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How to make hand and footprint sea creatures

Updated on April 12, 2012

Memory Art

Creating art from your children's hands and feet prints are a wonderful way to preserve their youth. It is also makes for wowing gifts that are cherished for years to come.

I wanted a piece of artwork to hang in my front bathroom also known as the "kids bathroom" and the "guest bathroom". The décor is fun and bright, decorated with a fish bathmat and a fish toothbrush holder, both purchased from Target. A few years ago an elderly man from church gave us some fish made from two liter bottles, painted and hung from fishing line. These add to the décor by hanging from the ceiling. The problem was a big empty wall. I didn't like the idea of leaving it blank but the fish wall décor I found wasn't bright or fun enough. They just didn't quite fit the personality of the "kids" bathroom or match well enough for the "guest" bathroom.

When my daughter brought home a painted hand print fish from school it got me thinking. This might just be the thing I was looking for to fill the void! I soon learned that using my kid's hands and feet I can make a lobster, octopus, crab as well as the fish fairly easily.


Supplies

  1. Modge Podge
  2. Wide and narrow paint brushes
  3. Paint cups
  4. Water cup
  5. Paint (I used acrylics because they don't wash off once they are dry) blue, yellow and white are used for the water, also any color for fish you prefer. I used only primary colors and mixed the colors I wanted.
  6. Sandpaper for sand (get the coarseness that you prefer best for the look of your artwork. I used a fine sandpaper.)
  7. Google eyes if desired
  8. Artificial floral for seaweed and coral. I found the glitter colored foliage used for Christmas decorations to fit the look I desired.
  9. Canvas of desired size
  10. Artwork protecting sealer spray

Paint the background

Putting drops of blue, yellow and white in one paint cup and dabbing the brush in each and letting mix on the canvas, give the background ocean depth and a realistic look.
Putting drops of blue, yellow and white in one paint cup and dabbing the brush in each and letting mix on the canvas, give the background ocean depth and a realistic look.

Background

Put a thumb size of each color, blue, yellow and white, into one paint cup. With a dry paintbrush get a little of each color on the brush and paint horizontally across the canvas. Let the colors mix together on their own on the canvas. It is okay to have streaks of one color without blending evenly. This will give the background more depth and a more realistic look. If one color runs out add some more but try to keep a little of each and try not to have one dominate more than the other. Use this technique to completely cover the canvas. Let totally dry before continuing to next step. Paint should be smooth and not sticky when touched. I let mine sit overnight to ensure it was completely dry.

Lobster

Paint the bottom of foot to get even coverage and keep mess to a minimum
Paint the bottom of foot to get even coverage and keep mess to a minimum

Lobster

To make the lobster, the foot is the main body. The toes are the lobster's tail so the foot needs to be placed on the canvas with toes toward the bottom edge. We chose to paint the bottom of the foot to ensure full and even coverage and also to minimize the likeliness of a mess. We then guided the foot carefully to where we wanted the lobster placed on the canvas. Push each toe down to ensure that the print is clear. Carefully lift the foot straight up to avoid smearing. If need be, with a small paint brush, fill in gaps until desired look is obtained.

The arms of the lobster need to come from lower on the lobster. Leave room for the eyes above the arms. We had to paint over the arms shown hear and repaint them.
The arms of the lobster need to come from lower on the lobster. Leave room for the eyes above the arms. We had to paint over the arms shown hear and repaint them.

Make sure arms are painted lower on lobster than what we pained. The arms need to be a few inches from heal so there is enough room for the lobster eyes to be added. Paint two antenna off top heal.

Paint hands like foot and with fingers slightly spread, carefully place hands at end of arm for claws Push each finger down onto canvas to get best print possible. Fill in with paintbrush if desired. Repeat with other hand for the other claw. Be sure to slowly lift straight up with each hand to minimize smearing.

Octopus

Use both hands to make the octopus have eight evenly spaced tentacles.
Use both hands to make the octopus have eight evenly spaced tentacles.

Octopus

Paint the whole palm and four fingers of the right hand, leaving thumb unpainted. With fingers being the bottom of the octopus, place hand on canvas in desired place, push fingers down and carefully lift straight up. Paint whole left hand palm and four finger, leaving the thumb unpainted. Carefully place palm on top of right hand palm print with four fingers to left of right hand index print. Be careful not to let thumb touch print on canvas. Push fingers down and carefully lift straight up.

Crab

The crab is made using the full hand print of both the right and left hands. Fingers of the right hand will point to the right and fingers of the left hand will point to the left. Doing one hand print at a time, make heal of palms overlap just an inch. Paint a claw at the end of each thumb. Paint antenna at the top of the crab's head.


If you do not desire to use google eyes, paint the eyes onto your creatures once they are dry, before covering the project with Modge Podge.

Sand

Tear the sandpaper and Modge Podge it onto the canvas to make the sand
Tear the sandpaper and Modge Podge it onto the canvas to make the sand
Cover full picture with Modge Podge
Cover full picture with Modge Podge

Sand

Tear the sandpaper to desired width for sand on ocean floor. Paint Modge Podge onto the canvas thickly, then place sandpaper on top of Modge Podge. Paint Modge Podge over sandpaper as well. Cover sandpaper completely. Let the project completely dry before continuing to next step.

Once dry, paint over the whole canvas with a thick coat of Modge Podge. If google eyes are desired, place them on each creature and paint Modge Podge over them being carefully not to make them move. Adhere seaweed and coral onto picture with a thick coat of Modge Podge.

Let project dry. This may take a couple of days. If items are not adhering as desired use a hot glue gun until adhered and then cover completely with Modge Podge. (The Modge Podge is used not only as a glue but also as a coating to keep moisture off of painting to avoid mildew.)

When project is completely dry, spray the front, back and sides of the painting with the artwork protectant sealer. This should be done outside or in a room with plenty of ventilation. Let dry.

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    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Welcome to HubPages! This is an interesting craft hub! This whole idea is a cool idea. The instructions are well-explained and the photos are very attractive! The ocean background paintings are very impressive. Look like you and your kids had plenty of good fun! Keep up the good work! Well-done!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful & Awesome. Voted up.

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