Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Baby's Handprint and Mistle"toes" Ornaments

As I'm sure you all have noticed by now, I am LOVING being a mommy! There is just something so amazing about parenthood. I am in awe every day of my little girl and how much she is growing and learning. She's getting too big too fast! We're at 5 1/2 months right now, although she thinks she is much older than that. ;)

Being a parent is fun every season, but I'm finding it especially fun right now, during the holidays. Seeing the world through my baby girl's eyes is a unique experience. She's at a great age to start taking in all this holiday stuff. She loves staring at the lights on our Christmas tree, crinkling wrapping paper in her hands, and trying to eat the presents under the tree when Momma's not looking. I love watching her discover the world around her.

I wanted to do a Christmas craft with her; even though she's small, I wanted to start that tradition early. I love crafting so much that it's one of my favorite ways to bond with her. I also wanted a way to help commemorate this oh-so-brief time when she's this little.

These ornaments were the perfect answer. Her little hand- and footprints are precious now, but will be infinitely more so in the future. And it was something we did together, which she won't remember, but I will. I will always cherish this memory, and in years to come, she will hear the story of how, during her first Christmas, her Daddy and I wrestled to get a good handprint while keeping her from eating the paint or throwing the ornament...because this is definitely a two-adult job!

You'll notice there is something inside the handprint ornament; this is my baby's newborn hat from the hospital, as well as her hospital bracelet and mine. Love having a place to keep and display those! This was an idea I found here; I just expanded the idea by adding the handprint.
The mistletoes idea is also not original with me; the inspiration came from this plate--I just put it on an ornament instead.

Here is the line-up of things you will need for this project:
Paint markers
Paper plate
Covered work surface

I used 4" ornaments, but use whatever size you think looks best.
A note on the paint: I used ceramic paints, which worked fine, but I should have used glass paint. I'll show you what I did to remedy that later in the post. The paint markers I bought were specifically for glass. This is what I used:

Squeeze some paint onto the paper plate and thoroughly coat your little one's hand or foot. Please be very careful to be sure that they do not ingest any of the paint; I'm not sure how toxic it is, but I do know it wouldn't be a good idea for a baby to eat any of it. :) This is where another adult helper is a must!

For the handprint, point the fingers upward, towards the hook.

For the footprint, point the toes downward, away from the hook.

Helpful tip: If the print smudges or you don't like how it turns out, wipe the paint off the ornament with a baby wipe and try again. I found this worked even after the paint had started drying; at least with the paint I was using.

We tried a few times to get some prints we were satisfied with, and then ended up just cleaning up the final prints a bit. It was hard work trying to get a non-smudged print from a 5-month-old! Here is some of the mess we had when we were done:

Our prints aren't perfect, but I love them that way; they look more genuine than a picture-perfect hand- or footprint, and show my wiggly baby's personality.

When you are satisfied with your prints, leave your ornaments in the tray to dry and go clean up that baby! Make sure to get all traces of paint off of your baby's hands and feet so there is no chance of any paint going in the mouth!

When the paint is completely dry, add details with the paint marker. On the handprint ornaments, I wrote my daughter's name and birth date. This is the ornament in which I added the hospital mementos, so adding other details like birth weight and length might be a fun addition, as well.

On the mistletoe ornament, I drew a bow on the heel. On the opposite side of the ornament, I wrote my daughter's name, "Mistletoes" and the year.

You may notice in the pictures above how the hand- and footprints look dull instead of shiny and glossy. I didn't like that, and I also did not like that the paint seemed easy to scratch off (probably because I hadn't bought a glass paint). The instructions on the paint markers say to bake the project you're working on, but I wasn't sure how my other paint would hold up in the oven.
I ended up using a spray-on Mod Podge finish to solve all of those problems:

I kind-of hooked my finger in the top of the ornament and applied the Mod Podge in small, swirly motions. It worked like a charm! It sealed my paint and gave it a nice glossy finish.

After the Mod Podge dried, the mistletoes ornament was complete!

To finish the handprint ornament, I got out the hospital mementos I wanted to add.

I rolled up the hat pretty tightly and carefully fed it through the opening at the top of the ornament.

When it was inside, I shook the ornament a little to help unroll the hat.
Next, I rolled up my hospital bracelet and placed it inside, as well.

That was followed up by my daughter's hospital bracelet.

After putting the top back in, this ornament was ready for the tree, as well!

These look gorgeous with the tree lights shining through them!

This is such a sweet, fun way to memorialize this phase in my baby's life, as well as keep her hospital mementos! I know I will enjoy looking at these ornaments even more in years to come!

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