Having casts or prints of your little one's hands or feet is such a great way to preserve at least a bit of their 'babyness'. I've been trading since 2004 (oh my, is it really that long??) so have reached the stage where some of 'my' first babies are now at school, with little brothers or sisters too!
There is a huge variety of casting kits and services available to parents now, for all tastes and budgets - here are just a few:
This is a flat print - which can be done with paint or ink, and you can get 'inkless wipes' too, making it all much less messy! You can get paint prints put onto plates, mugs etc. at many local pottery studios.
This is the sort of thing you can buy on the High Street quite cheaply - you take the print in a white clay. The resulting print is indented into the clay. The quality can be quite variable, and the clay may need softening by kneading it. Make sure you read the instructions!
These are for those that don't want to 'have a go', and want a good quality product without all the mess and stress!
Very sweet :)
These are lovely as a life-size, tactile reminder of those tiny fingers and toes.
There are other processes involved in making them look so gorgeous, but I'm not allowed to divulge them :)
My Top Tips
If you're planning on trying to take some prints from your baby, either by yourself or by arranging to see a professional, there are a few tips I've picked up over the years.
- A contented baby makes life easier - seems obvious, but if your baby is clean, well-fed and not over-tired the whole process will be much easier and enjoyable for all.
- For very tiny babies (under 4 weeks) I find it easier to lay them on their backs and move their arms down to their sides to take the prints - rather than them being held and 'dangled' over the clay, which they find rather alarming!
- For older babies (8 weeks to toddlers) - lots of eye contact and 'baby talk', lots of encouragement, and have some toys to hand in case you need to distract them. Singing songs sometimes works well too.
- Toddlers (12-24 months) - good luck!! No, seriously I find this the hardest age group. If they don't want to do it, they just ain't gonna do it! You can try bribery, and sometimes they like to just mess about with the clay on their own first, to get used to the feel of it. You can also try counting their fingers while you take the prints.
- Older children (age 2+) - generally not a problem unless they are tired, so avoid evenings or naptimes. As above, they might like to count with you whilst you take prints. Usually I find they're quite excited about the whole thing, and are keen to show Mummy/Daddy how clever they are!
Hopefully, though, you'll eventually end up turning this:
|Handprint in clay|
in my case, into this!
|Finished Little Impressions cast!|