My cousin graced me with the opportunity to create a piece about family art projects for his family’s lovely blog. The alignment between the purpose of this blog and my own family’s values caused me to leap at the opportunity.
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Fostering Connection Through Family Art Projects
My husband is in the military. This means that our family must always remember that we are prone to being separated for indeterminate stretches of time. The basis of our life is to figure out unique ways to stay connected as a family and bookmark our memories. So devoted to this quest, we own a photo booth rental and home decor business, Jumpn Photo Booth, and JUMPN Home respectively. We love capturing people’s special moments and creating pieces to make their home feel as unique as they are. Some of these products require DIY elements that allow people to easily execute family art projects at home.
I look around at my husband and children and feel grateful to have the opportunity to create more cherishable moments. This year has also allowed me to find beauty in acceptance and forgiveness. So in this post, I would love to highlight ways to keep your family connected and grounded through family art projects. One of your art projects may turn into a family business! You never know.
6 Art Projects to Stay Connected As a Family
My family and I love this family art project! In fact, while my husband was stationed overseas years ago, we surprised one another with virtually the same DIY gift. I transferred multiple pictures of our newly formed family onto small wooden panels. Meanwhile, he transferred one of our most beloved pictures together onto a piece of decades-old wood he found in Korea.
It’s also incredibly simple! Print out your most beloved picture(s) using a laserjet printer. Select a piece or several pieces of wood that you would like to display your picture(s) on. Using a soft brush, paint gel medium (ex. Mod Podge) onto the picture(s), then place the picture(s) face down onto the wood. Carefully smooth down the paper using an object with a straight edge (ex. Ruler or credit card). Let the picture dry completely, then use a wet rag to gently rub off the paper. Once the paper has been completely removed, paint another thin layer of a sealing agent on top (ex. Gel medium, shellac, etc.), dry, then display!
Grid and Topographic Maps
This option is dear to my heart, and the perfect family art project to remind your family of home (whether it’s where you grew up, or the home you forged later in life). There are a few ways to execute this project. Either search “topographical map” or “grid map” of your desired area or add a unique touch by searching for time-specific maps of a certain area. You can use the picture transfer idea above to display your map, paint it on your desired type of canvas (wood, acrylic, painting canvas, etc) or have it engraved like the maps we produce through our Etsy shop, JUMPN Home.
This is a perfect way to stay connected to our past, and provides the opportunity for the family to learn more about where they come from (if they’re fortunate to be able to trace their lineage). Explore 21 DIY Creative Family Tree Ideas to find fresh ideas to create your own family tree.
Hand Drawn Portraits
This quirky family art project can be easily executed by every member of the family! Assign each member one other family member to draw. Simple enough, right? Not quite! The twist is that the person must draw that person within 30 seconds, without lifting their writing utensil. You can even frame the doodles, and pass them off as unique, modern art pieces on a gallery wall.
Branch mobiles add a simple, rustic touch to any space. You can source materials by going on a nature walk with your family. The anchor piece will be a large, thick branch. The other materials depend on the theme that you’re going for. Some people search for acorns, magnolia leaves, holly berry sprigs, etc. It is completely up to you. Or you could be ready-made pieces such as wood in specific shapes or feathers. These items will be secured by pieces of varying lengths of thin rope that are tied around the branch.
Family Art Night
In our Etsy shop, we sell Have Fun at Home Paint Kits, each one consisting of a wooden canvas engraved with your choice of silhouette image, paint, and brushes. We created this option at the height of shutdowns due to the pandemic. Our hope was for people to take the time on small pleasures, alone or with a small number of people within their household.
A Storyteller’s Lesson
This year saw the passing of my grandfather–he was 75-years-old. My grandfather was a storyteller. People listened as he recounted tales of his past, with an arc or punchline that landed without fail – whether it was the first or twentieth time that you heard that story. People remembered his love for embellishment, citing his recitations as mildly hyperbolic at times. However, I think they misunderstood him.
A Meditation on Memories
My grandfather collected memories and moments. We spent countless hours talking, and there was much comfort in simply listening. I believed he recounted these stories exactly as he remembered them. He had the innate ability to find the glory, irony, and nuance in any type of situation.
He also loved his family tremendously. Even as his memory began to fail (I’d prefer to say that it vacillated between multiple, competing realms that defied space and time, but perhaps that’s the Doctor Who fan, and hyperbolist in me). He often spoke of his baby brother, Chris’s father. At any given time of day, especially once bed-ridden, he often began winding down conversations by explaining that it was about time for him and his brother to embark on yet another of one of their infamous adventures.
As we close out 2020, albeit with varying levels of trepidation, I can’t help but think of my grandfather. He was prone to heavy reflection on his life and the intent and motivations of those he loved most, but perhaps didn’t always understand. He searched his memories for spiderwebs-seemingly benign moments that potentially held the key to unvocalized motivations and longings. Oftentimes these reflections, accompanied by downward gazes filled with quiet tears and stoically pursed lips, belied his own intentions: to always remain grounded and connected to people.
The Importance of Reflection
I find myself reflecting as well. This year has thrown unexpected curveballs, and oscillated from incredible lows and welcomed highs. Through the uncertainty and moments of grief, I can’t help but be thankful for my grandfather’s gift of grandiose memories. When the world stops, it’ll be the moments that we create that will permeate through our lives and the ones we’ll eventually leave behind.
My sincerest hope is that you will take a page from my grandfather’s book, and notice the unassuming beauty of all of life’s moments. I also hope that these ideas will perpetuate connection. From my family to yours, happy crafting!