Capturing your baby”s little hands as they grow is a great way to document just how quick the time passes and make infant milestone photos even more personal in a scrapbook or as a sweet gift for mom and loved one’s. Of course, you want baby’s skin to stay safe, clean, and protected through the process which is why the type of paint you use is so important. Discover the best paints for baby footprints and handprints that offer a quick cleanup and good print below, plus tips on getting the perfect keepsake or gift!
Best Baby Safe Paint for Handprints: Eco Kids Finger Paint
You won’t find a safer, non-toxic paint for baby footprints and handprints than veggie based paints like Eco Kids Finger paint and Veggie Baby’s.
These types of paints come as a powder, you then mix in water similar to food coloring, and use it. For this reason, it’s really only great on paper and wouldn’t work on canvas. Additionally, the color does fade with time. However it is the safest paint option to use for baby handprints or footprints on paper as you do not need to stress at all if it gets in their mouth.
We’ve personally used Eco-Kids with our toddler thanks to their non-GMO organic ingredients; however if it’s sold out Veggie Baby uses similar ingredients and third party tests for lead and heavy metals making it a great pick too.
Keep in mind, if you add too much water, this will become really runny and make it quite difficult to get a smudge free print. So start by adding a little bit of water at first. While it’s the best true paint for baby footprints, there are options that will get you a better print – though not as non-toxic as this.
Easiest Paint for Handprints On Paper: ReignDrop Ink Pad
If you’ve ever tried to get a baby footprint or handprint before, you know squishing it into paint, then onto paper can be a sticky, messy challenge. The ReignDrop Ink Pads make it super easy, and come in a ton of great colors.
Simply walk your babies foot or hand on the ink pad then stamp the piece of paper. It’s by far the simplest thing we’ve tried. Additionally it’s a non-toxic, water based, acid free ink that’s easy to wipe off and wash in the bath. We had no smudge issues, especially compared to regular paint, and it hasn’t faded so far!
Keep in mind the pad dimensions are only about 3.5″L x 2.25″W so it works best for babies, not older kids.
Best Non-toxic Acrylic Paint: Speedball Acrylic Paint
While acrylic paint is not generally recommended for babies, it is the best paint for baby footprints on canvas.
Speedball acrylic paint holds the AP certification while also being cadmium and cobalt free, and acid free! It’s probably one of the most non-toxic acrylic paints out there and it’s made in the U.S. Additionally, they come in a huge assortment of colors at a relatively affordable price.
It’s not always the most readily available, so as a back up we recommend Apple Barrel – it’s a water-based paint, AP certified, but is not cadmium and cobalt free. It’s found here and at most craft stores.
Keep in mind, you can also use acrylic paint
Keep in mind, acrylic paint also works as a fabric paint, so test it out on old t-shirts for a fun project.
No-Mess Baby Footprints: Pearhead
While the Pearhead Newborn Baby Handprint or Footprint isn’t technically paint, it’s a clean touch ink-pad that my midwives used for my homebirth to capture my baby’s first footprint and handprints.
All you do is put the included cards into the ink pad, make sure you have the right side up, then press your baby’s hand print or footprint to capture it. It only works on newborn hands as the pad only measures 2.25″ W x 3.5″H.
There’s no ink to wash off, nothing for baby to mouth, and it’s pretty hard to smudge or mess up. Lastly, if you don’t want to use their cards, you can put the ink pad over any piece of paper to transfer the print. The ink pad works for 5-10 prints in my experience.
Best Baby Footprints + Handprints Kit: Co Little
Co Little’s hand and footprint kit is a great baby shower or new mom gift. It comes complete with a 11″ W x 9″ H picture frame with two spots for 2/75″ x 2.75″ square photos, and one spot for baby’s footprints.
You’ll get the paper, clean-touch ink pad (like Pearheads, incase you need to purchase more for extra prints), PLUS a series of letters and numbers to put baby’s name, the date, or any other personalization you want on the print.
Best budget baby safe paint for handprints: Crayola Washable Kids Paint
We’ve used Crayola Washable Kids Paint for baby and toddler footprint projects in the past and it works great overall, though is quite messier than the ink-pad style paints.
We liked that it’s nontoxic, though not as clean as Eco Kids, and you don’t have to mix it.
The paint is a great consistency featuring bright, beautiful colors that don’t fade.
It’s a basic washable finger paint coming in at under $1 per color, so you’ll be able to keep using it after you capture baby’s footprints for regular finger painting with older children. We did find traditional paint like this does take the most tries to get it right, but it’s the cheapest option of its kind and works well if it’s all you have.
Best smudge resistant paint for older babies: MayMoi Washable Tempera Paint Sticks
If you’re looking for a crisp baby handprint or footprint and your child has outgrown some of the ink pads on this list, than tempera paint sticks make a great middle of the road option. It offers less mess than traditional paint, and a crisper finish.
The washable tempera paints offer vibrant colors you color onto your baby’s feet and child’s hands to make crafts or keepsakes. The finish is kind of sticky so you’ll just stamp it onto your paper or canvas. The paint does dry pretty quickly, so you’ll have to move fast or add extra layers.
