The old handprint keepsake. Many of us have either made one as a kid, received one as a parent or admired one, complete with dried macaroni borders. No matter how you feel about the quintessential childhood craft, you can’t argue its ability to transport you back to the time when those hands were so little.

At the local Montessori school, our little girl and her baby brother learned how to press their chubby little hands into pools of colorful paint to make Mother’s Day and Father’s Day keepsakes that never failed to tug at our parental heartstrings. But, over time, some of the glue, markers and embellishments have cracked, faded and disappeared into the distant time capsule of childhood.

It was then that I saw a social media post by a Bible study friend, Kristen Kochanski.

She wrote, “As they outgrow me, I will be able to reflect on tiny hands that once fit in my palm.”

She had managed to capture her family’s handprints in a fun, yet modern way. She traced everyone’s hand in her family, cut them out onto colorful construction paper and placed one on top of the other from largest to smallest.

Her creativity awakened the Pinterest part of my brain that I didn’t realize I had. Apparently, it’s located next to the Instagram cortex, which is just below the Facebook-thalamus part of the cranium. I decided to do a monochromatic variation on Kristen’s idea.

One evening, I cut some black foam board squares, squeezed white acrylic paint onto a plate and had my family roll up their sleeves to create custom art for our bare walls. I used silver stickers to commemorate the year and identify the hands. Then, I mounted the prints in frames. The entire process took about 20 minutes. Even after three years, the mementos still hang in our dining room.

There are so many different color and design modifications you can do to customize this craft to fit your own home and personal style. Pet paw prints would be fun to do as well.

We may not be able to display every work of art our kids bring home, but we can create a pièce de résistance that we can look back on fondly to remember our little ones when they were actually little. Because, even after they’ve left our homes, they’ll still hold our hearts. 

Opinions expressed in this column are those of Nina Ha.

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