day letter instead of a Christmas card. Less hectic time of year.”
  • “I make handmade Valentines for my girlfriends. Usually a garland so they can decorate!”
  • “I like giving chocolate and a pretty card to girlfriends”
  • “I make little ornaments on cardstock with small bags of candy for friends”
  • “We wrap nice chocolate bars with Valentine wraps and hand them out to friends all day”Pink and blue house-shaped cookie boxes next to a green squiggly background and some heart-shaped cookies

Valentine’s Meals

  • “Heart-shaped meatloaf”
  • “Breakfast for dinner! Pancakes with lots of toppings!”
  • “My mom used to make me brownies and cut them into hearts with cookie cutters”
  • “Artichokes and Cornish game hens for dinner. IDK why, but we did it once andkept it going.”
  • “Make heart-shaped pizza for dinner”
  • “Pink sauce pasta for dinner”

Phew!!! Ok, that’s a LOT Of ideas! Remember, these ideas aren’t meant to overwhelm you. You don’t have to do any of them! Pick and choose what you want according to your interests and time constraints. What’s important is that you find something that works for you and is meaningful so it becomes a beautiful tradition.

Let me know how it goes!

Our top ten!

Our top ten!

I’m going to do it Letterman style by starting with our top ten and working our way down the list. Do you have any guesses what they could be? Any personal faves? Honestly, I wouldn’t have guessed any of them myself–ha! But you just don’t know!

10. DIY Paper Sunflower

In homage to Ukraine, we made some paper sunflowers as a reminder of the people’s strength and courage at such a difficult time.

As you know, we love a good paper flower and had yet to do it, so it’s a great time to make the DIY paper sunflower. I had also done an Instagram Live with an amazing Ukrainian embroidery artist in Ukraine to learn how to do their iconic Ukrainian star. You can see that here. That was a real highlight for me this year.

9. Papier Mache Vase

We took a nod from former Lars contributor, Corrie Beth Hogg, for this one. I wanted a vase to match our new kitchen so we did a papier mache version. I love how it turned out!

The wonderful thing about papier mache is that you can make it in whatever shape and style you want. Here’s how to make a papier mache vase!

8. Are you scared of color? 

I announced a new direction to Lars, after some internal discussions focusing on color. I’ve talked about the trend of society moving away from color and I realized there had been times in my life when I was Color Scared. Here’s the essay about being afraid of using color.

I plan on addressing this more this year so stay tuned!

7. DIY Paper Heart Wreath  

2022 was a year of wreaths! We did one for every holiday including this DIY paper heart wreath. We made some ombre templates to go with it. You seemed to like it too!

accordion heart wreath

You can find the full paper heart wreath here. And see below for the top wreath of the year!

6. How to celebrate your 40th birthday

I turned 40 in June last year but we were right in the middle of a crazy project so I ended up postponing activities until September when I went on an amazing trip to France with my closest friends. It was incredible! I made this list to give more ideas about how to celebrate your 40th birthday.

I was curious how other people celebrated their 40th birthdays so I did some research and shared it with you here.

5. Paper palm wreath

Our paper palm was one of the most popular projects from 2019 so we decided to turn it into a wreath. I think it would be perfect for spring time!

You can find the full tutorial for the paper palm wreath here.

4. Paper orchid

The flower making bonanza continues with this beautiful paper orchid. Honestly, real life orchids are very tough for me to keep alive so this paper version is just what I needed!

3. Shift here at Lars

I talked about a shift we are making here at Lars and I shared a bit of it here. We’ve had even more changes internally that I need to discuss with you soon!

2. How to thread a sewing machine

We started a new series about how to use your sewing machine properly and this post “how to thread a sewing machine” was your favorite! We also did a video series on Instagram. You gotta check out this song. It’s perfect wouldn’t you say?!

  1. Three ways to fold a love letter

Listen, I’m not saying that this isn’t a great post, but I have to admit how surprised I am by this being our number 1! Three ways to fold a love letter! I guess you are writing way more love letters than I ever imagined?! Ha!

There they are! Our top ten from 2022. I love them all even though I’m surprised by some of them. Let me know what you think in the comments. And if there’s anything you’d like to see this year, let me know!

Things to do during winter break

Things to do during winter break

I’m of the opinion that every good break deserves a bit of down time, family/friends time, and making time. I can’t help you much with the first two but I CAN and WILL help you with the latter. Making time is my jam! Here are some ideas of things to do during the winter break. Please leave me a comment with your ideas!

Making intricate snowflakes

If you’re in elementary school, start with the basics, but level it up once you’re in high school or college. The more intricate the better! We have some templates for these snowflakes here, but feel free to make your own. Hint: I’ve also seen Star Wars or Harry Potter themed snowflakes floating around the interwebs. Find your interest and get cutting!

vertical snowflakes with hands

Christmas Friendship Bracelets

Friendship bracelets were a big part of my childhood and I’m a big believer in keeping up the tradition. You can put any friendship bracelet into a Christmas color theme, but we also have some candy cane, poinsettia friendship bracelets here. They’re a bit tricky, but you got this!

Paper angels

We made tons of mini paper angels for our tree this year, but try blowing it up and making a big one! They’ll take you throughout the winter season!

