Expressive Pattern Hands

Whoa Panda is a creativity driven art lesson website created for parents and teachers alike! Explore a variety of fun lessons, organized by grade.

Tracing hands in artwork is a sweet way to capture the innocence and youth of a child. I love how tiny my little artists’ hands are and how lovely and personal these patterned hands come out! After all, our number one goal when facilitating artmaking with children should be to let individuality and creativity shine!

We begin this lesson by looking at pictures of henna designs. Henna tattoos are a centuries old art form, traditionally drawn on feet and hands for religious ceremonies and wedding festivals. While marveling at the designs and patterns painted with henna, I begin to segway into patterns. Pattern: a combination of elements or shapes repeated in a recurring and regular arrangement. We discuss where we see patterns in daily life such as on our clothing, furniture, and countless other things in our daily lives! I draw a giant hand on my smart board and call on a few children to fill it with patterns.


What you need:


Oil pastels

Paint brushes

Tempera cakes

Water cups

Let’s get started:

Step One:

Tracing can be hard… even some adults can’t quite figure it out! When teaching kids to trace, remind them to stand the pencil straight up and down, push the traced hand down on the table and don’t move those fingers! Slowly glide the pencil around their hand and arm. Move the paper all around and trace your hands as many times as  you like to create a nice composition!

Step Two:

Trace over your pencil with an oil pastel (If you don’t have oil pastels get some. I’m kidding! You can use a crayon.)

Step Three:

Once all of the hands have been traced, draw lines that break hands into sections. Fill each section with different patterns. Polka dots, zig-zags, stripes… Whatever floats your boat.

Step Three:

Paint! I have my kids paint inside the hands first, attempting to stay inside the lines… Let’s face it, they’re first graders! I challenge them to paint a different color per section. Once the hands are done. They can either leave the background white or fill with whatever they like!

Have fun!

Student Examples: