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Thumbprint Art


Create Thumbprint Animals and People with Thumbprint Art

Using only your fingers and an ink pad, you can create amazing miniature works of art. Children AND adults enjoy making thumbprint art - I know because I couldn't resist making these with my daughter. I can't take credit for the idea of thumbprint art, also called fingerprint or funprint art. Ed Emberley is the genius who has shared this simple art form with the world through his book Ed Emberley's Complete FunPrint Drawing Book.

I'll be sprinkling this page with some of our own attempts at thumbprint art. All the examples on this page are from Ed Emberley's book. These are just a few of the hundreds and hundreds of ideas in his book.

Fingertip Bug Centipede Drawing

Fingertip Bug Centipede Drawing

Fingertip Bug Centipede Drawing

thumbprint mouse

thumbprint mouse

Anyone can make fingerprint art!

Here's a simple mouse

ANYONE can make these fingerprint drawings - even children who "think" they cannot draw very well.

Using the funprint art book as a guide, we made all the cute little animals and people on this page. You start with a simple fingerprint (or two or three), then step-by-step add one black line detail at a time until it's complete. To see exactly what I mean, click on the link for the book near the bottom of this page. Thankfully, this book has the added feature of "Click to look inside" and there are several samples that show the steps.

Simple facial expressions

Simple facial expressions

Simple facial expressions

helicopter art

helicopter art

What will you need to make thumbprint art?

A willing set of fingerprints and...

You'll need:

Fingerprint art book (see below) or some examples

Paper - plain white paper works best

At least one ink pad - multiple colors are nice but not required

Thin black ink pen

Damp cloth for wiping fingers to change colors

thumbprint art birds

thumbprint art birds

A couple of interesting characters


My favorite way to use thumbprint drawings and characters

In a greeting card

Using thumbprint art inside of a greeting card is my favorite way to share this art with others. I have a fond memory of my daughter and I decorating the inside of "Nana's" birthday card. When Nana received the card she called right away to say how much she loved all the little fingerprint animals and then she described each of them back to us. I think elderly people especially will appreciate receiving cards decorated this way.

Thumbprint art train, car and submarine - I used the step-by-step instructions in the book for these

Scroll to Continue

Here's Ed Emberley's book with 100's and hundreds of thumbprint drawing patterns - Each little animal or person has step-by-step drawing instructions

Cute doggie - maybe a dachshund?

Cute doggie - maybe a dachshund?

Check out this cute dog!

Complete with a "woof"

This looks like my dachshund, Peetey.

Special thanks to artist Holli Conger at agirlwhocreates for sharing her doggie art.

Look at those ears - what character this dog has! And what a cool idea to put the "woof" in a fingerprint thought bubble.

  • From Ed Emberley himself
    Here's a free example of the step by step instructions provided by the fingerprint master himself. The example is of a kitty cat with all sorts of facial expressions.
  • Thumbprint Reindeer Card
    Here's a card from the Persechini family. They've added several Christmas thumbprint reindeer to a greeting card and it couldn't be cuter!
  • Alpha Mom blogs about thumbprint art
    Be sure to scroll down to see wonderful pictures of children in the act - inky fingers and all.
  • Blogger Hausfrau in Melbourne
    There's a wonderful picture here of a child following step-by-step instructions.
  • Another example by my friend, Hausfrau in Melbourne
    The cutest racoon ever.
  • Valentine's ideas
    Some really cute ideas for Valentine's Day including thumbprint dogs saying "I Ruff You". Too cute.
  • T-shirt idea from FamilyFun
    Now here's an idea - use fabric paints instead of ink pads and make t-shirts with flower designs.
  • More Reindeer cards
    Don't miss this one. Single fingerprints make a family portrait of sorts.
  • And yet more reindeer
    These reindeer are created by a graphic designer and are more appreciated by adults. For example one holds a martini glass. But don't miss them because the style of his antlers is really unique. And also notice the reindeer in the top left corner - h
  • Thumbprint lesson sheet
    Thumbprint lesson complete with some examples. Don't miss "The Martin Family" picture lower right. Provided by the good folks over at Kidskreations. Click on the link above for the lesson sheet.

Here's a few more critters - Give them a try


Have you ever created fingerprint art?

Fay Favored from USA on October 16, 2013:

Really cute ideas for pre-school or primary grades.

Kimberly Schimmel from Greensboro, NC on May 02, 2013:

These are always a good filler craft for Sunday School or other classes.

devinindra on April 23, 2013:

creative! :)

john9229 on March 11, 2013:

Cute and nice! Great Lens and thanks for sharing

alenmic on March 11, 2013:

So Cool...nice son will love this very much. Thanks

anonymous on December 09, 2012:

It's sooooo much fun! I practiced on paper first.

anonymous on October 27, 2012:


anonymous on August 29, 2012:

adorable!! my son and I can't wait to try this!

