Cool Art Project for Kids: Thumbprint Self Portrait

Published: October 27, 2014

thumbprint self portrait art project - cool art projects for kids

Such a cool project. I first saw this thumbprint self-portrait project here and pinned it for later, because that’s what we do, right, ladies?

I love the double self portrait aspect of it, in that each kid is writing about themselves as they trace the lines of their fingerprint. It’s symbolic, and ultra personalized. Fen jumped all over this when I explained it to her; she’s sort of my litmus test for if the tweens will like a project or not, and this was a three-thumbs-up. (I don’t know. Blame it on the Halloween chocolate.)

Here’s how we did it:


White paper

Black Inkpad


Copy machine or scanner/printer

Ultra Fine Sharpies or the like


Make thumbprints by having your child arrested and brought down to the clink. Ask for a copy of the fingerprints on the way out. Let your child choose their very favorite one.

Alternatively, you can use a black ink pad and make your own thumbprints at home.


Make lots of thumbprints. Scan them to your computer. Open in PicMonkey, crop to the one you want and rotate/straighten it until it is vertical. Play with the Sharpen> unsharp mask settings until you have a clear, pretty contrasty image. I jacked mine up to nearly the highest settings here. (You want to be able to see the lines through a piece of paper you will be holding in font of your printout.)


Print it out (using the scale to fit setting), and, using a light box or a window, hold (or tape) a blank white piece of paper over the copy of the print. Your child can now start writing the story of their life, random facts about themselves, what they want for Christmas, things their parents never let them do, favorite books, names of cute boys, etc.



thumbprint self portrait project for kids - art projects for kids

Interested in more cool drawing projects? See my Zentangle® project and easy popsicle stick drawing project.

P.S. This totally counts as my drawing of the day in the 31 days of Drawing challenge. 31 drawings - one a day for the month of October from Tiny Rotten Peanuts






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