Friday, January 17, 2014

Handprint Tree Paintings

If you've ever seen my Pinterest page, you know I have tons of recipes and crafts and inspirational pictures that I want to try. More than I could possibly actually do, but that's the great thing about Pinterest! Whenever I get the itch to do something different or crafty, or try a new recipe, I have an endless supply of inspiration that I already know I want to try.

This weekend, I decided it was time to try out one of the kids art projects I've had pinned for quite some time now; the Handprint Tree. I found it on Pinterest, but the pin only links back to an image so I have no idea where this idea originated from, but you can see the pin HERE.

The original project was done on canvas, but when I got to Hobby Lobby, I happened to see these awesome burlap frames that were painted white and they were fairly cheap so I snatched them up. Make these on whatever medium you happen to have or want. I think they'll turn out great on anything.

You'll need brown paint as well as two other complementary colors, something to paint on (canvas or something else), a brush, a pencil and possibly a stencil if you plan to write on the painting.

I let the kids choose their colors so of course Julia went immediately to the pink and purple. Damien tried to negotiate with me for a while, saying he'd only take one color so that we could get brown for the tree trunk. It took a while, but I finally got him to understand I was going to buy a brown paint anyway and he should definitely get two colors. What a sweetie. He ended up choosing autumn colors: yellow and orange.

When we got home, we went immediately to work. First up, tracing their hands and arms. Use a pencil and trace a light line around their forearm and hand. You'll be able to erase this later.

Once you have your tree traced out, you're ready to start painting. We went with Burnt Umber for our tree trunks and I think they turned out great. I did the tree trunks myself to ensure they were fairly true to the handprint and then I let the kids go crazy with their fingerprint leaves.

I let the tree trunk dry before I let the kids begin their painting, just to make sure nothing got smudged. Don't worry too much about being perfect. I think the imperfect, hand-painted look is part of the charm of this project.

Once the trunks are dry, I let the kids loose. I tried to encourage them to make beautiful patterns and evenly spaced leaves, just like the picture. I soon gave up and let them do whatever they wanted which is, of course, much better in the end.

After the leaves dried, I stenciled their name and the year on the painting. Let me just say that I am NOT a fan of stenciling. I had to let each letter dry before moving on to the next to make sure it didn't get smudged and the letters didn't really turn out as nicely as I'd hoped (mostly due to lack of patience I'm sure.) But in the end, I'm really very pleased with the result.

Damien had originally wanted me to alternate the yellow and orange paint for his name, but his mischievous little sister ruined that for him by smearing the wet paint and making it impossible for me to use the lighter colors, so I just finished it up with the brown. 

Julia's name ended up being a little crooked, but I'm ok with that too.

Here's the breakdown of how much this project cost (all from Hobby Lobby):

Burlap frame: $4.99
3 acrylic paints: $0.79 x 3 = 2.37
Stencil: $2.99
Total: $10.35 or less, if you already have paints and/or stencils.

Overall, a very easy project that I think will look great in their new rooms eventually =).

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