Mussarat J Moghal from Ontario Canada on July 29, 2012:

Cute, little guys

anonymous on July 23, 2012:

so creative art i like this very much

anonymous on July 23, 2012:

please all of you do this fingerprint art

anonymous on May 27, 2012:


this helped me to do my sis homework...................!!

lilymom24 on May 24, 2012:

This lens is adorable. Fun way for kids to get ink on their fingers and not get in trouble for =)

Lady_Kakao on May 09, 2012:

very cute and beautiful :)

anonymous on May 01, 2012:

Very Very Creative and Simple. I like to see your lens. Thanks for sharing.

anonymous on April 01, 2012:

Happy April Fools Day!

ps - totally cool!

ForestBear LM on March 20, 2012:

lovely lens, so cute.

ninjap209 on February 25, 2012:

simple but cool!, good job.

GOT LM on February 21, 2012:


Risteard O'Marcahain from Wales on February 18, 2012:

Very nice I will do that with my grandchildren

getmoreinfo on February 13, 2012:

How cute these are such a fun craft idea.

mumsgather on February 08, 2012:

These are fantastic. I love them. They're so adorable. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

peachplanet on February 08, 2012:

i love this! very creative!

jimmyworldstar on February 03, 2012:

I never would've thought of this, everyone's fingers have a different mark too so you can have variation.

jimmyworldstar on February 03, 2012:

I never would've thought of this, everyone's fingers have a different mark too so you can have variation.

myamya on January 30, 2012:

Great lens! squidlikes!

sheezie77 on January 30, 2012:

Very nice lens! thumbs up

sheezie77 on January 30, 2012:

Very nice lens! thumbs up

girlfriendfactory on January 29, 2012:

Easy, fun and creative! What's not to love!? This is a terrific lens and it can be found among the other blessed lenses at Flyby Wingings They may call me an aimless wanderer, but not all who wander are aimless and I'm glad I wandered upon this! ~Ren

DeannaDiaz on January 18, 2012:

Cute idea taken up a notch as Emeril would say!

WriterJanis2 on January 10, 2012:

How unique and creative. Never thought of any of these.

kathysart on December 25, 2011:

No but I want to now for sure!

frydaa on December 05, 2011:

cute : )

Oh Petit Bebe on December 02, 2011:

I love this lens.

Mona from Iowa on November 17, 2011:

I'd like this lens years ago long before I was an angel. Back to bless it. It's so creative and fun. :)

Light-in-me on November 15, 2011:

These are so cute, I love them.

Nice job,

Robin :)

anonymous on November 07, 2011:

nice ideas for thanks

BestToysReviews on November 04, 2011:

Bookmarked! I have to try this :)

Lee Hansen from Vermont on October 29, 2011:

I love to make fingerprint art. I think I spent too much time doing these doodles in middle school, but I was bored and it was fun!

pramodbisht on October 04, 2011:

Nice Lens, Nice Ideas for finger print

mrducksmrnot on September 10, 2011:

Nice thumbprints and ideas. The police would recognize your thumbprint anywhere. It would have to have a face or wheels on it - joking you. Great lens (:>))))

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on August 28, 2011:

thumbs up for this thumbprint art lens. ~blessed~

lesliesinclair on August 23, 2011:

never did it, but it looks like kid fun!

JoleneBelmain on August 16, 2011:

Very cute and a one-of-a-kind lens... A big thumbs way up from me :)

Patricia on August 15, 2011:

I love this! The designs are so cute! Blessed on the school bus trip!

Ann from Yorkshire, England on August 10, 2011:

lovely lens, angel blessed and it will feature on my road trip lens I am making now.

Srena44 on July 25, 2011:

nice lens

Nathalie Roy from France (Canadian expat) on July 07, 2011:

Original!! I know what I will try with my son tomorrow: fingerprint art! Sometimes I run out of ideas for rainy days. Very fun idea.

Tolovaj Publishing House from Ljubljana on July 02, 2011:

Looks like great fun and a lot of mess. My kind of party:))

Vicki from USA on June 29, 2011:

I love your thumbprint designs -- they are adorable. The train, pilgrim, cat and turtle are a few of my favorites. I will definitely get my hands on one of the books you have featured here and give this a try....I just hope I'm not all thumbs. (bad pun, sorry) Great lens, thumbs up!!! :-)

CofCJenny LM on June 29, 2011:

what a great idea! SO simple, unique, and fun! I love it

Kelly Martin from GLOUCESTER on June 24, 2011:

This is sooo utterly cute and soooo personal, what a lovely idea and to give out gift cards with thumbprint art cannot think of anything more wonderful. Fantastic lens, I feature this in my inner child lens its looks lots of fun!

Runnn on June 21, 2011:

Simple and cute.. Kids definitely will like it!! Well done.

Carla1996 on June 18, 2011:

Very Cute!

AbigailsCrafts LM on June 02, 2011:

Very cute! I'm a big fan of Ed Emberley, especially 'Go Away Big Green Monster'. I'll have to try this out with my preschoolers!

anonymous on May 25, 2011:

sweet idea, reminds me of the art people make with dead flies:

Spook LM on May 21, 2011:

I have finally found a form of art that maybe even I can do? Sure sounds like fun for the kids.

