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Thumbprint Art

Updated on August 13, 2015

Create Thumbprint Animals and People with Thumbprint Art

Using only your fingers and an ink pad, you can create amazing miniature works of art. Children AND adults enjoy making thumbprint art - I know because I couldn't resist making these with my daughter. I can't take credit for the idea of thumbprint art, also called fingerprint or funprint art. Ed Emberley is the genius who has shared this simple art form with the world through his book Ed Emberley's Complete FunPrint Drawing Book.

I'll be sprinkling this page with some of our own attempts at thumbprint art. All the examples on this page are from Ed Emberley's book. These are just a few of the hundreds and hundreds of ideas in his book.

Fingertip Bug Centipede Drawing

Fingertip Bug Centipede Drawing
Fingertip Bug Centipede Drawing
thumbprint mouse
thumbprint mouse

Anyone can make fingerprint art!

Here's a simple mouse

ANYONE can make these fingerprint drawings - even children who "think" they cannot draw very well.

Using the funprint art book as a guide, we made all the cute little animals and people on this page. You start with a simple fingerprint (or two or three), then step-by-step add one black line detail at a time until it's complete. To see exactly what I mean, click on the link for the book near the bottom of this page. Thankfully, this book has the added feature of "Click to look inside" and there are several samples that show the steps.

Simple facial expressions

Simple facial expressions
Simple facial expressions
helicopter art
helicopter art

What will you need to make thumbprint art?

A willing set of fingerprints and...

You'll need:

Fingerprint art book (see below) or some examples

Paper - plain white paper works best

At least one ink pad - multiple colors are nice but not required

Thin black ink pen

Damp cloth for wiping fingers to change colors

thumbprint art birds
thumbprint art birds

A couple of interesting characters

My favorite way to use thumbprint drawings and characters

In a greeting card

Using thumbprint art inside of a greeting card is my favorite way to share this art with others. I have a fond memory of my daughter and I decorating the inside of "Nana's" birthday card. When Nana received the card she called right away to say how much she loved all the little fingerprint animals and then she described each of them back to us. I think elderly people especially will appreciate receiving cards decorated this way.

Thumbprint art train, car and submarine - I used the step-by-step instructions in the book for these

Here's Ed Emberley's book with 100's and hundreds of thumbprint drawing patterns - Each little animal or person has step-by-step drawing instructions

Ed Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing Book
Ed Emberley's Complete Funprint Drawing Book

"For the first time, we present a two-in-one edition of two of his most popular titles-Ed Emberley's Fingerprint Drawing Book and Ed Emberley's Great Thumbprint Drawing Book. Colorful step-by-step drawings show how to turn your thumbprints into owls, pigs, fish, or basketball players."

Cute doggie - maybe a dachshund?
Cute doggie - maybe a dachshund?

Check out this cute dog!

Complete with a "woof"

This looks like my dachshund, Peetey.

Special thanks to artist Holli Conger at agirlwhocreates for sharing her doggie art.

Look at those ears - what character this dog has! And what a cool idea to put the "woof" in a fingerprint thought bubble.

Ed Emberley has written & illustrated approx. 80 books for children

Here's a few more critters - Give them a try

Have you ever created fingerprint art?

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    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 4 years ago from USA

      Really cute ideas for pre-school or primary grades.

    • kimberlyschimmel profile image

      Kimberly Schimmel, MLS 4 years ago from Greensboro, NC

      These are always a good filler craft for Sunday School or other classes.

    • profile image

      devinindra 4 years ago

      creative! :)

    • profile image

      john9229 5 years ago

      Cute and nice! Great Lens and thanks for sharing

    • alenmic profile image

      alenmic 5 years ago

      So Cool...nice son will love this very much. Thanks

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      It's sooooo much fun! I practiced on paper first.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago


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      anonymous 5 years ago

      adorable!! my son and I can't wait to try this!

    • Mussarat LM profile image

      Mussarat J Moghal 5 years ago from Ontario Canada

      Cute, little guys

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      so creative art i like this very much

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      please all of you do this fingerprint art

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago


      this helped me to do my sis homework...................!!

    • lilymom24 profile image

      lilymom24 5 years ago

      This lens is adorable. Fun way for kids to get ink on their fingers and not get in trouble for =)

    • profile image

      Lady_Kakao 5 years ago

      very cute and beautiful :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very Very Creative and Simple. I like to see your lens. Thanks for sharing.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Happy April Fools Day!

      ps - totally cool!

    • ForestBear LM profile image

      ForestBear LM 6 years ago

      lovely lens, so cute.

    • profile image

      ninjap209 6 years ago

      simple but cool!, good job.

    • GOT LM profile image

      GOT LM 6 years ago


    • Richardryder profile image

      Risteard O'Marcahain 6 years ago from Wales

      Very nice I will do that with my grandchildren

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 6 years ago

      How cute these are such a fun craft idea.

