Handprint Shamrock: a quick and easy St. Patrick’s Day craft

I’m not anti-craft, but the thought of pulling out paint and glitter with kids, especially young kids, can strike fear into the hearts of the best of us. This St. Patrick’s Day craft is actually one that allows you to breathe easy. There is paint involved, but the process is pretty quick and the outcome is worthy of saving in a special place.

I had this idea when my oldest son was almost 2. He was a VERY easy kid, which is probably why I never really worried about what could possibly go wrong with green paint all over his hands. Or, looking back, it could have just been a naive rookie mom move. Either way, I painted and stamped his hands into a shamrock without any major disasters, and thought it was the best thing ever.

Since then, I’ve incorporated it into my preschool classroom, sent it to friends looking for ideas, and even had my youngest son work on it with me – and he is not the easy kid his brother was. In fact, I wasn’t planning on being in any of the pictures when I convinced my 3 year old to work on this St. Patrick’s Day craft with me. My sister happened to be around and snapped a couple great shots though, and I just had to include this next one. It really captures the fun of getting your hands dirty. I hope it encourages you to do the same!

a mother and son painting a craft
Sometimes it’s totally worth it to have messy hair and painted hands.

Easy St. Patrick’s Day Craft – Handprint Shamrock

You will need: 

- Blank canvas or large sturdy paper 

- Acrylic paint (green, gold glitter optional) 

- Sharpie or paint pen

- Painting supplies (paint brush or foam)

Step One – Paint the Background
The first step of this project is totally optional, but really adds a lot to the finished product. Cover the entire empty space (canvas or paper) with a light coat of gold glitter paint. In my opinion, the actual glitter paint works better than a gold color because it has more of the magical gold look I’m going for. This is also a great step for kids to do with minimal assistance. (Remember, if you’re using acrylic paint, it will wash off of your hands and skin pretty easily. It will not always wash easily out of clothes. Be careful or use a different paint.)

Child Painting Canvas

Step Two – Paint and Print a Hand
Using green acrylic paint, apply a good coat to your child’s hand. Just use one hand and make sure that you do all of the painting. Actually applying the paint to the hand (open hand, fingers together) is the best way to make sure things are evenly covered without a lot of drippy excess. One the hand is painted, let the child know to let you move  and control their hand. Print the 4 leaves of your clover with the fingers pointing to the center. I add fresh paint to the hand after each print.Painting a child's hand for a st. patrick's day craft.

Stamping a Handprint for St. Patricks Day Craft

Step Three – Add a Stem
Depending on how type A you are, and how old your kids are, this can be a good step for kids to do on their own. Just use the paint brush that was painting the hands, and add a stem. You can show your artist a picture of a shamrock so that they have some idea what they’re painting. OH! And this is after washing all of that green off, of course!


Step Four – Add a Name and/or Date
I love the squiggly uneven marks of children just beginning to write their name. This is why I have kids (depending on age and ability) add their own name somewhere to the artwork. If you wanted, you could certainly write the name for them, or leave it off entirely. It is all up to you. I do find that paint pens work best for this if you are working on canvas.

And viola! You’re done! In a fairly small amount of time, with a relatively small mess (hopefully) you have completed a super cute St. Patrick’s Day craft with your little one.

St Patricks Day Craft

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