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Handprint Keepsake | Great Personalized Gift

Updated on November 18, 2014

Handprint Keepsake: Preserve Your Child's Handprint

Looking for a unique craft for you to make with your child that you'll both treasure forever? Making a handprint keepsake is easy--this handprint craft uses only three ingredients that I guarantee you'll have in your kitchen.

Making a handprint (or footprint) keepsake makes a perfect gift, too--moms, dads, grandparents and caregivers will all love this little piece of your child.

This adorable heirloom can be set on display, or used as a paperweight or an ornament, too!

Image Credit: Author, all rights reserved

Handprint Keepsake - Simple Craft for DIYers

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Why Make a Handprint Keepsake?

Handprint keepsakes are the perfect gift

This handprint craft is such an easy way to capture your baby's or child's hand or foot print in time. This is also so much less messy than using plaster or even clay. These also make great gifts, and because each batch of this recipe makes several impressions, you can cross several people off of your list. Plus, the kids will love to pass out these handmade gifts, especially to grandma and grandpa!

ATTENTION TEACHERS! If you're trying to come up with the perfect handmade craft idea or art project for your class to make for their parents (I know alot of classes make gifts for their parents for Mother's or Father's Day or around the holidays), this is it! It's incredibly inexpensive, and it's something that the parents will be so excited to get. While the easiest way is to bake these handprint keepsakes, you can simply leave them out to dry in a cool, dry place for about a week to achieve the same result.

Not the crafty type? Hey, I don't judge! Most days I'm happy with the fact that I've worn clean clothes. There are pre-made kits available so all you have to do is get the hand ready, slap some paint on it or push it in some clay, and you're done. Easy peasy.

Handprint Keepsake Ingredients and Tools
Handprint Keepsake Ingredients and Tools
Prep time: 5 min
Cook time: 2 hours 55 min
Ready in: 3 hours
Yields: 3-4


  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup flour + 1/2 cup extra
  • 1 cup water


  1. Heat oven to 200 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Add 1 cup flour to the salt.
  3. Add water to the mixture and stir to combine thoroughly. Use the extra flour as needed to result in a fairly dry dough ball. When giving the dough the fingerprint test (press your finger into the dough), your finger should pull away cleanly.
2 stars from 5 ratings of Salt Dough Recipe for Handprints and Footprint Keepsakes

Handprint Keepsake: Shaping - How to make a handprint keepsake

Handprint Keepsake
Handprint Keepsake

Divide the dough into 3-4 equal sizes. I was able to make 3 handprints out of this recipe--my son was almost one year old at the time and he is a BIG boy, so you may be able to get four or even five prints out of this dough.

Then, roll each lump of dough into a ball. Sprinkle some flour onto your work surface, then flatten your handprint keepsake dough with a rolling pin to about 1/4" thick. We'll eventually be getting these onto waxed paper, so you may want to transfer your rolled-out dough there, now.

Mistakes CAN be fixed!

Simply re-roll your handprint keepsake dough back into a ball and try again!

Getting the Perfect Handprint Keepsake - This may take a bit of practice!


This is where it can get tricky! I had my husband help me with this part (but my baby is jumbo-sized), so you might find it easier to have a second person help you. Hold your child by the wrist, and press his or her hand firmly into the dough; be sure to give a little more pressure at the thumb and pinky, as these fingers tends to leave a light impression.

Warning #1: Something about this causes young children (i.e. ones that are too young to be able to follow directions) to reflexively grasp--they'll almost immediately try to "grab" at the dough. The only way to get around this is to pull their hand away as quickly as possible!

Warning #2: Some babies may also not want to open up their hands for you to press them into the handprint keepsake. If this happens, gently slap you own hand against your babies (as if you were giving him or her a "high five" repeatedly--I don't know why, but they open their hands this way.

Once you have your prints the way you want them, transfer them onto waxed paper (if they aren't on there already) and pop them in the oven for 2.5 - 3 hours.

Looking to hang your handprint keepsake? Poke a hole in the top with a straw before baking.

