25 of the best finger painting ideas
Finger painting can be messy, but it's always a lot of fun! Explore our creative finger painting ideas for kids and adults to discover your next project…
Finger painting is a fun activity for kids and it's a great way to introduce them to art at an early age. Art has lots of benefits for young children: it can help them to develop fine motor skills, learn about colour mixing and connect with their senses. It's also a good way to help young children explore their creative sides and how they see the world.
There are so many finger painting ideas you can show them – from trees with finger-shaped leaves to patterns made with a hand print. You can use finger painting to create pictures of everything from snowmen to hot air balloons – the possibilities are endless. You can also combine finger painting with collage or painting using a brush, depending on your child's age and stage.
Some of these easy finger painting ideas your child may be able to try by themselves, but other ideas may require some adult help or need your guidance to start them off. It's best not to leave them unattended with the paints as you could end up with some new decorations on your walls!
We've included some finger painting ideas for toddlers along with projects for older children, so there's something for everyone.
Did you know that grown-ups can do finger painting too? We've also included several finger painting ideas for adults which are really impressive – read on to see for yourself!
What you need to start finger painting with children
The good news is that you don't need lots supplies to start finger painting with children. Here are the basics:
- Finger paints or poster paints
- A smock or apron (or an old t-shirt) to protect the child's clothes
- Newspaper or a wipeable tablecloth – to protect your table
Bear in mind that not all children like getting their hands dirty and find the sensation of the paint unpleasant to begin with. It's worth keeping a damp cloth or some wet wipes nearby in case your child wants their hands cleaned – or in case things get too messy!
Most finger paints are washable and are unlikely to stain your furniture, so you don't need to feel stressed if your child touches anything while they have paint on your hands. Always check that the finger paints you're using are non-toxic in case your child tries to eat the paint or puts their fingers in their mouths.
Here are a few recommendations for finger paints that are kind on little fingers and won't stain your clothes:
Crayola finger paints
Crayola's finger painting sets are hugely popular and great value for money. The set includes a variety of bright colours for kids to play with. These finger paints are incredibly easy to clean up and will wash out of most fabric types. Highly recommended.
Arteza finger paints
Inspire your child's creative with this set of 30 colours! These finger paints are very vibrant and can be used on most surfaces. The paints are easy to clean up once you've finished using them and won't stain children's fingers.
Read on to discover our favourite easy finger painting ideas…
Featured image by iStock/anaimd
25 easy finger painting ideas
1. Snap dragons
This fun finger painting project is easy enough for most children to attempt – although younger children may need the stems and leaves to be drawn onto the paper for them. Try mixing colours together to get two-tone petals. Find this project on busymommymedia.com.
2. Winter tree finger painting
Looking for Christmas finger painting ideas? This winter tree design is perfect – and you could use it to make Christmas cards for friends and family. Learn how to create your own winter tree finger painting with easypeasyandfun.com.
Celebrate a special occasion with a finger painting of a night sky filled with glittering fireworks! This is a great project for the 4th of July, New Year's Eve or Bonfire Night. Find the firework painting tutorial on 3dinosaurs.com.
This is a simple finger painting technique, but the results are very impressive. It's a great way to teach children about the colours of the rainbow and make something beautiful at the same.
5. Easter finger paintings
Isn't this a cute idea from Kelsey Nixon? This is a wonderful finger painting idea to do with your child. Get them to cover the paper with thumbprints, then use a pen to turn the prints into bunnies, Easter eggs or anything else you can imagine. If you're doing this with younger children, it can help them to get started if you do a couple for them to copy.
You can also create finger paintings using your whole hand to create a variety of fun shapes! We particularly love this example from the Crafty Morning blog – it's so bright and cheerful. You could add your own handprint to create a grown up elephant too.
Pineapple finger paintings are enjoyable for both adults and kids to try. Experiment with mixing colours to make tropical pineapples in a range of rainbow shades! It would look great on a child's bedroom wall to add a splash of colour. Find out how to make it with Penny Pinchin' Mom's pineapple finger painting guide.
8. Flower pot
Dig out pastel shades to make this pretty flower pot. It reminds us of a flower-filled meadow! Use it inside the house so that the paints don't wash away in the rain. Find out how to make your own on jazminmaybell.com.
Bonfires are very satisfying for children to paint – they have lots of bright colours and interesting shapes. You can finish off the painting with a dash of glitter too! Find the tutorial on masandpas.com.
