Every year the Red Cross-sponsored Holiday Mail for Heroes collects cards between October and early December and then distributes them at military installations, veteran’s hospitals, and other locations.
For our Veteran’s Day craft, the boys and I worked on patriotic Handprint Christmas Trees which we are mailing to the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. We also made my dad (the boys’ grandpa) a special card which I love so much I just have to share! It is a little more challenging, but very cute!
This is the last few days for the Holiday Mail for Heroes program. If you want to get your cards sent in, they must be received by Dec. 6th (this Friday)!
So get crafting and have fun!
What you’ll need:
White cardstock — 8.5” x 11” for the card plus an extra piece to cut out stars
Adhesive (glue, glue stick, scrapbook adhesive or double-sided tape)
Star punch (optional… you can cut out little white stars with scissors)
Blue cardstock for the star cutouts
Step 1: Print
Doing multiple cards, its easier to print the greeting inside the card rather than handwrite each one. Since we made these cards special for the boys’ grandpa for Veteran’s Day, I left off the salutation so you can choose the one your family prefers (i.e. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, All our love, Sincerely).
Print the greeting BEFORE you do any painting. (This way you can fold the card and know your sizing and so that the paint doesn’t mess up your printer.)
Step 2: Fold
Fold all the cards in half BEFORE doing any painting. You won’t want to worry about folding cards when you have wet paint around and probably on you too! Plus, this keeps the hand printing production running quickly and smoothly!
Step 3: Hand print the card
It sounds silly to say this, but before you start stamping your child’s hand on the cards, have the cards oriented the correct way for stamping.
Use the sponge brush to heavily cover your child’s palm with blue paint. (I realized that a heavy coat of paint on the hands meant we could stamp 2 cards before we needed to re-paint the child’s hand.)
Use the paintbrush to paint each of your child’s fingers with red paint.
Have the child close their fingers. Help them line up their hand to stamp the paper, stamp their hand together, then hold down the paper while they unstick their hand from the paper.
Step 4: Add stars to the flag
I purchased a star punch (like a paper punch) from Hobby Lobby’s scrapbook section. ($3.99, I think.) This made cutting the stars super easy. However… the stars are small so it made applying them to the card harder. In fact, this was mommy’s portion of the craft… I adhered the stars.
Using a larger punch or cutting the stars by hand would make them easier for your child to add to the flag.
(NOTE: I am not sure how well glue will adhere to the paint. Therefore, I choose to use scrapbook adhesive that I folded in half to fit properly.)
OPTIONAL: Add decorative stars
I couldn’t fit all three of my boys’ handprints on one card, so I had the younger two share a card and did Connor’s handprint on a separate card. Since his hand didn’t take up much space, it looked a little empty. I cut out navy blue stars to add both above and below the handprint. It really spruced the card up!
Tips for making multiple cards:
- Stamp each child’s handprints individually. Trying to do more than one child at a time may result one of two ways: the paint drying out in between stamping the hands or messy little hands touching too much
- Painting their hand heavy enough should get 2 cards stamped before having to reapply paint
- By the time you finish doing the handprints, the first cards should be dry enough to add stars on.
To ensure holiday delivery, Holiday Mail for Heroes letters must be received at the P.O. Box (found on the Red Cross website) by Dec. 6th. Please see the website for complete details and letter guidelines: http://www.redcross.org/support/get-involved/holiday-mail-for-heroes