Crafting with Kids: Fish handprints on canvas

The world is 4.54 billion years old so I’m pretty sure there isn’t an original idea out there. I hold my hands up, I went on ye olde Pinterest and borrowed/was inspired by/stole this idea for kids handprints on canvas. They were for Christmas presents, I thought they’d be cute, cheap and easy to do. Two out of three ain’t bad.

To start with I went to one of those pound shop type places and found some cheap canvases. I bought a pack of four for a pound, which was an immense bargain.

When we got home I painted wavy scenes on them, thus accurately depicting the ocean. I would’ve asked my four your old to help but I didn’t want blue paint everywhere, it was quicker and it was easier for me to do it than to stand in the kitchen for an hour arguing why the sea couldn’t be red. My wavy canvases looked like this…


They took a while to dry, so I left them overnight. Naively I thought getting the boy to press a painted hand onto a canvas would be the easiest thing in the world. I was wrong. I started this crafting venture on 2nd October 2014 and we managed to finish it on Christmas Eve.

Both husbear and I tried repeatedly to get him to do it, we tried it with our best “fun activity” voices, we negotiated hard, we tried bribery, we tried tricking him into doing it, we tried witchcraft (made that one up). Nothing on earth could persuade him to put paint on his hand and press it onto something four times. But for some reason, late on Christmas Eve afternoon he did it. Using some sparkly gold paint thickly slicked onto his hand, he made a fish swim in the sea. We did a victory dance. We ran up the stairs and did that thing Rocky does, I did a lap of honour round the kitchen. Then we had a brew.

Once they’d dried (at this late stage I helped them along with the hairdryer) I got a marker and drew on an eye and a mouth for the fish, wrote his name on his masterpiece (his masterpiece? Yeh right) and then wrapped them up for gifts.


I think it looks alright, it’s a nice thing to have and any self respecting grandparent would love to receive some artwork from one of their beloved grandchildren wouldn’t they? Wouldn’t they? Apparently not. Three months of negotiation and temper tantrums (from both sides) and not a glimmer of appreciation for it. Next year they’re all getting a box of crappy chocolates instead.

This is a cheap and easy activity for you to do with a willing, co-operative child. I wish you luck with your crafting endeavours, but I fear our crafts-as-gifts days are over.

26 responses to “Crafting with Kids: Fish handprints on canvas

  1. Jane that made me chuckle! I especially like ‘thus accurately depicting the ocean’ and ‘then we had a brew’. Very good – and very cute!

  2. Haha, what a brilliant idea. Id love to try it with my two but like you getting either of my kids to put their hands in paint will be like pulling teeth and ill still be bribing them when their in their teens!!

  3. It does look pretty cool though 😉
    Definitely go for chocolates next time ha x

  4. Oh my goodness, that was a challenge and worse that it wasn’t even appreciated! I bet you felt good though when he finally did the handprints!
    I think it looks great!
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsbeKids

  5. The final product was worth all the fuss 🙂

  6. Ha ha this is amusing… I don’t have kids so I’d probably not appreciate the sheer time and effort that had gone into this if I’d had received it as a gift! Now when I see something my nephews have made I shall be a lot more enthused than usual!

  7. Eventually it looked fab!

  8. Oh these are fantastic! Don’t worry I find kids (I am a leader for a Brownie group) either really love hand prints or really hate it! Lol. The final product was definitely worth it 🙂 x

  9. It looks great, definitely worth all the cajoling. Such a great idea x

  10. Oh so cute! Sometimes the most simple (and oldest) ideas are the best! We recently made butterflies by folding paintings in half- think I was in playschool the last time I did them! x x x

  11. Really lovely. Something treasure. I’ve started a new children’s crafting linky this month on my blog. Would love if you can pop over and link up. You can find the linky at –

  12. Hee! I love the ‘fun activity’ voice – so glad to know that I’m not on my own with it – There’s nothing like testing the perfectionist in a parent that crafting with a 4yo is there? Brilliant job x

  13. My two were never greatly into crafting when they were small although maybe I gave off enough “this is not going to work out well” vibes before we started! As for the lack of appreciation, I’d be seething! #craftykids

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