In today’s post: Looking for an easy, inexpensive keepsake gift? Download my free printable and make your own family handprint tree.
Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are both coming up. I’ve always thought the best gifts for these holidays are ones that my kids make themselves, as opposed to gifts my husband and I buy for each other. Not that I don’t appreciate those too – I mean, I’ll take all the gifts! But the ones I love most are the notes from my kids, or the video my husband helped the kids make years ago where they say why they love me (“I weally, weally, weally love my mom!”). Today I’m sharing a free printable that makes it easy to include the kids in a gift for Mom or Dad, or Grandma and Grandpa: a family handprint tree.
Family Handprint Tree
A family handprint tree is an easy, inexpensive keepsake gift that would be perfect for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Handprint gifts are so much fun to look back on years later! You can label each handprint with the child’s name to make it easy to remember which is which.
Download the Handprint Tree printable
I created the free tree printable in 3 different sizes for you to use.
If your kids are a little older (grade school and up), you will likely want to print the tree out as at 11×14 so you will have plenty of room. This size is also a good idea if you’d like to include the parent’s handprints, or if you have lots of handprints to include. The handprint tree in my example photos is printed as an 11×14, and it has my handprint on it as well as those of my 8 and 11 year olds.
If your kids are little, you can probably get away with printing the handprint tree as an 8×10. You can either download it as an 8×10 file that can order from a photo processor, OR as an 8.5×11 pdf that you can print on your home printer and then cut down to fit an 8×10 frame. If you print at home, I’d recommend using cardstock.
PLEASE NOTE: Order your tree printed on lustre or matte photo paper, NOT GLOSSY. Glossy paper will be too slippery to make good handprints.
How to make a Handprint Family Tree
Making the handprint family tree is easy, but I do recommend printing two or three copies of the tree base so you can practice once or twice to figure out your preferred handprint placement. Or, if you don’t want to print multiple copies, you can test out the handprints on a plain piece of paper instead.
I used acrylic paint for this project because it’s cheap (50 cents each at Walmart) and comes in lots of colors. You can do all your handprints in one color if you’d like, but I think the tree looks pretty with a variety of colors. Also, grab a pack of small foam paint brushes, 1 for each color that you plan to use.
You can layer your handprints however you’d like; I put the largest handprints down first and the smallest ones on top.
I found it was easiest to do this at the kitchen counter so we were near a sink to wash the kids’ hands once they were done making prints.
To make a handprint, place about a quarter size dollop of paint on your child’s hand. Use a foam paintbrush to spread the paint evenly across the palm and fingers.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have printed the tree out as a photo print, you will need pretty solid paint coverage on the hand to get a good handprint. You don’t need paint dripping anywhere, but it does need to be covered and quite wet, so apply more paint if needed. Don’t wait too long after you’ve painted the hand before placing it down to make a print. If you printed the tree on paper or cardstock, you will not need quite as much paint.
Once the hand is covered in paint, place it down on your tree. Press the hand down firmly, being careful not to slide it around.
Then lift the hand to show the print. If it didn’t transfer well and looks very light, coat the hand in paint a second time and place it down in the same place to get a better print.
As soon as the handprint is made, wash the remaining paint off. As long as you wash it off quickly it will come off easily with water and soap. But if you let it dry it will be hard to get all the paint off!
I waited about five minutes in between each handprint to make sure they didn’t smear. You can use a hairdryer on low to help speed the drying process in between each handprint.
Once the handprints are all dry, you could use a Sharpie to label them with names and the date. Then place the handprint tree in a frame and your gift is ready to go!
More Mother’s Day + Father’s Day gift ideas: