Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow

“Everyone is an artist, Mama”, my daughter tells me as she creates another drawing.  When the children in Mrs. Pond’s kindergarten class made her baby shower  gift, I wanted it to be something the kids, parents and the teacher could be proud of.   What I didn’t plan on was that the Maxx was going to make it possible.

The concept was to make a series of picture frames, since there never are enough frames for all the photos of a newborn.  And we wanted to personalize the frames from the kids, but still make it useable.  Hopefully the frames will still be in use long after the teacher’s child  has graduated elementary school.

So, knowing the colors for the baby’s room, each child stained a 4×6 wooden photo frame from Ikea.  These were sanded and varnished and varnished and sanded.   Some of the frames we decoupaged with tinted map pages to break up the monotony.  We asked each child to give one piece of advice to Mrs. Pond’s  baby.  With Photoshop we mounted each face inside an acorn, and typed their name and quote around it, and mounted it in their frame.   Some of these were quite creative…

Photoshopped picture

So far, so good!  The plan was to glue all the frames together to make one big collage of frames, 24 in total. And that would be it.

But gluing them all together was where it all fell apart.  Those lovely little wooden frames were not all perfectly square.  When we tried to glue them all together there were some gaps where edges met.  Just enough to be noticeable and drive you batty if you were an anal type personality like I am.  Here is where Maxx stepped in to save the day, and wound up making it a much nicer project.

Using Adobe Illustrator, we drew some oak leaves in a vector format with a Bamboo pen and tablet (inspiration for this from Deb M, thank you Deb).  Then we exported them to Make-The-Cut software,where we sized them and created outlines and cut out different sizes and shapes of leaves in plain card stock, and cut out matting outline for them in map paper, the same map paper used to decoupage the frames.  Next we cut out the quotes of each child in vinyl and placed it on the leaves.  (A big shout out of thanks here – I would NEVER have tried vinyl if it had not been for all the encouraging and amazing posts on this blog.  Thank you, ladies!!!)

Leaf mirrors frame


Now I could cover up all those little areas where the edges didn’t quite line up with the leaves, and no one was the wiser.  It also made for a much better product.


Oak Leaf


There was a leaf for each quote that also camouflaged  the places where we had to add reinforcement (popsicle sticks and gorilla glue).

Leaf hides space imperfections


When it was all done, this is how it looked.  Funny, huh how Judy Kay and I have the same idea about using sticks for hanging things.  In this case this was a rather large branch from a windfall in the back yard.  The final frame was about a yard or more around, more or less.  apologies in advance for not having a solid color wall on which to hang this for a photo.

Class project

Fortunately, Mrs. Pond does have a blank wall for this to go on in the baby room.  And here is what goes directly on the wall above the branch,  sized to fit between the leather strap hangers.  YES, IN VINYL!  While it shows here on the mat, I just placed transfer tape on it, rolled it up, and gave it to Mrs. Pond with instructions on how to transfer it to her wall.  Unfortunately, there is no picture of it installed yet, as the frame hung in the classroom for over a month so it could get shown off for open house and Kindergarten tour groups.  I’ll post when she takes a photo for us.

Vinyl for Wall above frame


I’d like to thank all you ladies for the inspiration to work with vinyl.  I was excited about this project because it was the first one where I both worked with Vinyl in any depth, and also designed my own vector graphics outside of the digital cutter software (in Adobe).  So the project has a double meaning to me in “Mighty oaks from little acorns grow”.

15 thoughts on “Mighty Oaks from little acorns grow

  1. Greatjob, Elizabeth!! And what a great gift! So now you will be using vinyl in a lot of projects!! Aren’t tree branches great!! Love the sense of nature.

    • Judy, I really did not want to use vinyl because I try to limit my use of plastic. But I found that a little goes a long way! So I did not feel as wasteful. And it let me easily put the sayings for the kids on the leaves.

    • such a cute idea! Even cuter than the teacher who hung a mirror at child’s eye level on the classroom door, with a note saying: Look into the mirror to see the brightest, neatest student of all. I love the acorns!

  2. Great idea and great job working on such a creative project! VINYL is my go-to when I’m feeling like I’m not having success on a project! Vinyl is my favorite so far (well rhinestones is a quick second but vinyl is always a quick and easy project!)

    • I am so happy to have been introduced to the Bamboo tablet by you at the retreat. It really helps with Illustrator!

      • AH! I didn’t realize that was me!! So glad you are using it. I still use mine for everything. Don’t even use a mouse anymore.

  3. What a fantastic project, Elizabeth. I really enjoyed it. I bet the class and parents just loved it.

  4. Elizabeth, I love this project. I appreciate all the work that went into making it a success. I’m sure it was enjoyed by everyone that got to see it. It’s hard to beat the success that can be achieved with vinyl. Can’t wait to see how you use it next. Thanks for sharing.

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