DIY First Christmas Ornament

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap  —  December 19, 2012 — 4 Comments

I’m not a very sentimental person. I don’t scrapbook or collect momentos. I’m a strong believer that memories are in your head, not embodied by material things. But I kept seeing all these pictures on the internet of cute little baby footprint Christmas crafts and started getting anxious about the fact that Jack’s hands and feet will never be this small again. I developed an overwhelming urge to document his tiny extremities, and decided that a tree ornament would be the least stressful way to do so. Just hang it on the tree every Christmas with no guilt about it hiding away unseen in a box the other eleven months of the year. So I picked up these oval wooden discs at Hobby Lobby for 67 cents apiece. I figured I’d make one for us, one for my parents, and one for Nick’s parents. I realized after I got home that maybe it would have been nice to make one for my grandma, too, but I couldn’t bring myself to go back into Hobby Lobby the week before Christmas (sorry Grandma).

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I started out by clamping all three to a chair on my front porch and using my teensiest tiniest drill bit to make a small hole. The wood was so thin and light that I really worried about splitting it. The scrap piece of fabric was to keep my nasty, rusty clamp from marring the wood. I marked the spot where I wanted to drill with a pencil.

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I went through the same hole with one slightly larger bit after another, gradually working my way up to a 1/8″ bit, at which point I decided that was probably just about right.

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Then I took them inside, gave them a gentle sanding, and got ready to paint.

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I gave each one a few coats front and back with some metallic gray acrylic paint I had on hand. I just smeared it on with my fingers because my kid is the world’s crappiest napper and it’s easier to wash my hands in a hurry than a paintbrush.

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When Jack woke up from his nap I changed him into a onesie that I didn’t mind ruining and plopped him down on a big piece of cardboard. I would have just stripped him down to a diaper but I’d rather mess up a onesie than one of our cloth diapers. We have disposables in the house and I suppose I could have used one of those but I seem to be saving them for some sort of dire emergency.

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I took a deep breath and painted Jack’s hand with green paint. Around this time I started wondering whether this was all a terrible idea. It just seems very counterintuitive to paint your baby.

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I somehow convinced him to open his hand and quickly pressed the painted wood against it, then repeated with the other two discs. They didn’t turn out as pretty as I’d hoped.

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Not to be deterred, I moved on to his foot. It was much, much easier to grab, paint, and press his foot than his hand.

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And the footprints we made on the backside of the discs turned out much nicer looking as a result.

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I decided to give the handprints another try. I wiped the green paint off as best I could, gave them a quick sanding, then went over it with some gray paint. See, good as new.

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Unfortunately, the results were only marginally improved. Turns out it’s just really difficult to get yoir baby to surrender control of his hands long enough to get nice looking handprints.

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It was around this time that I realized the paint I was using was definitely not non-toxic or no-VOC. Parenting fail! Into the bath he went, but not before he grabbed a big ‘ol handful of my hair with his paint-covered hand. That was his revenge for exposing him to toxins, I suppose.

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Once everything was nice and dry, I used a crochet hook to thread each disk onto some cotton cord.

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Then I just tied each one into a little knot, making a perfect loop for hanging.

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I hadn’t thought all the way to this step so I kind of impulsively just wrote his name and the year on each side in black sharpie using my nicest, neatest handwriting.

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Bam, ornament on the tree.

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Now I can be sure I won’t have any regrets about letting his little hands and feet grow to be monstrous without documenting how small they once were. Nick’s feet are giant and I feel sure Jack’s won’t be small for long. And maybe someday when my house is being overrun by giant smelly sneakers I can pull out this ornament and reminisce about a time when he didn’t even wear shoes.

I hope y’all aren’t too stressed out gearing up for Christmas! I am almost done with my shopping but haven’t wrapped a single gift. And the card…I don’t even want to talk about it.

Charlotte@Living Well on the Cheap


4 responses to DIY First Christmas Ornament

  1. Charlotte,
    It is adorable and if it was perfect,it would not be as special. It will mean more to you each year. The good thing about having a baby is that you can learn let go of everything being just perfect!
    This is a good time to be sentimental and save little momentos. You may think you will remember everything, because you have a young mind! Later in life,it may be more difficult to remember everything without some kind of visual reminder.
    Merry Christmas,

  2. Good idea. You get more sentimental with kids. You want to remember every thing. One year I got the brilliant idea of making my own wrapping paper. I took long rolls of white paper, stuck my kids’ feet in red and green paint. I leaned the toddlers up against myself, grabbed them by the ankles and walked their feet up and down the paper. I can’t describe how I held them up, but as you probably know by now, Moms can balance their kids and hold on to things in many amazing ways.

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