The Kim Six Fix: "I'd fall to PIECES without you!" Puzzle Valentine

"I'd fall to PIECES without you!" Puzzle Valentine

For Valentine's Day this year I needed to come up with a candy-free card idea.  The preschool we attend wants to encourage healthy eating and discourage excessive sweets at the holidays, and so the quest was on for a kid-friendly, cute idea that didn't cost much.

I have seen personalized valentine's puzzles before and thought they were the perfect thing for little kids, but at $15 each I knew I needed my own DIY version.

I was able to score these bagged 24 piece puzzles at the discount store for $1.99 each. 
 

I needed 15 cards (plus 2 for the teachers) so I figured if I broke each puzzle into 6 'mini-puzzles' I would need to buy 3:

Next, I needed to personalize them.  So, with the help of my assistant, and using a leftover wall paint sample (which also included a primer) we first covered the old image from the puzzle:

You can't paint the puzzle directly with craft paint because the picture on the puzzle will show through, plus the paint doesn't stick to the glossy side of the cardboard very well:

It was easiest for my 4 year old to paint the puzzle while it was assembled, but make sure you separate the pieces when you let them dry, or else they will be fused together by the paint:
 

Once the white-ish paint dried, I added 2 more coats of red craft paint (remember, you want to keep track of which pieces go together, since once the picture is gone, it is no small feat figuring out how to reassemble the puzzle.  I just made sure I kept my groups of four together.

Once the pieces were dry, I reassembled the mini-puzzles and used rubber stamps to personalize them:

I had both some generic valentine's stamps:
  

and an alphabet set and block (similar to this and this) which I used to personalize the message (Although you could decorate them a multitude of ways, with more paint, with permanent marker, with stencils etc.) :

Once the ink was dry I dissembled the puzzles and put them in some translucent vellum envelopes I received from Jam Paper.

On the outside of the envelope I used a "Happy Valentine's Day" rubber stamp and added the message in black marker:
 "I'd fall to PIECES without you!"

At the top of the envelope I punched two holes and added a baker's twine bow:
 

Three puzzles ended up yielding 18 Valentine's.

Some alternate wording suggestions for the envelopes:
"We are a perfect fit"
"I love you to pieces"
"You complete me"
"You are my missing piece" 
"It's no puzzle why I love/like you" 

They turned out adorable. Especially since you can see through the envelope to the individual pieces.  The kids should have fun putting them together to decipher the message, and my total investment was only $7: $6 for the puzzles, and $1 for the twine. (If I had to purchase the envelopes it would have been about $7 more.) That is still less than the cost of a single personalized puzzle.

Sharing at homestoriesatoz , myrepurposedlife and these parties.