A Thumbprint Tree Bird House Tutorial

July 24, 2014

Hello! I’m bringing you a tutorial today on an easy and fairly fool-proof summer craft that you can do with your kiddos. These birdhouses are fun, and a unique memento because the “leaves” on the trees record the size of your child’s thumbprints.

They are great to hang up at your own home, but also make a great gift for grandparents; and would probably work as a teacher’s gift too! (I know it’s summer, but it’ll be gift giving time before you know it!) Here’s a quick list of what you’ll need:


  • Wooden bird houses (I got these for about $5 from Walmart)
  • Craft paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Paper plates or something to put paint onto
  • Tea cup screw (optional if your birdhouse has a way to be hung)
  • Waterproof sealant
  • Paper (To cover your work surface)
  • Kids to help out!

Nothing too complicated. I actually has most of this in my craft stash; I only had to buy the birdhouses themselves.



1. Cover your table with paper if desired, and pour out your paints onto the paper plates.

2. Let your kids paint away! I let them choose their own colors, but I would suggest you limit the amount of colors they use. My youngest picked yellow and blue, which made a nice mix of blue, yellow, and green. My eldest picked red, maroon, white, and green…which wasn’t quite as pretty.

3. Hover over your children and “help them out” by painting in areas that they miss, while they’re still painting, until entire birdhouse is covered in paint.

At this point, your birdhouses should look something like this:


4. Once the paint is dry, you can freehand the tree trunk. If you’re not sure how to go about this, just draw the two outside lines of the trunk, and fill the rest in with squiggly lines. When in doubt, add a couple of off-shoot branches to your squiggly lines. See below.


Make sure you use a contrasting color for the trunk/branches and the leaves. For the green house, I chose brown bark with dark green leaves, and for the red house, I went with white bark and lighter green leaves. We’ll call it a birch tree. I chose to have the trees on the sides, but it’s really up to you. Since these gifts were for the grandmas, I made each boy their own tree, on its own side, so both of them were represented on each house.

5. After the trunk/branches have finished drying, it’s time for your kids to add their fingerprints as the leaves. I sat one child in my lap at a time, and dipped their finger in the paint, hand over hand style. Doing it hand over hand style ensured that the end result still resembled a tree.

6. Write each child’s name by their tree.

7. Screw in a teacup hook into the top of the birdhouse. The wood on these houses was thin enough that I just had to use a little muscle to get it in, but if your house is made of thicker wood, you might need a drill.

8. Once the teacup hooks were installed, and the leaves were dry, I coated the whole thing with a waterproof sealant that we had left over from another project. That’s it! Now they’re ready to hang outside!

If you make some, I’d love to see them! Tag me (@retrokitty) if you post them on instagram or twitter!

colleenpicABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Colleen Panzer is an army wife and stay at home mom to two bundles of energy, currently living in Kansas. In her minimal free time, she can be found blogging, thrift store shopping, working in her garden, adding pages to her scrapbooks or sewing. You can read more about her life on her blog, Mommy Panda and find her all over the internet at @retrokitty.


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Rose Nickelson
Rose Nickelson

This is a really cute activity to do with young children. I would love to be able to use their little finger prints in a craft like this one. Its a great way to personalize a birdhouse and make it a fun thing to do. I wonder if there are any other cool things you can do with a wooden bird house. 


Making bird house during the summer is a fun activity the whole family can do. It however can be hard to get birds to come and stay with those types of bird houses. I really like the idea of having bid house made out of wood. they look really nice and I think birds would feel more comfortable going to that type of house. 


I'm trying to figure out some activities to do with my kids this summer. It would be unfortunate if they spent the entire time in front of the television. This seems like something they would enjoy. My oldest is a little nature lover. He will enjoy this activity immensely. 


These are beautiful bird houses! I think my favorite birdhouse was made of chicken wire with a wooden top. The chicken wire made up the entire body of the bird house and was just wide enough to slip a piece of bread in without it falling out. It was a cute design and very practical! I like using bread because I don't have to go out of my way to buy bird feed. Thanks for sharing your process with us!


Looks like your project turned out really nicely! It's great to see you working with your kids on the bird feeders. Classic design never goes out of style so it looks like you chose the right plans!


  1. […] want to check out my tutorial on how to decorate a thumbprint tree birdhouse, it’s over on Awesome All Day, which is the FabKids blog. If you want to see my eldest in his FabKids gear, check out my mommy […]

  2. […] before I get too much further, I wanted to let you guys know that my guestpost over on Awesome All Day, (the FabKids blog) telling you how to make thumbprint trees to decorate a birdhouse, is live. […]