Baby Finger-Painting


T got some brilliant presents for his first birthday. One of them was a shiny new box of finger-paints. I couldn’t keep those beautiful little plastic lids on for long. I think I lasted two days, and then I just couldn’t contain myself any longer. Pop! Off came the red lid, then the blue, then the yellow…then I realised I hadn’t even got a plan for what to do with them!

Luckily for me, an idea presented itself pretty quickly.  I realised I needed to send thank you cards to everyone from T, and thought it might be fun to try and use his finger-painting to decorate them!

Truth is, he is of course far too little to actually design and create his own cards.  BUT…he can explore what happens when he dips his fingers into the gloopy paint and presses them onto paper.

HOWEVER, I did not fancy the logistical nightmare of pressing his fingers onto individual cards, one at a time.  So here’s what I did:

What you will need:

  • finger paints
  • sugar paper (whatever size you want)
  • a wipeable surface – I used a bit of old pvc tablecloth I had left after covering a small table for T – can be bought cheaply on the internet.  otherwise, an old shower curtain would work well – we have this under his high chair!
  • paper plates or cardboard squares to put finger paints on
  • masking tape – to attach the paper to a box/table or whatever surface you are using
  • precut cards and envelopes (I got 20 for around £3 from a craft shop)
  • black sharpie
  • scissors
  • baby wipes</li


1.  Remove clothes from baby or cover her with a painting apron.

2.  Tape paper to the surface you are using.

3.  Pour one colour of paint onto your plate and show it to your baby/toddler.  Encourage her to dip her fingers into the paint, then press them on the paper.  The best way to do this is to do it yourself, for your baby to watch.  I wish I had done my own little finger-painting to show T…but I hadn’t got another piece of paper ready and I didn’t want to “corrupt” his picture with my fingers!!  But I do think it really helps to model what you expect your baby to do, as they love to copy what mummy or daddy is doing.  As this option was not open to me, I just held his wrists really loosely and guided his hands towards the paper, trying to ensure that his fingers made the marks, not my pushing of his fingers.

4.  Wipe baby’s hand(s) and then introduce the other colours you want to use in the same way, one at a time.

5.  Let the paint dry.

6.  Cut your painting into equal shapes.  I used rectangles because it was easy and quick.  But you could do any shape I suppose.  You could do a simple tree shape with autumn colours, or a heart with reds, pinks and purples.  Your only limit is your own imagination!

7.  Stick your shape onto a pre-cut white card and write your message with a sharpie.

That’s it!  I’m quite pleased with these – I especially like that each card is unique.  I can’t wait to try something similar at Christmas.

If you come up with or come across any other baby finger-painting activities that work well, I’d love to hear about them and try them for myself.

Did you enjoy reading this post?  Do you have any finger-painting activities or funny baby-and-paint stories to share? If so, get in touch through my Facebook page or by commenting below with your email and I can feature your activity or story on my blog.


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