How to Make Door Decorations for a Valentine Surprise
Want to share a sentiment so special it won’t fit on an ordinary card?
Show your valentine how much you “a-DOOR” him or her with a holiday surprise that starts the day with a smile–make amazing door decorations.
In this article I’ll show you how to transform an ordinary door into a doorway of love—a life-sized valentine card that makes someone feel special every time he or she passes the threshold. And I’ll share some really special doors that we found around the web.
Why Make a Doorway of Love?
Decorating a door is an easy way to make a big impact on someone’s Valentine’s Day. It’s also a great way to help your kids express their love for someone and teach them that kindness, giving and thinking of others doesn’t have to cost a lot.
Imagine arriving at work in the morning and finding your door covered in compliments, good wishes and colorful decorations—just for you. What a way to start the day and keep a smile on your face for hours!
Now imagine how it would feel to give someone else that sense of joy. You and your kids can do just that when you make a doorway of love.
Doors have a lot of symbolism. They mark new beginnings and hope, opportunity and growth, shelter and care.
A red (decorated) door symbolized a safe haven in early America, ‘protection’ when found on a church, ‘welcome’ in feng shui, ‘luck’ in China and in Scotland, a red door symbolized that the house was paid off.
Doors also pervade our language: The “girl next door” may work hard to “get a foot in the door” or meet people who will “open doors” for her. Maybe she’ll meet someone to “carry her across the threshold” someday.
And who could forget the impression made upon opening this door?
Dorothy opened the door to a whole new world in the Wizard of Oz.
Something so symbolic has a strong effect. When you decorate the door of people you care about, it will make a smashing start to their day, a happy first impression. They’ll start their day with a smile and spread that happiness to others they interact with. And each time they pass through the doorway, it will remind them that someone cares.
Who knows? Your doorway of love may just open some doors for someone in a completely unexpected way as the recipients pay it forward!
Make a doorway of love with your kids and watch what happens! Ours started with a class project at my daughter’s school. A caring teacher encouraged her students to think about what they could do for others on Valentine’s Day. The class created a doorway of love for their principal, who was thrilled.
Some of the students duplicated the project at home for family members. My daughter made a doorway of love for her father, and now we’re sharing the idea with all of you on My Kids’ Adventures to spread the love even further!
For something that has a big effect, the doorway of love is surprisingly simple and inexpensive. You may already have everything you need right at home.
You can easily adapt this project to fit your needs: Create a doorway of love for just about anyone on any kind of door. It’s a great gift whether you’ve got one person or a whole classroom full of kids looking for a special way to honor someone.
To help, I’ve included several examples of decorated doors I found on the internet in this article. Pinterest is a great site to find door decoration ideas. And there are lots of classroom doors found on educational sites such as My Classroom Ideas.
You can make a doorway of love in five simple steps:
#1: Choose a Recipient (and a Door)
First, decide whom you and your kids would like to surprise with a doorway of love, and which door to decorate.
This super-easy project would be a great surprise for parents, grandparents or teachers. It would brighten Valentine’s Day for a sick child in a hospital or a lonely soul in a rest home. It would pretty much make a great gift for anyone, anywhere.
In the picture below, posted by Lisa at Harper Hoorahs, a class wanted to honor their Super Teacher.
Select a door to decorate. If your recipient doesn’t have a full-sized door that can be used, think of other kinds of doors: Transform a refrigerator door, a cupboard door, a bulletin board or even a wall into a giant valentine greeting.
Optional: You may want to cover the door with paper to protect the paint or stain from tape or to provide a colored background. If you’ll be covering the door, measure the height and width of the door with a measuring tape.
You can also roll out a length of butcher or wrapping paper directly against the door and mark where it should be cut, leaving an inch or two around the edges. Be sure to mark the location of the doorknob, too!
#2: Choose Theme and Headline
A theme and a headline will help personalize the door-sized greeting for your friend or loved one.
Quick Option: Free Printable. Print this PDF for some quick artwork to cut and hang.
Or think of a theme that will be meaningful to the recipient. Does he or she have any hobbies or collections? Are there activities your kids like to do together with the recipient or places they like to go?Be as simple or as elaborate as you want for the door you decorate. You may choose a generic “valentine” theme for your door like the simple, heartfelt door on the left that imgur.com pinned on Pinterest or something fancy like the door on the right that we found on My Classroom Ideas, which must have been made for someone who loves owls, above. Look at the photos in this article for headline ideas. Candy themes are very popular for Valentine’s Day, as you can see from the Hershey Kisses door that teacher Holly Phinney posted on her blog, Special Smart Special Hearts and the Conversation Hearts door that teacher Tina Blakeman pinned on Pinterest.
