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What do you get a one year old for their birthday? My son’s friend, Casey, was turning one and I knew that he already had received lots of gift cards, clothes and toys from his family back East. I thought, “What could I get for him?” Then I changed that to be…what could I make for him….


Casey Framed Name

This post is a step by step of how to make a homemade baby gift. Not only is it a special gift, but the materials barely cost anything. I spent less than $3 on the frame and paper and I finished this project in about two hours.

This project began while I was shopping at an art supply store. I noticed they had a bunch of various matted frames for sale. I found one on clearance for only $1.99!

Picture Frame from Michael's

This frame sparked my idea of creating personalized art for the birthday boy! I imagined getting rid of the three cutouts and illustrating one piece of artwork using his name that could be hung in his room. To me, the hardest and most exciting part of any project is coming up with a concept. I also bought a large sheet of poster paper. At the time I wasn’t sure whether I was going to paint or draw, so I figured the paper could work for either – how could I go wrong at only 59 cents!

Jungle GIft BagI knew I would be using the word Casey in the art, but next I had to finalize what theme or style to create. I knew his room was brown and light blue and that his bedding was jungle themed. Earlier in the week I bought a gift bag on clearance for $2.00. This bag pictured is what I ended up using as a style reference.

Now we get into the fun production part…First I used an x-acto knife to cut the poster paper to the dimensions that would fit into the frame.

Cutting the paperThen using the same proportions, I drew smaller thumbnails of how I might draw his name. The top version used his name as the focal point with some of the jungle characters framing it. In the bottom version, I tried to incorporate the animals into the characters of his name. Like using a palm tree for the “Y”.

Thumbnails of Casey NameFor simplicity, I decided to move forward with the top version. Using pencil, I drew on the cut poster paper. Then used a fine point Sharpie to outline it. After that I erased the pencil lines. Here is how it looked at this stage:

The name has been drawn with a SharpiePrismacolor Pencils

I used Prismacolor pencils to liven up the illustration. I absolutely love using color pencils – although I always have a tough time sharpening these suckers. I usually start filling in layers for the background. I also use a tissue to help blend the different hues.

Casey Half ColoredLast, but not least I finished the illustration by working on his name. The most important part! Here is the artwork in the $1. 99 black frame.

Name in a Black Frame

Mixing Blue Paint to Match the NameAfter seeing the final art in the black frame, I thought it was too dark and had no FUN FACTOR! To brighten the feel, I decided to paint the frame using acrylic paint that I had. I mixed two blues and a little white to match the hue I used in “CASEY”. This was the focal point and I wanted the frame to showcase it.

Then I used the color I mixed and painted the frame. This was super easy and acrylic paints are fast drying. Now I want to paint other frames around my house!

Painting a FrameI also thought a small matted area around the illustration would make it pop. I ended up using the matte that had come with the frame I bought, but trimming it to just a half inch around, instead of the three windows it had before…Matte AfterAfter the frame was completely dry, I inserted the new matte and finished artwork into the blue frame. Here it is completed and hung up. I can’t wait to see it in Casey’s room!

Casey Framed NameI really enjoyed making this gift for Casey! I am finally drawing again. It was project #1 of my plan to make things without the computer.

Was this a helpful step by step project? I would love to get your input! Thanks for reading. – Julie


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