DIY: Two Little Turtles Keepsake Painting

I love painting even though I am no professional artist. There’s an awesome feeling I get when I look at the final product of something new I just created. Now that I have children, I get a whole new sense of accomplishment after seeing what we can create together. I love creating new crafts and artwork with them and one of my favorite things to do is create keepsakes that I can hold on to forever. A keepsake to me is like a time stamp of how old they were when we created it together and they are dear to my heart.

I often turn to craft sites for inspiration and found a painting I really liked by Paint Party Artworks. I entitled mine, “Two Little Turtles” and it consists of washable paints and of course, two little handprints that make up the bodies of the turtles. If you’re not feeling artsy or you don’t want to try painting your own from scratch, head on over to Paint Party Artworks on Etsy where you can buy a downloaded background and then add your own handprint.



medium brush

fine point or angled brush

canvas (I used a small size)

I’m not sure if different brushes have different names to tell them apart like wide, narrow, thin but we’ll say I used a medium sized brush with a flat tip to do most of the painting and a small, thin angled brush for the fine lines I made such as the eyes of the turtles. I started off with a light blue and painted in a criss-cross fashion along the canvas:


light blue paint brushed on upper half of canvas

smoothing out across the canvas using light blue and medium sized brush
smoothing out across the canvas using light blue and medium sized brush

For this painting I didn’t start off with a line to separate where the ocean floor would be. Because I was going to use handprints as the focal point of the painting, I made it so that most of the canvas was ocean. You can gauge how much ocean you will need by placing your hand on the canvas in the spot you plan on putting your turtle before you start painting.

I painted the ocean floor brown and made it look like a little hill.

When I painted the ocean floor, I also added some wavy white lines and a few wavy dark blue lines along the ocean to simulate waves.

adding coral
adding coral

For the coral I used a combination of brush strokes for leafy-type plants and dabbing to add texture for coral-type plants. I also added  strokes of yellow on the brown ground to add more color.

Brush strokes to create leafy plants.
finishing up my coral floor
finishing up my coral floor
almost done...
almost done…

I let the painting dry in intervals while I created the background. This also kept the colors from merging with each other. Needles to say the project took several days to complete. When the entire painting was dry, I gathered my two little turtle hands (my two year old and three year old) and painted one hand at a time. Make sure to put plenty of paint, in fact, you want to almost glob it on. This will allow your print to really come through. Don’t fret if your little one moves their hand a bit on the painting because when you start to add the outlines of the turtle body, the imperfections won’t matter. Besides, it’s probably your little one’s very first masterpiece!

created handprints
created handprints

After the hands dried I added some brown to the outline of the shell to define where the turtle legs started and the shell ended. I outlined the eyes with black using a thin brush (fine point). I used a little more green to outline the turtle legs a bit and the shape of the head (the head will be bigger than the actual thumb print of your child).

I added some dark brown in various areas of the ocean floor for rocks and painted in the whites of the little turtle’s eyes. You may need to touch up the eyes a bit with the black outline to redefine the eyes because you may add too much white. Don’t forget to make the pupils after the white dries!

finished painting!
finished painting!

When your painting dries, you may want to do a few more touch-ups but keep in mind that this is a painting and not a print of something. You created it with love, patience, and creativity so don’t worry too much about imperfections or the fact that yours will look different from mine. Have you ever done one of those wine and paint events? They’re loads of fun and if you’ve never heard of them, they’re social events where you learn how to paint one painting. An experienced artist guides you through while you paint and drink and laugh and have fun! When the event is over, you can see how everyone else painted the same painting you just did. They’ll all be different in some aspects and that’s because of differences in skill, creativity, and how much they had to drink. So don’t worry if yours differs from mine, it should!

Good luck and happy painting! If you have any questions, drop me a line and I will try to answer them as best I can.

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