Can we move forward and avoid Valentine day? Well, I can here you say, you don’t like any festivities! Pfff! It ‘s true, but you will see that this time I did something about it.


I focused intensely on how to be able to find something good about Valentine day and I suddendly remembered that I had once seen some photos of very old Valentines. If you have watched the beautiful movie about Keats “Birght Star”, you will remember them too: these small secret paper treasures folded and decorated. So I searched for them (they are called puzzle purses), and after losing a few years on Pinterest I decided to make one for myself. Okay, I risked going crazy with all the complicated folding but in the end it was real fun!


Avanti                                                                        Retro

If you want to try it, first of all you will need a square of white paper. If you take an A4 sheet (the one you use to print) you can get easily one square of 21×21 cm. Choose a sheet rather thin if you want to be able to fold it properly or it will all become supremely more complicated if you are not very precise.
Then divide each side into 3 parts using a ruler, thus marking every 7 cm and draw the lines as seen in the pictures. Divide then the central squares with a X so as to obtain small triangles. You will only need them to figure out where to fold, draw and write, so no need to draw thick lines. The central square is the heart of the puzzle where to draw or write the most important things. Do the same with the back following the picture up there.


I chose to draw before folding the card to do it more at ease and I imitated a bit the original designs. I was inspired by looking at this beautiful board. Some of those drawings are totally ugly in a super cute way, aren’t they?
If you want final the result to work, follow the way I used to fill the triangles, with the edge of the sheet always on top. This way the triangles, when folded, will form a pretty square.
You can also write and draw in the triangles on the back as I did. Well, once the puzzle will be folded you can draw and write wherever you want. Write your text clockwise and if you think that your beloved isn’t too bright, just write small numbers near the text to indcate which one is to read first.

Now you can follow two paths:
– the one for dummies that makes you fold pretty much everything as shown in this video here.
– and the snobbish refined one… that I tried and that made me quite hysterical with subsequent request for help to Luisa. Okay, origami is not for me 😛


The second way requires for you to perform only the necessary folds and making them in the right way so that the final result is more clean and tidy. To succeed you’ll need a bone folder, used for binding, or alternatively an object with a blunt tip so that you can mark the paper without tearing it (could be the tip of a file). And here’s a secret for you that taught me the talented Paola Fagnola at a workshop on binding: when you make a mark for easy folding, then the paper is to be bent in the opposite direction. Clear no? 😛
So following the pictures above, trace with your bone folder only the red lines and then bend the
paper away from you. Making mountain folds, okay? (BEST WISHES!)


At this point, if you did everything right, after a few minutes of hysterical attempts, you will able to fold your puzzle so that the colored triangles or writings come together to form the central design. If the central design is a mess, congratulations, you’ve obviously done something wrong. Try to fold everything again!
At this point you will have a beautiful ninja star. You may decide to use it against your loved one as it is, but if you want to work on it a little more, fold the outer triangles on themselves so that the puzzle stay closed. To see how, take a look at the final part of the video used by those who picked the easy way.


Now you can create the final design that will be the cover of your puzzle purse. A big heart will be fine. A heart that breaks when the message is opened; but feel free to draw whatever you want. Maybe a piggy bank for a more subtle message?
As you can see I actually didn’t write anything on it because I wasn’t in a very romantic mood. The original ones actually have some funny, clever little poems that can be found here in all their glory.

I think that making puzzle purses with children could be fun too, just help them with the folds and leave to them the task of filling all the spaces with whatever they like 🙂

Hope you had fun! And sorry for my not so perfect English 😉