It’s no secret. I love baby feet. Scratch that. I love little feet. Little feet on little legs. Seriously, from their kissably soft necks to their fat elbows, roll over tummies, and chubby knees, my favorite thing about babies (besides their wonderful personalities of course, but we’re being superficial here) is their feet. That’s probably why my Projects board on Pinterest is plastered with baby footprint art project ideas like these:
So, when it came time to come up with a Mother’s Day gift idea for my mom, my mind naturally went to something that would showcase my little one’s footprints. After all, my mom is probably one of the only people in the world who loves those little feet (almost) as much as I do. My mom is an avid gardener – one of the best I’ve ever seen, and being her daughter, I’ve seen a lot of gardens. I thought that she would love a footprint stepping stone, or two, as is the case, for her garden. So I set to work scouring the internet (read, Pinterest) for a tutorial on how to create one. I must admit that what I originally had in mind was not what I ended up making. I had grand ideas of creating a “real” stone shaped mold with the footprints embedded in it and then writing something like “You are my Sunshine” on it in scrolly letters, but apparently cement is quite the difficult medium for some (er, me?), and a project like that would have required much more of a commitment both in time and funds than I was prepared for. I found an excellent tutorial for the one that I made here, plus I documented some things that I learned along the way below. I think they turned out really nicely, and I can’t wait to give them to my mom on Sunday!
Supplies needed: Mortar mix (we’ll refer to this as “concrete”), cooking spray or other oily substance (WD-40), cooking oil for lubing up little feet or hands, rubber gloves (cement can burn you!), a mold (I used plant trays that I got for $2.18 each at Home Depot), wipes for cleaning up along the way, a credit card or other flat smoothing device (pictured later), and a container to mix the cement in (pictured later – I figured you knew what one of those looked like). Oh, and water, but I figured everyone has that and you know what that looks like too .
Step 1: Spray your mold(s) with cooking spray. This should be a pretty straight-forward step, but if you have dogs in your garage, this would be the time to remove them. If, like me, you didn’t think that having dogs in the garage while you did this project would be a problem, simply remove the dogs and spray your mold again. Glad I used the non-toxic cooking spray, and not the WD-40.There.
Step 2: Mix cement according to package instructions. Actually, I thought there would be exact measurements on the bag, but there weren’t. Just add enough water so it’s like really thick sandy mud (think “mud pie”). It got really messy at this point, so I apologize that I do not have a picture of the exact amount of water that I used.
Step 4: This is where I messed up. On the concrete bag, it said something about “thumbprint dry”, and I thought that if it’s good for thumbprints, it would be good for footprints, so I waited about and hour before I did the footprints. If I had it to do over, I would do them right away so that I would get a deeper impression. Anyway, lube up those little feet (or hands) with the oil and print away! Make sure to promptly wash the cement off with soap and water, as there are warnings all over the bag about chemical burns (yikes!). I had to smooth out and redo my baby’s footprints a couple of times because he kept curling his toes, which was no biggie – just have the credit card close at hand if your holding a squirmer. Here is my baby’s stepping stone. Sorry the picture is sideways.
Step 5: After a couple of days, they should be dry. Mine popped out easily (thanks to the cooking spray), but are still a bit damp. Luckily, I’m not giving them to my mom for a few days. I think I will also try so sand down the edges once they are a little more dry in order to give them a smoother appearance. The one below is the (mostly) finished product from my 3 year-old.
Photo credits for footprint collage: 1.http://www.meetthedubiens.com/2010/12/footprint-penguins.html, 2.http://sweetandlovelycrafts.blogspot.com/2011/09/footprint-flying-witch.html, 3.http://sweetandlovelycrafts.blogspot.com/2011/08/footprint-fire-trucks.html, 4.http://dressesandmesses.wordpress.com/2011/07/18/linky-love-footprint-bumble-bees/, 5.http://projectbalancingact.blogspot.com/search?q=footprints, 6.http://funhandprintart.blogspot.com/2009_08_01_archive.html, 7.http://loveseweetlove.blogspot.ca/2011/10/exciting-news-and-ghost-footprints.html, 8.http://www.brownpaper–packages.com/2011/04/mothers-day-ideas.html, 9.http://www.lifeinmotionphotography.com/photoblog/?p=1230, 10.http://www.karaspartyideas.com/2011/09/sweet-butterfly-1st-birthday-party.html, 11.http://tonsoffunpreschoolactivities.blogspot.com/2011/02/from-bottom-of-my-heart.html, 12.http://www.pocketfulofposiesblog.com/2009/12/frugal-fun-footprint-art.html, 13.http://www.momentsofmommyhood.com/2011/03/footprint-robin.html