Paper starburst ornaments

These paper starburst ornaments are so pretty for a tree but also awesome as a garland or as a simple decoration. Learn how to make the paper starburst ornaments here.

paper starburst ornament

Paper Danish woven hearts

To you and me these woven paper hearts might appear St. Valentine’s-y, and you certainly can get ahead of the game and make them for that, but they are made all winter time in Scandinavia. They’re such a lovely craft!

Danish Christmas hearts

Oversized paper star

Speaking of getting ahead of the game, I love using winter break to work on Christmas projects for next year. These oversized paper stars are such a stunner and take a bit of time so it’s now or never!

Oversized Paper Christmas Stars

Hand in heart valentines

Again, getting ahead of the game, now is a great time to work on some Valentines, like these hand in heart valentines, but they’d also be sweet to hand out to friends or neighbors during the break or as a great thank you note.

hand and heart love tokens

Paper Christmas cactus

I have a couple of real Christmas cactuses and they are the best! But paper Christmas cactuses are even better–no watering needed! Here’s how to make a paper Christmas cactus.

DIY paper Christmas cactus

Ice lanterns

If you live in a snowy climate, ice lanterns are a fun thing to try out! Here’s how to make them!

Photo heirloom ornaments

These are our most popular Christmas craft by far! I’ve been seeing readers make them all year round! Not only for Christmas but for birthdays or anniversaries. They’re just a hit all around! Here’s how to make these photo heirloom ornaments!

family heirloom ornaments

Nativity Set

Our heirloom nativity set is also a big winner. They take quite a bit of time so a break would be a good time to do it!

Midcentury painted heirloom nativity figures against a pink and red striped background.

Make a piece of clothing

My favorite winter breaks were those when I would come home from college and make a piece of clothing. This year we came out with our fabric collection and shared some of our favorite patterns. Here are some patterns to get your juices flowing!

Clothespin dolls

These winter clothespin dolls would be a fun kids and grown up activity. Make them look like your friends or family members!

Clothespin People Ornaments

Painted frames

Dig into the close family times by creating some pretty frames to go with your family pictures. Here’s how to transform some dollar store frames into works of art.

Quilt Hack

You don’t have to be a huge quilter to make a quilt. Here’s our trick to making a quilt! Such a cozy way to celebrate the cold weather.

Shaped pillows

We made these fun shaped pillows to go on our studio sofa. You can pick your own shapes or make these ones.

Paper Flowers

You can’t just go to the nursery and grab some flowers right now, so make them! We have a ton of paper flower tutorials but this paper orchid is a favorite!

Ok! That should be a good list to get your going for your winter break, but do let us know what you like to do. I always love to hear your comments! 

Thanksgiving table ideas for kids

Thanksgiving table ideas for kids

I’m a big fan of the kid’s table for Thanksgiving and I love the idea of making it a celebration and a memorable experience. You can achieve this with some cute decorations, games, and activities. And guess what? We’ve got them all! Plus, I’ll include some jazzy accessories to go with it all.

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Table idea

This printable Thanksgiving Day parade theme by far our most popular for Thanksgiving. While I think it would be super fun for any table for Thanksgiving, it’s a pretty appropriate one for the kid’s table. Especially if you watch the parade that morning too–how fun would that be?!

Bonus tip: You can either print off the NYC skyline in advance and make it yourself OR you can have the kids cover boxes and make the DIY version like this one below.

We even have a printable taxi for name cards, which you can also use for the adult table.

Thanksgiving activities for kids

The focus of Thanksgiving is the meal, so let’s focus on the table! This Thanksgiving printable coloring placemat is a fun and decorative idea that also provides some entertainment. Set out some colored pencils or markers and let the kids go wild!

Thanksgiving printable placemat coloring page from The House That Lars Built

We also have this turkey dinner printable coloring placemat. So cute!

Thanksgiving games for kids

After the meal, provide some of the games for kids–they’ll have a ball! We have printable Bingo cards, Mad Libs, and Would you Rather?.

bingo games on a blue background. It's very colorful.

 

Would you rather printable games on a pink background.

Thanksgiving garlands

A festive idea for the kid’s table is to add in a boatload of Thanksgiving inspired paper garlands. We even added in some “gobble gobble” signs at the chairs! Use your craft cutting machine to speed up the time!

Paper bag turkey centerpiece

A fun craft project to make with the kids is this paper bag turkey that you can fill with popcorn. I mean…too cute!

Pie Crust decorations

Let the kids add some food coloring to the pie crust! I love these plant-based food coloring variety packs too, which make it that much safer!

Here are some fun ideas to add to your table:

I’d love to hear what your ideas are for the kid’s table for Thanksgiving! What has worked for you?¬†

Paper Flower Garland

Flowers Forever

Flowers can/should never go out of season, right?! Well, that’s my personal motto anyway. I came up with this paper flower garland tutorial and loved how it turned out. And you may not have noticed, but the technique is pretty much a riff off of a paper fan, so it’s easy! It’d be perfect for a birthday or garden party. I love having a supply of garlands on hand just in case I need to throw a party or shower someone with love for a day. It seems to happen more often than I expect.Paper flower garlandPaper flower garland

How to Make a Paper Flower Garland

Making the Flowers

  1. First, do a 3/4″ accordion fold with an 8.5×11″ piece of paper. Cut off any excess paper.
  2. Next, fold the folded paper in half (use this fan tutorial to see how it’s done), then staple the mid point of the folded paper.
  3. To form the petal design, cut the edges of the paper so that it forms a fun design (kind of like making a paper snowflake).
  4. Repeat steps 1-4 to create a second one, then glue them together to form a circle.

