(WTNH)– What better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day than with a Claddagh keepsake?

Cathleen Buckheit and her son, Liam, tell us how to make a Claddagh and why it’s a great craft for St. Patrick’s Day, or even a great gift for a loved one.

Cathleen says the Claddagh is a traditional Irish symbol that dates back to about the 17th century or so. Claddagh represents love loyalty and friendship. But, when you look at the Claddagh it has three main components.

  1. Hands that signify friendship
  2. Heart that signifies love
  3. Crown that signifies loyalty

Friendship, love, loyalty — that is the motto that the New Haven St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has truly adapted this year.

You can use paint, or use cardstock or construction paper for less mess. In this tutorial, we will be explaining with paint.

   You will need:

  • Paint (acrylic, poster paint, tempera paint, or even finger paint)
  • Construction paper or cardstock for the background (get extra sheets if you do not want to use paint)
  • A parent or friend to help!


First, choose a color for the hands. If you are using paint, have an adult apply a coat of paint to the palm and fingers of the artist’s hand. Do one hand at a time to keep the mess to a minimum.

Once the hand is ready, place it down on on the main sheet of paper. Have the fingers together toward the bottom of the page, and the thumb extended toward the middle of the page. You want to make room for the heart in the middle as well as the other hand.

Slightly press the hand down onto the paper for 5-10 seconds. Repeat for the other side of the hand.

If using paper, trace each hand (fingers straight out and together with thumb extended) and then cut along the line.


Traditionally, the hands sort of wrap around the heart, which is the next step. You can use any color you like and can make the heart any size.


Then, add the crown. Or, try to add in some Celtic knots or even a shamrock.

When you’re done, you can hide your signature somewhere within your piece.

Watch the full tutorial in the video above.