It’s that time of year again- the time for finding ways to capture every detail of our sweet littles and give unique, creative gifts without going crazy in the process. Fear not, fellow mommies, for today we are going to create a simple gift that you and your loved ones can cherish through the years. Behold, the reindeer footprint!
This is the version I made to keep in my house and get all nostalgic over every year. Isaac and I also made gift versions for his grandmothers:
…and when my 6 year old niece came to visit at Thanksgiving, she helped me make one to give to her mom (call it the super-simplified and VERY festive version)-
(big kid instructions will be marked with **)
Things you’ll need:
-a thing for decorating (I used a sheet of canvas from the pad pictured below; you can use any kind of canvas you like, or even construction paper!)
-brown acrylic paint
-a flat paintbrush for the feet
-red acrylic or Tulip paint or a red marker**
-a black permanent marker**, black acrylic paint, or black Tulip paint
-small round paintbrush for the dots and words (if you’re using acrylic paint instead of Tulip)
-template for your font, which you can find here (I used “Coventry Garden”): http://www.twotwentyone.net/2013/11/free-christmas-fonts/
-a stack of warm wet rags/paper towels and a plastic bag for easy cleanup
If this is the kind of project you enjoy doing regularly, I highly recommend picking up an Acrylic Pad like the one in the pic. Michaels has them for cheap (especially if you have a coupon!) and you can cut the sheet to whatever size you need- which is what we did for the grandmas’ gifts.
1. THE FOOTPRINT
-Gather your supplies
You’ll want your warm rags, plastic bag, paintbrush, and brown paint within reach.
-Strap that baby down (or have the big kid sit somewhere clear of debris)
My favorite place to do footprints of my extremely active 10 month old is his high chair. I can give him something to occupy his hands while I get to crafting.
**If you have an older child, set a chair in the middle of the room so if they get wiggly you won’t end up with any paint casualties. This is also why we use acrylic paint- it’s water based so it comes out of just about anything with a little warm water and soap.
-Paint the bottom of kiddo’s foot and DON’T LET GO
If you’re feeling especially jolly, you can use this as an interactive sensory learning experience with your little. Mine thought it was tickly so we turned it into a game the first time. The second time, not so much.
-Make the footprint
The key here is speed. If you’re using a canvas sheet, you’ll need to tape it to something hard (I just used the actual pad). Place the foot directly above the place you want it, then quickly smoosh it to the canvas and lift straight up. It doesn’t matter if you’re missing a toe or if it slides a little (I promise my kid doesn’t have one giant foot and one tiny one). If you really truly hate it, you can wipe the paint off the canvas and try again later.
**With a big kid the process is basically the same- give them as much control as you’re comfortable with but do not have them stand on the canvas as they will slide all over and make an enormous mess/terrible print/tears because it got messed up.
-Wipe off your kiddo
Get as much paint off the foot as you can and put your rags right into the bag. Acrylic paint is safe on baby’s skin so don’t stress out if there are a few spots that have to wait til bath time. If you use cloth instead of paper towels you can just throw them in the washer.
Acrylic paint dries fairly quickly but you definitely want to make sure you aren’t smudging brown everywhere when you do the cutesy part so give it a few hours to be safe.
2. THE WORDS, ANTLERS, AND EYES
– You can use any font/lettering you like- I chose Coventry Garden from the link above because a) it looks very Christmassy and b) is super duper easy to copy! If you find the handwriting part to be daunting, you can use construction paper for your craft and put it through the printer with your message.
-Write it with pencil first, then trace over with your marker/brush/Tulip paint. I used Tulip fabric paint because it’s easy to do letters (it has a small tip) and it looks really spiffy with the puffiness and shininess. I also find it’s easier to use the tube of paint rather than a brush.
For the antlers, just do a “Y” and add little lines off it. I liked my eyes down low for a squishy little face but you can put them anywhere you like!
**Let your biggie trace over the penciled words with a marker- or if they’re not quite old enough, you can hold the marker in their hand and trace together.
Keep in mind that Tulip paint takes around 4 hours to fully dry and doesn’t come out of anything, ever, so you’ll want to put this in a safe place (overnight if possible).
3. THE CUTESY STUFF AND NOSE
I used a paintbrush and acrylic paint because I was out of red Tulip paint. The dot clusters are something my mom always did when I was a kid so I wanted to use them for hers and really liked the way they looked- you could do big polka dots, swirls, etc. in any color you like.
If you’re circle challenged, grab anything that’s the size of the nose you want and trace around it with your pencil (measuring spoons can be great for this!), then fill in with red.
**My niece is an aspiring artist so she really enjoyed using a brush with a small cup of red acrylic paint (and an apron and several rags standing by). If you have a smaller kiddo you can still let them be creative- tape a piece of paper over the footprint area with plain scotch tape and give the biggie a washable marker (after you’ve covered the table).
Let that part dry and you have yourself a one of a kind inexpensive masterpiece to give to family and friends! The canvas sheets go a really long way with this kind of thing- I cut one in half to use for the grandmas’ since I only did one footprint, and used a whole sheet for the double prints and big kiddo. It also looks really pretty in a $4 Walmart frame!
(santa pig not included)
Merry Christmas and a Crafty New Year!
Breanna is mom to 10-month old Isaac. She and her husband Mike have lived in Florida all 5 years they’ve been married because they are wussies about cold weather.