FabFriday: Engineer Your Sweet Valentine's Day Cards!


It’s that time of year again, the holiday to show others how much you care about them with the timeless gifts of cards… and candy!

Using their creative problem-solving skills - and the engineering design process - your students can invent and design engineered Valentine’s Day cards that hold different kinds of candy. This Fab@School Maker Studio activity encourages students to identify challenges and create models and prototypes to refine their ideas. And, of course there is candy!


The first step in the design process is to define the challenge. Here’s my challenge: Design two different kinds of card that incorporates candy of two different shapes. The first card will hold a lollipop by the stick, and the second to fold open to show a chocolate candy. With these challenges in mind, I can now collect the data.

There are times where I like to measure everything and use numbers to guide my design process, and other times where I’d rather just play around with no limitations. For this project, I am using a ruler because I want to know the size of the candy before determining how it will be “held” on the card.


The stick on my lollipop is 2 inches long, and the chocolate heart is 1 ⅜ inches wide and tall.

Using these measurements I will brainstorm my solution. My favorite way is to doodle with paper and scissors, making quick and simple tests for all sorts of ideas. This way, I can get a lot of simple ideas out quickly, and get a rough idea of what I am going to then design with the Fab@School Maker Studio design tool.

My first card will have two holes that I can poke the lollipop stick though. Based off my measurements, I know that the holes must be less than 2 inches apart so that the stick can fit through both of them to lock it in place. I cut out a simple paper rectangle with scissors and made two slits roughly one inch apart. I can then stick the lollipop into the slits to test my design. Looks like it works!


The second card is a lot of fun. I wanted a folding design with the chocolate inside, but the card couldn’t close completely because the chocolate candy was too thick. I solved this challenge by cutting a hole through the top half of the card, so the candy is visible when the card is both open and closed!

If your student’s don’t like their draft? That’s okay! They’ll learn something new with each prototype they make, so encourage them to have fun and create! When a student is ready, jump on over to Fab@School Maker Studio to create a digitally fabricated version.

Now it is time for the development work! Using the math tools found within Fab@School Maker Studio, I am able to accurately plan for scale, length, and size.

For the lollipop card, I’m starting with a 4 by 6 inch rectangle, which was created with the Shape Tool. I then place two circles for the holes that the stick will poke through. They are not positioned the exact same as my prototype, but I am placing the holes less than 2 inches apart, so it’s okay! I can now decorate the rest of my card with Library images and the Text tool. Done!


The folding card is created with two congruent rectangles that have been snapped together with the Magnetize Tool so that they create a fold in the middle. I then place a heart shape with the Shape Tool and size it so that the 1 ⅜ inch wide chocolate can fit through when the card is folded. Once the design has been decorated, it’s ready to print and fabricate!


This activity is a fun way for your students to experience the engineering design process - more specifically working with prototypes. Encourage your students to share their engineering solutions with the rest of the class! What kinds of cards can you and your students create? Tweet your photos at @FableLearn using the hashtag #FabMakerStudio.

But wait, there's more! This Fab@School Maker Studio activity is aligned to the Next Generation Science Standards. This activity reinforces the standards K-2-ETS1-1K-2-ETS1-2, and 3-5 ETS1-1, highlighting the process of defining and designing for challenges, and refining ideas through drafts, models, and prototypes.