When I found this adorable project online, I knew I would have to duplicate it with my four kids' feet. After all, since it has been over two years since I've had a child in preschool, I haven't had any precious hand print or footprint projects. And even though my boys' feet are no longer adorably tiny, they are still adorable to me, and I want to remember even these years too. Before heading out to my favorite craft store, I measured my oldest son's foot. At 11, he already wears a bigger shoe than I do, so I needed to make sure his foot would fit on the canvas I bought. Thankfully, it could fit on a 10x20, which is what I was hoping for. Good thing I didn't wait until next Halloween to do this project!
Brandy, at the Moody Fashionista, provided a tutorial for
the one she made for her daughter, so you can check hers out here to see what she did differently. I couldn't find any letter stickers as cute as hers, so I decided to paint mine instead.
Here are the supplies I used:
one 10x20 canvas
small artist brush
plastic letter stencils
paint bowls/cups or even plastic lids
lots of paper towels
Here's how I did it:
First, I spent one day painting the canvas black. It didn't take long to paint it, but I had to paint three coats, so I had to let it sit a couple of hours to dry between coats.
On the second day, I had to figure out the placement of my stencil letters using a method I learned during my scrapbooking days. Actually, I think we learned it in high school typing class too, back when you had to manually center your titles, but do I have to admit that? It makes me sound incredibly old to have learned how to type on a typewriter! All you do is count up the number of letters/numbers and spaces in your title. I chose "Happy Halloween," so I had 15. Just divide that number by two to get your center letter or space. When a number is odd, you look at the numbers on either side of your answer and let them share the center. In my case, my answer to 15/2 is 7.5, so that put the "H" and "A" sharing the center. Once you know your center, you can decide how to space your letters and begin with those center letters and work your way out. I had bought a sheet of plastic stencils but decided to cut them apart to make placing them easier.
Third, let's clean up our act. I needed to do some touch up work on a few of my letters where the paint bled through the stencils, so I grabbed a small paint brush and the black paint to fix those spots.
Once the lettering was completely dry, I wrangled up my children to create the ghosts. Our original plan was to use the left foot of my oldest son since he's a lefty and the right foot of the other three. He came up with that idea, and I loved that added personal element to it. I began with his foot since it had to be placed in just the right spot due to his large shoe size. Once barefoot, he kicked his foot into my lap and let me paint it white. I simply slathered on the white paint with a medium-sized sponge brush because that's what I learned was the least messy method back when I taught preschool. When his foot was appropriately covered, I picked up the canvas and carefully lined it up to his foot and guided his foot to it while he stayed sitting. He has a high arch, so his ghost was freakishly skinny. To help fatten it up a bit, I placed one of my hands under the canvas and gently pushed it on his foot and arch. It fattened his ghost up a bit without ruining the authenticity of his footprint. Afterwards, we used a handful of damp paper towels to wipe his foot clean. Perhaps doing this outside and hosing their feet off afterward would be easier.
When his ghost was fairly dry, I called up the next kid and repeated the process for all four children. I just left the paints and supplies out on the kitchen table as this process took four short sessions during the course of a couple of hours. Oh, and as you'll see from the picture, our idea of one lefty ghost was abandoned after I accidentally painted our daughter's left foot. Oh well, now they are all swaying toward the outside of the picture, which makes sense too. My son didn't mind.
Once the kids were in bed and all four ghosts were dry, I got out the black paint, glue, and googly eyes to create the faces. I also touched up spots from the foot-printing. An idea I came up with too late that would be cute is to let your children paint their ghosts' mouths with a fingerprint. It would be the right size and shape, and it'd create just one more personal element to the product.
The last step I still need to do is write the year and their names on the back. While it's obvious which foot is my oldest son's and which is my little daughter's, the two middle boys' feet are very close in size, so we might forget some day.
This was a fun project though you really can't wing it in a short period of time, and you'll need a place in your house where you can have a mess for the better part of two days. Overall, I had to buy the canvas, which I used a 40% coupon on, so it only cost $5.40, the brushes for a whopping $1.39, and the stencil letters, which were $2.99. Of course, I'll find another purpose for those in the future. I already owned the paint, glue, and wiggly eyes. I liked the idea of the ribbon seen in Brandy's finished product, but with such a wide canvas, I didn't think I'd really use it. I plan to prop it up either on our mantel or one of the shelves in our family room. For about $10 it makes a precious Halloween decoration in my opinion.
I love the idea that every year we can bring it out for Halloween and get to compare shoe sizes. As children progress to elementary school, they stop making projects with their hand prints and feet prints, but they keep growing for at least another 12 years, so why not enjoy their not-so-tiny-anymore-but-not-fully-grown hands and feet? Plus, the boys got a kick out of doing a footprint project since they haven't done one in years. They didn't think it was too babyish and loved having their feet painted. In fact, my eight-year-old son asked if we could do a Christmas version of this. We've been brainstorming ideas of trees or reindeer heads made out of foot prints. I think it sounds like a great gift for grandparents! What about you? Do you have any suggestions on how to make a footprint or hand print project for other holidays?
I'll be sharing this post at some of these parties here or here.