DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

From the time my daughter was old enough to need something to entertain her during church, I’ve had a church bag put together that we can grab and go on Sundays.  Of course, the contents change periodically to keep her interested and we’ve had to add more items since my son is also in need of distraction during church.  Mostly we have crayons, paper and books along with a couple of small cars.

Recently I was at the store and spotted some darling animal lacing cards that I thought would be perfect to throw in the church bag to shake things up a bit.  The next Sunday, they were a hit and I decided to see if I could make some lacing cards that were more church themed.  (Of course this same tutorial applies for any theme you want.)

To make your own lacing cards, follow these steps:
First you’ll need to find some clip art for the images you want.  I searched for ‘free bible stories clip art’ and came up with a ton of options.  One image caught my eye and took me to an entire website of free clip art in almost any category you could imagine: nature, language arts, science, sports, fairy tales and the list goes on.  (Keep in mind that this site allows free use of its images as long as you don’t try and profit from it.)

Save the image to your computer by right clicking and selecting ‘save image as…’.  This will allow you to choose where you want to save the file.

Once you have all your images, place the images in a word file and resize the images and adjust the margins if desired.  I wanted to fit two images per 8.5×11 page and they each ended up being between 4-6″ wide/tall.

Print your images on cardstock.  (I used white.)

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Use a pencil to trace a border around the image, about 1/2″.  Make sure you’re not trying to be too detailed.  Cut out the images and erase any remaining pencil marks.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Punch holes around the image, spacing every 1/2-1″.  This is totally a personal preference.  Just make sure not to get too close to the edge of your border.  Mine varied a little per card.  You can use a regular hole punch to make the holes.  (I have a Crop-A-Dile, which allows me to punch 3/16″ or 1/8″ holes.)  This step gave my forearm and hand a major workout!  I made a total of 12 lacing cards and each card had at least 30 holes.  You do the math.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

Laminate each lacing card.  I did a hard laminate which is stiffer and stronger so combined with the cardstock, the cards should be pretty durable.  I don’t have a laminater, so I took my cards to a local genealogy store that does it for pretty inexpensive (I paid $4 for 7ft).

Cut a border around each card, making sure not to get too close to the edge.  Repunch the holes on each card.  (*Note: You could wait to punch the holes until this step instead of doing it twice but I wanted to make it a little easier on myself since I’d have to punch through hard laminate and cardstock if I had waited.  In addition, by using my Crop-A-Dile, I was actually able to punch a slightly smaller hole within each original hole, preserving the strength of the lamination around each original hole.  Overkill?  Maybe.  But I’d like these to last as long as possible.)

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

For the lacing, I found a pack of 8 pairs of shoelaces at my local dollar store (Dollar Tree).  Not quite enough for each card to have it’s own, but I don’t expect all 12 to be used at the same time. *wink*

My daughter was so excited to try out the new lacing cards!  I wasn’t even done punching the first one (the second time around) and she was already pulling out the laces and waiting for the card when I finished.  She laced three or four of them before I told her I needed to put them away until Sunday.

DIY Lacing Cards Tutorial--How to make your own lacing cards using any theme you want!  Perfect for church bags, diaper bags and gifts.

As for me, I really love the way they turned out!  The clip art is darling and overall it was a fairly inexpensive project, costing me less than $10 (if you include the cost of paper and ink which I already had on hand).  These lacing cards would make a great birthday gift, stocking stuffer, church bag activity, for long car trips or something to keep in your diaper bag while you’re out and about.

I hope you have fun making your own!

Traditions I’m Starting This Christmas

When I think of Christmas as a small child, I think of all the different traditions we had growing up.  My mom loved (and still loves) traditions and Christmas is her favorite holiday so we had a lot of them.  Now that I have a family of my own, my husband and I have the opportunity to create new traditions as well as adopting some of the same ones we had in our family.

I remember loving Christmas as a child and wondering how it could get any better than unwrapping presents, playing with new toys and eating yummy food.  And then I became a parent and I was able to see the world from my parents’ eyes as I watched my own kids experience the anticipation on Christmas Eve, their excitement on Christmas morning and just the overall feeling of happiness that seems to radiate from their being.  I loved Christmas as a kid, but I love it even more as a parent.

My daughter’s first Christmas (2012)

My son’s first Christmas (2014)

We have a couple of family traditions already in place for Christmas, but I wanted to add a couple more now that my kids are getting a little older.  I’m sure that as the years pass, we’ll add or discontinue certain traditions to fit our family, so I think the practice of adding new ones each year will help ensure that there is something for everyone and all ages.

My husband and I want to make sure that our kids understand the true meaning of Christmas and not think that it revolves around Santa, elves and presents.  By starting now, we can instill in them at least a basic understanding of how Christmas came to be and why we celebrate it in the first place.  The traditions we are starting this year are simple, but hopefully ones our kids will cherish as they get older.

25 Days of Christ: The 25 Days of Christ is a tradition that was started by a woman who wanted her children to grow up having a more Christ-centered Christmas.  She was worried that they were becoming too engrossed in the materialistic part of Christmas and began thinking about a way she could create a Christ-centered family tradition.  She made ornaments and compiled stories, videos and quotes to go along with them.  Each night her family would read about the meaning of each ornament and take turns hanging it on the tree.  And that is how The 25 Days of Christ tradition came to be.

I absolutely love this idea for families of all ages because it helps us take time away from our busy lives and stop and think about the reason for the season.  I ordered my ornament kit last year (2014) and got part way done painting it but wasn’t able to finish in time to do it with my family.  So we are starting this year instead, which actually works better for us since my daughter is a little older and has a better understanding of who Christ is.  I have a smaller Christmas tree, about 2-3 feet tall, that we can put the ornaments on each night.  Another thing I really like about the kit is that it includes stories and scriptures from both the New Testament and the Book of Mormon.  You can also order it with just the New Testament stories and scriptures if that is your preference.

Unwrap Christmas Books:  I’ve been trying to collect a variety of Christmas books over the last few years so that we could read one to the kids each night in December leading up to Christmas.  I’ve got all sorts, ranging from The Polar Express (affiliate link) to Curious George (affiliate link) that I’ve picked up right at the beginning of the Christmas season or right after when they are on sale.  (I think the most I’ve spent on a book is $7.)  While I don’t have quite enough yet–about 15 books–I still wanted to start this tradition because I know how much my kids love unwrapping presents.  What kid doesn’t, right?  (My husband thinks it’s a waste of wrapping paper, but I just call him “Scrooge” and keep wrapping. *wink*)  They also love to read books and since we don’t read Christmas books at any other time of the year, I figure this is a good way to do it.  Plus, it goes right along with our daily tradition/routine of reading a book to the kids before bedtime.  It’s a total win-win!

If you want to start this tradition, but don’t have enough Christmas books for the days leading up to Christmas, you can do a 12 Days of Christmas, or however many days you have books!  And I don’t think they necessarily need to be Christmas books.  You could easily wrap your existing kids books and let them unwrap those.  This tradition is totally adaptable to your own family!

I am so excited to start these new traditions with my family this year!  Christmas is such a wonderful time and year and I love spending it creating memories and enjoying sweet moments together.

What are your favorite Christmas traditions?  Are you starting any new traditions this year?