Handprint and Footprint Woodland Animals Canvas Wall Art

Handprint and Footprint Woodland Animals Canvas Wall ArtSoft, furry woodland animals are so adorable. While you will see them around all year long, they have always felt like a fall thing to me. I decided it was time to finish up this year’s Fall Wall Collage (see also Spring Wall Collage) and it had to have woodland creatures included.

I got to thinking…which little woodland critters remind me the most of fall? Of course, I’d have to say deer…it’s hunting season after all [cue tears at recollection of the movie Bambi.] Yes, deer would definitely be on my wall. Another woodland animal we love is the squirrel. I picture them in this season enjoying Indian corn and acorns. We decided to start off with the squirrel painting and save the deer painting for last. These will look fantastic with our handprint and footprint gourds and our handprint and fingerprint fall leaves and trees paintings!

Oh, and sorry, but I won’t be sharing my entire Fall Wall Collage quite yet…you will have to subscribe to my newsletter to see when that post goes live. You will LOVE it! Even if you can’t get to the whole collage this year, you will find some great projects to make this year and next to build your fall wall decor collection.

You may have noticed, as you’ve gone through our handprint and footprint projects, that there are multiple sizes of prints. Since I have two boys, each gets to add something to the canvas! You can do separate pieces with each child, but I really love complete collaborative pieces and the variety it brings to the painting.

Handprint Squirrels and Corn

Handprint Squirrel Canvas Wall ArtWhat You Need

  • Canvas(es) of your choice (I usually purchase these on sale or in the “as is” section at the craft store or use a discount code. I don’t care if they are marked up a bit or even have a pin hole, because it will be covered up with paint.)
  • Paint (I used acrylic browns, yellows, oranges, greens, reds, white and black.)
  • Paint brushes in various sizes (I use a large for the base color, medium for painting on hands, and one or two different thin ones for details)
  • Damp washcloth (for messes!)
  • Dry washcloth/towel
  • Cup of water (for rinsing brushes)
  • A sink nearby
  • A hairdryer (or time to wait between layers–I waited this time)
  • Mounting brackets

Directions

1. Paint the base layer of the canvas. I just used brown. You can add extra detail if you wish, but I kept this one pretty simple. Let dry (use the hairdryer on low if needed.)

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 12. Paint your child’s palm a lighter, almost grayish brown color.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 23. Have your child keep his fingers together and press down gently on the canvas where you want the squirrel to be, making sure the full print is transferred to the canvas.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 34. Paint in the handprints so it is one solid color.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 45. Using the same paint color, add a head to the squirrel. I had my squirrel heads face towards the thumb of the prints.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 56. Add little ears and feet to the squirrel as well. Make the front ones a little bigger than the back ones…it’s all about perspective.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 67. Come back in with some lighter brown/almost white paint and add furry details on the back of the neck, the front neck/chest area, and the stomach, leaving space for an arm.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 78. Create a slightly darker brown color, but one that stands out from the background, and fill in the squirrel’s head, ears, and a line along the bottom of the squirrel’s arm.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 89. Come back in with some more details. I added a little even darker brown to the tops of the ears, a little around the base of the head, and a little to show the squirrel’s legs and fingers, then went back through with white and gave the fur some texture. I even added some of the white along the newly-detailed fingers.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 910. Using a dark, almost black, brown color, add a nose and a little mouth. I also added a little white under the mouth because I enjoy the extra detail.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 1011. Add some white inside the ears and around where the eyes will go. Once the white paint around the eyes has dried a little (I left the center empty without the white so I could paint faster) you can add the big, black eyes. Again, I decided to add a little more detail by putting a tad bit of dark brown along the squirrel’s back.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 1112. More details! I added a little light brown around the nose, a little darker brown to the neck area and under the squirrel’s arms, then I hopped right into the tails. Oh, how I love those adorable, bushy tails! I started with a dark brown outline using small, fur-like strokes, then I came back in with small strokes of the various brown and white colors we have been using. I made the tails a little darker than the body.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 1213. Yes. These squirrels are awesome. I love them! But wait, there’s more…I didn’t want the squirrels to be alone on the canvas, so I decided to give them something to eat. For my older son we did Indian corn and for my younger son we did acorns. For the corn you will want to paint the middle three fingers with a yellow color, coming down to a point at the wrist. Add a green corn husk to the outside fingers and remaining unpainted area.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 1314. Have your child choose where he wants the corn to go beneath his squirrel, then press his hand gently onto the canvas until the full print has transferred.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 1415. Add some detail to your corn. I added more to the husk, a little stem at the base of the corn, some green around the entire cob of corn, some light-colored silk strands at the top, and some fingerprint kernels in yellows, oranges, and browns with a little white. We put a couple on the ground around the squirrel (he’s a bit of a messy eater) and one in his paws.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 15…Need to vent? You can tell anything to a field of corn. It’s all ears.

