I'll preface this by saying I'm not a big Pinterest person. Any attempts made at recreating the adorable projects found on that site are more likely to resemble what are commonly known as Pinterest fails. I'm creative, sure, but not necessarily "crafty" when left to my own devices.
So, for all those not-so-crafty parents who want to create a heartfelt gift that the kids can give to dad (or mom on another occasion), follow these simple steps and you'll love the result.
Step 1: Materials
A quick trip to Walmart will provide everything you need for this project (and most items only cost a few dollars). Head over to the wooden crafts area and grab: a wooden picture frame ($1); a bag of wooden letters ($3); some painted wooden animals ($0.57 each); tempera paint; a hot glue gun; a roll of wax paper; a paint brush; and a photograph.
Step 2: Layout
Let your toddler choose the colors, the wooden animal, and where they want to attach the animal. I spelled each child's name, but you can write whatever you like. Set everything up the way you want it so you have a blueprint to use.
Step 3: Paint
Place the letters and the picture frame on separate pieces of wax paper (I found them easier to move this way). Be sure to completely coat the top and all sides of the letters - once the paint dries, you'll really notice any missed spots. After you've painted your frame and letters, set them aside to dry. (Just to be safe, I let them dry overnight.)
Step 4: Glue
Once the paint is completely dried, use the hot glue gun to attach the letters and the wooden animal to your frame. (If you're like me, you may want to read some tips on how to use a hot glue gun before you get started. If you're more visual, this video is helpful, too.) Make sure the glue is completely dried before moving on to the next step.
Step 5: Handprints
Once the glue is completely dried, recruit your toddler for handprints (or footprints or fingerprints - whatever you want). Let them choose the paint color and where they want to smear their little mitts. Set the frame aside to dry. (You don't get a photo of this step because, if you have toddlers, you'll understand that once I finished this part, I sat in the corner rocking myself back and forth trying to regain my sanity. Just kidding. Kinda.)
Step 6: Photo
Cut your photo to fit the shape of your frame (I found a 5x7 print worked best as the 4x6 was too small and left a gap in the heart-shaped cut-out). I created a cardboard template to trace the shape onto the picture before cutting. For added protection, you can then secure that cardboard piece behind the photo.
That's it! Now you have a cute, heartfelt, and inexpensive gift for dad from the kids. This also works well for Mother's Day, Christmas, and birthdays. Enjoy!