An image of your infant’s footprint preserves the memories of those teeny feet and creates a keepsake to be cherished. Baby-safe printing ink pads are available in most craft and baby stores. Homemade dyes are viable alternatives to commercially manufactured inks, but should be preserved under glass because their colors tend to fad with time. Mixed media, acid-free, heavy-weight paper will absorb the ink or dye and help protect the color. Photo-copy the prints once dry to make multiple keepsakes for family and friends.
Read the Label
Baby footprint ink pad labels should clearly state the product is a nontoxic, washable ink that is specifically formulated to be safe to use on baby’s skin. Water should be listed as one of the main ingredients and the safest baby inks will have few or no product warnings. Baby-safe inks are regulated by, and must meet U.S. Consumer Product Safety standards, to be sold in stores. Look for the American Society for Testing and Materials stamp of approval on the label. The ASTM stamp means the formula has been tested and is approved for its intended use.
Extracting color from plants requires a bit of time and experimentation. A handful of blueberries or raspberries can be boiled down to make a blue or pink baby footprint stain. Soak a handful of berries in two cups of water for about an hour, and boil down to a dark, runny mush. Strain the mush through cheesecloth to remove the pulp. Mix the strained juice, a few drops at a time, into a dab of vegetable shortening or add flour to lighten the shade.
Make a Print
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to capture an ink print when using baby-safe ink pads. Experiment with the ink or dye by making prints of your thumb. Pad the kitchen table or choose a work area large enough to safely lay your baby and keep all supplies within arm’s reach. Tape the paper to a sturdy piece of cardboard and cover the sole of babies’ foot with baby-safe ink or plant dye. Gently support your infant’s ankle as you stamp your babies foot, straight onto and off of the paper, without rolling the foot.
Skin and Print Care
Use soapy water to clean the ink or dye from you babies foot immediately after you produce a print to prevent prolonged exposure and possible skin irritation. Be aware that baby-safe inks and particularly homemade dyes might require more than one washing to remove. Apply baby lotion to moisturize babies’ skin, particularly if repeated washing is necessary. Allow babies footprint to dry overnight, make copies and preserve the print under safety glass or laminate. Call your pediatrician immediately if you notice redness, small bumps or welts that could indicate an allergic reaction.