Handprint Keepsake - All baked and ready to go

Dried Handprint Keepsake
Dried Handprint Keepsake

This is what my handprint keepsakes looked like when they were done. They don't brown up as you might think from baking. They remain almost white, they just look a little drier. They should be extremely hard to the touch, and should pluck right off the waxed paper.

Note: Check the back of these--if they still look doughy, put them back in the oven for awhile (maybe 20 minutes or so). For whatever reason, mine always looked just a bit doughy, even after I put them back in once or twice. This could be because I live in a humid climate, however.

Handprint Keepsake Before Paint - Natural-looking handprint keepsake

Handprint Keepsake Up Close
Handprint Keepsake Up Close

I allowed them to dry on a drying rack overnight for good measure. If you want, you can leave these their natural color--I was making these into handprint ornaments, so I decided to paint them with acrylic paint. There are a ton of different types of acrylic paint you can choose from; I decided to go with a pearl/shimmery white color.

If you decide to paint them, use a stiff brush to apply the paint so that you get into all the crevices. Allow the paint to dry about 20 minutes in between coats. I used two coats of paint on my handprint ornaments.

Crafting Supplies for Handprint Keepsakes - Handprint Keepsake Tools

Handprint Keepsake: Finished Result - My little handprint ornament


Didn't these come out wonderfully? I made them into ornaments by stringing ribbon through them, and I made sure to write the date on the back of it.

Hint: Do you know how to tie a bow/knot so that it doesn't come loose? You know how you cross one side over the other to form a knot? Do that for the first one...and then, re-tie the knot (so that you have a double), but this time, cross the other end of the ribbon over first. For me, I usually cross right over left, so for the second knot, I crossed the left side over the right to form a sturdy one, then tied my bow. My husband showed me this trick--it's called a "square knot."

© 2011 Lauren

What Do You Think of These Handprint Keepsakes? - Wouldn't this handprint craft make a great gift?

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    • profile image

      kayla_harris 5 years ago

      I like these handprint keepsakes!

    • profile image

      Annamadagan 5 years ago

      I made this a few days ago before I found your lens, and it worked very well! Nice job on the lens, blessings!

    • kcsantos profile image

      kcsantos 5 years ago

      Congrats on LoTD! Great lens here. Thank you

    • profile image

      DebMartin 5 years ago

      Better than the temptation of wet cement. ;-)

    • profile image

      2littleevy 5 years ago

      Great sharing..have a tiny niece jus 2 yrs old,will be a great gift for her parents.

    • profile image

      olmpal 5 years ago

      Making handprint keepsakes to preserve your child's handprint is such a sweet idea! Congrats on getting LOTD!

    • graphite75 profile image

      Tom 5 years ago

      Great project, congrats on LotD!

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 5 years ago

      Wonderful idea that your children will appreciate when they're adults. Thank you for publishing this lens.

    • dawnsnewbeginning profile image

      dawnsnewbeginning 5 years ago

      Very cute and these would be great for the tree!

    • profile image

      soaringsis 5 years ago

      What a wonderful idea. Thanks for sharing. Congratulations on your LotD.

    • delia-delia profile image

      Delia 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD! I have a couple of these from my daughters, they are good keepsakes.

    • Mary Stephenson profile image

      Mary Stephenson 5 years ago from California

      Congratulations on LOTD. When my daughter was in kindergarten they made one. I was given a photo and paw print kit for my two cats. That was cool.

    • makorip lm profile image

      makorip lm 5 years ago

      Our vet did that with our incredibly special cat. Her paw print is attached to her urn along with her favorite toy.

      Good lens.

    • Zodiacimmortal profile image

      Kim 5 years ago from Yonkers, NY

      I made one of these in Pre-k or Kintergarden & still had it later on I forget when it got broken though. somewhere between 5 & 8th grade I think.

      I'm going to add this to my Favorite lenses lens in the DIY section

    • profile image

      Joan4 5 years ago

      These little handprint keepsakes are adorable!!!!!! Congratulations on Lens of the Day!!

