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Christmas Craft: Paint Handprint Tree

Updated: Sep 12, 2023

As the Anti-Pinterest Parent, I've decided to embark on a journey of documenting my attempts to be the fun DIY creative mom. Buckle up, friends, because it's going to be trainwreck 😂 This is Part 1: The Paint Handprint Christmas Tree

I am not a Pinterest mom. I mean, obviously - Anti-Pinterest Parent! I'm most consistent in having a cluttered and messy home, a pile of laundry (possibly clean, but maybe not...) on a piece of furniture somewhere, coffee on my shirt, and crazy hair. But along with all that also comes a lot of fun, a play filled home, lots of time spent together instead of worrying about appearances of myself or my home, and tons of opportunities for bonding and learning. Do my attempts turn out like the curated photos on Pinterest boards? Absolutely not. Do they still offer the same benefits to my son and our relationship? Absolutely.

The Supplies:

  • A solid piece of light paper for the background. I used a spare off white cardstock sheet.

  • A couple different colors of construction paper

  • scissors

  • Green paint - I tried to get fancy and use 3 different shades

  • A paintbrush or sponge

The Plan:

The tree will be made from applying paint to your child's hand and pressing it onto the

background paper. We chose to do the darkest shade for the bottom 3 handprints, middle shade for the middle 2 handprints, and lightest shade for the top handprint. While the paint is still wet, cut up the construction paper into large confetti and stick them into the paint to create the ornaments. Include your child's name and the year at the bottom so you can cherish the memory forever.

The Execution:

  • Our bottom row went as planned. The paint was poured onto a plate, we applied it to my son's hand with a sponge, and he allowed me to help him place his hand in a row across the bottom of the cardstock. Yay, off to a great start!

  • We then had to run to the bathroom to wash off the dark green paint, dry hands, and run back to our craft for row number 2. This time, my son decided he wanted to be in charge of the paint, so he poured THE ENTIRE BOTTLE onto a plate. And a little onto the floor. He then could not wait for the sponge application, so he stuck his entire hand into the plate of paint. Honestly, this was faster so it worked out well. I just used the sponge to remove excess paint and we went in for row number 2. I then sent my boy to the bathroom on his own to wash his hands while I attempted to pour the plate of paint back into the bottle. I saved most of it 🙌 My son returned with paint still all over his wet hands, so I accompanied him back to the bathroom to fully wash and dry them, only to find my whole sink and soap dispenser were also covered in green paint.


  • I took back over the pouring of the paint for our final handprint and my son cooperated with placement. I washed his hands for him for the final time.

  • He then began cutting and tearing the construction paper into somewhat small pieces and sticking them into the paint. Unfortunately, due to our intermission, the bottom layer had already mostly dried, so I pulled that paint back out and put little dots of it for him to stick his ornaments to.

  • He got distracted by his toys, but then resumed tearing and cutting for approximately 4.5 seconds before stating he was done with the craft. We needed to write his name, which he insisted on doing himself and DID! (with a teensy bit of guidance on how to put the letters in order)

  • He then decided to use the puppy pad we were using to catch our messes (which didn't work, by the way...) for a writing activity with his markers, which was great and turned the remaining supplies into a dual activity. I call that a win!

Final Assessment:

Does it look like a tree? Sort of.

Did my son have fun? For sure!

Was it nice time spent together for us? Absolutely.

Did it go as planned? Of course not.

Is my son still proud to show off his handprint tree? 100%

Would I do it again? Without hesitation.

As expected, and as is typical for us, it was a hot mess 😂 I scrubbed by bathroom and wood floors of green paint for half an hour. We didn't totally finish the craft because my son got distracted and bored. The final result doesn't look like much. But the fun, love, and learning opportunities that came along with creating it outweigh everything else without question because the appearance isn't the important part, the purpose behind what we do for our children is. Purpose, not perfection. It doesn't have to be pretty. It doesn't have to be mess free. It doesn't have to look like the picture you found on the internet. It is still meaningful. It is still cherished by your child. It is still creating a moment and a memory that matters.

Check out the mini vlog of our Paint Handprint Tree Activity, and stay tuned for Part 2 soon! If you have any "Pinterest Fails," I'd love to hear about them, and if you have any activities for us to try I'm looking for more recommendations - send your stories or suggestions to



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