hand prints tradition: an update
Ah, the beloved hand prints.
(Yes, the acrylic paint wiped right off our office counter-tops.)
WHO | This is a family tradition we began over 9 years ago when Porter was a one-year-old, and we have carried on with this for each of our 3 children ever since.
WHEN | Every year – around the time of their birthday – the kids do a hand print on painted canvas. Their birthdays are in September and December. We just did our latest canvases a few weeks ago – in March. And guess what? It’s OKAY. Just because life got crazy and we got busy and we’re “late” doesn’t mean we throw in the towel on tradition. So what if their fingers are a millimeter longer than they were a few months ago? I’m over it, and I’m quite certain they will never care either.
BACKGROUND | About 5 years ago I shared more about this tradition in this blog post. Check it out for a little behind-the-canvas look at how I label the canvases (and other tips).
SUPPLIES | I usually pick up the 8×8 canvas at Michaels. I dig through my stash of simple acrylic paint and use regular/cheap foam brushes. That’s it. I probably should spray a clear finish over all of the canvases but have not yet prioritized doing that. If someone has a suggestion, by all means – share with us!
PROCESS | We look at each child’s “so far” collection to help determine what the next color combination will be. It’s usually random, but I try to keep the overall collection looking nice together. Then we paint the canvas. It’s always 2-3 coats and if the kids are old enough, they can paint the canvas themselves (I still help my kids to get a nice, even background). Then I cover their right hand generously with paint and we carefully lower it onto the center of the canvas. I press around all over their hand for just a few seconds to be sure paint is having contact with the canvas in all the right places and then on the count of 3, we lift their hand straight up to avoid smudges or smearing.
BIG PICTURE | Right now I have Porter’s collection displayed in the play room. Claire’s is on display on a shelf in her bedroom. Crew only has a few and they’re sitting on a little table in the boys’ bedroom. But the vision I have with these is to hang each collection in grid format – on the wall – somewhere. When I get around to that, I’ll share the results. As for when I plan to stop doing their annual hand prints, I figure their hands will stop growing by the time they’re 18, right?
Crew’s “so far” collection (ages 2, 3, 4). He must have been way wiggly at age one!
Claire’s “so far” collection (ages 1 to 7).
Porter’s “so far” collection (ages 4 to 10). Ages 1-3 are on odd-sized canvases in the cabinet to the right because A) we’re running out of room on this shelf in the play room and B) they’re not “uniform” with the other 8×8 canvas sizes. Which is not a big deal of course. The reason the first few are not on 8×8 canvases is because I did not begin this tradition with the end in mind. I just did hand prints and didn’t really think to have them all displayed together until I was a few years into it. And that’s okay.
Tip of the day | Here’s the other thing I do when we do the annual hand prints. While their hand is already a mess, I add more paint and have them each do one more hand print on a piece of cardstock that is similar to the canvas background color we painted. I do this with the intention of including it in their scrapbooks of course.
For this recent go around, I jotted their name & date in the corner (as I do with every other paper or piece of art that we hang onto) and placed them in their their respective stashes so that when I carve out some time to do the catching-up I want to do in their Project Life albums, I won’t have to wonder when I did the hand print or how old they were, etc.
The hand print can be trimmed to size (in this case, my kids’ hands are still smaller than a 6×6) and preserved forever. This is the Design E Photo Pocket Page, which is currently available as part of the Big Variety Pack 1. The 12-packs of Design E will be in stock next month. I trimmed the cardstock to a 6″ square, slipped it in the pocket, and now I’ll fill the other pockets with art, handwriting samples, and photos.