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‘You Are My Sunshine’ Handprint and Footprint Crafts for Kids!

Everywhere I go, I see these absolutely adorable ‘You Are My Sunshine’ Handprint and Footprint Crafts for Kids. I don’t know who first came up with the idea but I am in love with it. ‘You Are My Sunshine’ is one of my favorite songs ever (and seriously, how could I not love it since ‘Sunshine’ is the focus of my blog!), especially the version sung by Elizabeth Mitchell. The sentiment is so happy and encouraging… and I want to sing this song to Sweet Pea every single day. So, of course we had to try our hand, and feet (pun intended), at this adorable keepsake craft!

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'You Are My Sunshine' Handprint and Footprint Crafts for Kids

‘You Are My Sunshine’ Handprint and Footprint Crafts for Kids!

Ok, I will be honest. I know I am supposed to take pictures of Sweet Pea covered in paint, etc… Honestly though, since we were trying this craft on actual canvases, I didn’t want to mess it up and have to start again. Those canvases are expensive… or at least too expensive for multiple do-overs. So, we concentrated on the task at hand, and I took pictures of the finished product. I hope you don’t mind. Thanks!

What will you need?

For the footprint craft:

For the handprint craft:

  • Blank canvas
  • Bright yellow acrylic paint (I used Apple Barrel brand)
  • Orange acrylic paint (I don’t have a specific hue because it doesn’t really matter. The orange is just for highlights)
  • Two paintbrushes
  • Sweet Pea’s hand (ha, again!)
  • Black sharpie

How do you make this keepsake?

Well, you might notice that I included two versions. I used different techniques for each of the sunshines. Mostly, I wanted to experiment and see which one I preferred. I have to say, it is hard to pick between the two. They are both so adorable!

How to make the footprint keepsake:

'You Are My Sunshine' Handprint and Footprint Crafts for Kids

  • Paint the blank canvas with the bright blue acrylic paint.
    • You will need more than one coat in order to make the paint pop. I think I used three coats of blue paint.
    • Try to paint the canvas with brush strokes in the same direction. Of course, if you want the Van Gogh effect, I suppose you could paint any which way. Your choice!
  • Let the blue paint dry.
  • Paint a partial sun with the bright yellow paint.
    • I decided that since Sweet Pea’s feet are kind of big, I would use the vertical orientation for the footprint keepsake.
    • Starting at about 1/3 up from the bottom of the canvas, paint a semicircle. Start smaller than you think the sun semicircle will be… you can always add paint to make the sun bigger. You can’t take paint away.
    • As with painting the sky, I would suggest painting with your brush strokes moving in the same direction.
    • You will likely need three or more coats of yellow paint in order to make the sun pop against the blue background.
    • Let the yellow paint dry.
  • Now to paint your kid’s feet for the sun rays. I am certainly not an expert in handprint and footprint crafts. However, here are some tips that made it easier for us. If you have a better method, a) do that! and b) tell me your secrets!
    • I used one foot for the sun rays. I figured it would be less to clean up (I was correct).
    • Have you child sit on a stool or in a kid-sized chair. You want to minimize the squirming.
    • Ensure you paint the entire foot. Specifically, make sure you get the sides of the foot and each of the toes.
    • However, don’t use too much paint.. or you won’t be able to clearly see the features of the foot on the canvas.
    • Once you paint your kid’s foot, help them place their foot where you want the sun rays. You may have to actually hold your kid’s lower leg and ‘stamp’ it for them by deliberately placing the painted foot on the canvas (which will be on the floor).
    • If you need to re-paint the foot before you ‘stamp’ each successive sun ray, go for it. We had to re-apply paint for Sweet Pea’s foot.
    • Don’t be afraid to ‘stamp’ half a foot for the last sun ray. The toes may be off the canvas, but that is ok.
    • You won’t be able to use multiple coats of paint for the sun rays, but you can do targeted touch up if necessary.
    • ***Wash your kid’s foot as soon as possible. This is acrylic paint, not tempura paint. So, it will be much harder to clean up once it starts to dry.
    • Let the sun and sun rays dry.
  • For the sentiment, ‘You Are My Sunshine,’ I experimented with a chalk marker.. but it didn’t really work that well. So, I opted for a white paint marker (like the kind used for card making) and that was perfect.
  • You can write the sentiment anyway you want. If you want to know my technique, it basically consists of rounded letters with flourishes. Then, I just capped the ends and other strategic letter intersections with a little circle. I think it turned out really cute!

'You Are My Sunshine' Handprint and Footprint Crafts for Kids

How to make the handprint keepsake:

The handprint keepsake is very similar to the footprint keepsake, but probably easier. Yeah!

  • Orient the canvas horizontally.
  • As with the footprint craft, paint the sun semi-circle to the size you prefer. I would let the sun dry before you start the sun rays.
  • For the handprint sun rays, follow the same basic instructions as the footprint sun rays.
    • I still only used one hand for these sun rays.
    • If you want to know what using too much paint looks like, check out our keepsake craft. It is still super cute, but there were definitely some lost details.
    • Also, we ‘stamped’ Sweet Pea’s painted hand so that it touched the sun. You will notice that there was space between the footprint sun rays and that sun. I am not 100% sure which one I like better.. so I did it both ways and you can decide for yourself which you prefer.
  • Once the yellow paint dries, take a small to medium paint brush and highlight the sun and sun rays with orange paint. In particular, I outlined the yellow sun with orange, so that the sun would pop against the white canvas.
  • As with the footprint keepsake craft, you can write the sentiment anyway you want. A black sharpie marker works perfectly for this version of the craft.

So, aren’t these super cute? My daughter is growing so fast I know we won’t be able to do crafts like this much longer. I can’t wait to hang both of these happy crafts up in the house!

Which one will you do?

Thanks for reading,

Would you like some more cute ideas for crafts for kids? Check out these ideas and more at Sunshine Whispers’ Crafts for Kids idea page!

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