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Handmade: A Calendar Project

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Like most people, we enjoy making and giving homemade Christmas gifts. Over the years, we have made calendars for grandparents and great-grandparents using our handprints. It’s been such a treasured gift that I wanted to share it with you! So, without further adieu, I give you what I affectionately call “Handmade.”

What you will need:

  • Acrylic paint: black, white, flesh tone, brown, pink, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple
  • Plain colored paper or cardstock (You will need 12 of these per calendar)
  • Two sheets of coordinating patterned paper
  • Letter stickers or letter cut outs
  • A cheap calendar
  • A good adhesive – and lots of it!
  • A small hole punch – I use the Making Memories eyelet setter
  • A child or two (or more!)

Some tips:

  • Acrylic paint does not come out of clothing or carpet – so make sure your child (and you!) don’t wear your favorite outfits.
  • Do this activity as close to a sink as possible. A wet washcloth or old towel is also helpful.
  • Baby handprints are adorable and difficult – start out making baby’s handprint on each page. That way, if you need to use the backside of the paper because of a big paint smear, you haven’t already painted the older kids’ prints.
  • Start way in advance – that way you have plenty of time to finish at a gentle pace.
  • If you are making more than one calendar, I would suggest focus on making one month at a time. It is easier to do all of the July pages you’ll need, rather than making a whole calendar and then starting on a new one.
  • If you have more than one child, put small initials or a name somewhere on each print.
  • Make one for yourself, too! What a great way to document handprint growth!
  • A few “mistakes” are cute and enduring – leave them!

Make it:

January:
Paint center of child’s hand white. Paint black everywhere else. When dry, add white circles with black dots for eyes (I used a pencil eraser), small triangles for beaks, and large triangles for feet.

February:
Paint one hand at a time with red paint and print overlapping in heart shape. Make a semicircle “stamp” and stamp edging after handprints dry.

March:
Paint fingers orange, top of palm flesh tone, thin strip under that orange, and thumb and very bottom of palm green. Use another child’s palm to make pot of gold. Use other little fingers to make rainbow and gold in pot.

April:
Print each child’s hand in white (not including thumb). If possible, have them spread their two sets of two fingers apart to make the two “ears.” Add details.

May:
Print spread apart green handprints. After dry, add yellow flower middles. After dry, add flower petals. This one is a many-step deal.

June:
Use various colors to make butterfly sections. When dry, add decorations and butterfly body.

July:
Paint palm blue and alternating fingers red and white. Try to get fingers as close together as possible. Add stars.

August:
Paint semi circle on bottom of hand and paint the rest of hand orange.  Paint with fingers apart. Add details after paint dries.

September:
Paint hand and part of arm brown. When dry, add leaves and apples on ground and on branches.

October:
Print white feet. Add eyes (pencil eraser) and mouths (I used a lid of a paint container) when dry. For fun, I added the word boo.

November:
We’ve all done these since first grade, so no explanation needed. I added red, orange, and yellow wisps of color and the face details after the brown was dry.

December:
Elf: See leprechaun in March, adding ball at end of hat, rosy cheeks, and pointy ears. Polar bear: white handprint with details later added. Santa: like elf but with different colors and without ears. Rudolph: Brown with antlers, red nose, and tail added.

Putting it together:
Use adhesive to attach your pictures to the preset pictures. Repunch the hole you covered so that the calendar can still be hung. Then attach a cute cover and back by attaching the patterned paper to the front and back, punching holes, and then laying the calendar flat and open and taping the coordinating paper together to keep it nice and together on the outside. Then add a label or title using stickers or your own handwriting!

Some of you may be helping just one child – in which case your calendar wouldn’t be as cluttered, or the child (as in the case of the butterfly) would make more than one handprint for the page. Feel free to get creative, embellish it, and adapt it for your number of kiddos! But most of all, make memories as you make your calendars!

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