For the hand prints we tried both paint and a stamp pad out on some scrap paper. We went with the paint in the end. It was a more true black. Although my 2 1/2 year old moved her pinky so it looks like she has 6 fingers! We even got George's (our pet pig) hoof print on the mat. So now Mom has 2 out of 3 (Chelsea, your turn!). Happy Birthday Mom!