16. We gave the little guy some acorns to eat. We made these with fingerprints, putting one right into the squirrel’s hands, then went back through and painted on some tops with a darker brown and a little bit of lighter brown detailing.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 16…How did the corn impress the acorn when they got together? He told acorn-y joke.

Sorry. I had to. It’s just so me.

17. I wanted to add more depth to the painting, so I added some grass in the corner. I went through with a generic green color first then went back through with lighter and darker greens until it had the full look I wanted. I then went along the bottom and added just a tiny bit of green and brown along the grass line to set it apart from the brown dirt background.

Handprint Squirrel Painting Step 1718. Add mounting brackets to the back of your print at the center of the top.

Footprint Deer

Footprint Deer Canvas ArtWhat You Need

  • Canvas(es) of your choice (I usually purchase these on sale or in the “as is” section at the craft store or use a discount code. I don’t care if they are marked up a bit or even have a pin hole, because it will be covered up with paint.)
  • Paint (I used acrylic browns, yellows, oranges, red-orange, blue, white, black.)
  • Paint brushes in various sizes (I use a large for the base color, medium for painting on hands, and one or two different thin ones for details)
  • Damp washcloth (for messes!)
  • Dry washcloth/towel
  • Cup of water (for rinsing brushes)
  • A sink nearby
  • A hairdryer (or time to wait between layers–I waited this time)
  • Mounting brackets

Directions

1. Paint the base layer of the canvas. I used light blue at the top and yellow in the middle and made sure the brushes were pretty wet for a watercolor look. I blended the colors and made them darker towards the bottom and lighter towards the top to give it an ombré. Let dry (use the hairdryer on low if needed.)

Footprint Deer Step 12. I went back through and added some darker green at the base as well as a brush stroke line at the top of that for a grassy look. Let dry.

Footprint Deer Step 23. Paint the bottom of your child’s foot. I used an orange-brown color.

Footprint Deer Step 34. Help your child carefully and gently press his foot onto the canvas where you want the deer’s body to be, making sure the full print transfers.

Footprint Deer Step 45. Using the same color, fill in the footprint so it is solid. My oldest flared his toes out, so it has a unique-looking backside, but oh dear, do I love how it ended up turning out. You might be able to tell, but I used a slightly lighter body color for my toddler’s tinier footprint deer.

Footprint Deer Step 56. Before you go too far, you will want to start adding some trees to the top of the painting. I did this before adding the read of the deer’s body in case the head ended up needing to overlap the tree line. I started off with sticks of various sizes in various parts of the painting. The bigger trees were closer and went down further and they got smaller and less detailed as they became further away. I even added simple root bases on the trees.

Footprint Deer Step 67. Begin adding branches to the trees. I did fewer and less detail on the more distant trees and bolder and more detailed branches on the closer trees.It’s best to start with the trees further away then work forward so your branches overlap as they should.

Footprint Deer Step 98. Now back to the deer. We added a neck and legs in the same color as the body. The neck should be long and at the heel of the footprint. The front legs are straighter than the back legs, which are bent (reference the photo for this.) For the bigger deer, since the big toe was on the top of the print, we had the deer standing straight up looking forward. We will come back to the fawn in a bit. Remember, the legs in the front will be bigger than the ones behind…perspective.