    • profile image

      mumsgather 6 years ago

      These are fantastic. I love them. They're so adorable. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • peachplanet profile image

      peachplanet 6 years ago

      i love this! very creative!

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 6 years ago

      I never would've thought of this, everyone's fingers have a different mark too so you can have variation.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 6 years ago

      I never would've thought of this, everyone's fingers have a different mark too so you can have variation.

    • profile image

      myamya 6 years ago

      Great lens! squidlikes!

    • profile image

      sheezie77 6 years ago

      Very nice lens! thumbs up

    • profile image

      sheezie77 6 years ago

      Very nice lens! thumbs up

    • girlfriendfactory profile image

      girlfriendfactory 6 years ago

      Easy, fun and creative! What's not to love!? This is a terrific lens and it can be found among the other blessed lenses at Flyby Wingings They may call me an aimless wanderer, but not all who wander are aimless and I'm glad I wandered upon this! ~Ren

    • DeannaDiaz profile image

      DeannaDiaz 6 years ago

      Cute idea taken up a notch as Emeril would say!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 6 years ago

      How unique and creative. Never thought of any of these.

    • kathysart profile image

      kathysart 6 years ago

      No but I want to now for sure!

    • profile image

      frydaa 6 years ago

      cute : )

    • profile image

      Oh Petit Bebe 6 years ago

      I love this lens.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 6 years ago from Iowa

      I'd like this lens years ago long before I was an angel. Back to bless it. It's so creative and fun. :)

    • profile image

      Light-in-me 6 years ago

      These are so cute, I love them.

      Nice job,

      Robin :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      nice ideas for thanks

    • BestToysReviews profile image

      BestToysReviews 6 years ago

      Bookmarked! I have to try this :)

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      I love to make fingerprint art. I think I spent too much time doing these doodles in middle school, but I was bored and it was fun!

    • pramodbisht profile image

      pramodbisht 6 years ago

      Nice Lens, Nice Ideas for finger print

    • profile image

      mrducksmrnot 6 years ago

      Nice thumbprints and ideas. The police would recognize your thumbprint anywhere. It would have to have a face or wheels on it - joking you. Great lens (:>))))

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      thumbs up for this thumbprint art lens. ~blessed~

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 6 years ago

      never did it, but it looks like kid fun!

    • JoleneBelmain profile image

      JoleneBelmain 6 years ago

      Very cute and a one-of-a-kind lens... A big thumbs way up from me :)

    • ZenandChic profile image

      Patricia 6 years ago

      I love this! The designs are so cute! Blessed on the school bus trip!

    • annieangel1 profile image

      Ann 6 years ago from Yorkshire, England

      lovely lens, angel blessed and it will feature on my road trip lens I am making now.

    • Srena44 profile image

      Srena44 6 years ago

      nice lens

    • FanfrelucheHubs profile image

      Nathalie Roy 6 years ago from France (Canadian expat)

      Original!! I know what I will try with my son tomorrow: fingerprint art! Sometimes I run out of ideas for rainy days. Very fun idea.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 6 years ago from Ljubljana

      Looks like great fun and a lot of mess. My kind of party:))

    • Retro Loco profile image

      Vicki 6 years ago from USA

      I love your thumbprint designs -- they are adorable. The train, pilgrim, cat and turtle are a few of my favorites. I will definitely get my hands on one of the books you have featured here and give this a try....I just hope I'm not all thumbs. (bad pun, sorry) Great lens, thumbs up!!! :-)

    • profile image

      CofCJenny LM 6 years ago

      what a great idea! SO simple, unique, and fun! I love it

    • KellyMartinSpeaks profile image

      Kelly Martin 6 years ago from GLOUCESTER

      This is sooo utterly cute and soooo personal, what a lovely idea and to give out gift cards with thumbprint art cannot think of anything more wonderful. Fantastic lens, I feature this in my inner child lens its looks lots of fun!

    • profile image

      Runnn 6 years ago

      Simple and cute.. Kids definitely will like it!! Well done.

    • profile image

      Carla1996 6 years ago

      Very Cute!

    • AbigailsCrafts LM profile image

      AbigailsCrafts LM 6 years ago

      Very cute! I'm a big fan of Ed Emberley, especially 'Go Away Big Green Monster'. I'll have to try this out with my preschoolers!

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      sweet idea, reminds me of the art people make with dead flies:

    • Spook LM profile image

      Spook LM 6 years ago

      I have finally found a form of art that maybe even I can do? Sure sounds like fun for the kids.

    • iijuan12 profile image

      iijuan12 6 years ago from Florida

      Cute ideas! My kids loved making fingerprint penguins, parrots, and flamingos when we were studying birds. Blessed.

