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Thursday 15 November 2012

Turkey Hand Prints for Thanksgiving

In just one week's time it will be Thanksgiving. It feels like only yesterday we were celebrating our very first Thanksgiving here in America. It sounds like such a cliché, but the time really has just flown by. 

Ava is super excited about Thanksgiving - especially the turkey part of the holiday. She can't wait to eat turkey, she wants to dress as a turkey and she's eager to create turkey crafts. Dressing as a turkey may be a little odd but making turkey crafts is right up our alley.

A little search on Pinterest provided a lot of inspiration for turkey themed activities. I've got a few turkey projects planned for the girls but first up here's the messiest (and therefore the most fun!) of the lot: turkey hand prints.

Hand print turkey

This is a really simple project and the kids had a lot of fun with it.  

Here's what you'll need:
Kid friendly paint (We used finger paints in brown, red, orange, purple, yellow)
Paint brushes 
Goggly eyes
... and most importantly, your hands!

Here's how you do it:

Start by painting the palm of your child's hand and their thumb in brown paint. Make sure you apply it quite thickly through the middle of their palm as this part of the hand doesn't touch the paper so well when you stamp it down.

Starting with brown for the turkey's body

Once the palm is painted you can add some colour to the fingers to form the turkey's tail feathers. I used red from the base of the fingers to about half way up, followed by orange and then yellow on the very ends. I then went back and added a little purple over the palm of the hand and the base of the fingers to add a little texture.

Ava adds the finishing touches to her hand

Ava's hand ready for printing

Lola's hand ready for printing

About to print with Lola's hand

Once you're happy with how the paint looks it's time to make your print. Stamp the hand down and apply a little pressure, especially on top of the palm, to ensure that the paint sticks to the paper evenly. Ava kept her hand fairly still with her fingers spread far for most of her prints. Lola on the other hand moved her fingers around quite a bit on the paper. Lola's prints ended up a little messier than Ava's however I think this gave the print a more "feathery" look which I quite like. Ava caught onto this "technique" for her later prints too.

Ava stamps down her hand

Helping Lola stamp her hand down

Make sure your hold down the paper with a clean hand while lifting up the painted hand and there you go; one turkey print! Repeat all the steps until you have the desired number of turkey hand prints.

Ava's turkey hand print

Lola's little turkey and Ava's bigger turkey prints

Lola and Ava turkey prints

Once the paint is dry you can add all of the other features: beak, legs, eye, one of those weird dangly things that turkeys have under their beaks... Ava drew the extra details in pencil and coloured them in. We added a goggly eye to each turkey print to make them a little more fun. Ava then added text to the pictures with a "gobble gobble" here and a "gobble gobble" there. Oh, and the odd "Happy Thanksgiving 2012" too.

Lola's little turkeys

Lola turkey and Ava turkey

Gobble gobble

More turkeys

Now to hang the turkey pictures for everyone to see.

This turkey is on our front door wishing our neighbours a happy Thanksgiving

Turkeys, turkeys everywhere...


It's a good idea to have all of your paints ready to go so that you can get your kids' hands painted as quickly as possible. Ava seemed to have trouble keeping her painted hand away from the table, the paper, her clothes... and Lola was so keen to make prints that she was a little impatient and kept trying to stamp her hand down before it was painted properly. They love making everything a challenge!     

I used the paints directly out of the pots so I used a different brush for each colour to avoid mixing them up too much. 

I found that I got the best results when I used a lot of paint. I noticed that the paints started to dry on the girls' hands quite quickly so the more I added the less it dried out on their skin.

If you find that your print comes out with a gap in the middle of the palm just dab a little extra brown (and maybe purple) paint directly onto the print. Ava's hand in particular tended to leave a blank spot in the middle. 

If you'd prefer, you could paint the extra details on while the hand prints are still wet rather than adding them in pencil later.

1 comment:

  1. Hello, I work for the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and we would love to use one of your photos from your blog that was taken at the Aquarium. Please contact me at kingram[at]mbayaq.org. Thank you, Kris Ingram, Image Resources, Monterey Bay Aquarium


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