I used this to commemorate three children's hand size one Christmas, they were ages 3 years, 18 mos. and a newborn. It could be for just one child and all one color, or you could still use different colors and make smaller wreaths, one for each child, etc. It's really open for your personal touch. I made the hand templates a couple of ways. For the older two, we traced their hands on card stock and cut them out to make the templates. For the newborn (or for less cooperative little ones of any age) I approximated the tracing from a handprint made with an ink pad. I used three different shades of green felt that I thought looked nice together. The darkest green was for the oldest grandchild, the middle one got the bright green and the newborn (the only boy) got the lightest and most contrasting shade. I checked out a couple of different craft stores, as they actually carried very different color selections of sheet felt.
This even works when you can't get to all the kids in person. You can have someone trace or print the child's hand and mail it to you, so all the babies are represented!
styrofoam wreath (I used a 12" one)
pointy little scissors
hot glue & gun
ball tipped pins
sawtooth picture hanger (optional)
decorations of choice (optional)
green thread (optional)
sewing needle (optional)
squeeze paint (optional)
I didn't get pictures of the process, so they're all of the finished wreath, but I hope it's still clear enough from my instructions!
Step 1: Covering Your Wreath
None of the styrofoam should show when you are finished. Just take the skein of yard and loop it around through the hole in the wreath many, many times. This is honestly the most difficult part of the whole process! When you've made it all the way around, pick the neatest looking side (you'll probably end up with some glue blobs anyway) of the wreath to be the back, because the front will be covered up. Cut the yarn and glue down the end on the front of the wreath, so it will be hidden behind the hands.
- Second pic you can kind of see my yarn end and where the glue blobs up a bit.
Step 2: Leaf Hands
I was able to get 12 of each child's hand without using more than 2 sheets of any color. I liked the significance of using the number 12 for a Christmas craft, and it also seemed to be a good number for the hand leaves to fill up the wreath nicely. It does depend on what size hands you are dealing with.
Part 2: Arrange your composition by laying the felt hands onto the wreath.
Make sure the little fingers all point one way. Put one hand down and then lay the next one down, kind of working backwards, slightly further along the wreath, alternating their direction so that the fingers of one hand point more to the outside of the wreath and the fingers of the next hand point more to the inside. This gives a more natural "leafy" effect. Work your way around the entire wreath.
Step 3: Securing Leaves Part 1
This step is just to secure your composition so that it doesn't shift during the gluing process. Only use 1-2 pins per hand. I made sure to hide the pins between the hand layers so that when I looked at it the balls on the ends of the pins wouldn't distract me from the visual effect I was creating. Fiddle with the direction and distribution of the hands and pins until they look exactly the way you want. I found it helpful to prop up the wreath and step back to look at it and see if anything needed to be shifted. You also want to be sure that you can't see your yarn wrapped base when you look at the front of the wreath.
Step 4: Securing Leaves Part 2
Without unpinning, lift up one hand, squeeze a blob of hot glue in a spot that is far enough away from the edge so as not to show and press the hand onto the glue. Be careful not to glue the pins. Focus on gluing the palm sections as the fingers should be left loose. Glue around the entire wreath, one hand at a time, making sure to not only glue the hands to the wreath base, but also to each other. I ended up gluing a few hands, then unpinning those, working my way around so that each hand was secure and no pins were left in the wreath.
Step 5: Decorate!
I chose some inexpensive laser cut wooden snowflakes that I found at a craft store and some red jingle bells. I liked the idea of taking representing each grandchild a step further with three unique snowflakes. It was pretty just like that, but I wanted a little pop of red to be festive. You can leave yours totally plain, or put little bells all around, like berries, or just put a bow on it and call it a day. Use small dots of glue!
Step 6: Last Touches!
You could omit this step if you would like to use your wreath as a centerpiece or table decoration.
I held my wreath and looked at it to see how I wanted it to hang on the wall, then I reached my hand around to hold my finger in the spot where I needed to place the hanger and turned the wreath around and laid it down, keeping my finger in place. I then placed a sawtooth hanger where my finger was. You could hot glue the hanger, but I hand sewed it into the yarn layer because I thought it would look better. I also hand stitched a small piece of ribbon with the names of the children and the year (put on with squeeze paint - sharpie bleeds on ribbon) on the backside of the wreath at the bottom.
Don't forget to pick off any stray glue strands! Happy Holidays!