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      anonymous 6 years ago

      My tween just made a couple today! She made cats, dogs, birds, and people. On her own, no book to direct her. She only wanted me to publish the bird picture, so that's what I put on my blog, but I thought it was clever. Now I'm thinking to get that fabulous book!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      No, but I will be doing this with my kids tomorrow! Adorable!

    • profile image

      Heard_Zazzle 6 years ago

      What an adorable idea! I love the puppy and rabbit.

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      Adorable thumbprint art ... anyone can be an artist with this style.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      Brilliant! my daughter loves this!

    • profile image

      SnoopyGirl1 6 years ago

      These are simply adorable. I tried this years ago with the kids, but clearly need to do it again. Thanks for the inspiration! Thumbs up!

    • sukkran trichy profile image

      sukkran trichy 6 years ago from Trichy/Tamil Nadu

      lovely art. ~blessed~

    • profile image

      JoshK47 7 years ago

      What a cute idea!

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 7 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Great lens on a simple and creative art!

    • Gripandflip profile image

      Gripandflip 7 years ago

      Neat lens. This looks like a fun way to interact with kids and get them to like art.

    • profile image

      Miss_Organic 7 years ago

      This looks like a fun craft for the kids when they are on spring break! I loved the pilgrim one.

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      anonymous 7 years ago

      Haha, the helicopter and the crook are absolutely adorable! I've never seen this before, but I love it.

    • profile image

      Pete Schultz 7 years ago

      This was fun, I would amend your opening remarks to say you need fingers, and ink pad and imagination. You imagination shows in this lens.

    • auntjennie profile image

      Jen 7 years ago from Canada

      I haven't made any fingerprint art but it looks like it would be a lot of fun!

    • rewards4life info profile image

      rewards4life info 7 years ago

      They are fantastic, so many different designs. I don't remember finger painting like this when I was at school.

    • dogface lm profile image

      dogface lm 7 years ago

      So simple yet so cute! :)

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 7 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      These are incredibly cute!

    • Harshitha LM profile image

      Harshitha LM 7 years ago

      Beautiful and fun too

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a lovely idea, I love the characters and instantly thought of showing this to my grandchildren. Thank you

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Very useful n fun one for kids!

    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 7 years ago


    • Sensitive Fern profile image

      Sensitive Fern 7 years ago


    • LizMac60 profile image

      Liz Mackay 7 years ago from United Kingdom

      Reaqlly cute lens.

    • MargoPArrowsmith profile image

      MargoPArrowsmith 7 years ago

      Fun to do with kids

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Oh I must do this thumbprint art with our little Isabel on her next visit! She will get such a kick out of this!

    • WritingforYourW profile image

      WritingforYourW 7 years ago

      Such a cute project for kids. :)

    • BuckHawkcenter profile image

      BuckHawkcenter 7 years ago

      These are so darling and what a fun project to do with my granddaughters! Angel Blessed and featured on Angel Wings November 2010.

    • WildFacesGallery profile image

      Mona 7 years ago from Iowa

      So many clever ways to use this idea. I love it. Had to take a peek after your thumb print card lens. :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      What a sweet and inventive lens. Thank you.

    • profile image

      manndtp 7 years ago

      My fingers are going to get worn out but I'm going to have some fun making my own fingerprint art.

    • Senora M profile image

      Senora M 7 years ago

      Super cute!! I need to do this with my boys. It would look cute on our Christmas cards since they can't sign their names yet!

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      This is so sweet, something new to me in the art world ~ you got me smiling!

    • Anwarart profile image

      Anwarart 7 years ago

      This lens is too cute! I think I'll have to try making fingerprint art now. Great job!

    • Terry Boroff profile image

      Terry Boroff (flipflopnana) 7 years ago from FL

      Just what I needed to entertain my granddaughter tomorrow. She loves anything creative and you have so many cute ideas to start with. Thanks!

    • Charlino99 profile image

      Tonie Cook 7 years ago from USA

      This is absolutely wonderful! The beauty of thumbprint art is that it can be as complex or as simple as the artist wants it to be. This is really a beautiful lens. Thank you for sharing this.

    • thesuccess2 profile image

      thesuccess2 7 years ago

      Wow charming no limit to the imagination with fingerprint art!

    • navinjoshi profile image

      navinjoshi 7 years ago

      Very nice .. Fingerprint Art .. what a great way to get started with Kids and take it to a level of Fine Art ... Love the lense and content. Keep the good work.. Thanks, Naveen.

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 7 years ago

      No, but I will try it with my kids. Easy but nice.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I love the "Thumbprint art train, car and submarine" . So cute :)

    • eclecticeducati1 profile image

      eclecticeducati1 7 years ago

      How cute! I should try this with my children. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

    • JenOfChicago LM profile image

      JenOfChicago LM 7 years ago

      This is so cute! I may have to try this for the holidays!

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 7 years ago

      Cute lens ... I love the pastel graphics. I have a notary public business, so I do take a lot of thumbprints! They are fun to look at too.