Baby Footprints with Ink

For this fun-and-messy task, you will need a non-toxic, pigment-based ink pad, and the color should be fairly dark. Black is the traditional choice, but feel free to experiment. The ink should clean up with soap and water. Some companies make kits that include an appropriate ink.

You will want to work with thick, acid-free cardstock. Using paper or cardstock that is free of acid and lignin means your precious print will not yellow or deteriorate over time. Also, make sure Baby’s hands or feet are clean and dry before you begin.

Press Baby’s hand (or foot) gently but firmly onto the ink pad. You will probably have better luck lifting up the ink pad and pressing it against Baby’s foot or hand, as opposed to having Baby try to “step” on the pad, pressing downward onto a table. Coat thoroughly—don’t skimp, but don’t “overink” either. Experiment! (In my experience, a sleepy baby is a compliant baby—at least for the first few months. For older babies, quickness is key, and for toddlers a “treat” may be in order.) When you press the foot or hand down on the paper, press straight down; don’t “rock” the foot or hand. If the paper or cardstock sticks to Baby’s foot, pull the paper off the foot rather than trying to pull the foot off the paper. This will avoid smudging the ink.

Finally, and this is so important I’m giving it its own paragraph, be certain the ink is dry before you try to do anything with the print! If you attempt to frame or scrapbook a baby print before it’s dry, you could ruin your project. Pigment inks, while more permanent and flexible than dye-based inks, also take longer to dry.

Above all, have fun! With older children, you can even try using several colored inks to create a rainbow effect with the handprint.

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