Adding the Flower Centers

  1. Cut 1 1/2″ circles for the center of the flowers. You’ll need three per flower.
  2. Paint a fun design onto the circles if desired for the center of the flower.
  3. Glue the front circles onto your flowers, but leave the back circle off for now.
  4. In the circles you haven’t attached yet, use your hole punch to punch two holes about 1/4″ apart in the center of your circle.

Making the Leaves

  1. First, cut out your leaves using a Cricut maker or scissors, if you don’t have a Cricut maker (template here).
  2. Now paint a fun design on them as shown.
  3. After you’re happy with your design, cut two holes about 1/4″ apart in the center of the leaf with a hole punch.

Assembling your Garland

  1. First, thread the string through the two holes in one of the leaves and pull the extra through.
  2. Now thread the string through the two holes in one of the circles. Keep alternating, threading leaf, then circle, then leaf, until the whole garland is threaded through the string.
  3. Once all the circles and leaves are in place on the string, go ahead and hot glue the flowers to the circles, so the circles you already glued on are facing towards the front.
  4. Now all that’s left to do is pick somewhere to hang up your finished paper flower garland and you’re done!

paper flower tutorial

Styling your garland

This is one of my all time favorite paper flower garlands. One of my favorite things about garlands, in general, is how versatile they are. Make them as short or long as you like, and hang them pretty much anywhere. My favorite places are around doorways or entryways, relaxed and drapey against a wall or over a table, on a mantlepiece, along bannisters, and so much more.

Enjoy! And drop any questions or comments below!

Paper flower garland Paper flower garland

More Inspiration

Loved this paper flower garland and want more where that came from? Try this lovely summer flower garland, our tea stained flower garland, or this eucalyptus garland if you’re feeling a little more leafy. Want more flower content? You won’t want to miss this compilation of all our paper flower tutorials, or our learn to draw: flowers course.

How to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday

My 40th Birthday Plans

Leading up to my 40th birthday, I had lots of plans. Specifically, I wanted a big Europe trip to celebrate! But we are in up to our necks in behind-the-scenes projects here at The House that Lars Built, which means a trip to Europe just wasn’t in the cards. At least for now. Maybe in the fall? I’ll keep you all posted. There’s noting wrong with a belated birthday trip, after all!

I’m not the only one turning 40 here, though! Despite my lack of exciting birthday plans for now, all my friends are also soon-to-be or already over the hill, which means I’ve attended some great 40th birthday celebrations in the past year. I couldn’t just not share those ideas with all of you! So today I’m giving you the lowdown on all the things my friends did for their 40th birthdays, plus a few extra ideas.

How to Celebrate Your 40th Birthday

Birthday Trip

Birthday trips are a classic way to celebrate a big milestone birthday like your 40th! (hence, my hopes to make it to Europe this year). But if you can’t make it internationally and still want a weekend getaway, try something closer! It’s amazing what a quick trip to somewhere new can do. And of course it’s always better with friends or family to come along for the fun.

For your enjoyment, here are some photos from our most recent trip to Denmark (and I promise to post more once I make it back to Europe for my birthday trip)!

Karaoke

So I don’t know if you were aware, but there’s something about 40-year-olds and karaoke that is just magical. I’ve been to a handful of karaoke parties to celebrate the big 40 and I have to say that a bunch of moms singing karaoke are a different breed of unparalleled fun. What are you waiting for?! Warm up those vocal chords and get ready to sing yourself into your 40’s!

Spa Day

A birthday classic for a girls day out especially, a spa day can be the perfect, relaxing way to usher in the 40’s with some self care. Pamper yourself; you deserve it! Go for a mani/pedi, massage, the whole nine yards. We promise you won’t regret it!

Here are some spa essentials to get you going:

In-person Parties

Post COVID lockdowns, it feels that much more triumphant to have a party IN PERSON with people you love! So even though parties aren’t unique to a 40th birthday, there’s a reason we have parties for every birthday. It’s a classic way to celebrate that never really gets old!

Speaking of parties, we have some great party decorations for your to peruse in our shop! Check out our birthday suites, and all of our birthday content here!

Lemon-themed bunting swoops across a pink backdrop. In the foreground, straw toppers, invitations, and lemon-slice party hats sit in front of a white-frosted cake with lemon and lemon blossom cake toppers.

Learn a New Skill

Your 40th birthday is such a milestone that it can be great motivation to learn a new skill or take on a new hobby you’ve been wanting to try! It’s never too late, and 40 seems like the perfect time to try. Turn it into a party and invite someone to teach you and your girlfriends how to knit, cook something fun and fancy, or even make a punch needle rug! The options are endless. What do you want to learn how to do?

Movie Night

Movies are a classic way to celebrate anything special, so why not your 40th birthday? Go out to the theater with the gals (maybe even rent it out if you’re feeling ambitious!), or take the party home and have a marathon of your favorite series! Personally, I’ll be watching Bridgerton. What are your favorites? Send the recommendations my way! I’m always game for a fun new show.