10. Autumn tree
Looking for finger painting ideas for toddlers? This fun idea from artcraftykids.com is a good one to try. You can paint the shape of the tree for them or use their handprint, then show them how to use their fingerprints to create a vibrant fall scene.
11. Footprint rocket
We've already seen what you can create using handprints, but what about footprints? We love this adorable footprint rocket project from thebestideasforkids.com – and we're sure children will love making their own!
Start your child off by drawing the stalk for them, then show them how to add their own dandelion seeds! Use colourful paper so that the seeds really stand out.
13. Butterfly mugs
Finger painting projects don't come any prettier than this! This would be a good way for your child to make a gift for a loved one or thank you present for their teacher. You can coat the mugs in a dishwasher-safe varnish to protect the butterfly design. Find out how to make them on thebestideasforkids.com.
14. Edible fingerpaints
Most fingerpaints are unsuitable for babies, but these paints are made using yoghurt and a few drops of food colouring, so they're perfectly safe for your infant to use. It's a wonderful sensory play activity for them and you don't need to worry about them eating the paints.
This finger painting project is better for older children, although younger children may be able to manage it with some assistance. Why not paint beautiful flowers in an array of beautiful colours?
16. Corn on the cob
Combine collate and finger painting to create a cute corn on the cob picture. Tissue or crepe paper can be used to create realistic leaves to complete the picture.
16. Paper plate peacocks
This is a great craft project for a rainy afternoon – the cheerful colours and creative design are bound to lift everyone's spirits! Googly eyes are the perfect finishing touch to give your peacocks some character. Learn how to make a paper plate peacock on iheartartsandcrafts.com.
17. Peacock thumb painting
Here's another great way to create a peacock finger painting from Art For Kids on YouTube. Thumbprints are a good way to create even oval shapes and they make lovely peacock feathers.
Looking for Christmas finger painting ideas? These cute little snowmen are full of personality and would look amazing on a Christmas card. Find the snowman tutorial on iheartcraftythings.com.
Finger painting is good fun for grown-ups too! If you're an artist and you're struggling to be creative at the moment, trying a new technique can help you to see the world differently. Explore our finger painting ideas for adults to free up your creativity. Artist Alisa Burke used this shell painting to step outside of her comfort zone – and the finished finger painting is really lovely.
Finger paints lend themselves to floral designs, as they can allow you to create very natural-looking flowing shapes. This is a great technique to try if you want to develop a looser painting style. Learn how to create a flower finger painting with Alisa Burke. Looking for more floral art projects? Take a look at our easy watercolor flowers guide.
21. Fish pond
Iris Scott is a talented artist from New Mexico who creates phenomenal finger paintings using oil paints. In this YouTube tutorial, she reveals some of her techniques so you can try making your own incredible finger paintings at home.
22. Floral furniture
Don't keep your finger paintings on paper and canvas – you can create beautiful finger paintings on your furniture too. According to The Turquoise Iris, your fingers are the best tool for blending and can be used to create a seamless blend.
23. Full moon
Combine speed painting and finger painting techniques to create this dramatic full moon scene. Watch the video tutorial to learn how to do it for yourself.
24. Journal pages
Fill your art journal with an array of floral designs – don't be afraid to fill both pages with flowers and greenery, as Alisa Burke has done here. Looking for more art journal inspiration? Check out our art journal ideas feature.
25. Ocean waves
There's something very hypnotic about Dzvenyslava Valaga's ocean waves painting video. She manages to create amazing textures on the canvas using her fingertips and oil paints. She's wearing gloves to keep her fingers clean and oil-free.
We hope you enjoyed these easy finger painting ideas! If you're looking for more painting ideas for adults, take a look at our watercolor painting ideas, acrylic painting ideas and gouache painting ideas.
Sarah Orme is a UK-based linocut printmaker, digital editor, feature writer and award-winning podcaster. She's been editing the sewing and art sections of Gathered.how – and before that our sister website calmmoment.com – for over 3 years. She’s the host of Gathered’s We’ve Made It podcast and A Calmer Life podcast. She’s a keen crafter and artist and loves creating DIY tutorials for Gathered. Sarah has previously written features for The Guardian, In The Moment Magazine, Project Calm Magazine, countryfile.com, radiotimes.com and yourhomestyle.uk. She enjoys designing her own unique lino prints and dreams of opening her own online shop. She shares her work @sarahormeprints