Saturday, April 21, 2012

Alphabet Photo Lacing Cards

Any chance you've noticed that some of the best creative mom bloggers out there have oodles of kids? To wit: Amanda Blake Soule of Soule Mama: 5. Gabriel Blair of Design Mom: 6. Georgia Leigh of Georgia Leigh: 6. (6!!) Sometimes I lie awake at night wondering how any of these women can get anything done, because I can barely keep it together with the scant three I have. And one of the main reasons I'm able to get anything done at all is because two of them go to school. Whereas the aforementioned superwomen? They homeschool their kids. Meaning their kids are at home. A lot. Wow. I have spent some time reading up on the philosophy underlying unschooling, which is essentially what these ladies I mention are doing. A couple of years ago I thought long and hard about giving it a go, telling myself it was really the best thing for my children.  But then I got honest with myself and knew that it wouldn't work for me. But-and here's where today's tutorial comes in, I do my best to encourage curiosity and learning at home, too.

I made these ABC lace up cards for my four year old, Charlie, who has been expressing a keen interest in cracking the mysterious code of phonics. These cards help do that, plus, who couldn't use a little extra practice honing those fine motor skills?
Michael had a crack at them too. 

This project was actually born out of a need to find a use for all of those random pieces of cardboard I've been hoarding. I am a hopeless pack rat, so something as useful as a nice rectangle of cardboard usually goes into my kids' arts and crafts cupboard before it goes into the recycling. But we're moving in a few months, so that kind of stuff has to go. Or else get made into something I don't have to throw out. See, hopeless. Pack. Rat. 

Here's what you'll need for this project:
Cardboard pieces (my finished cards were about 5 x 7)
Decorative paper like origami paper, nice wrapping paper that you saved because you KNEW you'd find a good use for it eventually, or lightweight card stock. 
4" letter stencils
Glue stick or glue
Images to represent your letters (such as apple for A). Google royalty free or stock images to get them online, or find pictures from secondhand books. 
You'll also need a hole punch-preferably a craft screw hole punch that can reach anywhere on the cards and can go easily through cardboard. (The one shown here on the right is a Martha Stewart screw punch)

First cut your image and the background for the letter side down to the size of your cardboard piece.
So here for my letter Q card I have an image of a queen, and I used a coordinating silver glitter cardstock to cover the backside of the lacing card where the letter Q will go. Glue the image onto one side of the cardboard.
On the back of a coordinating piece of paper or cardstock, trace the letter using the template. Make sure you trace the letter backwards so when you cut it out the right side will be the right way around. 
Glue the letter onto the paper backing, then glue that piece onto the back of the cardboard so the image is on one side and the letter is on the other. Put the whole thing under a few heavy books and let it dry thoroughly.
When the card is dry, mark with a pencil where you'll punch your holes. 
Punch the holes out. 
And lace away!
A set of these cards spelling out the child's name would make a most excellent gift for the wonderkinder in your life. Chances are, he'll want to take them to school for show and tell. 

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