Game Night

The options are endless with this one! Just because it’s your 40th birthday doesn’t mean you can’t have a simple game night. So many categories of games. Are you more of a board game or card game person? Or do you prefer a combo of both? If you’re like Paul, you’ll be hanging around those old classic arcade games all night. Whatever gets you most excited is what you should do!

Here are some game night options to get you started:

More Inspiration

We have plenty of ideas to get you started on 40th birthday decor! It starts with our five birthday suites: animal menagerie, garden party, lemon, rainbow, and floral. Click here to see the rest of our birthday shop! Also, don’t forget to check out our past birthday blog content, like our Flower Lane birthday crowns, twisted birthday candles, or DIY birthday felt pennants.

A flat lay of twisted birthday candles and confetti on an orange background.

Hopefully we gave you some good ideas to get you started planning your 40th, if you haven’t had it already. And now we need to know: what did you/are you doing to celebrate your 40th? Let us know in the comments!

All Our Paper Flower Tutorials

Blooms for Bouquets

There are so many things you can do with paper flowers, but you need to make them first! Mix and match these flowers for bouquets or let them stand alone. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Paper parrot tulips in cream, yellow, and red.Paper peony bouquet held by a person in a striped dressIcelandic Paper PoppyPaper hydrangeas in a white vase against a floral orange backgroundThe Exquisite Book of Paper Flower Transformationspaper daffodil on a cream backgroundA pink and blue space divided down the middle with flower bells in each color

Find paper flower tutorials here: Sunflowers, Parrot Tulips, Peonies, Poppies, Morning Glory, Hydrangeas, Eden Rose, Daffodil, Paper Flower Bells, and Narcissus.

Lots of flowers have stamens, and here you can make your own floral stamens for paper flowers.

Bouquets

I’m a big fan of paper wedding bouquets because they are long-lasting reminders of your big day. There’s no wilting here! I have loved making paper flower tutorials for all these bouquets.

close up of a paper bouquet made of dahlias, roses, shamrocks, Mexican jasmine, and foliage.Paper Flower Wedding BouquetRoyal Wedding Inspired BouquetCinco de Mayo Wedding Bouquet

Find tutorials here: Spring Wedding Bouquet, White Peony Bouquet, Royal Wedding Inspired Bouquet, and Cinco de Mayo Inspired Bouquet.

Paper Flower Accessories

Flowers add delicacy and magic to your fanciest events, but I’m all for wearing them in between big parties, too! These paper flower crowns and this corsage will have you searching for events because they’re so fun to wear! You can find paper flower tutorials for the accessories below.

A paper shamrock and flower crown on a brunette girl's head against green and white wallpaperPaper Flower Bridal Hair PieceA little girl wears a paper flower crown and smells some little flowers.a floral crown on long, straight brown hairPaper Flower Corsage

Find tutorials here: Shamrock Flower Crown, Paper Flower Bridal Hairpiece, Flower Girl Crown, Spring Paper Flower Crown, Paper Flower Corsage, Paper Flower Graduation Tassel, and Paper Poppy Pin.

Home Decor Flowers

Wreaths

When I started adding paper flower wreaths to my doors, I made a huge discovery. Coming home to something beautiful makes a big difference! So add paper flower wreaths to your doors and start feeling OVERJOYED when you get to your home. I promise, it works for me!

Paper daffodil wreath against a pink backgroundCrepe Paper Lemon WreathBrittany holding a wreath with floral accents cut from wallpaper.A hand reaches into frame holding a rainbow floral wreath

 

Wreath tutorials here: Daffodil Wreath, Lemon and Blossom Wreath, Wallpaper Floral Wreath, Rainbow Flower Wreath, Paper Poinsettia Wreath, Palm Leaf Wreath and Pink Paper Blossom Wreath.

Chandeliers and Mobiles

I absolutely love what chandeliers and mobiles do to fill the empty space in a room. And come on, they look adorable. So do yourself a favor and hang one over your new baby’s crib! It will surely give you and baby some much needed delight amidst the lack of sleep.

A maidenhair fern hangs from a wooden hoopA floral upcycled chandelier with paper greenery hangs over a party table. A paper mobile hangs in a white room with a cactusA colorful chandelier with a hanging Dala horse is i

Mobile tutorials here: Paper Maidenhair Fern Mobile, Paper Flower Chandelier, Scandinavian Paper Mobile and Midsummer Dala Horse Mobile.

Centerpieces

Another way I love to incorporate flowers is through centerpieces. Because isn’t having company over the perfect excuse to make something with paper flowers?

Paper flowers and colorful candles on a branchPaper tulips in an arrangement.

Centerpiece tutorials here: Paper Flower Branch Candelabra, Spring Tulip Centerpiece, Rainbow Paper Flower Tablescape

Potted Paper Flowers

I love me a good potted paper plant. These little beauties are the perfect addition to any room, so what are you waiting for?

Brittany holds a paper easter lily in a terracotta pot in front of her facePaper Christmas cactus in a white potPaper Medinilla plant in a grey spaceColorful paper plants in a grey roomPaper pansies in a distressed terracotta planter. They're placed on a stack of colorful books on a chair. In the background, you can see some red floral wallpaper and blue wainscoting.Magenta and purple hollyhocks made of crepe paper against a dark grey background

Find tutorials here: Paper Orchids, Paper Foxgloves, Easter Lily, Christmas Cactus, Medinilla Plant, Pansies, Hollyhocks, Paper Flower Bells and more Paper House Plants.

