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Niche Topics (Pregnancy and Kids) is all about practical parenting advice and parenting skills to help you deal with common parenting challenges from toddlerhood to teen years. You’ll find tons of healthy food ideas and easy-to-make kids meals, fun activity ideas and creative crafts projects that kids love to do and play!

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make homemade baby handprints footprints

How to Make Baby Handprint or Footprint Plaque


I'm looking for a homemade handprint clay recipe. My daughter will be one next week and I would love to make a baby handprint plaque to capture her tiny hands as a special gift for grandma who lives in England. Can you help? It would be great if you could also suggest ideas on how to decorate baby hand impressions. Thanks! – Dawn, Ontario.

Hi Dawn,

Hand print or footprint frames and plaques make terrific keepsake gifts for family and friends, especially loved ones we don't get to see very often. It's also a beautiful way to memorialize the growth and achievements of a child.

Making your own hand print clay at home is not only cheaper than store-bought versions but also very easy and fun to do. Unlike ready-made kits, homemade ones offer so much more flexibility and creativity in terms of size, color and design.

There are many different things that can be used to decorate clay handprint plaques and create truly unique personalized gifts to commemorate your kid's joyous occasion. You can use pre-made embellishments from craft stores online or locally. And, if you're looking to save a few bucks or love to recycle, reuse or repurpose things around the house, my suggestion is, go through your children's toy box or your jewelry box. Chances are you'll find missing puzzles, broken small toys or mismatched earrings. Be creative and arrange these free stuff in a beautiful way to jazz up your clay handprint crafts.

The ideas to decorate homemade handprint plaques are virtually limitless. For example, if your recipient loves the sea, a nautical-themed hand print plaque embellished with an assortment of interesting seashells, corals and starfish is sure to impress and delight.

If your gift is intended for the avid gardener, then adorn with cute butterflies, small silk flowers, seeds or even little twigs from your backyard.

For someone who loves all things sparkly and glittery, embellishments can be anything from rhinestones, plastic jewels and gems, colored beads, crystals to sequins. Whatever you choose to use to make your homemade clay plaques more memorable for that special person, don't forget to add the date!

Here are 2 exciting ways for you to make baby hand prints – the ever popular salt dough recipe (great for making ornaments) and another that uses quick-setting white plaster. I personally like the second one as it lasts very well for years to come.


Homemade Salt Dough Recipe

1. Combine these ingredients – 4 cups flour with 1 cup salt and 1½ cups water – in a large mixing bowl. Add a few drops of food color if desired. Knead dough by hand (or in mixer) for about 15-20 minutes.


2. Roll the dough out on your work surface. Cut around your child's hand or cut circles (or any shapes) out for making hand imprints.


3. Make a small hole for hanging and poke tiny holes to prevent air bubbles. Place on a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper.


4. Bake at 300ºF for 20-25 minutes or until golden, depending on the thickness. It may feel a bit soft at first but don't worry, they'll harden as they cool.




How to Make Baby Handprint Plaque with Plaster at Home

The materials needed are some old newspapers, a disposable aluminum foil pan (the size of your finished plaque), quick-setting cement ( fast setting clay, Plaster of Paris), embellishments of any kind, acrylic paints in assorted colors, and water-based gloss exterior varnish.

1. Lay down plenty of newspapers to cover your work surface.


2. To make a hanging wall plaque, use a nail to punch 2 small holes at the corner edge of the bottom of your foil pan. Then thread a strong cord, or ribbon through the holes.


3. Mix clay according to manufacturer's instructions, adding water until you get a mixture that has the consistency of cream. Slowly pour it into your foil pan.


4. Press your baby's hands – spread her fingers nice and wide – deep into the middle of the cement. You can help by pushing each little finger and thumb to a good impression. Gently pull her hands out, taking care not to move the clay.


5. Press the embellishments of your choice into the clay. Allow to air dry completely.


6. To remove, simply turn your foil pan upside down and make a small slit (where the cord is) with scissors. This will help the dried clay easily release from the foil pan.  


7. Your homemade clay plaque is now ready to paint with your favorite color paints and remember to protect it with a few coats of varnish. Alternatively, you can leave it as it is.




By Holly Campbell



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