With that said, it does provide a beautiful, vibrant, smudge resistant finish that has been one of our favorites. Washing it off is overall easy, just use soap and warm water.
FAQs about paint for baby footprints and handprints:
What kind of paint do you use for baby footprints?
There are three types of paint to consider for baby footprint and handprints: ink pads, paint sticks, and regular paint.
Within each of those there are obviously sub categories, like acrylic paint vs. washable finger paint or clean touch ink pads vs regular stamp pads.
Ultimately, we’ve had the most success with clean touch ink pads for newborns and paint sticks for older babies and toddlers.
When in a pinch regular washable finger paint works too, just make sure you have someone to help so you don’t get too much or too little paint on a wiggly baby’s foot!
How do you make baby handprints with paint?
You can either paint the palm of their hand generously with the paint them stamp that on a piece of paper or you can pour paint onto a paper plate, have them pat it with their hand, then stamp a piece of paper.
The former option provides the best results as it’s a cleaner option and the keepsake print comes out crisper in our experience, while the second option makes for a fun sensory activity.
PRO TIP: Use two people and place your paper on a hard surface. One person holds baby while the other makes the foot prints and hand prints. Alternatively, depending on the age of your child, you can also place them a high chair and then do it.
Is it safe to put paint on baby’s feet?
Generally speaking, if a paint is labeled as non-toxic it’s considered safe for a baby’s feet.
Of course non-toxic is a very broad term and parents should research the brand and decide what they are most comfortable with. Rest assured, the sole’s of a baby’s feet are generally unlikely to react to paint, just be sure to wash it off before feet end up in baby’s mouth and don’t make it a habit to paint their feet regularly.
Is non-toxic paint safe for babies?
While a paint may be non-toxic, that does not mean toxin free. Non-toxic paints are typically water based paints with fewer chemicals compared to others with high volatile organic compounds (VOCs); but have typically not been tested for heavy metals or tested for internal safety use.
When it comes to babies, generally the fewer the products the better; but you likely will not harm your baby by capturing their footprints or handprints using non toxic paint (as long as they don’t ingest it) any more than using some city’s water.
How do I wash off stubborn paint or ink from baby’s feet and hands?
If warm water and soap aren’t washing things off, we suggest coconut oil as a clean option.
Others recommend vegetable oil, baby oil, or petroleum jelly too if you don’t have coconut oil.
What paint is safe for babies skin?
The safest paint for babies skin will likely be plant based paints using NON-GMO and organic ingredients like Eco Kids. These are made from ground up potatoes, beets, turmeric, spirulina, and other food based ingredients making them safe enough for baby to eat.
Though those paints tend to be the messiest and don’t capture the best baby footprint or handprint keepsake.
Is acrylic paint safe for babies?
If the acrylic paint is AP certificatified which is a seal of the Art & Creative Materials Institute, Inc. (ACMI), then it is considered “non-toxic” but it’s should still be used carefully and cautiously with babies.
Even with this seal, the acrylic paint for baby footprints or handprints may carry some toxins (heavy metals like cadmium, chromium, lead, and cobalt) but not in sufficient quantities to lead to health problems.
For this reason, we suggest never letting babies, toddlers, or children use acrylic paints for art projects.
However if you want to put baby footprints on canvas instead of paper, we think using an acrylic paint once or twice in the first year couple years of life would be okay as long as you immediately wash it off with soap and water, before they have time to get their toes in their mouth!
Is acrylic paint washable?
Yes, you can wash acrylic paint off baby feet and tiny hands with warm water and soap.
Baby handprint paint ideas:
- January: Make a snowflake with baby’s hand prints layered over the palms; Use feet to make a penguin
- February: Make a heart with hand or footprints
- March: Leprechaun with a handprint upside
- April: Handprint to make an umbrella, and footprint is the handle
- May: Flowers – using feet as the stem and hands as the flower; or draw a flower stem and use fingers as the flowers
- June: Butterfly- foot is the center body and hands are the wings
- July: American flag or a fish
- August: Sun or fish
- September: Use the foot to make a tree base, and the hand for the tree top, and fingers to make apples on the tree
- October: Pumpkins
- November: Turkey handprints
- December: Make a Santa (fingers are the beard) with handprints and reindeer with footprints
BONUS TIP: Add a fun quote, poem, or note with your baby handprint art and do it on cardstock paper to make it extra special!
Final thoughts on baby footprint paintings
Little prints of your baby through the years as a newborn keepsake or craft make great gifts for loved one’s. It’s a unique way to document the milestone, and as you get lots of experience it becomes an easy feat you can brag about.
For newborns, the Co Little kit is the perfect keepsake, just be sure to get a few Pearhead clean touch ink pads as back ups.
For older kids, ReignDrop Ink Pad or MayMoi Washable Tempera Paint Sticks are going to be your next best picks for low mess with limited smudging and color results that will last.
If you want more of a sensory experience or craft activity, then regular Crayola Washable Kids Paint, or Eco Kids Finger Paint if you prefer a cleaner taste safe option, are both awesome picks.