Parties!

Cakes

Another impeccable excuse to incorporate some flowers, do yourself (and your guests) a favor! If I had to guess, I’d say these flower-centric party decorations will do the trick perfectly.

Floral Number Birthday Cake TopperPaper Kumquat and Quilled Flower CakeMidsummer Pole cake Topper

Cake topper tutorials here: Floral Number Birthday Cake Topper, Paper Flower and Kumquat Cake Decoration, Midsummer Pole Cake Topper and 3D Paper Flower Gift Toppers.

Backdrops

DIY Crepe Paper Peony tutorialTropical Leaf and Hibiscus BackdropBrittany stands in front of a paper daisy-covered wall wearing a yellow dress.

DIY paper poppy backdrop and pinPaper Tulip Backdrop

Backdrop tutorials here: Crepe Paper Peony Backdrop, Tropical Leaf and Hibiscus Backdrop, Paper Daisy Backdrop, Paper Tulip Backdrop and Paper Poppy Backdrop.

Garlands

Isn’t spring the perfect time for a floral garland? Well, for your convenience, we have some lovely options that transition right into summer, too!

Paper flower garlandPaper flower garland hangs over a rattan chair

Garland tutorials here: Paper Flower Garland and Summer Flower Garland.

DIY Daisy party hat

And don’t forget this Daisy Party Hat tutorial!

Holiday

Holidays are the perfect time to get making a few flower-centric decorations. To help you out, here are our favorites:

Valentines Day

Brittany looks over her shoulder at the camera while wearing a pink, red, and white daffodil crown

Wear this Valentine Flower Wreath on your head or decorate your door with it. Either way, you’ll be feeling festive and ready for the spring blooms that will pop up not too long after Valentines Day with this wreath!

Halloween

A mom wearing a paper flower costume and a daughter dressed as a mouse pose in their costumes

Chrysanthemum Mom and Kid Costume

Hannukah

Gold, blue, yellow, and pink paper flower menorah

Paper Flower Menorah

Christmas

This Christmas you can make holly large or small, as well as these really exciting poinsettia blooms.

Paper Poinsettia FlowerDIY Paper Holly boughsGiant paper holly and paper berries hung around a big banister

Poinsettia, Crepe Paper Holly, Giant Paper Holly Decoration and Amaryllis.

More From Our Shop!

Find more floral Lars materials on our shop. Here’s our Flowers Coloring Book, this sticker sheet, a whole collection of floral art prints, and more!

Our Learn To Draw Flowers Course

And don’t forget about our learn to draw flowers course! It’s the perfect companion piece to all these paper flower tutorials. And the great thing is, if you don’t have all the materials handy to make the tutorials right now, you can learn to draw them first! By the time your materials come in the mail, you’ll be a pro at drawing flowers and will be all ready to start making them.

Inspired by Cinco de Mayo

Nadia Aguilar Cates

Last year I talked to my friend Nadia Aguilar Cates about Cinco de Mayo and some of her plans to celebrate it. She explained that “Cinco de Mayo is a Mexican holiday that commemorates the battle of Puebla. It‚Äôs not Mexico‚Äôs Independence Day but a common celebration in the United States.” –Nadia Aguilar Cates, @Casa_Palomi

Two little boys dressed in Mariachi outfits holding cardboard instruments stand in front of a giant pink papel picado decoration

Last year Nadia and I worked together to make a COVID-safe drive-by Cinco de Mayo party. This party was complete with cardboard mariachi instruments for kids and a giant papel picado backdrop. If you missed it last year, it’s not too late to get ready for this year’s festivities!

We also interviewed Nadia last Fall. Everything she does to preserve and celebrate her Mexican heritage is so inspiring. Check out her interview here! Oh and definitely keep an eye on Ella Rises, the organization Nadia created to empower Latina youth.

Nadia Aguilar Cates stands in front of a giant pink papel picado decoration

History of Cinco de Mayo

As Nadia said, Cinco de Mayo commemorates an important Mexican victory in the Battle of Puebla, which took place on May 5, 1862 in the city of Puebla. The battle, in which the Mexican army defeated French troops, marked a turning tide in the fight for Mexican sovereignty. It also signaled Mexico’s strength to the rest of the world, which tended to underestimate their power.

Because The House that Lars Built is located in the United States, where anti-Mexican racism is still a pervasive problem, we’re using Cinco de Mayo to reflect on the importance of listening to and celebrating Indigenous and Mexican stories. In true Lars fashion, this means I’m highlighting some of my favorite Mexican artists and designers!

Lars Loves Mexican Artists

Frida Kahlo

Photograph of Frida Kahlo holding a small carved idol. She's wearing a black and orange woven top and has flowers and ribbons braided into her hair, and she's standing against a turquoise wall. Where would we be without our Queen, Frida Kahlo? She’s probably one of the best-known Mexican artists, and for good reason! Her work explores her Mexican Indigenous heritage in bright colors and with psychologically rich symbolism.

