Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hand/Footprint Keepsake

I saw this idea in a magazine and did a little research on an easier way to create it. The basic idea is to create a handprint or footprint keepsake, but the medium and display changes a bit depending on the method you use. Charlie created a footprint 'plaque' using the boys' hospital prints right after they were born with a wood burning kit, so I thought it would be a fun idea to create another set one year later. If you're not interested in having things like this in your own house, I'll bet your parents or in-laws would love it (and as an added bonus, Grandparent's Day is September 13th this year).

Scoop up those little ones and enlist their help in making this cool keepsake (and/or potential gift for those sentimental grammies and pappies out there...)

Method 1: Clay
(I like this idea better - I think there are more possibilities for color and personalization, and you don't have to worry about burning your kids!)

Purchase a wooden plaque at a craft store. This can be bought for as little as $2, depending on the size you choose. While you're there, pick up decoupage glue (or use watered down Elmer's glue) and some scrapbook paper that you want to use as the background. You'll also need Sculpty clay (either the air dry or the bake-to-dry kind is fine) and alphabet stickers for the words.

Seal the plaque with decoupage glue. Do this by painting a thin layer of glue across the whole surface. Wait for it to dry. Apply a thin layer to the back of the paper you chose and lay it on the plaque, making sure to smooth the bubbles before it dries. Wait for it to dry. Apply another layer of glue on top of the paper. Use this process for each layer you want to add, whether you layer multiple patterns of paper, use stickers to spell your child's name or leave it as a single layer.

As it dries, work the Scuplty clay into a soft ball using warm hands. Press it into a circle (for a handprint) or more of an oval (for a footprint). [NOTE: Make sure you flatten the circle or oval onto a flat surface, or adhering it to the plaque will be very difficult because it won't lay flat. I found that wax paper worked the best.] Press your child's hand or foot into the clay. If you don't like how it turns out, simply rework the clay and start again. I found that it was easiest to roll the clay out between two pieces of wax paper using a rolling pin. Depending on the clay you chose, either air dry or bake per the instructions.

Use a glue gun or Super Glue to fasten the print to the plaque. You can either fasten a hanging bracket on the back (to hang it on the wall like a picture), glue a ribbon to the back and tie it into a bow to hang like that (as shown in the Audrey example below), or buy one of those plaque stands to prop it up on a coffee table or mantle. Here's my finished project:

Method 2: Natural 'plaster of Paris'
Mix 1 cup baking soda, 1/2 cup cornstarch, 1 teaspoon salt and 3/4 cup water. Heat over medium heat until boiling, then lower the heat and stir until thick. Use the lid from a margarine tub (or cool whip, or Tupperware, etc) as a mold and spread the mixture in it. When cool, press your child's hand (or foot) into the dough to form a print. Use a paperclip to create a hole in the mold and to etch in the date and your child's name (before it dries), then string with a pink or blue ribbon.


Nadia said...

this is a great.. i did something similar (but yet totally different lol check it out on my blog)
you have some great ideas.. i am now a follower :)