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How to Make a Thanksgiving Garland with Handprints

by Jean Van't Hul
November 25, 2021
thankful hand garland

Thanksgiving garlands are a great way for kids to celebrate their gratitude. Finger-painted hand tracings are paired with festive pompom garlands for a sweet art activity.

Updated September 2021

We love these beautiful Thanksgiving garlands featuring finger-painted hands with words of gratitude written on them. It was a multi-step process, but well worth the extra steps and involvement. Plus we used homemade edible finger paint

A big thank you to Dixie Crystals Sugar Kids in the Kitchen for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

edible finger paint for Thanksgiving garlands
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

The finger paint is made with only sugar, cornstarch, water and food coloring. Super easy! You probably have everything you need in the kitchen right now. You can save or print the recipe at the bottom of this post!

Since this finger paint is edible, you can offer it to the youngest toddler without worrying that they’re going to be tasting and testing as they paint with their hands.

You could even offer some to an older baby in a high chair. Simply tape a piece of paper to the tray, add a spoonful of paint or two, and encourage them to smush the paint around with their hands.

Just because it’s edible, doesn’t mean you want to encourage your little one to eat art supplies, but you’ll feel better knowing that the finger paint is completely nontoxic and edible.

Here’s how we made these kids’ Thanksgiving garlands…

This post contains affiliate links.

Kids Thanksgiving Garlands



  1. Finger paint

    First, have a finger painting session with your homemade finger paints. You can paint on finger paint paper but heavier paper, like card stock will work better for the finished garland.


  2. Let paint dry

    Make sure your paint is completely dry before making your garland.

  3. Trace kids’ hands

    Use a pencil to trace your kids’ hands. If you are doing this with older kids, they could trace their own hands.

    Finger painted thankful hands

    Cut out the hand tracings.

    2 cut out hands

  4. Write words of gratitude

    Ask your kids what they are thankful for (see the gratitude prompts below) and write their words of gratitude on their hands with Sharpie markers. Older kids can write the words themselves.

    thankful hands

  5. String a pompom garland

    Use a large, blunt embroidery needle (best for young kids) on the end of some doubled up embroidery thread to string a garland of pompoms and big beads.

  6. Add thankful hands to pompom garland

    Punch holes at the top of each thankful hand and string a 6 inch length of embroidery thread through it. Then tied the hand to the pompom garland.

    handprint garland

  7. Hang your Thanksgiving garlands!

    Display your new Thanksgiving garlands where everyone can see them and be reminded of what they are thankful for.

    blog sized Kids Thanksgiving Garlands

Here’s the printable recipe for the edible finger paint we used.

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edible finger paint

Edible Sugar Finger Paint

  • Author: Dixie Crystals


Make an original painting with paint that is fun to make and safe to eat. Our sugar-based mixture can be put together for a quick play date or a rainy afternoon activity for good, clean (or messy!) fun.




  1. Mix together sugar, corn starch and water in a saucepan.
  2. Heat mixture over medium heat while stirring with a whisk. As soon as it begins to thicken, remove from heat. If mixture is too thick, add water.
  3. Divide mixture equally between four bowls and add four drops of food coloring to each bowl.
  4. Store in an airtight container. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Gratitude Prompts for Young Children - Helping Little Kids Share What They Are Thankful For Thanksgiving garlands

Gratitude Prompts for Little Kids:

The gratitude part is easy for older children to understand. If you ask 6 year olds what they are grateful or thankful for, they’ll tell you their family and friends, toys, and favorite foods, etc.

But for younger kids who don’t yet grasp what gratitude means, it’s a bit trickier.

Here are some questions we can use to help little kids understand what gratitude means.

What do you think? Would you make Thanksgiving garlands like these with your kids? 

For more fun Thanksgiving ideas for kids and families, check out Dixie Crystals’ Thanksgiving Craft Projects.

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Autumn Arts & Crafts Ideas & Supplies

Download our FREE printable idea list of 30+ Thanksgiving activities for kids & families! Or check out the blog post with the links. So many fun ideas for the season!

And be sure to check out our FALL family fun list in our Amazon store! It includes supplies for fall arts & crafts (including the best paper leaves for painting!), autumn toys, Halloween ideas, and picture books about autumn. Plus, we have lists of the best kids art supplies, open-ended toys, children’s games, and more!

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Pin it for Later

thanksgiving garlands pinterest

Again, thank you to Dixie Crystals Sugar Kids in the Kitchen for sponsoring this post. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.

How to Make a Thanksgiving Garland with Handprints

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