Although I always look forward to decorating for the holidays, I’m pretty particular about what I choose to display. I consider my home to be a canvas of sorts, and seasonal items must meet a few criteria before being added. It’s not that I’m a design expert or anything. I just want my home to feel comfortable and represent my family and me well.
To be considered, festive decorations must…
…be loved. I spent years adding things to my house that I didn’t love because I was trying to meet some outside expectation or simply hurry to fill empty space. I decided to do away with that mentality a couple of years ago. We did a massive purge, and now love is the number one requirement for anything new I bring into my house.
…be meaningful. Uniqueness is always a plus, but I don’t go out of my way to exclude popular items. Whether I bought it in the seasonal section at Target and it seems like everyone and their dog has one or if it’s a one-of-a-kind find or DIY, what matters is that it holds meaning for me and my family.
…be affordable. I won’t clarify this with a dollar amount because affordable means different things to different people. It’s also changed for me over the years as the personal value I place on things has evolved, but I’ll always be a girl who loves a bargain.
…go with my established style. I love texture, simplicity, and organic inspiration. My holiday decorations typically fit this aesthetic and blend in seamlessly with my everyday look.
This fall handprint tree meets all my requirements. It’s very personal, almost free, blends in with the look of my home, and I really, really love it!
You can do this project with any handprints, but I like the look of smaller leaves, and I’ve got a couple little helpers who were perfect for the job.
Here’s what you’ll need to get started:
- white paper (1-2 pieces for painting, plus 1 for hand template)
- red and yellow non-toxic paint
- hot glue gun
- vase big enough to hold your branch
Step 1 – Make a palette of fall colors. This divided tray was perfect for keeping my red, yellow, and orange paint separate, but anything will do.
Step 2 – Either paint a couple pieces of paper yourself, leaving no white space, or set your kiddos up for some fall finger painting. There are no rules here. Want to paint a unicorn? Go for it! Just remember to really drown those pages in color…and that you’ll be cutting up your masterpiece later.
Step 3 – While the paint dries, trace your hands onto the remaining piece of paper. It wasn’t easy to get my one-year-old’s cooperation for this part, so I used my pencil to even her handprint out afterward. Once you have some good lines to follow, cut out your handprints to use as leaf templates.
Step 4 – Trace your templates onto your dried paintings, fitting as many handprints on each page as possible. I like to flip the templates over occasionally so the leaves don’t all face the same direction.
Step 5 – Cut out your handprints, and use a glue gun to arrange them on your branch.
So what’s your style? A nice, sleek branch with handprints placed symmetrically? Or something a little more wild looking? I opted for natural but balanced.
This project was just what I needed to add a little autumn cheer, and whenever I look at it I’m reminded of the fun my kids and I had working together. You may even choose, like me, to save a couple of the handprints as keepsakes.
Samantha Levang is a contributor at This West Coast Mommy, specializing in cloth diaper and baby item reviews. She lives in Washington state with her husband, toddler son, Brooks, and new baby girl, Riley. Between diaper changes and loads of laundry, she enjoys landscape photography and the never-ending process of home decorating.