Good question. Until a few weeks ago, I didn't know either. And then I found "Here's An Idea," a 1956 Dennison craft book that included a valentine craft that called for gummed paper, which conveniently enough, Dennison made.
The project is a Valentine Whirligig. Pretty cool, huh? Well, pretty complicated, too. If you've ever cursed Martha for providing so little instruction, she must have learned from Dennison, which is a little short in the how-to department too. The instructions rely a lot on little illustrations (not drawn to scale) and many of the recommended materials are hard to find today. Luckily, I had my gummed crepe paper.
Seeing how I don't have a week (or an engineering degree) to devote to constructing the whirligig, I opted for one of the little valentine "sprites," which have pipe cleaner arms and legs. I tried to use as many of the same materials as I would if I was making this in 1956.
First, I twisted standard-size (12 inches) red and a white pipe cleaners to form one peppermint piece (note to self: buy the ready-twisted red and white pipe cleaners in December when you can find them everywhere; they're non-existent in January). One twisted piece forms the arms and head of our valentine sprite; the other piece will be the hips and legs.
Cut two "nickel-size" pieces of peach gummed crepe paper for the head (front and back). I made the eyes and mouth using some cardstock and a standard hole puncher. Dennison recommends Black and Red Signal Dots, which I don't think are made anymore. Glue the eyes and mouth on. Then glue the face to one side of the pipe cleaner circle and the back of the head to the other side.
Cut four gummed crepe paper hearts. I used a package of red foil heart-shaped stickers that I found at the grocery store as a template. Two hearts form the front of the body; two will form the back. Slightly overlap the bottom of one heart over the bottom of the other. Repeat with the other two hearts, making sure the heart shapes match up in size. Glue the pipe cleaner arms to the top of one heart shape. Glue the pipe cleaner legs to the bottom of the same heart shape. Glue the other heart shapes to the back of the pipe cleaners.
Now add hands and feet (or slippers). I guessed on the slipper shape and used a heart punch to make little heart-shaped hands. Finally, add the hat, which you also have to figure out yourself. Remember to glue a second set of the hands and hat to the back of the sprite.
And that's it. He (or she) is cute but looks ready for the NBA. I also think the head is too small for the body, so if you make one, be sure that your head template is a quarter not a nickel.
I also made a second sprite using those grocery store hearts for the body. They were the closest thing that I could find for something like Dennison would have made. If you use similar stickers, you might want to stick them to a piece of cardstock first and then cut them out. They're actually a little on the thin side to apply directly to the pipe cleaners. The pipe cleaners were in my stash; I think I bought them at the dollar store.
Good luck, and show me your funny valentines too.