DIY Baby Handprint Ornament

Last night, I made a quick post about the various kinds of baby handprint ornament ideas I’ve found while browsing around on Pinterest and the internet at large. The last one, a glittery handprint on a clear glass ornament, struck me as really elegant and pretty, and I wanted to try making something like it.

From the start, though, I decided to make a few changes from that original project: instead of a glass ornament, I’d use a shatter-proof plastic one, and instead of messing with ink and glitter and embossing heat guns, I would just use some glittery paint. With that in mind, I gathered together some craft supplies:

Glittery paint and clear plastic ornament.

The clear ornament really resembles a glass one, so it’s nice to get that unbreakable cat-proof durability without compromising on the look of it. As far as costs go, this was a pretty inexpensive little project. Below is a list of stuff gotten at Michael’s along with the prices:

  • Clear Shatterproof Ornament (4″ Diameter) – $1.49
  • Multi-surface Glitter Acrylic Craft Paint (Green) – $2.99
  • Multi-surface Glitter Acrylic Craft Paint (Red) – $2.99

Total craft supply cost: $7.47

I didn’t have a coupon or take advantage of a half-off sale or anything, so I imagine that this could be done even more cheaply with some minimal bargain-hunting effort. That being said, I did end up using a few other non-craft-store items when all was said and done, but it’s all the sort of stuff you’d probably already have lying around in your kitchen / home office / diaper bag. The list:

  • Paper Towels
  • Baby Wipes
  • Plastic Cups
  • Narrow-tipped Paint Brush
  • Ink Pad (Optional)
  • Red & Green Curling Ribbon (Optional)

The paint is water-based and non-toxic according to the label, and I arranged to do this little project right before I was planning on giving Lily a bath. The plan was simple: dip her little hand in paint, press it against the ornament, and voila, done in five minutes. I figured I would spend more time cleaning up than it took to make the thing.

But… yeah, I kind of underestimated it a bit. Just getting Lily to straighten out her fingers was a challenge (she likes making fists) and it turns out paint smears really, really easily on that smooth surface of the ornament. The slightest movement would distort the handprint beyond recognition.

Luckily, baby wipes worked really well for cleaning the wet paint off of the ornament, so every time it got messed up, I would just wipe it off and try again. And again. And after about six tries and a very glittery baby, I decided that it simply wasn’t possible. So, I tried to devise some other way of getting her handprint on the ornament.

Here’s what I came up with:

Glittery handprint on a paper towel.

Basically I had the idea to create the handprint on another less slippery surface, in this case a paper towel, and then transfer it to the ornament. In order to make the handprint on the paper towel, I used an ink pad (the kind you’d use for rubber stamps or making baby footprints in the hospital) to get a good outline, then glopped a thick layer of paint over it with a paint brush. This step might be unnecessary if you can get a good handprint directly with the paint, but I found that to be pretty difficult too.

Anyway, from there I was able to (very slowly) press the paper towel against the ornament to get a clear, non-smeared-up handprint. Maybe this indirect method could be considered cheating a little, but it was the only thing I could figure out to make it work, and I think the end result looked reasonably passable:

Lillian's finished baby handprint ornament.

The finished ornament is so shiny and reflective that I actually had kind of a hard time photographing it. After the handprint was made in the green glitter paint, I took a brush and wrote Lillian’s name along with the year in sparkly red. I also tied a loop of red ribbon to the top for hanging purposes, and added some curly bits of red and green ribbon just for show.

Name and year painted on the ornament.

A few other notes: this particular paint dries pretty much clear except for the glitter, so it takes several coats to get any good solid color. (And I did have to touch up the handprint with a brush quite a bit to get it that dark.) It also seems to wash off of surfaces like skin, brushes, and plastic very easily with just some warm water, so I wouldn’t try to run an ornament like this through the dishwasher or anything.

Anyway, there you have it — baby’s first Christmas ornament, featuring her handprint, her name, and the year in shiny glittery paint. It was really fun making it, even though it wasn’t as easy as I originally expected, and I’m almost tempted to try making a bonus ornament using one of the other techniques from that last post full of baby handprint ornament ideas. I’m pretty sure we already have all of the ingredients for the dough in our kitchen…

14 Comments

  1. Oh, Sarah, that is gorgeous!!! You did an outstanding job! That was a very imaginative way to get the job done. I love it!! Love you all!!

    • Hehe, thanks! The only thing I can think of is, maybe ink on glass is less slippery than paint on plastic? Since I haven’t tried their method I’m not sure what kind of difference the choice of materials might make (if any).

  2. Let’s see, Lillian doesn’t like to straighten out her fingers, but does like to make a fist. Probably not a baseball pitcher, maybe a boxer! LOL! (I think that’s par for babies at this age, though). You were so clever to work out a better method for getting the print onto the plastic ornament. It’s lovely, and something you will treasure!

  3. Wow, really cute! Great idea. Thanks for giving us all the trial and error of your processes in trying to get that hand print to work :)

    so fun!

    ~Lisha

  4. I found this post while Googling ideas for hand-made Christmas ornaments. I’ve never been very creative. Arts & crafts are not my strength, and I don’t sew AT ALL. But now that I have 2 girls, including a 5-year-old that I just began homeschooling, I have to do this kind of thing and just have NO ideas. Thank you so much, Sarah, for sharing not only the idea, but all of your practical modifications and experience with the project. I hope to tackle this project soon. Homeschooling means one income and limited funds for holiday gifts. Every year I need things like this so that we have inexpensive but dear gifts to give!

    • Thanks! I think the ink in the ink pad was actually reddish, but it seemed to come out pretty light and the paint ended up glopping on so thick that I don’t think it matters too much what color ink pad you use. Hope this helps!

    • Hi Kirstie! The clear shatterproof ornament came from Michael’s, which seemed to have bins overflowing with them last year — though when I tried looking for them again this year, it seemed like they only had a few tucked away on one of the Christmas shelves (at least at the one location I visited). I hope this helps and good luck!

  5. That is THE cutest! I babysit 2 little guys and was looking for ideas to make their Moms something cute. I’d like to cut out a profile of them (the black silhouette kind) to put in the center. Do they sell these clear ornaments with the ability to open?

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