Rowan’s Back-to-School Shirt with Yearly Handprints: Year 2!

It’s hard to believe but the school year is right around the corner….my son starts back on August 2nd!  Where did the summer go??

If you’ve spent any time in these parts before, you probably know by now that I am a HUGE fan of creating keepsakes for my son.  Yep, I’m that Momma.  I just love trying to freeze time and hold onto his littleness.

I’ve made dozens of them for him so far in just his first three years of life (and you can check them all out in my Project Gallery), but one of my favorites is the back-to-school shirt that we use as a photo prop before the start of each school year!  It’s such a fun way to document his growth, appearance, and personality each fall summer, and those little handprints on the back are just too cute (and colorful!).

Learn how to create this cute keepsake for your child that you can update each school year! Back-to-School Shirt with Yearly Handprints: Year 2! | Where The Smiles Have Been

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Rowan’s Back-to-School Shirt with Yearly Handprints: Year 2!

The Complete Tutorial

I made this back-to-school shirt last year with the help of my beloved Silhouette Cameo and some black heat transfer vinyl.  I already shared a full tutorial, so please check that out if you’d like to learn how to make one for your own kiddo!

Yearly Back-to-School Shirt with Handprints for Every Grade! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

The original tutorial post last year went pretty crazy for me in terms of traffic (it gave me my best day ever!) and being shared by lots of folks, especially on Facebook.  It’s my closest thing to going viral, so thanks, y’all!

That being said, along with all the love and kind words I got (thanks so much!), there seemed to be some misunderstandings and a little trolling that really confused me.  This is just a fun keepsake for Momma here, so why did the Negative Nancies (and a few Normans) have to come out and try to poo poo all over my parade??  I guess they were never taught that whole “If you don’t have anything nice to say….” thing.

So, here are some tidbits just to clarify some things that a few people didn’t seem to get:

  • It is just a photo prop, like the back-to-school chalkboard signs I make for him too.  Each year, we add Rowan’s handprint, let the paint dry, slip the shirt on him, snap some pics, remove the shirt, then pack it away in the closet until the following school year.
  • No, Rowan is not wearing this to school on the first day each year.  Yes, I agree that would (eventually) embarrass him.  It would also probably damage the shirt, which would defeat the whole purpose of this keepsake and break my heart.
  • Yes, I know his hands will get bigger as he ages.  Yes, I’m okay with the handprints getting a little crowded or covering up some of the grades.  No, a little messy is fine with me since, ya know, this is all about and for a kid.
  • If he skips a grade or gets held back a year, as unlikely as either probably are, big deal.  It’s HTV so I can just zap off a piece with my iron and add a new number or grade.  Take life as it comes at you, ya know?

Keyboard Warriors, I tell you what….  You can’t bring me down though! :)

 

Our Year 2 Update: A Quick Rundown

Rowan is now just about ready to start his second year at preschool where he’ll be in the BIG three-year-olds’ class!

As with last year’s prep for this little photo keepsake, I didn’t take any action shots of us adding Rowan’s new (green) handprint to the shirt.  Toddler + Wet Paint = Potentially Disastrous, so I let the blogger side of me go and kept the camera stowed away.  However, Operation Handprint went as smooth as could be!

My husband and I tag-teamed the endeavor: I had the shirt laid out on the table ready to go (including a piece of cardboard inserted inside to keep the paint from bleeding through), then The Hubs held Rowan’s hand steady while I painted a heavy-but-not-sopping-wet layer of green craft paint on with a foam brush.  Then we carefully lined his hand into position and I gave the whole thing a nice smooshing to transfer the print (but I missed a little of the pinky, whoops!).  Then it was “Grab a baby wipe!” time before paint ended up anywhere else.

All in all, the whole thing took just a couple minutes….not bad for a yearly keepsake!  And way faster than his birthday art canvas tradition.  Then I let the shirt dry overnight and we took the utterly adorable photos the next evening.

 

The Year 2 Photos!

Speaking of utterly adorable photos…..here they are!

I do have to say that taking this year’s pictures was a bit more….challenging….than last year’s.  My now three-year-old has a lot more energy and independence than he did at age two (hard to believe), and that coupled with a resistance to staying still made grabbing usable shots a little tricky.

Oh well, such is life….and it just shows off Rowan’s personality all the more! :)

Learn how to create this cute keepsake for your child that you can update each school year! Back-to-School Shirt with Yearly Handprints: Year 2! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Learn how to create this cute keepsake for your child that you can update each school year! Back-to-School Shirt with Yearly Handprints: Year 2! | Where The Smiles Have Been

Learn how to create this cute keepsake for your child that you can update each school year! Back-to-School Shirt with Yearly Handprints: Year 2! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

And it’s so fun to look back and compare this year’s photos with last year’s.  Too much cuteness!!!

Just look at how much he’s grown and developed already!  His hands actually poke out from the massive sleeves now, he’s taller so more of his legs are showing, and his handprint is a wee bit bigger.  Just imagine the differences from now compared to his Senior year…. *sniffle*

I am going to truly LOVE taking these photos each year.  I cannot wait to display this shirt AND a photo collage at Rowan’s high school graduation party!  And if that does happen to embarrass him, all the better. :)

Learn how to create this cute keepsake for your child that you can update each school year! Back-to-School Shirt with Yearly Handprints: Year 2! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Learn how to create this cute keepsake for your child that you can update each school year! Back-to-School Shirt with Yearly Handprints: Year 2! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

More School Fun!

If you enjoyed this, make sure you take a look around my Project Gallery for lots more keepsake ideas, Silhouette tutorials, and fun creations for school like these!

DIY First Day of School Chalkboard Sign Photo Prop | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Stationery Teacher Gift Idea + FREE Printable Tag & Silhouette Cut File! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Race Car Valentine's Day Cards with Free Printable! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Personalized Art Smock: Back to School in Style! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Back-to-School Bedtime Routine Tips (To Keep Your Family Sane) | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!

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About Christine

I'm Christine, a SAHM to a spunky toddler and his mini-me infant brother, and married to the best guy you'll ever meet. I (try to) spend their nap times getting my craft on and I blog about my creations and adventures in parenting at Where The Smiles Have Been. My loves are all things DIY, especially Silhouette projects, wreaths, & personalized decor. And ice cream....definitely love me some ice cream.

Comments

  1. Love your ideas! If you ever have personalized Rowan stuff your looking to sell, I have a handsome little 5 month old Rowan myself

  2. I just love this project. Just getting a photo of my kid on the first day of school is all I can usually manage, but I totally admire your organization.

  3. I have been looking forward to seeing the update on this project. It is so adorable. Look how much older he looks in the face. So adorable!!

    • Thanks, Sheena! I know, I can’t believe how much older he looks either! It’s amazing all the development that happens during the early years. It’ll be so fun to see the changes from his 2-year-old pic all the way up to when he graduates! :)