One of the things that I most look forward to doing with Baby A is arts and crafts. That was a big part of my childhood….er, well….my whole life really. One of my favorite things growing up was making things for my parents and grandparents on holidays. Those were always the most loved gifts by everyone. So, when Mother’s Day 2015 rolled around, I found myself searching through Pinterest for ideas for some kind of homemade project that I could make for all of the grandparents and great-grandparents from 3.5 month old Baby A.
After searching through Pinterest, I found that the projects I was most interested were pretty simple and involved handprints and footprints. Was it a little bit crazy and maybe too ambitious to try to try to make some sort of artsy thing involving handprints and footprints of a baby? Maybe. Did I expect it to come out absolutely perfect? Nope.
The concept that I came up with was pretty simple: Baby A footprints and/or handprints on canvas. After making sure the Husband was on board to help with the process, I headed to Michaels to get some supplies. (The links below are affiliate links from Amazon.)
- Crayola Washable Kids Paint – They come in 2oz containers, and I was completely unsure how much paint we would need, so I grabbed 6 of them (2 each of 3 different colors) (The link is to a 10 pack, but I actually found individual containers of various colors at Michaels.)
- Medium Paint Brush – I found a single brush for about $2 at Michaels, but even something less expensive (like the brushes in the link) would work fine. Just make sure that they are large enough that they will easily cover the foot in a few strokes.
- 9×12 Stretched Canvasses – You don’t need to get anything fancy, but make sure you get one more than you are planning on giving as gifts so that you have one to practice on.
Other things you will need that you probably have at home already
- Plain paper (for practice footprints)
- Paper plates, or some other kind of palette to put the paint on. (You could probably stick the paintbrush directly into the paint container, but in my experience that leads to more of a mess)
- Plastic, newspaper, or some other kind of covering for your work surface to protect it from the paint.
- Sharpie, or other permanent marker for “signing” the artwork
Once I got everything opened and set up, we were ready to go! The basic idea is simple and self explanatory: paint baby foot/hand, press on to canvas, remove. Here are some things that helped make things easier – some we were planning on, and some that we learned in the process.
- Take all of baby’s clothes off (except for her diaper) before starting to paint. Even if you think that you have things under control and are only painting the bottoms of her feet, paint will surely get other places as well – including but not limited to your hands which will make it more likely to get on other parts of the baby.
- Cover the surface that you are painting on with a large piece of plastic, or other covering. It will minimize the mess, and make clean up 100% easier.
- Instead of dipping baby’s feet into the paint, use a brush and paint it on. You will use less paint, there will be less paint on baby’s feet, and the prints will look nicer because the layer of paint will be thinner.
- Do some test prints on plain paper, AND on a canvas. Canvas has a different texture than paper so even if the prints look great (or seem easy to do) on plain paper, it won’t be the same on canvas.
- Footprints are much easier to do than handprints. Though both of them are not easy to get a good looking print out of, feet are much easier to control than hands. Not to mention the paint is much more likely to get into baby’s mouth of it is on her hands which makes it an even bigger challenge to help that from happening. (We ended up nixing the handprint idea after realizing how much more difficult it would be to get them to look decent.)
- Make sure you have someone else to help you! This would’ve been a lot more difficult, and a lot more messy if I tried to do it all by myself. It could probably be done with one person, but overall it is a whole lot easier with help.
- Make sure baby is well rested and in a happy mood when you do the project. Wrestling with a cranky baby is only going to make the process more difficult.
- I don’t know a parent/grandparent/great grandparent that wouldn’t love any kind of handmade gift, so don’t stress about it being perfect!
- Don’t forget to sign and date it!
Overall, I am happy with how this project turned out. I didn’t have super high expectations for doing an art project with a 3.5 month old, but she actually did pretty well.