Shannon from Florida on May 01, 2011:

Cute ideas! My kids loved making fingerprint penguins, parrots, and flamingos when we were studying birds. Blessed.

anonymous on April 28, 2011:

My tween just made a couple today! She made cats, dogs, birds, and people. On her own, no book to direct her. She only wanted me to publish the bird picture, so that's what I put on my blog, but I thought it was clever. Now I'm thinking to get that fabulous book!

anonymous on April 12, 2011:

No, but I will be doing this with my kids tomorrow! Adorable!

Heard_Zazzle on April 07, 2011:

What an adorable idea! I love the puppy and rabbit.

Lee Hansen from Vermont on March 26, 2011:

Adorable thumbprint art ... anyone can be an artist with this style.

UKGhostwriter on March 26, 2011:

Brilliant! my daughter loves this!

SnoopyGirl1 on March 24, 2011:

These are simply adorable. I tried this years ago with the kids, but clearly need to do it again. Thanks for the inspiration! Thumbs up!

sukkran trichy from Trichy/Tamil Nadu on March 23, 2011:

lovely art. ~blessed~

JoshK47 on March 20, 2011:

What a cute idea!

Angela F from Seattle, WA on March 15, 2011:

Great lens on a simple and creative art!

Gripandflip on March 14, 2011:

Neat lens. This looks like a fun way to interact with kids and get them to like art.

Miss_Organic on February 26, 2011:

This looks like a fun craft for the kids when they are on spring break! I loved the pilgrim one.

anonymous on February 25, 2011:

Haha, the helicopter and the crook are absolutely adorable! I've never seen this before, but I love it.

Pete Schultz on February 24, 2011:

This was fun, I would amend your opening remarks to say you need fingers, and ink pad and imagination. You imagination shows in this lens.

Jen from Canada on February 20, 2011:

I haven't made any fingerprint art but it looks like it would be a lot of fun!

rewards4life info on February 11, 2011:

They are fantastic, so many different designs. I don't remember finger painting like this when I was at school.

dogface lm on January 29, 2011:

So simple yet so cute! :)

Moe Wood from Eastern Ontario on January 26, 2011:

These are incredibly cute!

Harshitha LM on January 24, 2011:

Beautiful and fun too

anonymous on January 13, 2011:

What a lovely idea, I love the characters and instantly thought of showing this to my grandchildren. Thank you

anonymous on January 03, 2011:

Very useful n fun one for kids!

Sensitive Fern on December 24, 2010:


Sensitive Fern on December 24, 2010:


Liz Mackay from United Kingdom on November 28, 2010:

Reaqlly cute lens.

MargoPArrowsmith on November 26, 2010:

Fun to do with kids

anonymous on November 21, 2010:

Oh I must do this thumbprint art with our little Isabel on her next visit! She will get such a kick out of this!

WritingforYourW on November 16, 2010:

Such a cute project for kids. :)

BuckHawkcenter on November 15, 2010:

These are so darling and what a fun project to do with my granddaughters! Angel Blessed and featured on Angel Wings November 2010.

Mona from Iowa on November 14, 2010:

So many clever ways to use this idea. I love it. Had to take a peek after your thumb print card lens. :)

anonymous on November 13, 2010:

What a sweet and inventive lens. Thank you.

manndtp on November 12, 2010:

My fingers are going to get worn out but I'm going to have some fun making my own fingerprint art.

Senora M on November 11, 2010:

Super cute!! I need to do this with my boys. It would look cute on our Christmas cards since they can't sign their names yet!

anonymous on November 08, 2010:

This is so sweet, something new to me in the art world ~ you got me smiling!

Anwarart on November 06, 2010:

This lens is too cute! I think I'll have to try making fingerprint art now. Great job!

Terry Boroff (flipflopnana) from FL on November 03, 2010:

Just what I needed to entertain my granddaughter tomorrow. She loves anything creative and you have so many cute ideas to start with. Thanks!

Tonie Cook from USA on November 02, 2010:

This is absolutely wonderful! The beauty of thumbprint art is that it can be as complex or as simple as the artist wants it to be. This is really a beautiful lens. Thank you for sharing this.

thesuccess2 on October 16, 2010:

Wow charming no limit to the imagination with fingerprint art!

navinjoshi on October 08, 2010:

Very nice .. Fingerprint Art .. what a great way to get started with Kids and take it to a level of Fine Art ... Love the lense and content. Keep the good work.. Thanks, Naveen.

LouisaDembul on October 08, 2010:

No, but I will try it with my kids. Easy but nice.

anonymous on October 02, 2010:

I love the "Thumbprint art train, car and submarine" . So cute :)

eclecticeducati1 on September 25, 2010:

How cute! I should try this with my children. Blessed by a Squid Angel.

Jennifer Sullivan from Chicago, IL on September 20, 2010:

This is so cute! I may have to try this for the holidays!

KimGiancaterino on September 20, 2010:

Cute lens ... I love the pastel graphics. I have a notary public business, so I do take a lot of thumbprints! They are fun to look at too.

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