Handprint Hermit Crab Craft

  • by Thomas Jones
  • Jul 19,2017

After reading one of our favorite classic Eric Carle books, A House for Hermit Crab, the kids were eager to create a hermit crab craft. I’m a sucker for their cut little handprints, so we decided to make a handprint hermit crab craft.

A House for Hermit Crab is about a little hermit crab who must find a new home and discovers new friends and possibilities in the process. In the story, Hermit Crab thinks his new shell looks too plain. Over time he meets new friends that help add to his shell.

We used sponges and paint to decorate our shells for our handprint hermit crab craft.


  • White card stock
  • Paint
  • Small googly eyes
  • Pipe cleaner
  • Glue or tape
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sponge

We used red tempera paint for the hand and green, orange, and purple tempera paint for the shell. We watered down our tempera paint slightly. Liquid watercolors would work great too.


1. Apply paint to child’s left hand and press onto a piece of white card stock. Allow to dry.

2. Cut a circle out of white card stock for the hermit crab’s shell. Using a pencil draw swirl on the the shell.

3. Cut the sponge into long pieces for painting.

4. Dab sponges in paint and lightly dab onto the hermit crab’s shell. Allow to dry.

5. While pieces are drying, cut a small piece from the pipe cleaner and fold in 1/2 for the antena.

6. Cut the handprint out once the paint has dried, cutting around the fingers.

7. Glue googly eyes to the ends of the pipe cleaner.

8. Attach the handprint to the shell of the hermit crab so that the fingers are pointing downwards. Attach the thumb to the back of the hermit crab’s shell.

9. Glue or tape the pipe cleaner to the back of the handprint so that the eyes stick out above the handprint.

There are several educational concepts and life lessons that can be derived from A House for Hermit Crab, such as the life cycle of a hermit crab and months of a year, creating lots of opportunities for teaching and discussion.

Extend the Activity:

    • Hermit Crab made several new friends over the year. Have a discussion about friendship and what it means to be a friend.
    • Have a discussion about how Hermit Crab embraced change and how we can too if we move or change schools.
    • Talk about the other sea life found in the book: sea anemones, starfish, corals, snails, sea urchins, and lanternfish. (you could even grab these ocean animal vocabulary cards)
    • Read other favorite Eric Carle books such as Mister Seahorse, The Mixed Up Chameleon, The Very Lonely Firefly, or The Foolish Tortoise.

More Crafts for Books

Looking for more fun crafts to go along with your favorite read alouds? Check out some of our favorites below!

Rainbow Fish Craft

In The Tall, Tall Grass Writing and Art Activity

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