How to Make a Hand Print Tree Skirt for a Family Keepsake - Add Hand Prints As They Grow!
It Doesn't Take Much to Get Started
A hand print tree skirt is easier than you think! Best of all, there is no sewing involved! All you need to get started is:
-A plain felt tree skirt (I saw one today in the dollar store near my house.)
-Or enough felt to cut out your own skirt. (This is what I did.)
-A scrap of Christmas fabric
-Fabric Paint in a Writer Bottle
-Paper for tracing hands
Making a tree skirt is simple!
How to Make a Pattern for a Tree Skirt
If you can't find a plain felt tree skirt at your local dollar store, it really is not hard to make one.
Spread out a large sheet of newspaper. (You may even tape 2 or 3 sheets together.) Fold any tree skirt in half and place it on the newspaper. Trace around the tree skirt to make a pattern of the half of the tree skirt.
Cut the newspaper to create your pattern. Place your pattern on a large piece of felt that is folded in half. Since you only traced half of the tree skirt, you'll cut the fabric on the fold. This will give you the full-sized pattern. (Be sure to cut on the fold, or you'll end up with two separate halves. Then, you WILL have to sew!)
If desired, use fabric paint or ribbon and glue to create a decorative edge on your tree skirt. As shown in the photo, I simply glued a piece of red ribbon around the edge of the tree skirt to give it a little decoration. I also glued a few bows in the middle to make it fun. You can make your decorations as simple or as complicated as you want.
How You Decorate Your Tree Skirt is Up to You!
I started my tree skirt by writing our family's name on it with fabric paint. I also put my husband's and my hand prints in the center. Then, I glued my kids' first hand prints in the center of the hand prints. I wrote their names and the year in fabric paint.
Each year after that, I added my kids' hand prints.
You'll have to decide what order you want to use for the hand prints. For my tree skirt, I always put odd years to the left and even to the right. I did this so the front of the tree skirt would have decorations during the first few years. You could also start on one end of the tree skirt and move chronologically to the other end of the skirt.
Also be aware of whether you should use your children's right hands or left hands to make the tree skirt look balanced.
Make Your Mark
The easiest way I've found to get my kids' hand prints, now that they are older, is to trace them on paper and cut them out.
When they were babies, it wasn't quite so easy. In fact, wrestling an octopus would have been easier.
I have no magic solutions, but here's something I did that worked. Try putting washable paint on your baby's hand and stamping it on paper. Then, when it's dry, you can cut out it. it may end up looking like a smear, but you should be able to get a good enough print to get the basic shape of that sweet little baby hand.
(While you're already covered in paint from this attempt, you should stamp a few extra hand prints. Cut them out, tie a ribbon on them and give them to grandmas as ornaments. Grandmas love hand prints.)
Really! You Don't Have to Sew!
Once you've got the shape of your child's hand cut out, you can place the pattern on a piece of fabric and cut it out.
Then, use fabric glue to attach it to the tree skirt. You could sew it if you were an over-achieving super-mom, but if you're like the rest of us, glue will do.
Once the glue is dry, use fabric paint to write your child's name and the year. You can outline the hand, add dots, etc.
How To Care for Your Tree Skirt
I use any kind of Christmas fabric for the hand prints. For a few years, I let my kids take turns picking out the fabric. I usually bought it the year ahead of time when Christmas fabric went on clearance.
I've had years when I just couldn't manage to put the hand prints on the tree skirt. For those years, I simply traced the kids' hands, wrote their names and years on the paper and pinned the paper to the tree skirt so I could finish the hand prints the next year. (Thus, the "Brock 2012" in the photo above.)
"What about washing?" you ask. I have no idea. I've never tried to wash mine. I just make sure to take extra care with it.
To store your tree skirt, be sure to fold it where the fabric paint won't touch other areas of fabric paint. The paints, though dry, will stick together. You can also put white, acid free tissue paper between the folds to keep it from sticking.
I hope you and your family will enjoy your tree skirt as much as we have! It is a project my kids have looked forward to through the years. We are now adding hand prints to the back of our skirt, but it doesn't make the memories any less precious!