Bee Mine? An easy Valentines craft at your fingertips!

Karyn is a lapsed social worker, work-at-home mom, and one-quarter of Team Pickles. Along with Ben (the thinker), Molly (the doer), and Ian (the Brit), she battles for truth, justice, and the Canadian way in a world where parenting and puns go hand-in-hand. Follow their adventures at PicklesINK and get daily doses of hilarity by following them on Facebook and Twitter (@karynpickles).

Ben and Molly LOVE painting and take their art very seriously. In fact, ever since I introduced them to some of the finer things, Molly is simply not content with paper: “Uh, no, mommy.  Canvases are for painting, remember? Not paper. (Canvases are worthwhile dollar store investment – they make any painting craft with kids look far more posh.)

Last year, in the throes of Molly’s fingerprint stamping obsession, we attempted this craft for daddy’s Valentine’s Day present, with mixed results:

Ben (left) and Molly (right)'s Valentine paintings from last year

I figured I would give it another shot this year, and while I was at it, how about a how-to?


Canvas(es), with or without easel
Washable liquid paint, various colours
Cotton swabs (aka Q-tips)
Markers (Sharpies, if you really like living on the edge. Ben discovered them and there’s no going back now – he LOVES that they can write on anything, like craft foam, glossy paper, or over top of paint. So far I haven’t come to regret it *too* much.)
Smocks, unless you like to live dangerously

There a gazillion ways to use your children’s fingerprints, handprints, and footprints in crafts – just ask Pinterest. (Public Service Announcement: Just say 'NO' to brown footprints though. They don't look like what you think they look like.)

This activity keeps things on a small scale, using just fingerprints, so you don’t have to set aside too much time for post-painting baths or worry about spreading drop cloths all over your floors and furniture for the inevitable fallout.

For this craft, using just a few fingerprints can create a garden scene that is just as unique as your child (and some kids are definitely more unique than others – again, see above for Molly’s example).

I’m a big fan of reusing stuff and an even bigger fan of not having to wash things, so I always put my paints out in egg cartons, which can be used over and over for this purpose. I also like to use cotton swabs in place of paintbrushes, one per colour (and spares for mixing new colours). Not having to clean brushes lets the colours stay vibrant and there’s no gross purple paint-y water to spill everywhere.

For your garden, help your little ones make any combination of:

1.       Flower stems: Paint one pointer finger and stamp.

2.       Flower leaves: Paint a pointer finger pad (for small leaves) or a whole finger (for large leaves) and stamp along the stem.
Molly showing off her stems and leaves
4.       Heart-shaped flowers: Paint a pointer finger pad and stamp twice, overlapping at the bottom to make a heart shape.

Heart-shaped flower

5.       Daisies: Paint all of the fingertips of one hand and stamp together as a cluster. Paint one fingertip a contrasting colour and stamp a dot in the centre.
Making a fingerprint daisy
6.       Butterflies: Paint a pointer fingertip and stamp four times make the wings. Draw or paint contrasting colour body and antennae.
Butterflies and Bee
7.       Bee: Paint a thumb with yellow and black stripes and stamp (very gently, or the black and yellow will smush together). Paint a fingertip white and stamp to make wings. Draw or paint antennae and stinger. Add a speech bubble saying, “Bee Mine!”

Thumbs up!!

When the masterpiece is finished, let it dry and then brush or spray with sealant or shellac if desired. “Bee” creative!

This was the finished product as I envisioned it.
Molly had other ideas!

You know what they say about best-laid plans...

~ karyn

What else can you add to your garden using fingerprints? Comment below with your ideas and follow Genuine Jenn and PicklesINK on Facebook to share your pictures!


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