DIY · Parenting

Craft Time: Butterfly Footprint

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I have always loved those crafts using baby footprints and baby handprints. But I knew how hard it was to get them done. They’re not easy. Babies wiggle too much, and are curious creatures. You add paint to their hands and they want to take time to explore that new texture. I get it. It’s interesting. But for the grownup trying to get the print on paper? Not that much fun, I have to say. That and the fact that at 6 months of age all that touches their hands goes straight to their mouths makes for a very challenging experience. But I wanted to try anyway.

So how to make the experience less frustrating and more productive?

My best advice to you is this: gather all you need beforehand and, if possible, have a second person there to help you out. They won’t need to do more than be there to hold the baby’s hand, but it is oh, so helpful! If you don’t have anyone to help you, grab a few bath toys to hand to the baby to keep him or her occupied (they’re great because you can just wash them off later).

Here are the items you’ll need:

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The wooden heart is turned backwards here. The other side was clean.
  • construction paper or whatever medium you’ll want the print on (I used some wooden and cardboard hearts I got from Hobby Lobby)
  • washable paint (make sure the color you choose will show up on your paper/medium. Avoid using white on white or things like that. You can always test the colors out first.)
  • paintbrushes/foam brushes (one per color to facilitate the process)
  • Bumbo seat (or other place to keep baby in the position you want)
  • baby wipes

Items not picture:

  • paper plate (to pour some of the paint out so you’re not trying to make the brush fit inside the tiny paint containers)
  • helper (if available)
  • scissors (if needed)
  • adorable baby (super important)

Before you start:

  1. Assemble all your items in the place you’ll use them. I did this in a room of my house with tiles because I thought it would be easier for cleanup. I did have to sit on the floor, though.
  2. Anything you can do to make things easier will help. Think beforehand which color you want to use first and what paper/medium. Align them in the order you’ll use them. Also, if you’re dealing with different colors, use the lighter ones first, just in case you can’t wipe them off completely between stamping them and some gets left behind.
  3. Have extra paper/medium and get multiple prints. If one doesn’t turn out that great, there’s always another one.
  4. Undress baby from waist down (or completely, if you don’t have a helper). You can also dress baby is something you don’t mind if it gets ruined. Even washable paint can cause problems sometimes.
  5. Wear something you don’t mind if it gets ruined. You will get paint on yourself.

Ready to start?

  1. Place baby in Bumbo seat and have your helper sit behind the baby and hold baby’s hands. I enlisted the help of my husband for this part. We also gave her a pacifier and talked to her during the whole process. It was enough to keep her occupied. If you don’t have a helper, give baby a bath toy to hold (you can even get a set of 3 from the dollar store).
  2. Pick the color you want to start with (from lighter to darker color). Start by painting your baby’s foot slowly. Let them feel the brush and paint. They’ll wiggle their toes. Talk to them about that. For this part I used foam brushes. They do soak up a lot of paint, but I think they have a better texture for baby’s feet (softer, less ticklish than other paintbrushes).
  3. Start by just touching their feet to random pieces of paper before trying important pieces. I only had two wooden hearts and they were meant for the grandmothers so I knew whatever I got on them I’d have to use, even if they were not the best prints. A little advice: do not attempt to do a large piece of paper. You’ll have one hand around their ankle and will be juggling that paper against them. Learn from my mistakes and cut your paper into smaller, more manageable pieces.
  4. If making butterflies, place the left print on the right, leave a sliver of space for the body, and place the right print on the left. You can pre-design the body, but that requires you to measure the size you’ll need beforehand and then you’ll be trying to place baby’s foot at the right place. That’s easier when you have older, more cooperative kids. I prefer just getting the prints and then working with what I got.
  5. After you finish getting the prints from one foot, wipe it with baby wipes to avoid getting paint on everything and then do the other foot. After you’re done with the first color move onto the next one.
  6. If you have a helper, have them help with dressing the baby up while you place the prints where they can dry and get everything cleaned up.

After you’re all done, congratulate yourself on a job well done. You’ve survived! If you’re lucky, you only got a small smudge here and there to clean. Hurray for washable paint and baby wipes!

Here’s how mine looked like after I was done with making the prints:

I made way more than I needed, but I figured I could pick the best ones later. I also plan on cutting a few of them out and placing them in her baby book, so it’s good to have extras.

And here’s the final product:

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I added a little poem I found on the internet but I did modify it a little. Here’s the one I had found. The blobs are covering her name. I also dated the print so we always remember how old she was then. And since this one was given to dad for Valentine’s, I also kept one with just her name and date to frame and put in her nursery. I’ll add a picture of it when it’s done. I haven’t taken the time to frame it yet, but it looks just like this one minus the poem.

The hearts I just added her name and the date and put some magnets on the back. We gave the wooden ones (with the cutout hearts all around) to the grandparents. The grandmas loved it!

What do you think? Have you ever attempted to get your baby’s footprint? If you have any tips on how to make this easier, please share in the comments below. I will for sure do more crafts with footprints. And one day I’ll even attempt to get her handprint on something.