Making handprint art is one of the most fun ways to capture your baby’s growth and celebrate exciting milestones in those precious early months. As a parent, you’ll cherish those handprint keepsakes for years to come.
But while handprint projects may seem simple on the surface, not all kits are created equal when it comes to safety. Some art supplies marketed for children contain toxic chemicals that can irritate your baby’s delicate skin.
That’s why it’s crucial to choose non-toxic supplies designed specifically with babies in mind. In this article, I’ll share tips on how to pick a safe handprint kit that’s gentle on your little one’s skin but still produces clear, lasting prints.
How to Choose the Safest Handprint Kit for Your Baby
When selecting a handprint kit, look for a few key safety features:
Seek out kits made with natural, non-toxic ingredients. Avoid any that contain chemical pigments, acrylic paints, and other art supplies intended for older kids or adults.
Opt for food coloring, liquid watercolors, or ink made from fruits and vegetables. These plant-based options easily wash off baby’s skin when you’re done printing.
Look for soy-based or lavender-scented ink pads as a safer alternative to toxic inks. Or choose all-natural paints in earthy hues like ochre, burnt sienna, and evergreen.
For frame material, bypass splintery wood pieces in favor of smooth, sanded hardwood or rounded plastic/composite frames that won’t snag baby’s skin.
Only use non-toxic, acid-free adhesives that won’t damage prints over time. Archival-quality glues and tapes with lignin-free paper are ideal.
Kits that include washable aprons or smocks help minimize mess while keeping clothes stain-free. Seek soft, comfy materials like cotton instead of vinyl or plastic.
Check for FDA-approved labels or seals indicating non-toxic ingredients that are safe for kids under 3 years old. This ensures safety for your baby.
With so many options out there, it can be tricky to know which kits measure up. Here are my top 5 safest, mess-free, easy-to-use handprint kits for babies:
Top 5 Recommended Baby-Safe Handprint Kits
1. My First Hand and Foot Print Kit by Little Artist
This kit tops my list for being thoughtfully designed with babies in mind. It includes all-natural, non-toxic fingerpaints in primary colors that won’t irritate your little one’s delicate skin.
The mini easel with premium archival paper makes capturing prints a cinch. Just secure baby’s hand or foot and press down gently to apply vivid paint.
It’s ideal for ages 6 months and up when babies have steadier hand control. And the paints easily wash away with soap and water when you’re finished.
2. Baby’s First Handprints Kit by Tiny Me
Another excellent option, this kit provides three non-toxic ink pads in black, blue, and pink. It comes with five acid-free art sheets so prints won’t degrade over time.
The rounded wood frame adds a beautiful finishing touch for displaying your favorite prints. And the lignin-free papers allow prints to easily adhere using the kit’s soft, non-toxic glue dots.
3. Natural Impressions Handprint Kit by Modern Mira
For parents seeking a more natural look, this kit offers plant-based, biodegradable fingerpaints made from linseed oil and mineral pigments.
The wooden frame coordinates perfectly with the earthy prints. And the included metallic gold ink pad elevates prints from basic to brilliant.
An organic cotton apron helps minimize mess during printing sessions with baby.
4. Keepsake Handprints Kit by Memory Lane
The six soft pastel paint colors in this kit are made from all-natural ingredients like minerals, clay, and plant extracts.
Because they are acid-free, these papers and adhesives won’t damage or alter prints over time. You’ll be able to enjoy them for years without fading.
The kit also includes tips for capturing the clearest handprints while making the experience calm and enjoyable for baby.
5. My Baby’s Hand and Foot Prints by Little Artist
For premium value, this versatile kit includes supplies for capturing both hand and foot prints. The two non-toxic, lavender-scented ink pads create sweet-smelling prints.
Three art quality boards provide plenty of space for prints. And the smooth composite frame won’t scratch baby’s skin while you work.
This is an excellent starter kit for first-time handprint projects. The simple instructions have you printing like a pro in no time.
