Parents know that although the nights along, the days go fast. Before you know it, those ickle baby hands and feet seem giant, and it can be hard to remember just how dainty they once were. This review looks at one of (many) variants of mess free baby prints - is it really so easy to create a lasting impression of those wee fingers and toes?
One staple of the baby keepsake box though is the footprints. When he was very small, we did a pottery café with our NCT group and managed to make an awesome little ceramic surfboard with his footprints on. Every month or so we get another set of prints done on paper at our local baby group. I have to say, this looked pretty easy, so I came out cockily think I’d do this at home myself; knock up a few birthday cards for the family, bish-bash-bosh… it was not easy alone! As I wrestled a curled, unwilling foot onto some card I had to think "there must be an easier way... an easier, less messy way". At the end of the session I had 5 cards that were smudged from baby fighting being plonked onto some paper (they’re so much stronger than they look), myself covered in gold paint and a lovely puddle of baby sick on the carpet.
As cool as prints are though, I really wanted something more traditional; 3D imprints of those tiny baby hands and feet. So, to Amazon I went, and came across this kit*. It boasts “No-mess impression material”, which sounded perfect after the paint ordeal, and was “100% safe and non-toxic”, which is also great as I don’t want to poison my son.
The frame was well packaged, and came with everything required to make 2 imprints framed around a photo. Being fulfilled by Amazon it came the next day, although the packaging did have a few mistranslations… which cheapens the look of the product if you’re giving it as a gift.
The putty itself was indeed mess-free. It kind of felt like Silly Putty when it was wet, and once dried turned into a really light polystyrene-like material. There were 2 packets of putty, one for each side, and this was plenty to make the required prints (there were offcuts leftover, but as these set in air could not be saved for another day). Although the kit came with a wooden dowel to roll the putty, this was not big enough, and we ended up using a rolling pin from the kitchen.
As we’ve established with the painting, prints are definitely a two-person job, and this kit is no exception. My partner was nominated to hold our squirming little bundle whilst I tried to manipulate hands/feet into the required position. One complaint would be you’re required quite a lot of pressure to get the required print, even after softening the putty in accordance to the instructions. I’d also recommend making sure bubba’s digits are super clean before you start, as the white putty will pick up every fleck of fluff and grime. The Little Mister did put up much less of a fight than when painting his feet with a brush, which is a plus, and he just needed a quick sweep with a baby wipe after to remove any residue.
The putty took a good 48 hours to dry out once we’d made our imprints, so this isn’t something to go into thinking it will be a five minute job. Inside the kit are foam strips to attach the impressions to the frame. The putty dries super lightweight, but the strips enclosed only just coped with sticking them to the mounting card (if they were just a little bigger this might not be an issue).
The sample baby photo was taped to the mounting card with what felt like the stickiest tape in the world, and actually tore it whilst removing it. Luckily, this was not noticeable from the front. The finished product does look really good assembled, and I am really happy with how this wonderful keepsake has turned out. One more thing to be aware of is that the frame is not free standing; it requires attachment to a wall. I was hoping to be able to stand it up on a table, but will have to find somewhere else in the home for it now.
In conclusion, I think this kit is really good for making a set of imprints due to the no-mess clay and having everything you need in one box. However, make sure you have a helper; otherwise you’ll turn out with something much more Picasso than keepsake.
*Disclosure: I was offered this product at a discount in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Rest assured, this hasn’t affected my opinion of the product in any form.