Footprint Deer Step 109. Add a head to the deer.

Footprint Deer Step 1110. Use some slightly darker brown to add some muscle tone, a tail and hooves, some shadows, and make the foremost legs more pronounced. I didn’t want to lose the footprint look, so I did a light outline of the toes too.

Footprint Deer Step 1211. Add some lighter, almost white, brown to the face and neck. I added it brighter under the chin then on the face I painted it around the nose area and eye area and left a thin strip of the body-color brown to separate the head from the neck. I also added some darker-colored ears with the light brown/white in the middle of them.

Footprint Deer Step 1312. Add some more of the white and some darker brown to give details around the whole body. White should go on the belly, fronts of the legs, and the underside of the tail. Dark brown can go on the outside of the tail, to emphasize muscles and legs, and for shadowing.

Footprint Deer Step 1413. Now give your deer some antlers in a lighter, but not too light, brown color. I did simple antlers rather than big ones, because I wanted to make a kid deer to fit my boy.

Footprint Deer Step 1514. Since my youngest did his footprint with his big toe on the bottom, I decided to give his deer a different post. This deer is bent to the ground. I added a neck going downward from the heel of the footprint and painted on a head and ears, added a tail around the middle toes, then added legs in a sort of crouched position.

Footprint Deer Step 1615. Just like the first deer, I went back through and added some accents with a darker brown color. We emphasized muscle tone, shadowed areas, the outline of the tail, and the hooves.

Footprint Deer Step 1716. I came back through and painted in white accents with a furry look around the ears, a little by the nose and eyes, on the underside of the neck and belly, the bottom of the tail, and parts of the legs.

Footprint Deer Step 1817. The deer needed a face, so we painted on the black nose and big, black eyes. I added a tiny highlight of white to the nose too.

Footprint Deer Step 1918. Since my toddler is younger, and still my baby, we made his deer a fawn. Add white spots in various sizes and patterns around the back and neck of the deer.

Footprint Deer Step 2019. To add more detail to the surrounding area, I painted a splash of blue to make a pond then lined it with some green grass blades, gray rocks, and some yellow and brown cattails with long, green leaves.

Footprint Deer Step 2120. Let’s not forget those bare trees at the top. While leafless trees are a part of fall, I wanted them instead to pop with fall colors. We used the same technique as our handprint fall trees and added fingerprint leaves in fall colors all along the tops of the trees. I went back through and added smaller dots of these colors using my paintbrush to make it look as though leaves have fallen on the forest floor. I added some further up than the ground to make it look as though some are in the process of falling and I also added some grass blade accents just to make it a little more interesting.

Footprint Deer Step 22I have to say, this is one of my favorite collaborative paintings…so much so that I think I see a deer family painting coming soon where my husband is the buck, I’m the doe, and my boys are the young deer and fawn. So. stinkin’. Cute. And it’s such a great keepsake (and holiday gift!!!) too.

Don’t forget to sign and date your paintings! You will fall in love with these woodland animals. I will be sharing how I displayed all of these paintings soon in my Fall Wall Collage post.

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Which canvas painting will you start with? What’s your favorite thing about fall? Share with me in the comments below.

If you decide to do this project, I would love for you to share on my Facebook page or email me at artscrackers@gmail.com!

Written by Alyssa Darby

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6 Comments

  1. You’re so talented, I didn’t even recognize these as hand and foot prints until I saw the photos of that step!

  2. Pingback: DIY Kid Doodle Coloring Book | Arts & Crackers

  3. I have been seeing more of this adorable art with hands and feet printing. Love it, love getting the children involved with art.

    • Me too! I love ones done just by the kids, but I especially cherish these ones we make together! They’re timeless!

  4. I’m amazed at how you started with the hand prints and foot prints. So cute and special! I’m in awe you are very talented! My favorite thing about fall are all the scents – the scents of the fallen leaves, a bucket of apples, the smoke coming out the chimney from a woodstove, cinnamon and ginger baking, bales of hay with Indian summer sun beating down on them, all smell so good.

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