This is one of our coolest art projects yet! Kids of all ages will love the intricate designs they can create with this Scratch Art Henna Handprint Craft! It’s a gorgeous, creative activity that uses a favourite classic childhood art technique.
A friend of mine recently went to a henna home party where she and some friends had their hands decorated by a henna artist. It was a fun and relaxing evening, and the results were beautiful.
When I first saw the intricate design on her hand, I immediately thought, Ohhhh, I would love to do this with my daycare hooligans, but I suspected that my daycare parents might not be crazy about their kids coming home covered in semi-permanent body art. HA!
For the next couple of days I thought about how we could do a henna project with something washable, but I couldn’t think of anything washable that would give us the delicate look of henna art.
Then, I got an idea.
The kids didn’t have to do henna on their REAL hands. They could decorate tracings of their hands. It would be a henna handprint craft! We LOVE a good handprint craft!
Then I got thinking about what they would decorate their traced hands with. Markers? Paints? And it hit me. Scratch art!
Yesss! I was totally stoked about this craft idea!
The big kids were here last Friday because they had a day off school, and the henna handprint craft was first on my list of activities for the day.
These girls are really artistic and creative, so they were super-excited when I told them about the party my friend had been to, and about my henna hand craft idea.
We looked at a few images on the internet so they could get some inspiration for designs, and we talked about what the word henna actually means.
What exactly IS Henna anyway?
In recent years, we’ve come to associate “henna” solely with hand and foot art, but henna is actually the name of a flowering shrub. Henna dye is made by crushing the dried leaves of the shrub, and it’s been used for thousands of years to colour hair and to decorate women’s bodies and fingernails. Anyone else remember dying their hair with henna hair colour? I did (many times) when I was a teenager!
Once the girls had some ideas for their designs, we gathered our supplies.
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To make our Scratch Art Henna Handprint craft, you’ll need:
- white cardboard or card stock
- pencil and scissors
- black tempera paint (powder or liquid)
- pointy candy apple sticks or wooden skewers
Preparing your handprints:
I gave each of the kids a piece of thin, white cardboard, and they traced their hands. I cut out their hands for them. Normally, they do their own cutting when we’re crafting, but maneuvering the scissors in and out of the narrow spaces between the traced fingers was tricky, so they asked for help.
When their hands were cut out, we broke out a big, new box of Crayolas (is there anything better than a new box of crayons?) and got to work.
The girls completely covered their traced hands with bold stripes and blocks of colour. This part of the project took a while and was lovely in itself.
When they finished colouring their hands, they brushed a layer of black paint over them.
Tempera paint dries really quickly, but we helped it dry even faster with a blast from the hairdryer. We keep one nearby when we’re crafting, just for this reason.
And now, to get creative with our henna hands!
Decorating the handprints:
I gave each of the hooligans a wooden candy apple stick to make their designs. A wooden skewer would work well too. A regular wooden craft stick would be fine, but a pointy stick is best for making really fine lines and details.
The girls had so much fun making their designs!
They drew flowers, swirls, dots, and squiggles all over their painted hands. It was so exciting to see the vibrant colours emerge from the black paint.
I took a ton of photos because the process was so beautiful. It was hard to choose just a few to share with you here.
Aren’t the results cool?
I really hope you’ll try our scratch art henna handprint craft with your kids! It was such a relaxing and creative activity, and the kids were thrilled with their finished projects.
Of course, when we were done, they asked if they could draw designs on their REAL hands, but I explained the thoughts I’d had leading up to this project, and that their parents might not appreciate them doing a body art project at daycare.
I have a sneaking suspicion that they may be asking to host henna home party when their birthdays roll around.
Hmmm… I wonder where they got that idea? 😉
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.