How to Make Baby Footprints Art
DIY art is one of my favorite things. And this little baby footprint keepsake is just too perfect.
Our collection of footprints is my favorite part of the gallery wall in our living room. I love being able to look up throughout my day and reminisce about how tiny my kiddos started out. (Especially on the days they’re really testing the boundaries of my patience.)
I want to say that it is an easy project. But all of us moms know the truth. No project involving a baby is ever actually easy. But the basic idea is easy, and I’ll share a few tips that I’ve discovered along the way.
What you’ll need.
- I like using 11″ x 14″ multipurpose art paper. I feel like it absorbs the ink best. But you could use whatever you have on hand, even simple card stock or printer paper. Whatever you choose though, have several pieces on hand. There is going to be lots of wiggling and you’ll more than likely need more than one attempt to get that perfect footprint.
- Ink Pad
- I bought this ink pad that is specifically designed for babies and definitely recommends it over paint. You can use acrylic paint applied with a paintbrush but in my experience, it’s a bit messier of a print and is tricky to get the print stamped before it starts to dry out.
- Pencil With a Good Eraser
- Trust me. You’ll want to pencil in your wording before applying anything permanent.
- Fine Tipped Sharpy
- I used a fine-tipped black sharpie for this project, but you could also use black paint and a thin paintbrush. I’ve used that method for other projects and it works well.
- Damp Cloth That Can Get Paint On It
- You’ll use this to wipe the baby’s first foot clean before painting the second foot.
- The Baby.
- Hopefully a sleeping one…
After you’ve got everything together it’s time to get started!
If you can, I highly recommend waiting till a time that your little one is in a deep sleep. When they’re awake they have all those tiny little movements going on that can ruin an otherwise perfect print. Trust me, those cute wiggly toes are trouble makers…
Another thing that can make this task easier is having a second person to help out. One person holds the baby and the baby’s foot, the other person holds the paper vertically in the air. That position makes it a bit easier to hold the baby while “stamping” their footprint. The alternative is the paper laying flat horizontally on a tabletop. It’s totally doable- I did Alaric’s footprints all by myself! But it’s a bit harder to keep a floppy baby stable while trying to get their foot flat on the paper.
I try to aim the footprint just below the dead center of the paper. But I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever actually hit the intended mark. Somehow they always end up kind of just below and left of dead center. Oh well. It’s not perfect, but it’s nothing a little jimmy rigging in the frame doesn’t fix. But it if will bother you, it might be a good idea to get a paper size bigger than what you want the final project to be. Then you can cut the paper down to size after the project is finished to ensure it’s perfectly centered.
It’s going to take a couple of tries, or ten, before you get that perfect baby footprint. Don’t stress over it. You can tell from the pile of Alaric footprints above that it takes me a few tries too. Just remember that your baby is only little once and it’s totally okay for you to be picky about having the perfect little keepsake. Or just chuck all the little imperfections as mementos to their personality and throw perfection to the wind as I did with Austynn’s footprint. (That kid was so wiggly. LOL)
No matter which way you choose to go, once you have a footprint you’re happy with, grab your pencil to start on the lettering. Make sure to write very lightly. Otherwise, there will still be an indent in the paper even after you’ve used the eraser.
Another handy tip here is to count the letters in the names before you start writing and find the “middle” letter. That way you have an idea of what letter should be directly under the footprint and can space and size accordingly as you write.
If you’re like me, there will be lots of erasing before you get an alignment that you’re happy with. But once you do, simply go over your pencil lines with the sharpy.
I find it pretty easy to do my lettering by hand. But if it really scares you, you might be able to figure out a way to type the lettering out in a computer program like Google Docs and print it out first. Then you would simply need to center your footprint above your printed lettering and you’re all done. Super Easy. (And now I’m wondering why I didn’t think of doing that in the first place… oh well.)
And that’s it. Now you have baby footprint art. All that’s left to do is frame it.
I use these frames from Walmart for the footprints. Typically I would use second-hand frames from thrift stores, but I wanted our footprint collection to have matching frames that I could buy more of as we add more kids. They’re definitely not the greatest quality, but they’re inexpensive as far as new frames go and they look good on the wall.