As summer draws toward its completion and school starts again many parents, teachers, daycare specialists and babysitters start thinking of decorating their home and work for the holidays and celebrating the season. Here are several ideas for making “Fingerprint Art” with your children. These can all be created with ink pads or paint, and are best for children that understand not to put their “art” in their mouths. Most of these ideas are for ages five and up, but you may get a toddler to cooperate in the “Footprint Ghost” as it is done with their feet. I would not leave a child unattended with any of these projects due to the fact that they are composed of inks and paints.
Also, the recommendation of ink or paints are simply what I have found easiest and by no means are an indication that you should not try the other.
Fingerprint Fall Trees: (Easiest with ink.) Using a pencil (you can go over it with pen, marker, or paint afterwards) sketch out a tree and its branches. Remember trees aren’t perfect and let yourself go. If your child is old enough you can have them do this part as well. Color the tree trunk. Using your thumb as a stamp add leaves in shades of red, orange, yellow, and brown to the tree and to the base around it.
Footprint Ghost: (Easiest with paint.) On a black, or colored, piece of paper stamp your child’s footprint in white paint at least once. Take black paint and add three of your child’s thumb prints to the face, two eyes and an “O” mouth. If your child prefers they may use a paint brush and add other details to their ghost.
Handprint Turkey: Have your child ink or paint their hand and stamp it on any color construction paper. If they would like have them clean their hand and using a different color ink or paint stamp four more “feathers” with their fingers. Simply add the details of the eyes, beak, and feet.
Palm Print Pumpkin: Using orange ink or paint and the palm of your hand stamp a “pumpkin” on your page. Next take orange, preferably a different color, and using the whole of your finger, “line” the inside of the pumpkin with ink. They may decorate the pumpkin to make it a jack ‘o’ lantern or they can add several more to make a pumpkin patch.
Alternatively you may use the side of your fists (opposite your thumbs) stamp one side then the other, then fill in using your finger as before.
The Wicked Witch Face: (Easiest with paint.) This one is by far the most intricate but also one of my favorites. It allows for a lot of creativity and is great for older children, but not so great with younger children or children that get frustrated easily. The ideas I’m providing here are simply ideas and if your child has other ideas on how they’d like to create their Wicked Witch – let them experiment. (It is also a good idea to have your child warm up with a few of the other Fingerprint Arts so they get accustomed to what their prints are doing.)
Place your hand on your own cheek and jaw, this will show you the general shape for the side of the face. Keeping your hand still pull it away from your face and using the side of your hand (opposite your thumb) stamp in green ink. This creates the side of the witch’s face. Repeat with your opposite hand. You should now have a “U” or “V” shape on the paper. This is the face of the witch.
Posing your pointer finger in a hook (Like a “Come here” motion) Ink your “hook shape” and place it toward the top of your “U” – this will become the eye, repeat with other hand. Using one of your fingers and darker ink or paint add the colored part of the eye. (Your child may use the hook motion again to add a bottom lid if they would like).
The nose I’ve seen a few different ways, some children will simply take paint and “Swoosh” in a line to make it, others will use the back of their fingers. I prefer to use my thumb and pointer finger. Making the shape of a gentle “L” try to ink only the pointer-finger and thumb (a wet paper towel makes this easier) then placing the top of your pointer finger between the eyes and press the stamp down. This nose will be rather large – but aren’t witch’s supposed to be?
Then taking the first segment of your pointer finger add a mouth (this can be partially covered by the nose to show how “big” the nose is.
Add a few fingerprint warts and your face is done.
Add hair by using the same method used in creating the Turkey feathers, with your four fingers.
Add the hat by stamping the brim with the side of your hand in black ink and the top with either the side of your hand or each of your pointer fingers and thumb (in a triangle shape). Remember this activity is supposed to be fun and not stressful, don’t try to force your hands in uncomfortable positions.
I hope that your fall is pleasant and safe, and that you enjoy creating your fingerprint art.
Tip: Using a cookie sheet line it with wet paper towels, every time your child stamps have them clean their hands with the paper towels – this will help the process not be quite as messy and your child’s hands not be quite as “color stained.” This will also help keep the colors and ink pads separate.
ALWAYS use non-toxic, non-leaded inks or paints.