Handprint Art Tips for Getting the Clearest Prints
While handprint kits make the process easy, there are a few tips for getting the most clear, detailed prints possible:
Work on an easy-clean surface like a plastic tablecloth or old shower curtain in case of messes. Cover surrounding surfaces as well.
Swaddle baby snugly in a towel or blanket so their arms and legs are contained while printing. Only expose the hands or feet when you’re ready.
Apply paint or ink evenly using a foam brush, cotton swab or your fingertip. Don’t cake it on too thick or prints will be messy.
Press baby’s hand or foot firmly but gently onto the art paper or canvas. Maintain pressure evenly for 5-10 seconds before lifting straight up.
Use petroleum jelly on skin around the print area so paint only sticks to the hand or foot. This creates a crisp print edge.
For tiny hands, do one at a time. Keep the other hand tucked in so baby doesn’t smudge the print accidentally.
Distract baby with toys, singing or a bottle so they remain calm and hold still during the inking and printing process.
Wash hands thoroughly after printing using warm water, a soft washcloth and gentle baby soap. Rinse away all residual paint or ink.
Let prints fully dry before display. Mount prints in a book or on the wall before framing to prevent smudges.
Troubleshooting Common Baby Handprint Problems
Handprinting with squirmy babies doesn’t always go perfectly. Here are some common issues and how to fix them:
Light or incomplete prints – Didn’t press baby’s hand or foot firmly enough into the paper. Try reapplying ink/paint and pressing harder.
Smudged edges – Baby curled their fingers or toes during printing. Try again with digits spread flat for full prints.
Messy prints – Too much paint or ink applied. Use a lighter coating for neat, detailed prints.
Streaky prints – Ink or paint not rolled on skin evenly before printing. Smooth it over skin with brush.
Prints not adhering to paper – Surface was not clean and dry before printing. Wipe with damp cloth and dry fully.
Transferred prints – Lifted hand or foot too slowly after pressing down. Lift straight up in one fluid motion.
Fading prints – Low-quality, non-archival inks used. Seek kits made with fade-resistant inks.
Frequently Asked Questions About Handprint Kits
Here are answers to some of the most common questions about capturing safe hand and footprints with your baby:
1. At what age can I start making handprint art with my baby?
Handprint kits are safe to use starting around 4-6 months old. Newborns’ hand-eye coordination is still developing so wait until your baby can sit assisted before attempting prints. Foot printing can be done a bit earlier if baby can be still.
2. How do I clean handprint ink or paint off my baby’s skin when we’re done?
Use a soft damp washcloth with warm water and a mild, gentle baby soap. Avoid harsh scrubbing. Most non-toxic paints and inks will rinse away with water and soap. Always refer to the kit directions for removal.
3. How long does the handprint art process take?
Plan on 30-60 minutes to do the inking, printing and clean up. Babies need frequent breaks so take your time. Try printing when baby is most alert, well-rested and well-fed for best success. Don’t rush the process.
4. Should I do handprints or footprints with my baby?
Both make absolutely precious keepsakes! Tiny newborn feet make for extra adorable prints. Baby handprints are fun for showing their growth over time. Choose whatever excites you most or capture some of each.
5. How can I get my wiggly baby to sit still for prints?
Having an extra set of hands is key. One person can focus on securely positioning baby while the other inks and prints. Sooth baby with their favorite toys, books, singing or a bottle during the process. Work quickly before they wiggle away. Stay calm – babies sense parent tension.
Cherish the Memories with a Baby-Safe Handprint Kit
When you use safe, non-toxic art supplies and follow these tips for minimizing messes and getting clear prints, handprint art is a breeze. Before you know it, you’ll have sweet keepsakes of your baby’s tiny hands and feet that you’ll treasure forever.
Capture your little one’s fleeting baby days in the most lasting way – with safe hand and footprint kits designed just for them. These mementos will always remind you of their precious growth.
So choose a high-quality, baby-safe kit and have fun making lasting imprints of those tiny hands and feet you kiss each day. These prints will be cherished for many years to come.