Saturday, February 4, 2012

Hand and Heart

Squirt's school is having Teacher Appreciation Week soon and requested artwork from each of the students. Her first response when given a crayon is generally to eat it, and I really don't think Crayola poop is what they had in mind.

I came across a very cute pin recently and thought, aha!, as soon as I saw it. I knew I could replicate this very easily and it would suffice. As a teacher, I know that my favorite gifts from students are cards and letters. As a preschool teacher, I'm sure anything with the babies' handprints on it is cherished.

The first step was to trace her arm. Easier said than done, but I got a good enough outline to make it work. I made the mistake of tracing it on regular paper. Don't do that. Trace it on card stock, which will come in handy later.

The next step is to wait for nap time, because you can't get anything done when you have to stop every three seconds to say "stop chewing on the electrical cords."

Nap time has arrived.

"I may hold your hand for but a moment, but I'll hold you in my heart forever." Cute, right?

My next step and your next step will be different. I realized later on, while cutting and cutting and cutting red hearts, that I wanted some sort of cute poem on it. This was after I had already layered the paper. I had to take it apart so I could send just one sheet of paper through the printer. Well, actually I tried sending both sheets through the printer and was very lucky I didn't break the thing. The grass didn't feed through, but didn't jam the feed mechanism. That would have been hard to explain to tech support!

I wanted to do a more literal interpretation of an outdoorsy scene, so I went through my scrapbooking paper looking for just blue and green. I was surprised to find I actually had paper that looked like grass and clouds! I didn't have enough clouds for eight (4 teachers, plus extras for the other staff members), but I had other blues that would do. In the end, I liked the abstract blues better. The grass was pretty cute though. They requested that the end artwork be no larger than 8.5 x 11, so I cut down the scrapbooking paper to fit. The grass is 4 x 8.5, following the photography rule of thirds. 

Next I got some old magazines and tore out pages with browns for the arm (tree trunk) and reds for the hearts. I ended up needing more than I thought I would, so tear out plenty the first time around.

Now you will need to use your arm template to cut out tree trunks. I used the negative space so I could see what I was cutting out. As you see, I did the same thing with heart shapes, but I figured out pretty quickly that it was much easier to simply cut the hearts out of the red much like we did in elementary school- fold along the line of symmetry and cut. I was able to utilize more red space and they had cleaner edges.
Forget the heart cut-outs. Save time and improvise!
I used a small piece of scotch tape to help keep the template from shifting.

I ended up using mod podge to glue everything down because magazine print is hard to work with. If you choose to use scrapbooking paper (which I seriously considered halfway through - it's not a bad idea) you could probably use a glue stick. Still, if you're not going to frame or laminate the final product, mod podge is the way to go.

Working with the hearts was trial and error as well. What I finally decided worked the best is to have a large pile of hearts ready to go, put a thin layer of mod podge down, quickly place your hearts, then another thin layer on top of everything. Later, I went back and cut smaller hearts to fill in the gaps as needed. Lay flat to dry, and count on at least one hour to get fully dry. 

Look who's up from her nap! Good thing, she needed to "sign" the back. 

 See, crayon in the mouth.

Final product! I hope her teachers like them!

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