Monday, February 27, 2012

Emma's DIY Baby Gift - Lots of Love on Display


My friend Beth, who gets regular mention here, became a mom in October to a yummy baby girl named Emma.  After visiting Emma (and her proud parents) in the hospital, I was acutely aware of two things - one, this baby needed an extra special handmade baby gift and two, holding newborn babies makes you ovulate.  Okay, so number two isn't scientifically proven, but I will tell you that when I learned to my surprise that I was expecting again, I went on one of those online ovulation calculators, plugged in the due date, and the resulting ovulation date was Emma's birthday.  Bible. 

Anyone on Pinterest has seen the lovely sarahandbendrix heart shadow boxes available on etsy.com.  I loved the idea and thought something similar would make a great gift for Emma.  While you could make one for nearly any occasion (bridal showers, anniversaries, first birthdays), I thought it would make for extra darling nursery wall art.  Instead of using regular old paper, though, I had the idea to use the cards Emma received with her baby gifts as the paper source for the art.  What made this even easier is that Beth, being superstitious, waited until after Emma was born to receive or open baby gifts.  This meant that the cards would only now start rolling in. 

I gave Beth explicit instructions to hold onto her cards until directed otherwise.  Two unexpected by-products of this were that Beth actually had an easier time writing thank you notes since she noted what gifts she received on each card, and that in going through her stack of cards once she was "done", I stumbled upon a gift card for Buy Buy Baby she had missed.  Jackpot.

Here's the scoop.  You will need:

- a heart shaped paper punch (available here or at any craft store, and you could certainly use another shape if desired)
- shadow box frame (I bought mine, which is 10"x10", at a local frame shop but IKEA carries them as well)
- card stock in your color of choice, cut to fit your shadow box frame
- a pencil and/or pen
- ruler or graph paper
- glue (I used Elmer's)

Instructions:

1. You will need a heaping mess of hearts, so get to punching.  I tried to vary the patterns, colors and interest of each heart, including little details like a bear face or a flower or other recognizable objects and words.  My unexpected find was Emma's initials scattered amongst the cards, so I punched an "E", "J" and "F".  It wasn't part of the plan, but it had me tickled pink.


2. Once I had a good number of hearts, I decided how I wanted to grid my hearts in the frame.  I ended up with seven across and six down, which was totally arbitrary based on the scale of the hearts inside the frame and the fact that Emma's nursery walls are pink, so I wanted a lot of negative white space. 

3. Draw a guide for your grid.  I have a few grided moleskin notebooks laying around, so I simply marked the grid using the preset boxes from the moleskin and then traced them onto my paper.  Here's what I ended up with:


4. I wanted to add a little depth to the hearts, especially since they will be encased in a shadow box, so I decided to gently fold each one as I went along, giving them "wings".  I had about 60 hearts on hand for my grid of 42 so that I could avoid having two similar hearts next to one another as I went along.  From there it was just assembly.  I applied a little glue to the back ridge of each heart and then lined up each dot with the cleft of the heart shape.  Here's the first row completed:

See Emma's initials in the bottom corner?

5. Finish up your hearts. 



6. Here's an extra little optional step before throwing away your cards.  On a separate card stock, list all of the names of the card givers to be tucked inside the frame behind the art. 


You're done!  Slap a pretty pink bow on that bad boy and call it a day!


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