Please help me welcome Stephanie, the artist behind Beyond Word Designs. If you haven’t seen her shop, I hope you’ll stop by, she now offers prints of all her lovely pieces!!
I am so excited to be guest posting here for Fran’s 12 Days of Christmas! Fran is so creative (can I hear an ‘amen’) and I am a bit nervous that I will pale in comparison. But, because I know how hard it is to get through Christmas I wanted to share a craft that helped me.
Okay, for the sake of a title. . . and because it is the Christmas season, I am calling this tutorial a ‘Holiday Hand Wreath‘. In actuality, it may be more like a ‘Tribute’ or ‘Memorial Wreath‘ because I created this in order to have another way of memorializing Amelia and seeing a piece of her every day (you can read her story here). The idea is so simple and really very lovely when completed. It takes less than 10 minutes to complete but a lifetime of smiles will come from this.
And being that this is my first tutorial . . . I went a little snap happy. When I say there lots of photos, I am really not kidding. So, shall we get started.
I wanted to start off with the finished project, because who doesn’t want to see the ‘wow’ up front, right? This is the Hand Wreath that we created with Ameila’s hand print in the center. We planned ahead and had a canvas ready at the hospital for making hand and footprints with. But don’t worry! If you have any print from your baby, I will show you how you can transfer it in this tutorial a bit later.
Our original Holiday Hand Wreath (which inspired this tutorial) is pictured below and is mounted atop a larger 18 x 18 square inch canvas with Amelia’s print on a 5 x 5 canvas. I just love how this image always reminds me of how small and perfect she was.
In order to make this ‘Holiday Hand Wreath’ you will need the following:
- Two square canvases of any size, but for the purpose of this tutorial, I used a 10 inch and 4 inch square.
- Two paint brushes One large and one small (The larger is a 1/2 flat art brush, the smaller is a detail brush)
- Three paint colors of your choice (greens or reds may be perfect for the holiday). I used economy bottles of art and craft acrylic paint.
- Double sided mounting adhesive ~not in photograph (I like Craft foam squares or dots ~ to be found in the scrap booking section of craft store)
- Graphite transfer Paper IF you don’t have a ready to use canvas print (this can be found at the craft store)
Now comes the FUN part!!! You get to be messy! Oh yes, the messier the better. Take this opportunity to cover the work area and then just embrace your inner two year old and start covering your hand with paint. This may be a good time to mention that you may want to be near a sink to wash your hands.
For my wreath, I wanted to have my husbands had be the darkest color and I wanted his hands to be placed first because they are larger than mine (which is seen as a lighter shade of gray). This can be where you let your personality show through. Perhaps you want to include older siblings hand prints or even grand parents, it is completely up to you.
Once your hand is painted, start in a corner with your palm as close to the middle as you can. The idea is to have your fingers stay inside the edge of the canvas. Once your first print is down, you can repaint or re-wet your hand and move in a clockwise direction on the canvas. Stopping when you come to the first print placement. If you like the look of this, move on to the next step with another hand and color. If not, perhaps you will consider re-layering the print. Again, this is up to you and your wreath can be as full or as minimal as you want it to be.
Now it is MY TURN!!! I am using a silver metallic acrylic paint. Time to get messy!
Acrylic paint tends to dry quickly. You may want to wait until the first layer of paint is dry before beginning another circle of hand prints. Just follow the steps above: Paint hand, place hand on canvas (*this time make sure that your hand is slightly staggered under the first prints so that fingerprints don’t match up), move in clockwise direction.
I realize that many of you may only have a faded print of your little one’s hand and you may not wish to damage it. First, copy the original print and use this instead. If you don’t have a print you can always find one online. Below is what I found online after Googling ‘infant hand print.’ These happen to be perfect!
Transferring an image or print is very easy to do. Place your small canvas on a firm surface. Take your graphite paper (dark side down on canvas) and place on the canvas. Now simply trace with a pen or pencil the outline of the print onto the small canvas. Pressing firmly and trying not to move the image too much.
When you are finished your small canvas will have an transferred outline on it looking like this! Cute right!?
Now you can use your detail brush and the color of your choice to paint in the hand print. I am using the silver metallic again. Don’t worry about the graphite marks that may be left behind ~ you can erase them after your paint has dried.
Once the painted pieces have dried you can apply double sided craft foam squares to the backside of the smaller canvas and attach to the larger canvas. Your Holiday Hand Wreath is now finished! The best part is that it can be used now as a conversation piece and a lovely tribute piece to be left up all year long.
And this is the finished project! Again, there are lots of variations that you could come up with, including a foot print instead. You can attach a saw tooth nail hanger on the back and it is ready to place anywhere you want. I hope that you enjoy this project and that your holiday season is a gentle one.
Amelia Rose was born quietly and peacefully on March 11, 2010. She was simply ~ beautiful. Jesus got to hold her before we did, but we are forever grateful for our time with her. She was loved from the beginning, through the middle, at the end, and forever more. She is physically gone, but continues to be a daily part of our lives and inspired me to paint again after many years. Beyond Words Designs (Art celebrating life) was created as a tribute to my daughter and the life that she never got to live. Painting has allowed me to create beauty from pain. Please visit Beyond Words Designs to view my artwork and Carried Through Grief to read more about my story.