Art teachers were STEAM-ing before STEAM was cool!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mother's Day Thumbprint Family Tree

I saw some cute little pendants someone had made using Model Magic clay where they had their child put their thumbprint into the clay. I thought they were cute, but there was no way I could hang four of those around my neck! So, I created a way to showcase my little ones' thumbprints together: The Thumbprint Family Tree! 

Our Family Tree
This project was pretty easy to do and relatively inexpensive (the Model Magic was the most expensive part). It is very customizable, too. I could see a variety of colors being used depending on who you were creating it for (mom, dad, grandma, etc.), and what his/her decor is like. Have fun with this and get the kiddos involved (although, if you are using clay, your kiddos won't need much encouragement to join right in!).

Mother's Day Thumbprint Family Tree

Supplies Needed:
  • An 8x10" shadow-box (or size that works for your design)
  • 2 Coordinating pieces of scrapbook paper to fit inside the frame
  • 1 Small package brown Crayola Model Magic
  • 1 Small package light green Crayola Model Magic
  • 1 Small package green Crayola Model Magic
  • Alphabet rubber stamps, optional
  • Family-themed stickers to coordinate with your colors, optional
  • Rolling pin
  • A knife
  • Glue stick
  • Tacky Glue
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Waxed paper

1. Cut the scrapbook papers to fit the inside of the frame. Layer and glue using glue stick.

2. **To make things easy, work on waxed paper with all clay!** Create the trunk of the tree: roll four long strands of brown clay. Twist two together. Twist remaining two together. Arrange and press together to form tree trunk, using photo as a guide.

3. For the leaves with mom and dad's names on them: grab a ball of green clay and roll flat. Use the knife to cut a leaf shape or shape into a leaf shape using fingers. Press mom or dad's thumb into the center of the leaf shape, gently rocking the thumb back and forth and pressing slightly to leave a good impression. Use the alphabet rubber stamps to press the person's initials into the dough. Repeat with other parent's thumbprint on another leaf.

4. For the leaves with the children's names on them: repeat as above using the light green clay and making slightly smaller leaves, if desired. Add the initials of the children to their corresponding leaves.

5. Arrange the trunk and family members' leaves onto the scrapbook paper. Arrange into a pleasing composition temporarily (the elements will need to dry for 24 hours before you adhere them to the paper). Figure out where you'll be placing the stickers, if using, and create little leaves out of clay to fill in the spaces and give the piece some visual interest. Some of my mini leaves have veins on them, some don't. Once you've created all of your clay pieces, let the bits dry for 24 hours.

6. Once dry, start gluing the clay pieces to the scrapbook paper using tacky glue. I started with the trunk and then glued down the parent leaves and then the leaves of the children. Then I adhered the stickers and glued on the mini "filler" leaves. Let dry overnight.

7. Glue the scrapbook paper to the inside of the back of the frame and install the piece in the frame. Enjoy! Mom's gonna love this!

Here's a detail of the piece...

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