Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Home Made Christmas Gifts

To give warning, this post is intended to be the first of many as we close in on the holidays. Does it seem too early to you? If you're making your own, I promise you it's right about the best time to start!

The picture at top is a shirt we've done twice now. We will probably use this idea a few more times in the coming years as our family grows and our children get bigger. Four out of four grandparents polled love this gift - what more can be said in its favor? If my informal poll is not enough to entice you, here are other reasons this makes a great gift:
  • Each shirt costs less than $25 to make
  • This creates a lasting, make Grandma cry reminder of where-your-kids-were-when
  • Takes as little as 15 minutes to make (not including drying time), depending on the age and number of your children
  • You can tailor the shirt to match whatever style and color the grandparent prefers - short sleeves? Check. Long sleeves? Check. Turtleneck? Check. Yellow/green/blue/tan/red? Check/check/check/check/check. I think you get the idea!
So here are the nitty-gritty details:

What you need:

Shirt(s) in the correct size(s) for your recipient
Fabric paint in a color that contrasts well with the color of your shirt(s)
Grocery sack or piece of cardboard
* Puff paint fabric paint to outline the hands/feet

What you need to do:

1. Launder the shirt ahead of time in case there is an issue of shrinkage.

2. Lay the shirt out as flat as possible with a large piece of cardboard or a cut up paper grocery sack laid flat inside the shirt. This keeps your paint from bleeding through to the other side.

3. Make sure your children are in clothes that you don't mind getting paint on - this paint is designed to stay in unless you've washed the garment around 2,000,000 times. Make sure your clothes are similarly carefree!

4. Have the child hold their hand or foot (we do both if the shirt is big enough or maybe hands on front, feet on back) flat open and smear paint all over the hand/foot. Then carefully help the child push their hand flat against the shirt and pull it off again. The first time or two is tricky but you get the hang of it pretty quickly!

5. We outlined the handprint in puff paint to make it stand out a bit. This helps because where the palm imprint is does not usually fill in all the way due to the natural lay of the hand.

6. If you'd like, write a cute message on the shirt. Ideas: "Hands on Grandma/pa" near handprints; "My grandkids walk all over me" near footprints, etc. We also write in names and ages around the prints themselves and put the year on there somewhere.

7. Lay flat to dry out of eyesight of the recipient and out of reach of the children and other clothing for at least 24 hours before wrapping carefully and doing the tissue paper, gift wrap thing.

8. Washing and care: we usually advise our grands to wash these inside out so they don't get so much friction on the other clothes in the wash, on cold water, no bleach, etc. Low heat in the dryer or hang to dry.

More gifts to come! Come back to show off your "Grand"shirt!

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