Something I love to do with my daughters is craft. We love painting and coloring. Molding playdoh and stringing beads. So naturally, when the holidays come around, I love making personal gifts that double, not only as keepsakes, but as a way to track their growth and progress. Then, every year, when that specific holiday comes around, we get out the old prints and compare how much they’ve grown. Afterwards, we make another craft (sometimes the exact same one, sometimes a new one) to add to our collection and reflect on the next year. Often we will make duplicates for grandparents and they end up being the best gifts. Not to mention how proud the kids are to show off what they created. Below is a list of my favorite foot and handprint crafts that can be done with children of all ages.
- New Year’s Day – “Handprint fireworks”! If you are using baby hands, I suggest just using a sparkly or glittery paint. With little ones, you want your craft to be easy and fast. But if you’re working with an older child, paint their palm with a base color, and once stamped on the paper, have them sprinkle some glitter until its completely covered and shake off the excess. Then, simply draw a few lines to convey the firework “exploding” as seen here.
- Valentine’s Day – “LOVE.” Start with red paper and white paint. Your child’s hand will be the “O” and their feet will be the “V.” It’s up to you to draw the other two letters. I usually start with the feet since those are usually the easiest. If you make baby mad by painting their hand first, you won’t be able to complete the project. You can either paint your child’s palm and bottoms of feet white and stamp them straight onto the red paper, or, as seen in the picture, you can paint them red and stamp on an extra piece of paper, and then cut and glue them onto your red paper. The second way may have more steps, but it’s a more fool-proof way to make sure you don’t get smudgy prints.
- St. Patrick’s Day – “Follow the Rainbow.” There are two ways you can do this craft. You will have to judge the attention span and age of your child before planning this project. Your first option is to do multiple handprints of different colors (red, orange, yellow, blue, green, purple) in an arching pattern, ending at a black pot that you’ve cut and glued, or drawn on with marker or paint. You can glue on gold foil or just use gold paint to paint circles in your pot of gold. It’ll look something like this. (Just my own personal preference: I never write something that’s obvious…so instead of “gold” as seen on this image, I usually write a name, date, or “Happy St Patrick’s Day”). Your second option is to paint the different rainbow colors on your child’s palm and fingers, so when you stamp the rainbow, it is just one handprint, like here. Either option has cute results. With my older daughter I can do either one, but with the baby, the obvious choice would be the multiple handprints…too bad she hates getting cleaned up!
- Easter – “He is Risen.” I love this craft because bunny handprint crafts are so easy to find and, while cute, pretty generic. This one is so simple but helps remind our children why we celebrate Easter. It’s an amazing conversation started for toddlers while you make the craft together. Start by painting your child’s hand yellow and stamping on a white piece of paper. Then have them glue a dome of construction paper on top (this example uses green for a hill, I like brown to resemble the tomb). Then cut out the shape of the cross in another pattern or colored paper and glue on top of the dome. Another option would be to paint your child’s thumb and stamp it three times on the paper as the top half of the cross, and then use their forefinger for the bottom.
- Mother’s Day – I like to call this one “A Single Rose.” I first saw this craft as a gift from my daughter’s school to me. Maybe it was because it was my first Mother’s Day and she was just a baby, but it will forever be one of my favorite print projects. Again, super simple. Just paint or use a stamp pad on your child’s palm, making sure it is sufficiently coated in the color of your choice (I prefer red or pink). Once the print is transferred onto the paper, draw a flower stem and a little grass. Then paint, draw, or glue a tiny heart in the center of the palm. The best part of this project is the little poem: “A piece of me I give to you, I painted this flower to say ‘I love you.’ The heart is you, the hand is me, to show we are friends, the best there can be. I hope you will save it and look back someday, at the flower we shared on your special day…Happy Mother’s Day!” You can find more poems here.
- Father’s Day – “Dad, You are My Super Hero”! Paint the bottom of one foot blue and stamp on white paper. Then paint the palm of one hand red, and stamp connected to the blue foot. Then you, or if your child is older, will draw a circle for the head, a blue stripe for his arm, and a small circle for his fist. Your finished project should look something like this. You can then add superhero stickers on the cape and on the paper for added decoration.
- 4th of July – “A Flag of Fingers.” There are two ways to do this craft. For my youngest daughter, not even a year old yet, I simply stamp her blue handprint in the upper left corner of a white piece of paper, and then add red stripes as seen here. However, if you have an older child who can sit still for a short bit, consider this craft instead. Simply alternate painting their fingers red and white, and then paint their palm blue. Once stamped on the paper, you can add dots of white paint or glue white sequins onto the blue section for the stars, as shown here. They chose to paint the thumb brown for a flagpole, but I like to make the thumb part of the flag and then draw a flagpole in marker or paint.
- Halloween – “Spidey-Fingers.” Paint just the palm and four fingers black, leaving the thumb bare. On an orange piece of paper, stamp the hand twice with the base of the palms touching. Then you can paint white eyes or glue paper or googly-eyes as seen here. Add a black or white cobweb in the upper corner for a nice finishing touch.
- Thanksgiving – “Not Your Normal Turkey.” Everyone knows the one I’m talking about. Super cute and easy, but try out this one instead. All you do is paint the bottom of their feet brown and make a single stamp on a piece of paper. Then you can either paint the entire hand one color (like orange or red) or paint the individual fingers alternating colors. Stamp their hand with the heels of their palms touching their footprint. The rest is just gluing googly-eyes and paper to finish the turkey’s face. It should look something like this.
- Christmas – This one is called “Mistle-toes” and it always turns out super cute. Simply paint the bottom of your child’s feet green, or use a stamp pad, and put their print on paper. I prefer white because it shows up better and is still part of the seasonal colors. Then decorate with red and green markers to your liking. I usually draw a bow connecting the two feet prints just like a ribbon for mistletoe. Then, depending on how much white space is left, I might draw some little holly berries and leaves. You can get an idea of this project, or even buy a printable version, here.
Before I leave you to your holiday-craft planning, I have to share a few tips:
- Make them sit! My baby is always strapped in her high chair and my toddler has to sit at the table. This way their feet dangle and won’t immediately get paint on the floor, and I have something hard to press against when stamping their hands.
- Get ready for a mess! I always have a couple packs of baby wipes open and even some wipes pulled out and ready for a quick grab. As soon as you stamp, wipe! It’s your best defense against getting paint on their clothes, face, etc.
- The amount of paint matters! If you do not have large stamp pads (by far the easiest for doing handprints…scroll to bottom of post to see link), it’s best to use a paint brush as a means to get the paint on the foot or hand. It allows you to control how much paint transfers. If you just glop paint on a plate and then use it like a stamp pad, you’ll most likely have too much paint and when you go to stamp the print to paper, it’ll be slippery. Trust me, it’s harder to see the size of a footprint for comparison sake when you use too much paint, slide around, and have a print twice as big as what it actually is.
- Make it last! If you’re giving it as a gift or plan on keeping it for many years, add the extra touch of framing or lamination.
Let me know which one is your favorite and what you’re most looking forward to trying!
Lord, bless this busyness ~ Jenn
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