You love making handprint and footprint keepsake art with the kids, but you just don’t know a good way to display them. Beautiful painted papers are scattered all over your house. What I have started doing was making seasonal handprint canvas prints. This way each matches the season, my decor, and is sturdy enough to be stored away for next year. This is also a great way to keep track of your child’s growth.
You may remember my Spring Wall Collage series where I did a bunch of handprint, footprint, and fingerprint canvases. Well, I am doing that again for fall and this “Gourds” one kicks it off! You can do all of them this year and create a Fall Wall Collage as I am doing, or bookmark my site and do one a year, adding slowly to your collection.
While handprint crafts just for the kids are loads of fun, I feel there is something extra special about family collaborative pieces. That’s why I try to involve everyone in some way with these canvas wall prints. Both of my little boys enjoy having their hands and feet painted, I fill in everything and give it detail, and sometimes we involve Daddy by letting him add the hanging gear and positioning it on the wall (though we are re-using the spring set-up.)
What 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, and white.)
- 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)
1. First you will want to paint a background color. I used brown and made it squiggly for dirt. Let dry or your gourds will be smudgy.
2. My next step was adding palm print pumpkin-shaped gourds. Paint orange in the palm of your child’s hand and a little bit of brown slightly up the middle finger for a stem.
3. Gently press your child’s hand onto the canvas so the full handprint shows. Add a few!
4. Since the handprints will be light and will surely have some gaps in the paint, paint in the print with the same colors to make it bolder. Let dry.
5. Add some details to your prints. I used a brown-orange (burnt orange) color.
6. Begin adding some gourds. I let my boys each pick out a gourd for their rooms, so they each helped created a handprint likeness of them. My baby picked a pear-shaped gourd with green and orange. Paint the palm to match. I used the wrist area of the palm as the gourd’s bottom.
7. Keeping the fingers together, have your child place his or her hand on the canvas and press down gently to get a full handprint.
8. Again, fill in the handprint colors so they are bolder, let dry if needed, and add some details.
9. My oldest son chose a sort of crown-shaped gourd. I painted the palm of his hand and a tiny bit up each finger with a light yellow color.
10. With his fingers spread, have him place his palm on the canvas and press down gently to get a full print.
11. Fill in the shape to make it bolder. Let dry if needed.
12. Paint on some details.
13. Go ahead and add some other types of gourds.
14. The last type of gourd we painted were the ones that look like swans. We made these by painting feet! The heel part of the food is the top of the gourd and the toes are the bottom, so we painted the colors accordingly.
15. Gently press your child’s foot against the canvas to transfer the paint.
16. Fill in the prints so they are bolder.
17. Again, add details. I put a little step at the top of the gourd (the heel of the footprint) and added some stripes.
18. If you are like me, you will want to add more pizzazz to the background color. I went back through with a darker brown color and added a gravelly-dirt look, let that dry, then added some thin green vines to tie everything together.
19. Add mounting brackets to the back of your print at the center of the top.
Bonus tip: Do not forget to sign and date your artwork! This is an important step in any keepsake craft. You do not want to forget those memories with your children, or how old those handprints are. Take lots of pictures too!
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Which gourds 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 firstname.lastname@example.org!
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