Friday, May 22, 2009

Frugal and Meaningful Mother's or Father's Day Gift

A week or so before Mother's Day, I stopped into Michael's and browsed around their Mother's Day craft ideas. I was planning to see my mom and grandmothers on Mother's Day, and I was hoping to have a small and preferably meaningful gift for them.

Thanks to Snapfish, they already see a lot of the photos I take of the girls, but they don't see them in person very often. So what struck me in the store were the handprint plaque kits. I thought it would be really cute to give an impression of my daughter's chubby little hands.

Many of the kits in the store were $15 or $20 and only made one plaque. However, the one I purchased was a "party pack." It cost $24.99 and made 10 handprints. After using Michael's 40% off weekly coupon, I spent only $15 for presents for 2 grandmothers and 2 great grandmothers, plus a set to keep for myself.

Also, since the set I purchased was designed for a children's party, it used air-dry clay, instead of plaster. Let me tell you, when you're trying to make impressions of a the hands of a two year old and an eight-month-old, this was crucial!

The instructions said to knead the clay first until it was no longer sticky. This easier with some of the packages than others. The first one took about 10 minutes to get smooth, but I'm glad I didn't give up, because there was a definite difference after kneading it.

Pressing my daughters' hands in turned out to be more of a challenge than I expected, especially with the baby, who of course wouldn't keep her hand still even for a second, but instead kept trying to claw at the dough (and presumably eat it).

After a bit of trial and error (the first plaque doesn't look so hot), I discovered that with the baby, I just had to grab her and press it really fast, before she realized what was going on. For the two year old, I bribed her to do it, because she doesn't like to get her hands dirty!

The kit came with letter stamps, and what you can't see in these pictures is that I used them to spell each girl's name and to make a border around the edge. I also used a pen cap and a toothpick to make little holes at the two top corners, in case the recipient wanted to hang them with a ribbon.

I was generally pleased with the final result. Mom and Grandma loved them, and I was happy to preserve the impressions of my daughters' tiny hands. This could definitely make a great Father's Day gift as well.

Check out more Frugal Fridays here.

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