Sunday, June 3, 2012

How to - Baby Shower or Wedding Guest Book Keepsake

Hello Again!

My last post was a summation of the sweet Baby Shower that I threw for my close friend.  One of the sad things about baby showers, wedding showers and the like, is that, when they are over, they are over.  I love the idea of guest books, and the beautiful cards that people give to the mother or bride to be, but they are just not an easy item to constantly review and remember!  Instead, we wanted something that could be displayed and be a constant reminder of the good times and the people that love us.  For my wedding shower, my mother did a similar thing to this tutorial, but used little foam hearts and put magnets on the back to be used as refrigerator magnets in our new home.  This tutorial will show you how to create a personalized keepsake using guest participation that can be hung or displayed any where in your home, to help you remember your celebration.

What You'll Need:

Cricut or Paper Punch.  For this project, I used a Cricut machine to cut out my 2" hearts.  This can also be accomplished with a paper punch that can be purchased at Hobby Lobby.  For those using a Cricut, I used the Doodletype cartridge.  I had found only a few cartridges that even cut out simple hearts, and the one I liked the best was the Doodletype heart.

Cardstock.  You will need card-stock or heavy paper of your choosing to cut your hearts out on.  I personally really love the Colorbok brand Pearlescent Paper, which I used in light lavender, to go along with her room theme.

Frame.  You will need a frame the size that you would like to end up with.  I chose a 16x20, which I thought was a nice large size, without being too big and bulky.

Self-Sticking Mounting Board.  I purchased this at Hobby Lobby, in the framing section.  It is absolutely perfect, as it is just a sticky board, in the same 16x20 size, that you can stick anything you like to.  It was great because I didn't need to trim it at all!

Nursery Story Books.  We chose to include, as an added sweet factor, pictures and excerpts from the Mommy and Daddy's favorite childhood stories.  I went to our local low price book store and purchased older, used copies of the storybooks to cut up and include.  The storybook I found didn't have many pictures, so I also went out and found two storybooks from their choices that had similar coloring and artistry types, so that they would go well in the frame.

Scissors and a simple background fabric.  To keep the collage from looking too stark and harsh, I decided to use as a backdrop a simple ivory colored piece of muslin.  I purchased a half a yard, which was plenty to cover my sticky adhesive board with.

Now you are ready to start!

Cut out your hearts.  Prior to the baby shower, or wedding shower, you will want to cut out your hearts out of your paper.  Cut out as many as you think you will need:  for the frame I did, I used 54 hearts total.  I had cut out about 50 just to be safe, and make sure that everyone who was attending would have the opportunity to fill out a heart.

Make your hearts an activity at your shindig!  There are quite a few ways to do this:  one of the more interesting ways I have heard of is to send the hearts in the invitations, and ask people to think about them and return them to you at the shower.  What we opted to do (because we had already sent the invitations) was to have the hearts as a side activity at the shower.  We had the blank hearts laying in wait, and an apothecary jar decorated with a tag explaining the purpose, ready to catch the completed hearts!

Cut out your hearts from your pictures and your stories.  This was probably one of the more difficult steps, largely because I wanted to have the hearts expose certain parts of the story, or the picture.  For this, it was just being careful with each and every cut.  The book I had had an adorable little ornate letter to start each story, and I really wanted to use that to show where one story started and stopped.  As I was placing the hearts, I kept each storyline kind of in order, and so the ornate letter was perfect!

Be careful!  When you are cutting your hearts on your Cricut, if you are using the free-movement function, be careful that you do not cut the perfect heart and then cut another perfect heart right on top of it!  I did that, and you can see the end result:  both hearts were ruined.

Iron your fabric.  This is important, because you don't want a single wrinkle when you place the fabric on the sticky board.  I found the best way to do this was to spritz my fabric with a spray of water before ironing it.  I first cut the fabric to about an inch longer than the 16x20 sticky board, and then ironed it.

Stick your fabric to your sticky board.  The best way I found to do this was to stick your fabric on from the center and smooth it outwards nicely and taughtly.  It was pretty easy to do... the board is sticky but not so sticky that you can't readjust.  Once you have pulled your fabric nicely so that you have a smooth, simple surface, trim the edges to about 1/2 inch.

Collect all of your hearts, and figure out placement.  I first placed hearts lengthwise and then widthwise to multiply and figure out how many hearts I would need total.  For a 16x20, I used 54 hearts total.  Of course you will use all of the hearts that people had filled out for your bride or mommy to be.  Once you subtract that, you will know how many hearts you have left to use for stories and pictures.  I split the remainder evenly to have an even amount of pictures and story hearts. I also had four different colors of written on hearts, so I separated those for perfect placement.

Place your hearts.  Once you have all of your hearts figured out, start to place them.  I figured out how many of the written hearts I would have per row (3 for my board) and then, because there were six per row, I placed them in alternating spots, also alternating the colors.  I then placed the picture and story hearts down, alternating rows with two stories and one picture, and one story and two pictures.  This is just a loose placement, so don't worry about being a perfectionist.  I was mainly looking at colors and styles to make sure that nothing clashed, and that everything kind of worked together.

Use double-stick tape to 'permanently' place your hearts.  The double stick tape allows you to move the hearts easily while keeping them still and stuck in place as you work around them.  Simply stick about an inch long piece on the back of your heart, and try to avoid wrinkling of the tape.  Then stick it in place.  The best way I found to do it was to start in one of the corners, and then place the hearts along the longest side, spacing them exactly how you want them.  I placed all of my hearts 6/10 of an inch from the edges of my board.  Once I had the one side done, I worked up from the bottom and down from the top, keeping the rows aligned.  Working outwards to the inside allowed me to make sure that everything was aligned the best I could!

Place it in your frame, and voila!  Once you are done placing your hearts, simply put your board in your frame (make sure you put it right side up!).  And you are done!

Enjoy!  If you have any improvements, questions, suggestions, please let me know!  I hope you enjoy your new keepsake!

Yours in Beauty and Love,