It was the day after Valentine’s Day, the day Brandon and I celebrated Valentine’s Day because I taught piano on Valentine’s Day, and I still had not yet made him a card. I was experiencing emotional devastation that Brandon had probably spent so many hours making a card for me and it was inevitably going to be better than mine. I needed something that would be quick but would still be sufficiently good compared to what he was making for me. For weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, I’d been browsing all these different sites, from Pinterest to the Better Homes and Gardens site, for hours on end, every day, looking for ideas. I talked to my coworker, Jen, concerning what she’d made her husband, and she told me she made him an expanding Valentine’s Day card.
So, I started making prototypes of shutter cards out of scrap paper. It took me a few tries before I had a functioning prototype. The day before we would meet, I went to Jo-Ann Fabrics, and I bought all sorts of papers because I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to make yet. Now I have lots and lots of Valentine-themed paper. I was initially going to make something with kitty cats poking out of the corners, like the owls on the original card I was copying, but I decided I wanted to make it a little bit more elegant.
Also, I decided to use glue and make glue hearts. I used Elmer’s glue and I found a nonporous anti-stick surface that I proceeded to draw hearts onto out of glue. (A nonstick silicone baking mat or wax paper would do.) I then sprinkled hibiscus petals on top. These usually take one to two days to dry. Once they were dry, I carefully peeled them off the nonstick surface. The hibiscus petals bled into the glue, giving it an elegant red coloring. I should mention that I made these hearts before I even knew what I really wanted to do for the card. I just knew that I might want to incorporate them in some way.
So I started assembling the card, when I discovered the red hearts were a little too dark, so I didn’t use as many of them as I originally planned. But I still had some extra space. So to fill that space, I decided to make a string of hearts. I took out my trusty Swiss Army knife and I drilled holes into the hearts. I strung them and hung them up.
I knew Brandon might suspect that I was coming home early to finish the card, and he might swing by early just to see, because his gym is right near my house. So I parked my car inside the garage so that he wouldn’t be able to see it from the street. So then I had to park my car outside 10 minutes before he arrived, and I was afraid he might see me doing this because he might arrive early. It turns out he arrived right on time and hadn’t even gone to the gym that day anyway.
Make the card 12 inches wide by 5 inches tall. Mark the card at 2 inches, 4 inches, 8 inches, and 10 inches, and proceed to fold it vertically at those marks, as you see in the diagram below (solid lines are cuts and dashed lines are folds). All of the folds should line up on the card, but they’ll alternate in direction. Make two cuts horizontally from the 2-inch to the 10-inch folds; make sure these cuts are 1.5 inches in from the long edges of the card.
I learned that this card is best suited for a die-cutter that can cut perfectly, as well as a bone folder that can fold perfectly. I made this card by hand, so it doesn’t open quite perfectly, and it doesn’t look perfect either. But at least it’s handmade (and it shows). Not only that, but I finished literally seconds before Brandon rang my doorbell.