 

Painting by Frida Kahlo.
Self-Portrait on the Border Line Between Mexico and the United States, 1932

If you’re looking for more Frida in your life, check out our Great Artists course for kids, which will teach your little one (and you) more about Frida’s work. You can also look at these DIY projects inspired by Frida and this roundup of Frida Kahlo-inspired decor.

Luis Barrag√°n

A woman holds a black horse's bridal in front of a tomato-colored wall at Luis Barragán's Cuadra San Cristóbal stables. There's also a flat blue pool and pink and purple structures in the background.
Photograph by Rene Burri

Luis Barrag√°n was an incredible Mexican architect and designer, whose geometric buildings are breathtakingly colorful. His iconic San Cristobal Stables was one of the most memorable parts of my trip to Mexico City a few years ago. Brittany walks under a bright pink structure at Luis Barrag√°n's San Cristobal stables in Mexico City

Michelle Franzoni Thorley

A black and white portrait of Michelle, who looks at the camera. She's wearing a white top and a chunky necklace, and she's standing in front of some plants

Michelle Franzoni Thorley is a local-to-me painter and family historian whose work explores her Mexican heritage and the power of knowing about our ancestors. She also is an anti-racism educator and all-around powerful human being. So make sure you follow her on Instagram @florafamiliar!

A painting of women in mountains, a desert, and a cemetery holding onto a red ribbon that connects them.
Ancestresses by Michelle Franzoni Thorley

Cinco de Mayo in the Archives

Paper Fan Garland

Along with last year’s drive by party, I wanted to share more Cinco de Mayo inspiration from years gone by. One of my earliest projects was this paper fan garland decoration.

Honeycomb fruit

Another early project was this collection of DIY honeycomb fruit ornaments.

paper fruits in the shape of grapes, an orange, a grapefruit, and a strawberry hang in front of a window

Cinco de Mayo Bouquet

I was also inspired by vibrant Mexican design when I made this Cinco de Mayo paper wedding bouquet! You don’t have to be a bride to make this, though! Putting together this bouquet would be such a great way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo while simultaneously gearing up for Summer blooms.

brightly colored paper bouquet

Fiesta

If you’re looking for full-on Cinco de Mayo party inspiration, look no further than the fiesta I threw a few years ago! You can find great decor, lots of delicious recipes, and links to tableware that will make your party a true fiesta! a festive Cinco de Mayo table set with Mexican food and decorated with colorful papel picado banners

Mexico City Travel Guide

Maybe I’m getting carried away, but I also want to share my travel guide from Mexico City. In 2018 I went to Mexico City and it was absolutely dreamy. In my Mexico City guide you can find my favorite places to go and things to see, as well as (perhaps most importantly?) where to eat. I can’t wait until I can go back and experience even more of Mexico City, because it’s truly a magical (and huge!) place, with so much to do and see.

a colorful papier mache man floats in a white museum space

I came home from Mexico City feeling so inspired by the color and design that I put together a roundup of fashion and design that reminded me of my trip! I’m itching to go back, but looking through these travel-inspired objects is satisfying a bit of my wanderlust…for now!

Viva México!

More Inspiration

Looking for Cinco de Mayo decorations, or just some spring decor to freshen up your home? Look no further than our shop for the templates to get you going! Try the Cinco de Mayo bouquet template¬†and e-book to make it a lovely centerpiece. Also, here’s the template for those Cinco de Mayo streamers we mentioned. You’ll probably also love this paper flower garland or this boutonniere! You may want to check out this house plants e-book as well, along with our flower and leaf garland e-book.

Things To Do For Mom

Give her breakfast in bed

Breakfast in bed is the classic Mother’s Day gift! But this year you can make it even more unique by cutting out fruit in the shape of flowers. It’s a simple way even the little kids can feel like they’re contributing to help make mom feel special. To get you started, give her a hot cup of tea in this speckled loopy mug from our shop, or add a twisted candle in a flower candle holder.

Here are some more supplies to help prep for the perfect breakfast in bed:

Make dinner

Growing up, my dad would make dinner for my mom every Mother’s Day. Most of the time, he did a pretty spectacular job (though I still remember the time he forgot the cheese in the lasagna). Don’t worry, if you’re not feeling confident enough in your cooking to take on a whole meal yourself (I understand, I really do–I’m the queen of not knowing how to cook), enlist the help of siblings and friends and make a day of it! There’s also no shame in a few store-prepared elements to your meal (Harmon’s and Trader Joe’s are my favorites).

If your mom loves to cook, some great gifts we mentioned in our Mother’s Day gift guide this year are our recipe cards and this adorable new checkerboard apron!

Here are some other great kitchen supplies to make the dinner extra special and beautiful:

Give her a beautiful card

A Mother’s Day card can never go wrong. It’s simple, but something every mother loves. Luckily for you, we have a whole host of Mother’s Day cards and stationary like this Scandinavian one to get you started!

Something handmade

What mom doesn’t love a handmade gift from their child? Head straight to our blog for tons of great DIY projects that double as great Mother’s Day gifts! For example, try these photo transfer dolls, or this beautiful clay necklace. This lovely embroidered brooch is another great option your mom can wear. For the kids, check out this post with tons of great Mother’s Day ideas kids can help with!

Two embroidered plush dolls on a blue background surrounded by colorful toys

Closeup of the embroidered floral brooch on Brittany's chambray quilted coat.

