Handprint Memories

The holidays are a time of year when special memories are created and memories of years past are highlighted. Watching children grow during these years can be a sweet time that reminds you of all the things God has done in your family’s life. One way to set those memories in place is with handprint art. You may consider making an extra set to send to birth parents, grandparents, or others who are special in the life of your family. Wendy, one of our Lifeline moms through domestic adoption, tells us that holiday salt dough ornaments are one thing her family sends to her son’s birth parents every year.

Handprint (or footprint) art can consist of painting a hand and making a print, printing on pottery at a studio, doing an imprint, or anything else your creativity can imagine. Below is one way to make salt dough handprint ornaments. You can look online for ideas on painting your handprint (or footprint) to look like many holiday scenes or characters. Or, allow your child to make his or her own painted masterpiece.


  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of salt
  • 1 cup of water (You may need less.)
  • Acrylic paint, if you want to paint
  • Sealer like Mod Podge® or a clear Acrylic sealer/spray
  • Ribbon for ornament hanger


  1. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. 
  2. Add water slowly. You may need less. 
  3. Knead the mixture into a smooth dough. If it becomes too sticky, add more flour. If it’s too crumbly, add more water.
  4. Roll your dough into a ball and then flatten into a circle of about 1 cm thickness, using your hand or a rolling pin. The circle should be slightly larger than your child’s hand.
  5. Poke a hole near the top for your ribbon to go through. A large straw works well.
  6. Help your child make a handprint in the dough. You can dry out salt dough in the oven at a very low temperature (such as 200° F) for several hours, flipping them a few times. You can also dry out the salt dough by microwaving it for 10 seconds at a time. Or, you can allow the dough to air dry for several days, or until dry.
  7. Paint your creation, if you desire.
  8. Seal the front and back with a sealer to keep moisture from getting into your dough and ruining your handprint memory.
  9. If you use Mod Podge® to seal, it may have a slight sticky feel, especially if stored in heat. You may wish to use an acrylic sealer on top to prevent your handprint from sticking to other surfaces.
  10. Tie your ribbon through the hole to make the ornament hanger.
  11. Store in an airtight container in a warm, dry room. You may wish to wrap them in white tissue paper for extra protection.