I don’t know about you, but my kids are kind of going bananas today. They have the Christmas Eve crazies, the out of school/routine freakies, and the “everyone is coming to visit!” sillies.

We’re dreaming up other things for them to do today — I will resort to plopping them in the jogging stroller if necessary, or simply locking them outside with a snack and water bottle. Just kidding. I won’t lock the door.

BUT. If you have a blank canvas or other suitable medium, do this thing that’s all over Pinterest: the family Christmas tree!
Seth and his handprints

(Btw, I’ve started grabbing packs of these canvases when I’m in Hobby Lobby or Michael’s and they’re on sale or just cheap. Great rainy day activities!)

I’ve seen a lot of the handprint Christmas tree projects on Pinterest, but I decided I wanted it to be a whole family project instead of just the kids. I also decided that we would have a “downswept” tree instead of an “upswept” tree.

Our concept was simple: largest hands on the bottom, smallest hands up top. So Will’s handprints (two pairs) make the bottom tier, my handprints (two pairs) make the next tier, Seth’s the next, Nora’s the next. Now, Nora’s hands are so tiny that we had to do 6 – 8 pairs to get full coverage. I think it was six for the tier above Seth’s, then one more pair for the top point of the tree. Then Jude’s teeny baby hands (okay, fine … one year old hands! ack!) are the star on top.

Nora making handprints

 

After all the green dries, you can go back and add thumb/finger prints in various colors to be ornaments. I’m going to have all of our visiting family add their finger and thumb prints once everyone is here.

A friend asked me if I had any “lessons learned” (can you tell we do lots of project management?!”), so here you go:

  • If you look at Jude’s pictures we stripped him down almost naked! You may actually want to do it with just a diaper on and have a bath ready for the baby to get into … we needed an immediate wash or Jude was going to lick all the paint off his hands! (He made a good effort, as you can see.)
  • Instead of dipping a hand in the paint, we used those foam brushes to do a coating (not too thick, not too thin) on the hand. Go a little bit up the side of the fingers, too.
  • Babies like to curl their hands up around the paint, so Mom ran her finger over his knuckles to get Jude to open his hand, then we quickly laid his hand on the canvas.
  • Quickly press down on the fingers with a slight side-to-side roll to make a full impression.
  • We used acrylic paint. It washes off of hands really well, not so much off clothing. Be sure to immediately wipe and rinse any paint smears on clothes.
  • Take a fine-point permanent marker and write the name of the person next to one of their handprints. That way you’ll really remember whose hand is whose, 20 years from now.

Jude making the star

For the finishing touches to the canvas, we found a 3/4 inch festive ribbon and ran it around the canvas, securing with hot glue. I found out that the glue would bead up and peel off if I did too much at a time, so it was short stretches and quick presses of the ribbon to get it secured. I also began and ended my ribbon at the top since that’s the area least likely to be seen where I have it hanging.

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Merry Christmas!

 

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