Have you ever found that when you create something for someone else it turns out even better than if you had created it for yourself? That’s how I feel about this Dr. Seuss Zentangle Thumbprint tree I made for my son’s teacher. We both share a love for Dr. Seuss and I wanted to give her a gift inspired by the great Dr. of silly rhymes and whimsical illustrations.
I channeled my inner Seuss by combining his famous “Oh the places you’ll go!” illustrations with a Zentangled creation of my own to create this thumbprint tree.
The entire class is represented with coordinating colored thumbprints matching the colors on the “Oh the places you’ll go!” book cover. I helped the kids strategically place their prints around the zentangled branches and added their names above them.
For extra shine and interest I created mirror backed lettering to complete the look.
I had each of the kids sign their names on Avery labels to place below this special message for a very special teacher.
Thumbprint trees are all the rage these days as a unique take on the Wedding guest book. A thumbprint tree like this one makes a heartfelt end of the year teacher gift, graduation gift or family fun activity. Come along with me and I’ll show you how to create one for yourself or as a gift for someone special!
How to Make a Thumbprint Tree
To create my Thumbprint tree I up-cycled an old collage frame and ratty dust cover from a much loved children’s book into a beautiful mixed-media art piece! You can do it to…”Oh the places you’ll go!”
- Picture Frame
- Dust Cover of Dr. Seuss’s “Oh the Places You’ll Go”
- Gesso (I use Claudine Hellmuth Studio)
- Studio Multi-Medium
- Acrylic Paint (I used Studio Sky Blue)
- Foam Stamp
- Distress Ink
- Mixed Media Paper
- Micron Pens
STEP 1: Fill the spaces in your picture frame with chip board. Trace around the open spaces and cut out…you could recycle cereal boxes for this step. Apply Glue n’ Seal or your favorite adhesive to the back and cover with Mixed-Media paper or card stock. Repeat this step on the other side.
*TIP* Use a credit card or craft scraper to smooth out air bubbles. Allow 15 minutes drying time before proceeding to the next step.
STEP 2: Apply a thick coating of Gesso (I like Claudine Helmuth Studio) to the front of your canvas taking care to cover any paper seams. Allow 15-20 minutes of drying time. (You can move on to cutting images or working on your Zentangle while you wait)
STEP 3: In a small container mix a dollop of Studio Gesso with a squeeze of Claudine Helmuth Studio Sky Blue Paint (or other acrylic). Mist with water and add to canvas with random strokes. While gesso and paint mixture are still wet stamp directly onto the canvas with a foam stamp to add texture (I used a large circular swirl stamp).
STEP 4: When paint is dry swipe on coordinating colors of Distress Ink. Start at the edges and work your way in to create a sky effect.
*TIP* Don’t overdo this step! Keep the colors light. You only need a hint of color for the sky. This will allow the thumbprint to take center stage when you add them later.
Creating a Zentangle Tree
STEP 1: Carefully cut out an image from Oh the places you go (or whatever image you plan to use) and use it as a guide to sketch your tree. I sketched my design on Mixed-Media paper.
STEP 2: Outline your design with Micron pens. I use an 05 & 08 for outlining and an 03 for detailing and design. The Zentangle patterns I used to create my tree can be found on my Doodle Diva Pinterest board.
STEP 3: Very Carefully cut out your Zentangle design.
*TIP* Turn your paper NOT your scissors when cutting to avoid jagged edges. If you get into a tricky spot make several angled cuts to remove sections of paper in your way.
STEP 4: Use Claudine Helmuth Studio Multi Medium to adhere and seal your images. Wait 15-20 minutes for adhesive to dry before sealing.
*TIP* If there is a part of the image that you would like to make more dimensional do not add any multi medium to it and prop it up with foam squares. You can see how I did this for the little guy in the center of the tree.
Creating a Thumbprint Tree
Once your masterpiece is dry you are ready to add thumbprints! There are no rules to this practice although I do have a few tips for you.
INK- Colorbox ink works best (IMHO) especially when creating this project with kids. I used Colorbox Chalk Ink Petal Points ( no mess no fuss…clean hands with a baby wipe). Distress Ink works well also but you need to keep a steady hand so it doesn’t smear. If you have an “Oops!” simply remove the smeared ink with a baby wipe.
Adding Names- If you plan to add names above or below each thumbprint a Micron 03 pen is your BEST FRIEND! I tried this with a Sharpie Fine Point and the Micron pen….Micron won by a landslide!
If you are creating this project with kids it is best to take their hand and help “place” each print around the page for the best composition. If you leave them to their own devices you will wind up with a cluster of prints around the same branch (or on it) and an overwhelming number of blue, pink or whatever the color of “choice” is that day (Our magic Color was blue…because it is the Teacher’s favorite color :))
Here’s how I created the mirrored background for the “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” lettering :
- Carefully Cut out letters from “Oh the Places You’ll Go!” Dust Cover
- Run Through Xyron Create-a-sticker (or use a glue stick)
- Adhere to Tim Holtz Idea-ology Mirrored Sheets
- Cut with Tonic Scissors
Since the Mirrored Sheets are adhesive backed you can stick your letters right on your project!
I love the gleam and shine the mirror backed letters give this piece. I added some stick on stars for a touch of sparkle and texture.
So what do you think? Have I done the good Dr. Seuss proud? I sure hope my son’s teacher likes this Dr. Seuss Zentangle Thumbprint tree. I know I thoroughly enjoyed making it. I can honestly say that some of my best pieces are those that I plan to give away. This Dr. Seuss piece is one of my favorites it just makes me smile when I see it.
Now get on out there and create some Zentangled mixed media art for yourself or someone special!
For more Zentangle and doodle inspiration don’t forget to check out my Doodle Diva Pinterest Board
Have a special day!