Make Primitive Valentine’s – Ornies and Bowl Fillers

Valentine’s is just around the corner and I wanted to do something a little different. Since Valentine’s cards are expensive and basically useless, I made my own primitive Valentine’s to send to friends. They are fun to make and very crafty, I think! These little hearts are both inexpensive to make and lightweight for mailing. Plus, they are practical. This article will demonstrate how to make old-fashioned primitive heart ornies that can be scented and placed on a shelf, in a bowl, or in a lingerie drawer. I used scrap fabric, lace, beads, ribbon, and even denim to create these cute little hearts. In addition, I’ve included recipes for grunge (the primitive look) and for rusting safety pins and bells to make them look old.

Step 1

Start with your pattern. I make my patterns by folding a piece of paper in half and cutting out a heart. Leave ¼ seam allowance for sewing. Be sure to not have the curves too sharp or the “V” part of the heart too deep. This will prevent difficulties in sewing and stuffing. After you have the size you need, copy to a heavy paper or plastic. (I recycle old file folders and cereal boxes to make my patterns.) Trace your pattern to your fabric and cut out. I cut out a few at a time.

Step 2

Take the front of your hearts and add embellishments in the form of ribbon, lace, buttons, string pearls, etc. I sew these on by hand, but you can sew with a machine if you want. This is where the creativity comes in. Beware! I was just going to make a couple and couldn’t stop until I had 12! Talk about stress relief!! Plus, you are able to use up leftover fabric, lace and embellishments.

Step 3

After you have completed the fronts, place with the back heart, right sides together, and pin. Sew using a ¼ seam allowance, leaving an opening big enough to turn inside out. Except when using denim, you will need to have a little more than a ¼ inch as the fabric tends to fray due to the bias. You will see any problems when you turn the heart inside out. Stuff with the fiberfill and sew closed. With some of my Valentine’s, I used a blanket stitch around the heart to make them look old. Voila, you are done! Now add you favorite scent and send off your homemade Valentine’s.

Step 4

If you would like to “grunge” your heart to make them primitive, use a mixture of liquid coffee, vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, etc together and mix well. Use a brush to paint on, and then put them in the oven on low, checking them to see when they are dry. Remember the oven temperature can’t be too hot if you used buttons or other embellishments that might melt. If you want, you can air dry them if you didn’t get them too wet. Your house will smell yummy!

Step 5

To rust safety pins, place bells and pins to be rusted into a jar with a lid. Pour in bleach to cover. Cover with lid and let sit 24 hours. Be sure you are in a ventilated area when working with bleach.

Drain bleach, being careful to dispose of properly, leaving items in the jar. Next, pour in apple cider vinegar to cover and add ½ cup salt. Cover and let sit overnight.

Finally, drain and remove items. Now, let them sit outside in sun. As they dry, they will rust. Easy enough, and just a little time.


Toss them in an old vintage bowl or basket along with some potpourri or dried herbs and you have a wonderful decorative item to display proudly in your home.

These are also great to use as sachets in your drawers.