Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Teacher Gifts: Fingerprint Pots

Every year, I somehow wind up being in charge of teacher presents from the class. We usually collect money and purchase a gift card to her favorite store, but I always like to add something personal. Of course, since I am spending everyones money, the personal item also has to be something cheap!

This craft fits the bill: personal, handmade, fairly easy and cheap! I made painted pots for both of my boys teachers this year. One son was in a team-taught class with 30 students and 2 teachers that traded the kids off in two groups....I had to make a pretty big pot to fit all those kids on. My other son was in a smaller class, but they had 4 different assistants that came into the classroom on a daily basis, so I made a pot for each of them as well.

If you have never made finger-print art, you must give it a try! My children love making the fingerprints, and they are now old enough to add all the details themselves. The finger-print art guru is Ed Emberley, you can find several books on making finger print art in bookstores and on-line. You might even luck out and find one at your library. You can tell by the looks of mine, that it has been well-loved and used!

First up, I gathered all my supplies.....There are a couple of brands of ceramic paint that are out there.  This is the one that I have used and love the best.  It is called Porcelaine and I can always find it at Michael's.  It is pricey, though, $4.99 a pot.  You might want to stock up on some of those 40% off coupons.  The paint markers are about $3.99.  If you store them with the lid on tightly, they will last and last (I've had mine for three years now!).  You simply paint on your clean ceramic piece, let it dry and then bake it for 30 minutes in a 300 degree oven.  Then it is microwave and dishwasher safe (although the finish can get scratched, so be careful).  I purchased my white pots at Walmart for $4 for the smaller ones, and $7 for the larger size.

Now for the tricky part, preparing to gather the painted fingerprints of almost 30 children!  I decided to mark their names on the pots first so that everyone's name and print would be nicely spaced out.  But, it's hard to make sure that it all fits without being too crowded or have big blank spaces.  That's where this trick comes in very handy.....use a dry erase marker first!  I simply played around with the placement off all the names using a dry erase maker until I was happy with where everything was.  I left enough room above each name to get the painted finger print later at school.  Once I was happy with the spacing, I just rubbed off each name as I went and replaced it with the procelaine marker pen (of course, being careful to make it neat and cute, too!)

Once I had all the names on with the porcelaine marker, I let it dry overnight before heading in to school to gather the dreaded fingerprints.  I had to be sneaky about getting the fingerprints to keep the pots a surprise for the teachers.  I went in during lunch time, armed with my pots, colored paints, paper towels and baby wipes.  I made up a sample card showing the different animals the kids could choose from for the project (I let them pick from a frog, ladybug, bee, flower, snail, butterfly--all garden themed).  Then I quickly got each child's print onto the pot and helped them clean up.  A few other teachers and parents were wandering around and thought  it was such a cute idea!

I let the paint dry overnight and then painted on the details with the porcelaine marker.  The next day, I cured the pots in the oven according to the directions and they all turned out so darling!  And you can't beat the price---$4 for each of the small pots and $7 for the bigger ones!! 

I added some colored tissue, the group gift card we purchased and dressed it up with some cellophane wrap and a bow.....pretty cute if I do say so myself!!

And that's my version of a cute and thrifty teacher gift!  I hope you enjoyed my first blog post and tutorial!

And almost a year later, I figured out how to link to a party!!


  1. Great project! I'm sure the teacher will love it!

  2. Great project! Can't believe its your first! Well done. I'm looking forward to seeing more of what you do! Nicky (qwiksave) of the UK.

  3. It came out so cute! I'll keep checking back to see what else you craft.

  4. Wow you are very creative, now I have to say, you need to post more stuff. People love to look at what you come up with.

  5. I love this! I've done a potted plant for teachers before, but this is so beautifully personal! I so want to do this!

  6. That is really cute. Great idea! Thanks for sharing this with me!


  7. Nice drawing! You can do this because have more space for this job, ריהוט גן אנו מוכרים ריהוט גן , שמשיות לגן , נדנדות לגן , וכן כל הריהוט לגן , משלוחים בכל רחבי הארץ