Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Baby Footprint Art Tutorial

I'm a crafty lady by nature.  I think I inherited it from my dad.  He wasn't "crafty" per se, but he was definitely a DIY guy.  Why buy it when you can make it yourself?  That was his motto.  He had the most organized garage ever...all by using cardboard boxes and the bottom halves of quarts of oil to store his nuts, bolts, screws, and the like (he used the top halves of the oil quarts as funnels). He up-cycled before it was cool to up-cycle!

Remember the days of the cargo pants that you could turn into shorts with the swipe of a zipper?


Dad liked them so much he bought some cheap khaki pairs from Meijer and some fabric dye and made his own in a variety of colors.  Why buy them when you can make them yourself?  If he'd had a knack for sewing, he probably would've made the entire pair by hand!

Aaaanyway, I began my love affair with crafting by doing custom-painted picture frames in college and have since taken on many other projects, including sewing (still learning), jewelry making, Mod-Podge projects, and crocheting (epic fail).

I had big plans to do lots of crafty things for Max's nursery and never got around to them before he was born.  Now that he's here with me every day, it's even harder to squeeze in craft time, but I'm doing my best.  I'll admit it's become a lot more fun now that I can include Max in my efforts!  My favorite thing to do with Max at this age is Baby Footprint Art.  I pinned this Love sign to my "Future Family" Pinterest board over a year ago with aspirations to create it with my future children.

I also pinned lots of other handprint and footprint art for various holidays and completed some with Max last month, learning the hard way that attempting to do handprint art with a 4-month-old Max was more headache than it was worth.  We don't need any paint being eaten! 

This is a great gift idea for the holidays, and it's super easy!

Here's what you will need:
wooden plaque or canvas, two contrasting (but complimentary) colors of acrylic paint, one large paint brush, one small paint brush, baby feet, baby wipes
First, be sure your baby is happy.  A cranky baby can totally ruin this for you.  I found it easiest to have Max on the floor with some items to occupy him while I got set up.
Next, paint your surface, either wood or canvas, with your background color.  I got a 3-pack of these 4x12 inch canvasses from Michaels.  The height is great for Max's tiny feet, but if you're working with older children, that might not be the best choice for you.
I used Apple Barrel matte acrylic paint, and I needed to use two coats of paint to completely cover my canvas.

Next step is to paint baby's foot.  I found it best to have Max on his belly for this step because I had more control over his leg/foot.  Before you paint, be sure baby's foot is completely dry and toe-jam free.  Completely cover the bottom of the foot with the paint, including the toes.  Make quick work of this so the paint doesn't dry too much before you stamp!
Now it's time to stamp.  Be sure you hold the canvas correctly for this step so that the toes are where the top of the V should be.  I did this wrong the first time (even though I was SURE it was correct).  If you make a mistake, simply paint over that footprint with your background color and try again!  Bring the canvas to baby's foot and press and hold for a few seconds.

Next, wipe off baby's foot with a baby wipe or two.  Be sure to get in between the toes...paint has a tendency to sneak in there!

Now paint and stamp the other foot.  The heels should meet together for the base of the V.  Wipe that foot clean too.
If you can ensure baby is occupied for a few more minutes, you can finish this project once and for all.  Max was very interested in my bag o' paintbrushes, so I had a few minutes to put the finishing touches on it.
Decide on what kind of lettering you want to do for the rest of "Love" and go for it.  If you're feeling adventurous, go ahead and paint and stamp baby's hand for the O, as well.  I'm still a little gun-shy about that, so I just painted an O and put a heart inside of it.

I really like how this one turned out.  I decided to go for more of a cursive-y look with this one and I just LOVE it.  The first one I did last week had a completely different look...and I love that one too.

For this one, when I was doing a second coat of paint on the O, I got a little off track and the asymmetry was a little more than my OCD could handle, so I decided to make the heart in the middle.  Crisis averted!

I hope you get inspired to do a little something crafty with your little one this holiday season!  Handmade gifts are so meaningful and personal; they're the best way to give!  And if you're making this for your own home, it's a great memento for remembering how tiny your little tots once were!

Also, follow me on Pinterest to see other crafty things I've pinned, in addition to teaching ideas, recipes, and home decor items!

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