Upcycled finger paintings

This spring my little guy started finger painting at school.  We have 2 big paintings from the first time he ever finger painted and we are going to have them framed, but he came home with several other sheets of paper covered with his cute little handprints and I couldn’t throw them away.  Then my husband’s grandmother moved into a nursing home near us.  All the other doors on her hall are covered with pictures and art, and I wanted (Great)Gramma’s door to look pretty too.  I spied the paintings and project was born.

I needed:

  • finger painted picture with mostly handprints
  • scissors
  • green paper, it’s Crayola printer paper, but any green paper would do
  • tape (I couldn’t find a glue stick)

Look at those cute little handprints!

I carefully cut around the handprints so they looked a little like mittens and a large piece became a vase.

I think they look a little like tulips.

Then I grabbed my green paper and cut some random strips for stems.  I didn’t want them all to be perfect so I used the scissors instead of a paper cutter.  I also freehand cut leaves out of the rest of the paper.  I tried to do varying sizes.

I cut out way too many leaves, but that part was fun.

The whole time Bug was watching me from his holding pen.  I knew what would happen if I let him “help”.

"Please Momma, I won't eat the paper."

For me, the last part was the hardest.  I matched stems to flowers and then had to figure out how to arrange them in the vase.  I wanted some over lap, but not too much.  Once I got them arranged I taped them to the back of the vase and added the leaves.

I had some help picking the leaves.

Our beautiful bouquet.

They were a big hit with (Great) Gramma and now her door looks a little more welcoming.

Blooming bouquet

Color photo book

This is my first tutorial.  Please go easy on me.

My son is in a Early Head Start classroom that serves children 6 weeks to 3 years.  He has 3 awesome teachers.  His teacher has made several photo books for the kids this year: each of kid in a different hat, the cars they come to school in, etc.  I decided I wanted to make one for them, too.  Then I thought it would make a great tutorial for the one other crafter who reads my blog.


  • digital photos of single, or mostly one, color items
  • colored printer paper
  • adhesive
  • laminator, I bought it just for this project!
  • hole punch, single or 3-hole
  • binder rings
  • collage making software, I used Shape Collage, but you could do it in Photoshop or even a word processor

I took pictures of items all over my son’s classroom.  Toys, furniture, bags…
Then I cropped the pictures, in Photoshop, down to just the object size, but left the background.  **They are only squares here because they are thumbnail images.**

Next I added them by color to Shape College and played around until I liked it.  Shape Collage was really easy to figure out how to use and once I paid for registration I could export .psd files that I could play with in PhotoShop.  I was able to move, rotate, and resize the pictures in the collage.  I could also add the color name in Photoshop.  I chose a fun, but easy to read font and added a black stroke.  **In PhotoShop Elements you must add a style (drop shadow, outer glow, etc…) and then turn it off and turn on stroke.**

When I was done editing them I saved them as photo size jpgs and printed them through my favorite big box store.

I decided I wanted the book to be bigger than a photo.  The laminating sleeves I bought fit 5″ x 7″ paper so I trimmed colored paper to that size and used adhesive tabs to glue the pictures on.  **I left a little more room at the top for hole punching.**

Then I got to bust out my new laminator.  It was pretty cool.  I centered the pages in the laminating sleeve and sent it through the machine.  It came out really hot, but was stiff and sealed just right.

I punched 2 holes in the top and then stuck binder rings though them.  And then didn’t take any pictures of the book.

So far, the kids are fighting over it, so I am glad I printed a second copy of the pictures.

Lessons learned:

  • tell people what you are doing so they don’t think you are taking creepy pictures of the kids
  • objects don’t always photograph in their true color
  • make your shape collage 4″ by 6″ not 5.5″ x 8.5″ so the sides don’t get cut off when you print the pictures (I started with a different idea)
  • toddlers are very concrete -they expect books to open on the left, not the top, on the other hand, this shows they are learning concepts of print
  • kids love books about things they see every day