March 3, 2012

Optical Illusion Handprint

Pinterest led me to this art lesson at The Forest Room.  My kids love optical illusions and this project looked to be right up their alley.  I've had the idea in my "to do someday" file until my oldest daughter and I did it together today when she was stuck home recovering from the flu.  It was really fun watch our hands emerge and look almost 3D on a flat piece of paper.

Check it out!

Doesn't it look almost 3D?  My daughter's is on the top (in rainbow colors, of course!) and I used the cool colors on the bottom.  Now look how simple it is...

Here's what you need:

  • your hand
  • plain piece of white paper
  • markers
Here's what to do:

1.  Trace your hand and a bit of your wrist in pencil.
2.  Using marker, draw a straight line across until you reach the pencil outline of your hand.  Make a curve from one line to the next, then continue in a straight line.
3.  Continue making lines until the whole paper is covered, always making the lines curve within the outline of the hand.
4.  If necessary, when you're finished, touch up and fill in any white spots that you missed.

Pretty cool, isn't it?  My daughter is 9 and was able to do it no problem. It did take a little bit of time and patience, but I'm sure younger children could also handle it fine and produce similar results ( I know my younger two will be giving it a try someday soon)

Look, it's a match!


  1. Very cool! We have some nasty weather headed our way and now I have a project for Sunday afternoon indoors, thanks...

  2. We did it 2 or 3 months ago and Oh! my, my son loved it. It's still hanging on his bedroom wall. He is very proud of it :)

  3. Hi I’m Heather! Please email me when you get a chance! HeatherVonsj(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. That's so cool! Gotta remember to try this when my babies grow up :)

  5. This is such a fun idea... my kids are going to love it!

  6. Wow, that looks so cool. A clever idea I look forward to trying!

  7. Laura, I love this SOOOO much! I'm such a sucker for hand prints AND these are cool! Thanks so much for linking it up.

  8. Thank you so much for this great site! I preschool teacher. I have a blog related to the pre-school activities. If you visit will be very happy.

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  9. Very cool! My 7.5 yr old will love this, can't wait to show her, thanks!

  10. how long did it take her to complete? thinking of using this in a classroom with 24 children! :)

  11. I'd say it probably took between 30-60 minutes. I think it's definitely do-able in a classroom, but it'll take some kids longer than others depending on how many colors they choose, how closely together they put their lines and how quickly they tend to work.

  12. 2 ideas to minimize the time: Keep the paper size as small as possible to reduce the amount of time spent filling in around the hand and use wide tip markers for fewer lines. May not look quite as dramatic, but would finish up more quickly. Some have short attention spans!


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