In this post, I'm sharing with you how you can make your own personalized handprint Christmas tree skirt so you can get the best results when making this precious family keepsake for the holidays.
Each holiday season as we set up our beautiful Christmas tree, our kids help with the ornament placement. Right after placing the Christmas topper, the last step is adding the Christmas tree handprint skirt that hides the metal stand underneath our artificial Christmas tree. It provides the finishing touch to an already beautifully decorated tree.
Personalizing Christmas Tree Skirts
A personalized handprint Christmas tree skirt is a fun craft project that allows your family an opportunity to revisit memory lane during the most magical time of year. For our family, it's an annual holiday craft becomes a beloved tradition for our four kids!
With my four kids, that means a lot of handprints for my Christmas tree. As you can see below, when done right, you can blend family heirlooms with design and style. This is one of many of family's favorite Christmas traditions (check out my post on a Christmas tree DIY box skirt collar).
One regret I do have is that I wish I had started this tradition earlier when my first child was born. What's not to love when every year, our kids laugh and giggle with joy as I tickle their little hands with paint to press onto the skirt.
Best Tips for Making a Christmas Tree Skirt with Handprints
Before sharing the step-by-step instructions for making a handprint tree skirt, I wanted to share with you my best tips for making the most of this heirloom piece. As a family keepsake that will be used year after year, these are my best tips for ensuring an amazingly beautiful tree skirt that will last throughout the years.
Plan the Handprint Craft Around Fall Gatherings
Before you even get your Christmas tree out, this is one project that needs a little bit of preparation. If you have family visiting over dinner or Thanksgiving, this is a great project to do with extended family members or with the grandkids.
Ensure Extensibility of the Tree Skirt
Your kids will grow, and so will their handprints. When you make this skirt, account for the fact that you'll need to make sure you have room for this growth! While this holiday craft project is super simple and easy, it's a project that continues to be super fun to take out year after year. Often, you can extend your skirt by finding matching fabric and adding onto the piece. See the FAQ section below for tips on choosing the right skirt size fo ryour tree.
Handprints from Babies and Toddlers
When getting handprints of babies and toddlers, I would recommend trying, if possible, to get handprints while they are asleep. It's the easiest and fastest way I know how to get handprints without making a mess. And if you can't get a solid handprint, you can always fill it in with paint a few days later.
Use Neutral Fabric for the Christmas Tree Skirt
Buy a neutral Christmas tree skirt (see options below). There are a ton of premade Christmas tree skirts that are perfect for adding little handprints. If you plan on using different color handprints for each family member, a neutral beige, ivory, or even white fabric color will be best so as not to clash with any premade pattern.
Best Fabric for Handprints
I would recommend neutral cotton, canvas, duck cloth, or felt for best results for ensuring that the handprints stick. Choose fabric that is not slippery to the touch.
If you choose to use a burlap Christmas tree skirt, make sure you smooth out the burlap by using a warm iron. I purchased a burlap Christmas tree skirt because it matched my distressed, rustic design style that I was going for.
One Handprint at a Time
Chronicling your family's handprints will be messy, but it just adds a bit of character. If you have a lot of handprints and plan on doing it with multiple kids, I would recommend calling them over one at a time to prevent any happy mistakes from being made on the skirt. If you can, get multiple adults to help with multiple kids to make the craft go faster.
Avoid Messes by Using Coardboard Box Template
For little ones, in order to avoid the mess, use a cardboard box that's the size of their hands, brush paint on it, and then use the cardboard box to add to the skirt. This will take more time, but will have a great outcome without the mess.
Embroider Your Family Surname
When I purchased this skirt, I had the option of embroidering our family's name onto the skirt. I think it costs between $5-20 to get embroider done on a piece depending on the store you go to. I think it's well worth the investment, especially if you plan on handing down this family heirloom.
Options for Labeling Handprint Names. Puff paint, labeler, embroidery
There are a variety of options for labeling your Christmas tree skirt with the year.
- Puff Paint
- Infusible Ink (with Cricut Machine)
- Permanent Marker
- Embroider Labels
- Fabric Labels
I do prefer the infusible ink because it sublimates into the fabric, but I started my project with burlap, so infusible ink doesn't do well with that method.
Make Your Own Skirt Using Canvas Drop Cloth
If you plan on making your own skirt, you can use canvas drop cloth that is used for painting (larger sizes can be found here). To create a simple drop cloth skirt, you just need to fold the cloth into quarters, place the string on the corner of all of the folds, take a string to half the length you want the skirt to be, and draw a quarter circle with the protractor. In order to cut canvas drop cloth, which is a heavy uty textile fabric, you'll need to use strong scissors or rotary cutters to cut out the skirt. Next, use an iron to fold down the end of the skirt and sew all the way around to prevent the drop cloth from being unstitched.
Supplies for Christmas Tree Handprint Skirt
Premade Skirt - You'll need a skirt for the handprints.
Fabric, Acrylic, or Tempura Paint - These can be found at any craft or hobby store, or you can purchase a large set here. For best results, use non-toxic fabric paint because it has textile medium mixed in to make it less stiff when it dries.
Disposable Table Cloth - You'll need these with kids especially if you don't want to get your countertop messy.
Iron On Fabric Labels - These iron on fabric labels are great for labeling the family's handprints for years to ocme.
Foam brush - Foam brushes are not just great for chalk painting furniture, but also fun crafts like this.
How to Make a Handprint Christmas Tree Skirt
Inspiration for Neutral Christmas Tree Skirts
Skirts with Plain Stitching
If you want the traditional look, these plain stitch Christmas skirts may be some great options.
Skirts with Tassles and Fringe
Tassles and fringe provide a sophisticated look to your handprint Christmas skirt.
Skirts with Pom Poms
Pom poms provide a more fun, yet designful look to your Christmas tree setup.
Skirts with Ruffles
Ruffles are absolutely beautiful when adorned to a Christmas tree skirt.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cotton is best for capturing handprints while allowing the paint to absorbe. Other alternatives for fabric that can be used for handprints include canvas, duck cloth, felt, and linen.
Fabric paint is best for handprints on fabric, as it has textile material mixed into the paint to make the paint more flexible when it dries, without causing it to harden. Acrylic paint and tempura paint can also be used, but will be stiffer than fabric paint.
Christmas tree skirt sizes for each tree size are as follows: 4-6 feet trees should have a 42-48 inch diameter, 7 foot trees should have a 48-56 inch skirt diamer, while 9-12 foot trees should have 56+ inches in diameter. These numbers can be adjusted depending on the girth of your tree as well as the space that it's being used in.
Christmas tree skirts can be used to hide cords as well as a metal tree stand for artificial trees. It's also a designful element when decorating a Christmas tree.
A Christmas tree skirt is the fabric around the tree that generally lays flat while a Christmas tree collar will hide the trunk or stand while standing up vertically.
Christmas tree skirts with handprints are a great keepsake and heirloom for the family. Our Christmas tree skirt continues to grow and evolve each year. It's fun to look at the handprints every year and see how the handprints grow over time. This is also a great project for grandparents during the holidays as it's a super neat way to track the generations throughout the years.