Throw Your Heart Around: A Valentines’s Day Bean Bag Tutorial

I’ve never been one to get caught up in the commercialism of Valentine’s Day, but I do LOVE making heart-themed craft projects for my kids all year round. Last night I stayed up insanely late to make a heart-themed bean bag toss game to entertain Abby’s kindergarten friends at the class Valentine’s Day party.

I used the project as this week’s craft TV segment, too, so I had to hustle from the station to the party and was feeling a little frazzled by the time I arrived at the school. But let me tell you what a blast it was to watch the kids smiling and cheering when their bean bag heart hit the pink center heart worth 100 points. You just can’t get that kind of satisfaction with a store-bought game. I’m telling you, you gotta make one of these.

I suffered the effects of a pretty serious craft hangover all day, but it was completely worth it. I made this game for the kids, but I love it, too. My favorite part was embroidering faces on the hearts. I can’t ever seem to get enough of stitching by hand. I’d stitch all day if I could.

The unexpected joy that bloomed from this project occurred this evening when my daughters started playing with the hearts as if they were a family of embroidered people. I wasn’t too surprised to learn that the heart with the mustache is the “dad.” Tonight polar fleece hearts stole the show from the plastic Littlest Pet Shop toys, proving once again that handmade toys rock the house.

Keep reading to find out how to make some of  your own Valentine bean bags to toss around.

Polar fleece in at least two colors (I found deals by raiding the remnant bin at the local fabric store.)
Paper heart template
Embroidery floss
Embroidery needles (I like to thread several needles before I start so I’m ready to rock with all my colors.)
Sewing machine, pins, sewing scissors (A water soluble pen is optional.)
Rice or beans to stuff bags (I used rice.)

Step 1: Draw a heart measuring about five inches across the widest part on a piece of paper. Cut out the paper heart and use it as your template to cut hearts out of polar fleece.

Step 2: Working with a double layer of fleece, cut out five hearts in each of two colors of fleece.

Step 3: Cut out small swatches of craft felt in a contrasting color and pin to the front piece of each heart. Set aside the back piece of the heart while you embroider faces to the right side the front of the heart, securing the felt to the fleece as you stitch. (You can use the water soluble pen to draw faces to trace with thread. Or, make it up as you stitch.) Repeat until all the hearts have faces.

Step 4: Pin the back and front pieces of each heart together, with right sides facing, and stitch around the edge leaving about a 1.5-inch opening. Clip the fabric around the curves and turn right side out. Fill about three quarters of the way with rice or beans  and hand-stitch the opening closed.

Step 5: Now whip up a custom target out of polar fleece, cardboard, paper plates, a bowl,  bucket or whatever else you can find and let the games begin.

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