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Monday, 10 June 2013

DIY housewarming gift - $5

Why do I always leave things to the last minute? Will I never learn?!  *sigh* Likely, no, I will not ever learn.

On Friday night I was starting to panic because I was still short on an idea for a cost effective DIY housewarming gift for some very dear friends of ours.  Buying a new home - and more, buying your first home- is a very big milestone.  We had plans to celebrate with our new mortgage owner home owner friends...on Saturday.  Remember now: This was Friday night and I did not even have an idea, let alone a completed gift.

In desperation I started running down a list of things I could buy with my average $8 budget. Some flowers, a small houseplant, a loaf of bread, dollar store wineglasses, inexpensive tea towels.. all fine options but not my style. I am DIY to the core and it seems bizarre after all these years to think of going to a store, buying an item and just giving it to someone as is, haha.

My sewing teacher had suggested me buying (or making) our friends a guest book for their home.  I remembered my parents having guest books for their home.  I liked the idea but I couldn't shake the feeling of  it being outdated.

So I went online looking for some decent DIY guest book ideas when I saw this one.  It's intended for a wedding, but I loved the simple and very personal idea.
Go here for the source
This is just an image of a "blank" tree trunk and branches.  Then, at the wedding guests press their fingers or thumbs into ink stamp pads and  onto the paper as tree leaves.  This bride and groom had each guest sign next to their own finger print.

Yet there was no reason I could think of that this very same idea could not be applied to new home guest book to end up with the same beautiful wall art.

So I gathered some supplies:
- one medium sized canvas from the dollar store ($2)
- two green ink pads ($1.50 each) from the craft store
- brown paint (on hand)
- paint brushes (on hand)
- my Cricut cutting machine and self adhesive vinyl (on hand) or some artistic ability

I began by using my Cricut machine to cut out the couples surname and the year they bought their home. I just stuck the vinyl letters down right on the canvas.
Step 1
I also added a panda to the bottom left corner of the canvas. That is a personal touch just for this couple. 

Next I cut out an image of a tree, sans leaves, from my Cricut.  Since I did not have any brown vinyl on hand I used the negative image as a stencil and painted the tree with on hand brown paint. If you use a stencil approach as I did be very sure that it is stick down well right around you image to prevent the paint from bleeding under.  I also recommend feathering the paint on lightly and into the center of the image.

Negative image.

Finally I pulled off the vinyl stencil and added the two tones of green ink pads I bought.

Taa-daa! Complete gift for $5! I think it is pretty darn cute and will look awesome with the thumbprints of their friends covering the tree.