How to create your own baby hand & footprints in clay
When Gia & Kaia were 8 weeks old, we went to a local ceramics café to get their hand and foot prints impressed into clay and framed. We also got their hand and foot prints on various ceramics. They make such a lovely keepsake and I love looking back on how tiny they were.
I always try my best to ensure whatever I have done for one, I do for them all.
I did baby swimming lessons with Gia and she has the classic “Nirvana” underwater shot framed on the wall. Queue Kaia…”Mummy where’s my underwater photo?” errrrmmm….”Mummy didn’t quite make swimming lessons with you sweetheart because I didn’t fancy freezing my tits off with two screaming babies to change” (I didn’t actually say that, but that was the reality). I also couldn’t go because the baby swim ratio is one adult to one baby and I had two, (just saying) BUT I’ve never heard the end of it from Kaia.
I also still haven’t had Kaia’s professional newborn album designed and printed by the photographer. Considering I’ve already had Aleia’s done, that’s something else I need to sort out. Poor Kaia will have the classic “middle child issues!”
Anyway, back to the clay prints.
This year with the pandemic, I didn’t fancy driving back to my old hometown to get the clay prints done, (not to mention how pricey the are), so I thought I’d have a go myself and I’m rather pleased with the finished results.
So, if you’d like to have a go yourselves at home, this is what you will need:
WHAT DO I NEED
1) Air Dry Clay – I researched and found a fabulous small family business on ebay (Baby Moose). The clay is so reasonably priced (£7.20 at the time of writing this blog) and takes around 48 hours to go hard once the prints have been done. It’s super soft and so easy to take the prints. The clay comes with instructions, a handy hole piercing tool and ribbon. There are 3 colours to choose from.
1 pack of clay is enough for a hand and foot print (see size of mine in the picture above), plus one (or even two) little footprint hearts.
You can purchase the clay here
2) Glaze – Once the prints have dried, you will need to glaze them.
Although it doesn’t state that you have to glaze prints in the clay instructions, I researched and found that once glazed, they will last longer and it avoids discolouration.
I purchased Deco Art Triple Thick Varnish. I bought the 8oz tub, but I only needed a small amount, so you could definitely get away with the smaller 2oz tube for a few uses.
3) Box Frame – I had an Ikea 23×23 box frame kicking around so used that. I understand these have now been discontinued, but you can purchase any box frame. Just ensure it’s deep enough to hold the clay (clay only needs to be rolled out 1-2cm deep).
4) Sponge Brush – For the glazing. You can get these in The Works, Sainsbury’s Wilkos etc. See example of brush here (use any size sponge brush, although a smaller one is handy for going into the tiny toe prints etc)
5) Plastic Chopping Board/Plastic Plate – For rolling out the clay.
6) Rolling pin – For rolling out the clay.
7) White paper/card and glue (for mounting the clay to the frame)
8) Pen – To write baby details
1) Break off just over half of the clay packet (you can always use more, if not enough once rolled out).
2) Use the chopping board or back of a plastic plate to roll the clay to the required depth (the company recommends around 1-2cm), then mould to the required shape (I just used my hands).
TIP – Ensure the plastic plate is completely flat and not warped – I used an old warped plastic plate meaning the base of my clay dried in a wave!!) I think a chopping board would have been better.
3) Once you’re happy with the shape of the clay, leave the clay on the board/plate and get someone to hold the baby in a comfortable position that allows you to imprint. You don’t need to press hard at all. The clay is super soft, but ensure you press down on all parts (eg each toe, sole of the foot etc).
NOTE: If you are not happy with the prints, you can re-roll the clay immediately and try again.
4) Cover the clay with a large round bowl (ensuring it doesn’t touch the clay) to stop dust getting on it as it dries (I didn’t do this and left open, meaning I had to pick out pieces of dust!).
5) Leave to harden for 48 hours.
6) Use the sponge brush to glaze over the prints.
7) Leave the glaze to dry for 24 hours (again, it’s best to cover to avoid dust).
8) Cut some white paper or card to the size of the frame and stick to the frame backing.
9) Glue the clay into the required position (any PVC craft glue will do)
10) Write baby details underneath or wherever you see fit.
You can use the leftover clay to make heart imprints (I had a heart cookie cutter) but you can use any shape you like. For hanging purposes, ensure you make the hole with the hole piercing tool at the time of imprinting. Use ribbon to hang.
That’s it…as easy as 1, 2, 3 (4,5,6,7,8,9,10!)
I’m really pleased with the end result and dare I say, I think I even prefer it to the professional ones that I tried to copy.
If you try your own, please tag me on Instagram so I can see your creations, also, let me know how you got on in the comments below.
Have a lovely day and happy crafting,
The Exhausted Mum xxx
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