We want the precious moments of our child’s life to be permanently burned into our brains. However, the reality is our children’s childhood is all too fleeting and impermanent. We have an idea that is exquisitely fun, done in an afternoon easy, and offers a lifetime of memories!
Try it once for a great keepsake. Or try it a lot and have a colorful collage record of your child’s growth. Here is a great recipe for baby friendly tempera paint with results that have limitless “AAAWWWww!” factor.
Baby is never too young for this first art project, the younger the better. It is a great gift idea also, if you know someone having a baby. They are most definitely going to be too wiped out to be thinking straight, so here is where you could come in with a priceless gift.
Bring a few supplies with you: make sure to make the paint just an hour or so before you start stamping. This project utilizes common household items, found in everyone’s home. Great for spur of the moment guerrilla art making!
When my daughter turned 2, she had not played much with paint. I decided to make our own. I was quite concerned that the first place the paint would go was in her mouth, so it was important to me to have a high quality, stable and totally EDIBLE paint.
As an art student, I had learned about EGG TEMPERA. I knew that it was used by renowned artists hundreds of years ago. The quality must be great if artists such as Botticelli used it! (And his art has been around 500 years) I researched recipes and with a little tweaking created a food based paint that rendered great possibilities for detail. For our daughters birthday, we had such success, you could see all the detail of her tiny hand. Superfine creases, lines and marks that will fade as she grows are memorialized with egg tempera!
You will need:
a pie pan
precut watercolor paper (or any heavyweight archival paper )
You can use ANY paper around the house….but for longevity you may want to visit a craft store for something archival. That means it has a neutral Ph and will not degrade or discolor over time.
You will need to separate the egg yolk from the whites, even rolling it around on a paper towel to “dry” it off.
*pic here of jack separating, pic of yolk on napkin*
You will then use a knife to cut a slit in the yolk at the edge of the towel and let the yolk run into a bowl. Be sure to not allow the yolk casing into your bowl. You can start with 3 yolks, that should give you plenty of “paint”.
*pic here of knife to yolk, and pic of knife holding casing back*
Add one drop of vinegar per egg yolk you have used. Drop in your food coloring until you like the saturation. Less color=more transparent. More color=more opaque. (For those who are interested – Melissa and I have published some great Egg Tempera Color Recipes *here*)
You can play with adding water, but not more volume than the egg you’re using. I like to keep the paint nearly paste like because I feel like that is how you get the detail. Keep in mind you’re starting with yellow each time, so remember your color wheel! Sprinkle a little flour in your yolk mixture to thicken it up. Using a little flour is how you can truly achieve the detail found in hand-prints!
*pic here of yolk after flour mixed in, before color*
Now you’re ready to stamp. It is helpful after a fresh dip, to stamp the hand 2, maybe 3 times. You’ll see the 3rd or 4th stamp per dip is the best one, so plan accordingly. If it’s going really well, and baby is having fun, (or just snoozing), try a little foot next!
Here is an example of the detail you can achieve using egg tempera paint.
Not only does this project yield amazing original results… you can take your hand prints further with a little electronic know how and an online photo service…. You can create cards, gift tags, even your own wrapping paper! Find an online service that will print your treasures on cups, mouse pads, t-shirts etc…. we have a post for the “Techie” aspect of this project here –
“Art” is about being creative. “Art” is about experiencing the world around you and expressing those experiences with your heart and soul.