You can also check the Internet for hundreds of valentine titles.
#3: How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways…
Now it’s time to think of nice things about the person whose door you’re decorating.
Have your kids make a list of everything they love about the person.
Ask a few questions, talk about things you’ve done together or go through a scrapbook or memory jar to jog your memories about the person.
Here are a few prompts:
- What do you appreciate about ____
- Recall a fun time with ____
- Does ___ have a special talent or skill?
- What is ____’s favorite book, movie, TV show or animal?
- Complete this sentence: ____ is the most ____ person I know.
- How does ___ make you feel?
- What’s your best memory of ___?
- List something that ____ does better or differently than anyone else you know.
- I love ____ because ____.
- ____ makes me feel special when _____.
Imagine what a wonderful gift it would be if each of the hearts on the heart-filled door above, which Jen posted on Mama Papa Bubba included a special message or compliment about the recipient? Write lots of thoughts about the one you love and declare them on the door.
Or, if you’re giving the door as a gift from a group, have each child write one special message about the recipient.
#4: Assemble Your Valentines
Gather your craft supplies, grab your kids and create lots of valentines for your doorway of love.
If you thought of a theme or headline, print the title out in a very large font or cut letters from colored paper to spell it out on the door like Lauren Ann did on the Hugs and Kisses door below, which we found on Pinterest. You can also use jumbo-size letter stickers or die-cuts that can be found at craft or teacher supply stores.
Make a valentine for each of the compliments on the list you made. These can be hearts or other shapes that fit the theme for your door. Some doors include handprints or pictures of the children.
If you don’t have a lot of craft supplies, that’s ok! Here are some ideas:
- Colored paper is all you really need. Cut hearts and flowers (or other shapes to fit your theme) out of paper. Cookie cutters make good templates.
- Use buttons, fabric and trim from sewing supplies.
- Use comics, greeting cards or pictures from magazines.
- Check your gift-wrap supplies for wrapping paper, ribbon and tissue paper.
- Use brown paper bags.
- Print images from the Internet.
If you’re using paper to cover the entire door, cut the paper 1-2″ larger than the door’s dimensions. Cut out a space for the doorknob.
Lay your title letters and valentines out on the paper and glue them down.
#5: Decorate the Door
Now it’s time to set up your surprise. Make sure the recipient is not around to use the door for a while.
If you’re placing the valentines directly on the door, make small rolls of tape and stick the title and messages up in a pleasing arrangement.
If you made a paper covering to wrap the door, open it halfway and use a stepladder to fold 1-2″ (2.5-5 cm) of the paper over the top edge of the door. Attach it with tape (packing tape, masking tape or painter’s tape).
Caution: Only adults should climb the stepladder.
Then fold the sides of the paper over the sides of the door and tape along the narrow edges. If the bottom and side with the hinges are too difficult to fold over, just butt the edge of the paper up to the edge of the front side of the door. Trim if necessary.
You can even make the overall poster a little smaller than the face of the door, like Donna Lout did for the Out of This World door (shown above) that she shared on her blog, House of Stamps.
It’s so much fun to decorate a door for someone with your kids. And you don’t have to stop there! Add extra decorations like garlands, twinkle lights, balloons, etc. around the doorway. In the picture above from Mountain View Crossing Apartments, a resident continued his or her door decoration into the hallway to be extra festive.
Some Final Thoughts…
A doorway of love is a sweet way to show your love and appreciation for someone in a big way, but don’t stop at Valentine’s Day.
Think of other occasions that you could surprise someone with this project: birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas or an anniversary are all occasions when your family could surprise someone with a doorway of love.
You’ll find lots of ideas and examples, like this love-themed door from My Classroom Ideas, by searching Pinterest or Google images. I hope you find something perfect for your special someone on Valentine’s Day and tell them you care with a doorway of love.
What do you think? Who will be the lucky recipient of a doorway of love this Valentine’s Day? Can you think of any fun themes for your door? I’d love to hear about them. Post comments and photos of your doors below.
Images from iStockPhoto.
Aileen Stewart is the award-winning children's author of Fern Valley. She is also a wife, mother, amateur photographer and public speaker who loves to craft in her spare moments. Other posts by Aileen Stewart »