Flowers

Of course we couldn’t forget flowers. You know we love flowers, here at The House that Lars Built. Why not make some paper flowers for your mom this year? Some of my favorites are peonies, foxgloves, and hollyhocks. It’s a bouquet that stays looking fresh long after Mother’s Day!

Paper peony bouquet held by a person in a striped dress

Magenta and purple hollyhocks made of crepe paper against a dark grey background

No time to make a bouquet? Here are some lovely flower-centric options to try:

Go on a mom date

Take her out to her favorite restaurant, go get manis/pedis, get massages or do a full spa day, get a yummy treat, go on a walk amidst the blossoms, the options are endless. The one thing we know is that she’ll love getting to spend some quality time with you.

Here are some spa items you could incorporate into an at-home spa day:

Clean for her

Every mom appreciates a little help with the cleaning. Growing up, I remember asking my mom what she wanted for birthdays and she’d always mention cleaning. We can all relate! No matter how on top of the chores you are, it’s nice to take a break and let someone else take care of it for a change. The best part about this is that all ages of children can do a little something to help. Your mother deserves it!

Oh, and to top off your cleaning, why not light a deliciously scented candle? Mmmm, I love a good candle, and I bet your mom does, too.

More Gift Ideas

Still stumped? Check out our 2022 Mother’s Day gift guide!

Easter Crafts

Our Favorite Easter Crafts

We have so many Easter crafts that we’re just thrilled to share with you this year. Many of them are brand new, too! Need a new Easter Basket? We’re here for you. How about a fresh spring wreath? We’ve also got you covered in that department. Without further ado, here’s the list of our favorite Easter crafts!

Wreaths

I love a good wreath. And spring wreaths are some of my favorites! They’re a must have when talking about Easter crafts. This year we have a brand new Palm Leaf Wreath you’re sure to love. It’s delicate, colorful, and festive. Just the thing to celebrate Palm Sunday, Easter and spring all in one go! If you’re feeling more into eggs, try our ever popular Easter egg wreath, or this sweet Honeycomb Easter wreath. Both are lovely and sure to put a little spring in your step. Also, you can’t go wrong with a simple floral theme. This¬†Daffodil Wreath is very appropriate for the season, as is this Lemon Wreath!

Easter Baskets

You can’t have Easter crafts without Easter baskets! And we have a brand new one for you to try this year. It’s our DIY Easter Basket, and the best part is that it doesn’t require any sewing. Another clever no-sew Easter basket is this Paper Easter basket. Just download, print, cut and assemble, it’s that easy! If you want to sew an adorable bag that doubles as an Easter basket and will be around for years to come, try this carrot shoulder bag! The bonus is it packs up easily and is equally cute.

If you’re looking for inspiration on what to fill your basket with, look no further than this Easter Basket choose your own adventure. We help guide you through the steps to picking your perfect Easter basket, along with everything to put inside it, like this Paper carrot treat box, or this DIY stuffed bunny. You can also make some of these Danish Easter letters to tuck inside.

Eggs

As it so happens, we have a lot of Easter crafts that have to do with eggs. Are you really that surprised? I mean, what’s Easter without at least one little nod to an egg or two. Just yesterday, we release the most lovely nesting Easter eggs! We love the little twist on original nesting dolls. Also try these Easter egg columns, which are a lovely way to decorate your home this Easter. Don’t forget about these Honeycomb Easter eggs, either! Make them into a wreath or decorate with the individual eggs. Either way they’re lovely!

Another fun variation on decorating Easter eggs are these dried flowers on Easter eggs, as well as our Pysanky Easter eggs (here’s the E-book of the Pysanky eggs, the profits of which will be donated to the Ukrainian relief effort). If you’re into more decorating, try our DIY pom pom Easter eggs! Or if you’re having a party, you’ll definitely want to take a look at our¬†Easter egg name tags, Easter egg cupcake toppers, and Easter egg runner.

For Kids

If you have kids, you’ll love these Easter-themed toys, accessories, and activities. First stop: these fun bunny party hats. Having a new baby this spring? You won’t want to miss these adorable DIY Baby bonnets! Need a craft to do with your kids to keep them busy and happy? You’ll love these Easter Egg coloring pages, the profits of which will be donated to the Ukrainian relief effort. Then there’s our DIY stuffed bunny, which is a sweet little Easter toy. Plop it in your child’s Easter basket and you’re all set!

 

Floral Favor Boxes

Floral Favor Boxes

We love these floral favor boxes. They’re the perfect thing for so many occasions! Does someone you know have a spring birthday? Instant party favors. Of course, they’d also make adorable additions to a floral tea party, bridal shower, or wedding. There aren’t a lot of situations where these sweet little boxes could go wrong!

Instructions

Prepping the Box

  1. To create a closed bottom on one end of the tube, make four evenly spaced slits at the bottom of one end, about 1″ deep. This will give you four flaps. Fold the flaps under the tube and glue them together.
  2. Fill the tube with candy or a small gift.

