If you’re looking for gift idea from your kids, this handprint craft you can make using your Cricut Explore or Maker is perfect! Learn how to digitize a handprint so you can use it in handprint crafts for all sorts of gift ideas. Today we’re using it to make a Mother’s Day sign, but it’s also great for Father’s Day, Grandparents’ Day, Christmas, and more.
Are you ready to make mom cry? This handprint craft you can make using your Cricut Explore or Maker is perfect! First we’ll digitize a handprint so you can use it in handprint crafts for all sorts of gift ideas, then we’ll cut it on the Cricut!
Handprint and footprint crafts are, theoretically, one of favorite kids’ crafts—but I do find making them to be a little stressful. I mean, you’ve got one shot to get that handprint right within that expensive frame or apron or whatever, and on the other side of the hand is a squirrely toddler who isn’t exactly the most cooperative person you’ve ever met. It’s a recipe for disaster.
Getting a Good Handprint for Handprint Crafts
So I’ve come up with a workaround. I sit my boys down at the kitchen table, which is covered with paper bags (because it’s 2019 and does anyone have newspaper anymore?). Then I paint each of their hands with craft paint (vs. having them dip their hands in paint on a paper plate, which is often too much paint) and have them make as many handprints as they want on white cardstock, some with my guidance, some just for play. I usually go with boring black and gray, because those colors are the easiest to digitize.
Once they’ve played around and I have a dozen or so handprints to choose from, I pick the best one to digitize so I can use it over and over on as many projects as I want!
Digitizing a Handprint to Cut on the Cricut
Got a Cricut and have no idea what to do with it? I have an online course for you!
Start by taking a photo of the handprint using your phone.
If you’re using a desktop, transfer the photo to your computer by emailing the photos to yourself, using a program like Dropbox, or using Airdrop if you’re going between Apple devices.
If you are using a newer iPhone, you may notice that your files are .HEIC instead of .JPG. This is a new file format and it’s frustrating because basically no program out there has caught up and can upload HEIC files. So I use this site to convert the HEIC files to JPG, which can be uploaded to Cricut Design Space.
Open Cricut Design Space (either in a web browser on desktop or within the Cricut app) and click Upload, then Upload Image, and then Browse. Navigate to the JPG of the hand print and click Open. From here, Cricut Design Space will ask you what type of image it is. Though it’s a complicated file to cut around the edges, there are only two colors—black and white. So I chose Simple Image.
Click continue. The next tool is an important one in this process—Select & Erase. Click on anything that isn’t handprint and Design Space will make it transparent (with the checked background). I clicked around the whole hand, the center of the palm, and then the larger gaps where the paint didn’t get. I couldn’t get everything, which is fine—that’s a LOT for the Cricut to cut around so you want it to be a little more simple than your actual handprint.
You can also use the Erase tool (next to the Select & Erase tool on the left) to erase other bits that you don’t want—like those stray fingerprints in the upper right corner of my image. I also carefully went around the entire handprint and tried to erase as many of the tiniest pieces as possible. This also allowed me to clean up any smudges that the handprint might have.
You can click Preview at the bottom to see if there’s anything you’ve missed—I find this particularly helpful for finding stray points that I can’t see in the Select & Erase screen but show up in the preview. Cutting these handprints definitely tests your Cricut, so get the file as clean as possible.
Then click Continue and bring the handprint file onto your canvas! You can now cut this file and use it on all sorts of project. I suggest cutting it in iron-on so you have the carrier sheet to work with. Also use a new blade. Since this is such a detailed cut, your Cricut will sound a bit like it’s having a seizure—it’s working hard! Once cut, you may notice that there are bits that aren’t cut well (it can look a huge mess, really)—I use tweezers to sort of pick off the bits that hanging off. Once you iron it on, all of those pieces will flatten out and you won’t notice them at all, I promise.
Mother’s Day Gift Idea: Handprint Craft with the Cricut
Handprint Craft Supplies
- Iron on vinyl in several colors
- Cricut Explore or Cricut Maker
- Acrylic ruler (optional)
- EasyPress, iron, or heat press (see this post for more information)
- Wood Frame
I digitized both my twin sons’ handprints to turn into a sign for Mother’s Day. Yes, I realize that making my own Mother’s Day present kind of defeats the purpose, but I wanted to show how you can make other gifts similar to this one! Or show this tutorial to your spouse and say “good luck!”
I measured the size of the painted handprints and resized the handprints within Cricut Design Space, about 4″ tall for my three-year-old boys.
I then added text around the handprints in the Cricut font Straight & Simple. You can use whatever fonts you like. Of course you most likely don’t have twins, so you can change yours to say whatever you’d like. Try “These were the hands you held when we were 3 and 6,” if you have two kids for example. Or you could say “Hands Down, You’re the Best Mom!” Or, if you love Mean Girls, “You’re not a regular mom, you’re a cool mom.”
I also added their names in the Cricut font Jacoby Extra Light so I could tell them apart (the perils of having twins, I tell you!).
Then I sized the whole thing (making sure to keep the handprints 4″ tall) to fit within a wood frame from JOANN. These wood frames are great because they are designed for crafting. The back wood piece comes out and you can paint it, or use it other materials. I’m using iron on—check out my post How to Use Iron On on Wood for more information about the process!
I used an acrylic ruler to help me line up my vinyl on the base material.
And then I used my EasyPress 2 to adhere the different layers of vinyl to my project. I love using iron on vinyl on all sorts of projects—it’s SO easy.
Then I popped it in the frame!
I’m not a particularly sentimental person, but man, this gets me. I feel like I’ll walk by this in a few years and have a meltdown because time is just flying. Which is what a sweet Mother’s Day project is all about, right? Making mom cry at some indeterminate day in the future! Even my husband was like, “Yeah, that’ll make me cry someday.”