How to Make a Baby Footprint Keepsake

By Rosenya Faith
Remember those tiny toes forever with a salt dough keepsake.
Remember those tiny toes forever with a salt dough keepsake.

Your baby's tiny feet are only going to stay small for a little while; in the blink of an eye she'll be outgrowing her baby shoes and you'll be shopping in the big kids' footwear department. It will be hard to believe her feet were ever so small. Fortunately, you can preserve an image of her adorable tootsies with a simple, salt dough keepsake that you can store away for later or display with your knick-knacks.

Pour 1 cup of salt into a medium-size mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of flour and mix the ingredients together. Add 1/2 cup lukewarm water and use your hands to knead the "dough" until it's smooth. When it's done, the dough will feel stretchy.

Separate the dough into two pieces; the second piece will allow you to make a second footprint or a hand print keepsake, or provide you with a backup in case the first one doesn't turn out as you'd like.

Press one half of the dough into the bottom of a shallow bowl. This will create a smooth, round shape for the keepsake. Pull the edges of the dough away from the bowl gently and then flip the dough out of the bowl and onto a wax paper-covered baking sheet. Alternatively, roll out the dough to a thickness of approximately 1/2 inch. Use a large cookie cutter to cut out the shape of your choice or cut out the shape with a fondant cutter or small, sharp knife.

Press your baby's foot down firmly in the center of the salt dough disc shape. Hold her foot steady as you press to help prevent her from moving her foot or wiggling her toes. Alternatively, you can press both feet down in the center of a larger disc to make an impression.

Wipe your baby's foot with a clean, damp cloth to remove any of the salt dough residue. The mixture is not harmful for your baby but it is easier to clean up the dough before it dries.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place the baking sheet in the oven. Allow the keepsake to bake for approximately 3 hours. If the salt dough shape is very thick, flip it over after 2 1/2 hours and allow it to bake for another 2 hours.

Remove the keepsake from the oven and allow it to cool completely on the baking sheet.

Paint the keepsake with acrylic paint and allow it to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Things You Will Need

  • 1 cup salt
  • Medium-size mixing bowl
  • 1 cup flour
  • Shallow bowl
  • Wax paper
  • Baking sheet
  • Rolling pin (optional)
  • Cookie cutter, fondant cutter or small, sharp knife (optional)
  • Cloth
  • Acrylic paint

Tip

If the dough mixture seems a little granular when you’ve finished kneading, add a little extra flour. If the dough seems too crumbly, add a little more water, about half a teaspoon at a time.

If you want to hang the footprint keepsake on the wall or use it as an ornament, use a straw or pencil to make a hole in the top of the salt dough before placing it in the oven. You can then insert a string or ribbon through the hole when it has baked and cooled, and tie the ends in a bow.

About the Author

Rosenya Faith has been working with children since the age of 16 as a swimming instructor and dance instructor. For more than 14 years she has worked as a recreation and skill development leader, an early childhood educator and a teaching assistant, working in elementary schools and with special needs children between 4 and 11 years of age.