Try-it Tuesday: How to craft a fall family tree

I shared this fun little kid-friendly family tree craft over a year ago as a guest post but never here on the blog, so I figured I’d post here today so you guys have something to read, and my brain doesn’t have to be bothered to actually be…um…what’s that word I’m looking for?

Oh yeah. Coherent.

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Originally posted October 7, 2011

I’m not usually one to get terribly crafty with my children (unless scheming how I can have chocolate ice cream while they’re still awake without their eating it all counts as “getting crafty with it”).

It’s not a strength of mine at all.

But every now and then, the crafting inspiration strikes me, and I just go with it.

Which is what happened a few days ago, with the end result being this:

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Here’s what you’ll need to get started:

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    • Canvas (I found mine—which is 10”X14”—at Target on clearance for $3, and it was already cute, but I didn’t really have anything in my décor to match its Asian flair, so I decided to repaint it). You could easily use poster board or wrap cardboard in fabric. Feel free to be creative with your background
    • Brushes
    • Craft paint (both of these are assuming that you’re starting with a canvas that you want to paint)
    • Straight pins
    • Fabric scraps (I chose two patterns and two solids)
    • Glue (I used a combo of hot glue and Elmer’s, though only the hot glue made it in my “ingredients” pic)
    • Puffy paint (this is for writing your family names on your leaves and could just as easily be a felt tip marker or fabric marker)
    • Trunk/leaves template. You can, of course, make your own, or you can click here for my PDF template if you like what I’ve done.

1. If you’ve got them, recruit a couple of willing helpers like these cute little gents:

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Although this project is fairly kid-friendly, it might be best with ages 7 and up. Mine are 5 and 3 1/2 (the boys) and 10 months (the girl). So, the boys’ main occupation was slathering the canvas with paint, and the girl was pretty busy sticking everything in sight in her mouth, while I…

2. Cut out the trunk (and fished leggos out of baby mouths):

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…and leaves

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3. Glue your trunk to your canvas (I hot-glued mine to make it extra-secure).

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4. Assign your helpers the incredibly important job of leaf-gluing. I would not suggest assigning them the incredibly important job of leaf arrangement if you plan to display your family tree art anywhere anyone might actually see it!

We used Elmer’s for this step to avoid the inevitable burnt fingers that would have resulted from any proximity of three-year-old hands to hot glue (who am I kidding? Mama’s just as bad as the 3-year-old!)

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5. Using your puff paint or markers, print your family names on the designated leaves. Obviously, the light leaf/dark print combo works best for visibility. Also, if you go the paint route, be sure to proceed slooooooowly. The paint tends to explode from the tip and glop up your painting before you even realize you’ve given it a good squeeze. Fortunately, I had the good sense to test it out first (I can think of many a project where this was not the case), and I got a good feel for the ornery little critter. I’m not saying it’s perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but there were no paint explosions, and I call that success!

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6. Find yourself somewhere to proudly display your magnificent artwork. I had the perfect spot in mind:

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I even had a couple of pretty white birds just waiting to perch in its branches. Okay, so maybe they were a little big and probably would have smashed my little tree to smithereens if they’d actually tried, but they sure looked good roosting just beside it.

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And there you have it! A fetching little fall craft for you and your tykes.

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“Current day” Me again.

Okay, so apparently, I need to add two more leaves for Evy and Nola.

Yeah, that’s jumping right to the top of the to-do list.

Okey dokey.

We’ll talk soon. When there’s less burning and itching to distract my brain cells.

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