As a mom, I definitely wanted to capture my kids hand prints and footprints before they had a chance to grow up so fast. Also, as an artist I wanted to make sure the paint I used was safe for my little one since their skin is much more sensitive.
In this article we will go over everything you need to create your baby’s precious hand prints and footprints, and any questions you may have. Let’s get to it!
Is Acrylic Paint Safe for Baby’s Skin?
Baby footprints, where your baby’s feet are dipped in paint, and then impressed on a surface, can be turned into sentimental keepsakes and gifts. But with your baby’s delicate skin and the fear of exposing them to harsh chemicals, is acrylic paint safe to use on baby’s skin?
Although acrylic paint is non-toxic, I don’t recommend putting it on your brand new baby’s skin. I suggest Tempera paint for kids because it’s super washable and non-toxic.
This is the tempera paint set I have personally used for my little ones. It comes with tons of colors and they rinse off with just soap and water. Some parents do use acrylic paint for their baby’s hand prints or footprints, but they’ll wash it off immediately after the project is done.
If you have a toddler or older kids, you might feel better about letting them use acrylic paints on their skin, but always make sure they say non-toxic on the label. I personally wouldn’t put acrylic paint on my new baby’s skin, just because of all the chemicals that could be absorbed in their skin.
A lot of people have asked me if acrylic paint is safe for face painting or just generally on the skin. If you must paint your body, I don’t recommend acrylic paint. There are tons of body paint that are more suitable for your skin. Even though acrylic paint is water based and non-toxic, it does have chemicals and compounds that we are not sure how your skin will react to it.
If you don’t want to actually dip your baby’s feet or hands in paint, another popular option is imprinting the hand prints and footprints on clay, and then painting it. This hand and footprint kit from Amazon is amazing because it’s non toxic clay and it comes with a cute rustic frame.
You can also just leave the prints as they are without painting them. I have two of these and I did paint one for my daughter, but my sons is just the color of the clay and it looks great.
Another option that’s super kid friendly and less messy are paint ink pads. Some are designed specifically for baby hand prints and footprint projects, and what I mostly love about this choice is that all you have to do is literally place your little one’s hand or foot on the pad and ta-dah!
Of course you have to wipe and clean their skin off, but it’s way less messy and the outcome is the same. Here is a great kit that comes with 6 colors and everything you need for your keepsake.
I honestly wish I had this option with my first born because it definitely makes things easier and I feel better about not putting paint chemicals on my baby’s skin.
Types of Paint for Baby Hand Prints & Footprints
If you choose not to go with acrylic paint for your little ones project, here are some of the best alternatives. I just want to mention that I have used regular non-toxic acrylic paint when my son was 1, as well as tempera paints and it wasn’t much of a difference.
However, I did feel a little weird painting on my kiddos feet with acrylic paint, so when I actually did the kid friendly tempera paints I felt better knowing I knew exactly what I was putting on my baby’s skin.
So here are my top paints and kits for your baby’s hand prints and footprints:
1- Crayola Washable Finger Paints: Not only is this paint non-toxic and gentle on your kiddos skin, but it washes off clothing as well! This set is great to capture you baby’s hand and footprints, as well as letting them use it in the near future for fun projects. This is definitely one of the most kid friendly paints out there.
2- Daco Acrylic Paint Set for Kids: This acrylic set is designed for kids since it’s water based, and non-toxic. It conforms to ASTM D-36 and EN-71, so you can let your kids explore and express themselves through paint without worries.
3- Veggie Baby Organic Finger Paint: This organic and vegan paint set by Veggie Baby is definitely one of my top picks. You can rest assured that nothing harmful will go into contact with you baby’s skin. I recommend this set if your baby has sensitive skin.
The colors themselves come as powder so you can mix endless colors. This organic set is also edible since it’s made from organic oils, just in case your little one is curious how their artwork tastes =)
4- ARTEZA Tempera Paint for Kids: This set is on my list because I personally have the regular acrylic ARTEZA set and their pigment is super rich and not transparent like other sets. This set is the priciest of them all, but it comes with a variety of colors as well as glitter and metallic paints. You van use this set for your little one’s keepsakes, and all their crafts later on.
So, whether you want to do a fun vibrant glitter hand print, or just use an ink pad, these products should help you with everything you need for your keepsake.
How to Do Baby Hand Prints and Footprints with Paint at Home
Getting your baby’s hand print or footprint can be frustrating, but we’re here to help! Follow the instructions below to get rolling.
Some Materials You Will Need:
- Acrylic or Tempera Finger Paint
- Baby wipes for easy cleaning
- The canvas, ceramic or item you will be printing on
- Some paper plates
Prep Your Baby
Babies love to put their hands in their mouth, which can make it tricky to get their print. A few minutes spent massaging the palm and relaxing the hand can really help. A gentle squeeze of the knuckles can help draw out the fingers enough for you to get the hand onto the page.
If you are unable to get a good hand print, a footprint might be easier. Another simple solution: stamp their hand or footprint while they’re asleep!
Set your baby down for a nap in a car seat, or transfer to a car seat once they fall asleep. Place the carrier on a sturdy table or surface. Being in a car seat makes it much easier to access their hands, as opposed to them laying down or on their side.
If your baby is awake, choose a time when your child is calm and co-operative. I would recommend right after a nap. Also, if your kiddo is old enough to understand, talk them through the process and have them practice putting their hand on the page a few times before applying the paint.
Spread your supplies out and make sure they’re reachable. Squeeze a small amount of paint on a paper plate and smear baby’s hand in the paint. Make sure to get paint on each finger (but don’t put too much on or you’ll have a mess everywhere). Important note: Make sure you get non-toxic paint! That way it won’t matter if paint gets on them and under their nails.
Before pressing your baby’s hand onto the item you want to print, make sure to test on a scrap of paper or other loose item. Testing your paint can save a lot of headache down the road.
Once you get the hang of it, press the item onto their hand or foot and hold for a few seconds. This shouldn’t take too long.
If your baby is awake, giving them an object to hold with their other hand to keep them busy helps a lot. Some parents let their kids have at it with the paint and let them create their own masterpiece.
After you get that perfect hand print or footprint, just wipe your baby’s hand or feet and then rinse them as well. You will want to let your item dry for a few hours, especially if you imprinted on ceramic. If you want to glaze and seal you ceramic project, this article has you covered for baking it in the oven.
Always remember to have lots of wipes handy and to rinse off the paint right away. If your kiddo is older, after the hand print or footprint, a neat option is to also let them create something with the paint.
Check out my Recommended Products page for everything you need to paint with acrylic, and as always, happy painting!