Over Mother’s Day weekend, my kids and I decided work on some DIY Christmas decorating projects together. Not only did these art projects give me a chance to share my love of crafting with them, but we also made keepsake Christmas decorations that any family member would love to receive and decorate with for the holidays.
Handprint Christmas Wreaths
When my kids were babies, I loved to take them to our local pottery studio and make handprint tiles and platters for family members. Now that my babies are elementary school-age (10, 8, and 7 (twins)), I thought it would be fun to recreate those memories with a holiday twist. However, the Pinterest photos that I found didn’t include instructions, so I jotted down my steps as I went along.
- 12″ x 12” stretched canvas
- A pencil
- Tempera paint
- Sponge brushes
- Kamar Varnish
- Chalk paint (optional)
- Metallic acrylic paint (optional)
- Trace a circle on the canvas with a pencil to serve as a guide/outline
- Paint the kids’ hands with tempera paint using the sponge brushes
- Press their painted hands on the canvas and allow to dry
- Write Merry Christmas 2016 with a pencil and then trace the letters with paint (this may take a few coats)
- Using the same process, add red accents like a ribbon or berries
- After the paint dries, spray it with Kamar Varnish to preserve
I also wanted to create my own unique version of the handprint wreath, so I decided to paint one of the canvases with black chalk paint and then paint my kids’ hands with gold paint for a more modern look. I used FolkArts Metallics 660E Pure Gold.
While very happy with the outcome, I think it would have been easier if my kids were a few years younger, say age 3-6. It’s trickier to both create a pattern and fit larger handprints onto the canvas.
If you want to capture footprints, then I definitely think you should do this project with smaller children. Our youngest are 7 and their feet were too big to include several prints on a 12” x 12” canvas.
Also, I wrote the Merry Christmas lettering freehand with a pencil and then finished with paint. If you are looking for a more precise look, I think stencils are the way to go.
Bottom line: It’s a fun and affordable project, especially if you already own acrylic paints.
Check out this Pinterest post by the WHOot for the original inspiration behind these handprint wreaths.
Felt and Pinecone Elves
For something a bit more advanced to try with my kids, I took to Pinterest again and found these super cute little DIY felt and pinecone elves created by Lia Griffith. The instructions actually call for a hot glue gun, but if you’re working with kids, you may want to opt for tacky glue instead. I’m actually thinking about making diorama boxes with them so they can store their elves inside as seen here.
- Various colors of felt
- Scissors for cutting felt
- Small to medium size pinecones
- Glue (I used a hot glue gun, but I think you could use tacky glue as well)
- Small decorative acorns for the heads (alternative to wooden balls).
- Sharpies to draw faces on the acorns
- Cut all of the felt pieces out for the cone hat, feet, and scarf (use a template to make them uniform)
- Blanket stitch the triangles together into cones and sew a mini jingle bell on top
- Glue the feet on the bottoms of the cones
- Glue the hats onto acorns or wooden balls and draw dots for eyes and mouth
- Glue the heads onto cones
- Tie the scarf and glue it into place
The reality check is that these are definitely time-consuming. If you’re working with kids, use tacky glue instead of a hot glue gun. I burned my fingers many times gluing articles of clothing to the elves. If you are working with younger elementary school kids, you may want to cut up all the felt in advance and help the kids correctly place their pieces.
Bottom line: I think this project is better suited for older kids who can handle cutting out tiny pieces of clothing for the elves with sharp scissors.
Click here to check out the original project by Pioneer Setter on Pinterest.
If these two DIY projects piqued your interest, here are a few other Christmas projects that I would love to try:
These are really just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do with a little creativity and an afternoon to spare. If you have any other Christmas art projects in mind that you can do with your kids, share them with us in the comments below.