Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fingerprint Art

We needed to come up with an inexpensive, meaningful teacher birthday present from the classroom.  I was lucky enough to be able to go into my oldest's class yesterday and do a project with the kids.

The project just takes a few minutes.  We made a planter with each students' fingerprint on the pot.  I turned the fingerprints into bugs, flowers and birds.  

You start out with a large terra cotta pot.  I bought the 10 inch size.  In hindsight, an 8 inch would also work but the 10 inch was nice because the prints weren't crowded on the pot.  I painted the pot to look like grass, sky and clouds.  Very easy.

You need three colors of paint, two dry foam paintbrushes and a round dabber brush, like what you stencil with.  Mix the blue paint with the white paint until you find the perfect color for your sky.  Paint the entire pot and let dry.  Don't forget to go inside the pot, about 1/3 of the way down.

When dry, take your round dabber brush.  Mix up white paint with water, about 2/3 paint, 1/3 water.  Dab the round brush in and dab clouds over the pot.  Let dry.  When it is dry, take more white paint, not watered down and go on top of the clouds in a new pattern.  This gives your clouds depth.  I also added a touch of blue and went over them a third time with a watered down version to make shadows.  

The grass is the easiest.  Paint green over the bottom quarter of the pot.  Use a dry brush and pull upward to make the grass.  Let dry.  Put a dot of white into the green to lighten up the green and put on to the grass in a few areas.  Pull upward with the dry brush.  Add a dot of blue to darken it, do again.  This adds depth to the grass.

When the entire pot is dry, it is time to put the fingerprints on the pot.  I had an acrylic paint assortment that came in little pots.  You can buy them inexpensively at a craft store or take a look around your house.  Chances are that you have one that came in a paint by number kit somewhere!  You need to take a little paint and water it down so that it's the consistency of ink.  Have the students put their finger into the paint and then stamp it on to the pot.  Have baby wipes handy to clean off fingers!

We added the kids' names to their fingerprints with a marker.  When it dried, I turned the fingerprints into critters using sharpie markers.  You can draw a line on top of the paint with a pencil, first, if needed.  It erases away if you don't like the look.  When you are done, take a spray sealer (Krylon makes a great one) and spray the outside and inside of the pot where you have painted.  Let dry completely and then it's ready to fill with dirt and a houseplant!

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