Finishing Touches

  1. Lay the tube on one end of the strip (the long side of the tube should be parallel with the short side of the strip). Position the tube so about one inch of crepe paper will hang below the closed bottom. Roll the strip around the tube. Tuck the overhanging crepe paper at the bottom and glue it under the tube.
  2. Tie a piece of twine around the crepe at the top of the tube and cinch it. Slip in a paper leaf before tying it off. Flatten the crepe paper at the top and fold it in half vertically. Cut a leaf shape through all the layers down to just above the twine to make petals.
  3. Unfold the crepe paper. Separate the petals and gently stretch the center of each to make a cupped shape.

We hope you enjoyed this tutorial, courtesy of Jodi Levine. We would highly recommend checking out her new ebook, Toilet Tube Treasury, where you can find other clever ways to repurpose toilet tubes!

More Inspiration

What did you think of Jodi’s toilet tube tutorial on floral favor boxes? We loved it! If you did, too, we’re guessing you’ll also be interested in some of our paper flower tutorials. Have you seen our new paper orchid tutorial? Also try our DIY Paper Hollyhocks, or these Poppies, Peonies, and Posies. Have a spring or summer wedding coming up? Here,¬†here and here are some beautiful bouquets to choose from. You can also check out this holiday flower roundup if you’re interested!

Ukrainian Paper Sunflower

Ukrainian Sunflowers

The sunflower is Ukraine’s national flower. This beautiful flower has a long history with Ukraine, it turns out! Aside from sunflower seeds being a popular snack, Ukraine and Russia are some of the world’s largest suppliers of sunflower oil. Then there’s its historic message of peace, like in 1996 when it was used to celebrate Ukraine giving up nuclear weapons. Currently, as well, it’s become a bright beacon of hope and peace amidst all the turmoil and we want to do our best to show support. It seemed only fitting to make a Ukrainian paper sunflower in honor of the Ukrainian people. If you’re interested, click here to read the full article about Ukraine’s history with sunflowers.

Ukrainian Paper Sunflower

Here’s how to make your own Ukrainian paper sunflower:

Prepping the Paper

  1. First, download the paper sunflower template found here.
  2. Next, cut out the template pieces in crepe paper. We used about 30 yellow petals, 7 green back pieces, and between 2 and 4 green leaves of varying sizes per flower.
  3. Cut each side of the leaves separately. Make sure to cut out the leaves so the grain of the crepe paper angles up slightly on each side (like the veins on the leaves).

Making the Center

  1. To make the center of your paper sunflower, cut some long strips of crepe paper that are roughly 1″ wide. We used green, pale yellow, and orange.
  2. Cut slits in the strips to make a fringe.
  3. Securing with hot glue, wrap the fringe tightly around the top of a piece of floral wire. Make sure the wire is thick enough to hold the weight of the heavy sunflower blossom. Start with green, then move to yellow, then orange.
  4. Continue wrapping and gluing the fringe until it’s as thick as you’d like. Also, make sure the orange layer is set a bit higher than the rest.
  5. When the center is as thick as you’d like, fluff the orange fringe so it splays out a bit.
  6. Now, gently paint a gradient of green to yellow on the center you just made. See step photos for reference. Alternate option: You can use black or brown for the center, too, if you’d like! The center of most sunflowers varies in color.

Assembling the Sunflower

Now you’re ready to add the petals and back greenery to your paper sunflower!

  1. Gently shape the petals (see step photos for reference), then glue one around the center. We spaced them roughly 1/4-1/2″ apart.
  2. Next, add in a second row, this time staggering the petals behind the first row.
  3. Now you can add the back pieces. For this, shape the green pieces according to the step photos, then hot glue them around the stem. They should fan evenly around the back.

Leaves and Stem

The last steps of your paper sunflower are the leaves and stem!

  1. For the stem, cut a piece of crepe paper that’s roughly the length of your wire piece and 2-3″ wide, depending on how big your sunflower is.
  2. Securing with hot glue, wrap the crepe paper strip around the wire stem to thicken it.
  3. Next, start at the top just overlapping the back greenery of the sunflower. Wind floral tape all the way down to cover up the crepe paper.
  4. For the leaves, glue the two sides together, making sure the grain angles up slightly on each side to mimic the leaves’ veins.
  5. Now flip the leaves over and hot glue a thin piece of floral wire to the back. Make sure the floral wire extends a few inches past the stem of the leaves. Once the hot glue is dry, you can shape the leaves however you’d like.
  6. To attach the leaves to the stem, simply wrap floral tape around the wire.

Styling Your Paper Sunflowers

We varied the length of our sunflower stems, then arranged them in a pretty vase. We love how they turned out! They would make a bright addition to any room. Set them on a table, counter, mantlepiece, or side table. We also think they’d be a lovely accent for a bathroom or home office.

 

More Ways to Support Ukraine

We’re trying to do our part to support Ukraine. One way is through our shop! We currently have three art pieces in our shop made specifically to support Ukraine. We’re donating all the profits to the Ukrainian war effort. Special thanks to Amanda Jane Jones, who donated this print. Another special thanks to Nathalie L√®t√®, who donated this one and this one.

More Inspiration

Loved this paper sunflower tutorial and want more paper flower tutorials? Step right this way. We recently came out with this paper orchid tutorial we think you’ll love. Also, try our DIY Paper Hollyhocks, or these Poppies, Peonies, and Posies. Have a spring or summer wedding coming up? Here,¬†here and here are some beautiful bouquets to choose from. You can also check out this holiday flower roundup if you’re interested!