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Make It : Baby (or Child) Footprints for Mother's Day

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I took a break from crafting for a bit while I welcomed this guy to the world ...

Jack Millan, three weeks old

Jack Millan, three weeks old

..and yesterday I decided it was time to pull out my supplies and make something. Jack is now 8 weeks old, and like most new moms, I have been meaning to capture those TINY FEET since the day he was born.

Jack's scrumptious left foot

Jack's scrumptious left foot

There are plenty of kits out there that help you make clay impressions—complete with frames or plaques. I don't have anything against them (in fact, I received one as a gift that I think I'll use for his hands), but I wanted to use a specific shadowbox frame, and I wanted to add a few touches of personalization. I used Deco Claycraft soft air-drying clay to make the impressions, and a set of Martha Stewart Crafts clear letter stamps in Sans Serif to make a few debossed clay labels. A dark-brown stamp pad provided the ink to make his tiny feet and the labels really stand out.

Below is a gallery showing how I put together my custom footprint impression—forgive me for the absence of cute baby-printing action shots; I was home alone and this was my first attempt at crafting with a squirmy newborn!

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The finished product.

1 The finished product.

I used less than one package of clay—that's including a large number of do-overs due to squirming.

2 I used less than one package of clay—that's including a large number of do-overs due to squirming.

To flatten the clay, I used an old pasta maker (that is no longer used for food). A dash of white flour discourages sticking/warping and doesn't show up in the clay.

3 To flatten the clay, I used an old pasta maker (that is no longer used for food). A dash of white flour discourages sticking/warping and doesn't show up in the clay.

Labels first: an irregular strip of clay from pasta machine on thickest setting. I set Jack's name in decals on a stamp mount, pressed it into regular stamp ink, and gently stamped the clay.

4 Labels first: an irregular strip of clay from pasta machine on thickest setting. I set Jack's name in decals on a stamp mount, pressed it into regular stamp ink, and gently stamped the clay.

Another label. The walnut-colored stamp pad ink looked great in the clay.

5 Another label. The walnut-colored stamp pad ink looked great in the clay.

Side note: I tested the stamps first on some junk mail to be sure my letters were aligned properly.

6 Side note: I tested the stamps first on some junk mail to be sure my letters were aligned properly.

I layered two strips of clay for the footprint, to give Jack enough depth to squish his foot into.

7 I layered two strips of clay for the footprint, to give Jack enough depth to squish his foot into.

I placed the clay on a plate and pressed it to Jack's foot while he was lying down, rather than trying to get him to step on it.

8 I placed the clay on a plate and pressed it to Jack's foot while he was lying down, rather than trying to get him to step on it.

Cut out my labels and footprints with a sharp craft knife, leaving the edges irregular. I let the clay air-dry on a flat surface.

9 Cut out my labels and footprints with a sharp craft knife, leaving the edges irregular. I let the clay air-dry on a flat surface.

A piece of half-inch foam board cut to fit my frame, along with a piece of paper for the background.

10 A piece of half-inch foam board cut to fit my frame, along with a piece of paper for the background.

The thick foam board base brings the artwork up from the very back of the shadowbox. I attached the clay pieces to the background with white glue.

11 The thick foam board base brings the artwork up from the very back of the shadowbox. I attached the clay pieces to the background with white glue.

A 6

12 A 6" by 6" Ikea "RIBBA" shadowbox frame fits his little feet nicely (for now!)

Note: Most stamp pad ink is nontoxic (check the package) and does not stain the skin, but you'll want to wash it off with a mild soap as soon as you get a good impression, if only to save your house and furniture from duplicate prints. Keep all materials (especially clay, which can look yummy) out of reach of children while working.

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