    • PromptWriter profile image

      Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

      I think these are darling for little hands (and feet). :D

    • rattie lm profile image

      rattie lm 5 years ago

      Lovely! You can't put a price on memories.

    • RawBill1 profile image

      Bill 5 years ago from Gold Coast, Australia

      We made these years ago for our kids when they were toddlers with plaster of paris. Unfortunately one broke and I am not sure where the other one went, I think it is packed away somewhere! We also had their feet moulded when they were babies. Their copied feet stick out from the frames on the wall and are painted in skin tones so they look real! Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      Anna2of5 5 years ago

      I have actually bought three kits years ago to do this. It never occured to me to try to make this from scratch. And making it into an ornament, genius!! I have these made with the tins the stuff came in. But your right, anything that has their tiny little handprints in is such a treasure. Great ideas, and Congratulations on the LOTD, well earned. :D

      Sincerely, Anna2of5

    • Elle-Dee-Esse profile image

      Lynne Schroeder 5 years ago from Blue Mountains Australia

      This handprint keepsake idea is a lovely way to preserve a precious memory. Congrats on LOTD

    • favored profile image

      Fay Favored 5 years ago from USA

      This is a fun craft to do with the family or classroom. Congratulations on LotD.

    • profile image

      myspace9 5 years ago

      Congrats on Lens of the Day.

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 5 years ago

      A wonderful gift to be treasured always. Congratulations on LOTD!

    • ruralsugar profile image

      ruralsugar 5 years ago

      Did this with my 3 month old this year. Hand prints were a big fail because he kept balling his fist up so we went with foot prints instead. Still super cute!

    • rdcbizz profile image

      rdcbizz 5 years ago

      Been there, done that, a great memory!

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 5 years ago

      Great idea

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      On the back, you can use a shiskabob skewer to incise information. Use the non pointed end because it won't make little skid balls. If dry, paint pens are prettiest or sharpies will do nicely. We used porcelain clay or red clay and fired it. Whatever you use, it will be a treasure.

    • Johanna Eisler profile image

      Johanna Eisler 5 years ago

      I remember doing this with my daughter - but I think we used plaster of paris. We also forgot about putting the hole in it until it was too late. Still, it's a great memory. Thanks for bringing it back to mind. :)

    • profile image

      IMHustle 5 years ago

      Handprints are great keepsakes. Both of my daughters made them when they were in kindergarten. Congratulations on being named LOTD.

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 5 years ago

      congrats on your LOTD

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very nice idea. Congratulations on getting LotD!

    • Kaellyn profile image

      Kaellyn 5 years ago

      I have a new baby this year, and I really want to try this with him. Thanks for the idea!

    • rlkjmv lm profile image

      rlkjmv lm 5 years ago

      I have these for each of my children and they are cherished memories

    • profile image

      pawpaw911 5 years ago

      Handprint Keepsakes are wonderful to look at years later. Congratulations on LOTD.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Yes, this definitely would be a great gift for friends and family. It is a "limited edition" gift, because once the child is older, it can't be made again. That's one thing that I appreciate about these handprints. Well deserved LoTD!

    • Art Inspired profile image

      Art Inspired 5 years ago

      Congrats on your lens of the day! Handprint Keepsakes make a timeless gift! Happy Holidays! Make it a creative day!

    • BunnyFabulous profile image

      BunnyFabulous 5 years ago from Central Florida

      Thanks for the easy how-to's of handprint ornaments. I'm thinking about doing this with my soon-to-be 5 year old. Fun time to do handprints then since they're the same age as the number of fingers on their hand. Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great lens! I've made so many things from salt dough but these handprint ornaments are easily one of my favourite, they always go over very well as gifts & so many types of paint can be used effectively on them. Including nail varnish, which brings me to my point. With such a huge array of fantastic colours available nail varnish is a very inexpensive way of adding beautiful highlights to your design. Especially if you're going for a bit of sparkle.

    • ShariBerry profile image

      Sharon Berry 5 years ago from Michigan

      I think this is a great gift idea for anyone who has children or grandchildren. We recently had to put one of our beloved dogs to sleep and the vet's office made a paw print of our pet. They also used something to print his name in the is hanging on our Christmas tree this year. I'll be putting this on pinterest. Thanks for the lens.

    • VictoriaKelley profile image

      VictoriaKelley 5 years ago

      Think this is a great idea for keeping. We have gingerbread men that my boys made when they were 6

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 5 years ago from Concord VA

      I love these handprint keepsake ornaments. I still have lots of keepsake ornaments that my kids made over the years. Congratulations on LotD!

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      Congratulations on LOTD. Well deserved!

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 5 years ago

      This Handprint Keepsake is a great craft idea.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Congratulations on LOTD. Well deserved!

    • SusanDeppner profile image

      Susan Deppner 5 years ago from Arkansas USA

      I love your handprint keepsakes! Excellent instructions and pictures, too. Congratulations on your very sentimental (to me, at least) Lens of the Day!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      Love these - such a wonderful idea! Thanks for sharing. Blessed by a SquidAngel! Congrats on LotD! :)

    • writerkath profile image

      writerkath 5 years ago

      What an absolutely lovely idea!! When I was little, our teachers had us make paper cutouts of our hand - alas; they don't keep quite as well! Congratulations on a beautiful LOTD! :)

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      These types of gift are great for grandparents and are totally irreplaceable, because the child keeps growing. Congratulations on the LOTD and on a really well presented lens.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      that's interesting.

    • profile image

      MichaelDubrovnik 5 years ago

      We bake handprint cookies :)

    • profile image

      fionaagee42 5 years ago

      I have used it along with plaster(gypsum) . This is a good home made alternative. Congrats for the LOTD too..

    • profile image

      cleanyoucar 5 years ago

      I like this as a gift. Congrats as well for the LOTD award

    • Robz007 profile image

      Robz007 5 years ago

      I love these types of projects. Gets the kids away from the TV.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      What a sentimental gift. Congrats on LOTD!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      What a sentimental gift. Congrats on LOTD!

    • GabStar profile image

      GabStar 5 years ago

      they are gorgeous! Well done

    • profile image

      Short_n_Sweet 5 years ago

      Congrats on LoTD! I find this idea very exciting..such a memorable and unique keepsake! I'm sure when they'll grow up, they'll cherish their little hands!!!

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 5 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      I love how simple yet meaningful this project is. But I especially appreciate your little tips about giving a hi-5 to flatten the child's hand, or how to tie a flat knot. Congrats on LOTD!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      These are very nice Handprint Keepsakes.

    • profile image

      aishu19 5 years ago

      A handprint keepsake is such a beautiful gift for all occasions. And I love those kits too! Makes it easier for anyone to make them and cherish fond memories

    • Heather426 profile image

      Heather Burns 5 years ago from Wexford, Ireland

      I love handprint keepsakes, they are such sweet gifts! Fantastic explanation of the technique too, this will save a lot of money for people!

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 5 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      I love this Handprint Craft and still have the one that my son made about 30 yrs ago

    • KReneeC profile image

      KReneeC 6 years ago

      I JUST purchased some clay from an art and crafts store and now I am RETURNING them! Thank you so much! Great LENS!!!

    • KatieKakes profile image

      KatieKakes 6 years ago

      Great idea!!!

    • Susan300 profile image

      Susan300 6 years ago

      Beautiful! Turning them into ornaments is a great ides. :)

    • profile image

      Jack-in-the-Box 6 years ago

      I love your handmade hand print keepsake lens. What a great idea!!!

    • M Schaut profile image

      Margaret Schaut 6 years ago from Detroit

      These are wonderful gifts.

    • LaineA profile image

      Amy Stephens 6 years ago from Missouri

      Just love this idea of due a hand print keepsake for a Christmas ornament. I typically do a photo Christmas tree but I think these would be great right a long with it. I just wish I started when they was younger. Think I may go ahead a do this year though.


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