Arts & Crafts: No Mess Baby Acrylic Painting

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Faye working her magic as she crawls across the canvas.

Who doesn’t love baby art? Me. That’s who.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adore a child’s efforts and thoroughly feel loved when a kid creates something for me, but so often I feel that we either give them materials that are too cheap or too temporary (or worse, a sad combo of both) to warrant a place of honor in our houses.

This is especially true when it comes to arts & crafts for babies and toddlers who are still putting items into their mouths. Edible paint is usually either too thick to manipulate on paper properly, or if watered down to a more manageable consistency, too transparent. Colors tend to be a bland muddied pastel. Worse still, they mold after a week or two. Edible all-natural crayons leave light colored, barely noticeable marks, even when wielded by an adult.

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I find it difficult to watch as my daughter struggles to compose a gift for a loved one using these hideous supplies. Therefore, I did what any artist and mom would do, I concocted ways for her to enjoyably compose colorful, malleable, striking, and permanent art work using traditional art materials.

For Father’s Day last year I decided it would be great if Faye could make a permanent painting that captured her current physical abilities. That narrowed it down to pressing, crawling, and dragging. An idea quickly emerged. Off to the art store we went to gather student grade acrylic paints, a large pre-stretched, pre-gessoed museum canvas, and a very large Filbert brush. We also stopped at a home improvement store for a large roll of clear plastic tarp and blue painter’s tape. Less than an hour work later we had a beautiful painting and a memory that would stick with us (or maybe just me) for a lifetime.

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I’m not going to lie – it was an expensive endeavor for a baby’s art project, but the investment was completely worthwhile. The stunningly colorful 3′ x 4′ painting has a place of honor on our kitchen wall. Whenever someone inquires as to the artist, they are floored to learn it was Faye at only 9.5 months old. The best part though, is that every other week or so Faye will point to the painting and tell us with a huge smile that it is her painting, that she made it.

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The final result drying outside.

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DIY: 5 Minute Toddler Paint Brushes

DIY 5 Minute Toddler Paint Brushes

These easy to make 5 Minute Toddler Paint Brushes can be used over and over again.

I bought Faye some non-toxic, eco-friendly, made from plants, powdered paints and decided to let her try them out the other day. The only problem – I didn’t have paint brushes that were big enough to grab a significant amount of paint, but small enough that if they were thrown, flung, or excitedly waved back and forth wouldn’t turn my kitchen into a disaster area.

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DIY: Thanksgiving Turkey Handprint Napkin Rings

Thanksgiving Handprint Turkeys

Handprint Turkeys for Thanksgiving. Add a little wired ribbon and they become napkin rings. How cute are these?

While some may view my Thanksgiving Turkey Handprint Napkin Rings as a cute trinket, I view it as a major success. This is the first started and completed craft project in seven months! Not only that, but I finished with 36 hours to spare on my deadline. Whoo hoo! I am so ecstatic, I can hardly contain myself.

I love handprint crafts, but hate that 99% of them are impressions of handprints in a circle or square block of clay rather than the actual hand. Once the kids get to be around 18 months old, their hands are big enough without adding the additional bulk of empty space that impressions require. Lucky me-I just happen to have a background in casting and had almost everything I needed for this project in the basement.

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These napkin rings are a hostess gift for my parents. I wanted to make enough of them to support breakage and ended up casting 14 handprints in all. I used one quart of Smooth-Cast 300 for this project.

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DIY Diaper Rash Butt Spray (aka My Version of CJ’s BUTTer Spritz)

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My homemade organic version of CJ’s BUTTer Spritz – I dare say it’s better since it contains aloe vera oil.

Am I weird because I love diaper changing time? I’ve used the RIE approach to diaper changing since Faye was born and it has paid off big time. It is all about slowing down and giving the child gentle, undivided, unplugged attention. Ask for their help. Ask for their permission. Sure, it may take 15 minutes, but sometimes, those 15 minutes are the highlight of my day.

I also have fallen in love with my DIY version of CJ’s BUTTer Spritz. Its antibacterial and anti-fungal properties keeps diaper rash away and softens skin. The dispensing via a spray method versus dipping your fingers into a tub keeps it sanitary and my hands goop free. Plus, it smells great. I always spray one or two pumps into my hands, rub my hands together and then put them to my nose and inhale deeply. I then give my hands to Faye to smell and she raises her eyebrows as if in agreement it smells lovely. I never actually hear her inhale though, so I whole heartedly believe she is screwing with my head.

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DIY Crinkle Tag Toy

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DIY Crinkle Tag Toy

Over the past several weeks Faye has become increasingly fond of tags. Apparently this is some sort of baby OCD milestone.

In order to fully support her craziness, during her afternoon nap I made her a crinkle tag square to chew/pull/manipulate. The moment her eyes fluttered opened they were met with my creation. I’m happy to report my endeavor was a success. She’s been playing with it non-stop.

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DIY Natural Diaper Rash Cream

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Faye’s skin is extremely sensitive. Unusually sensitive. We’re talking so sensitive that being in a wet cloth diaper for less than two minutes gave her a diaper rash (or dare I say, “diaper burn”) even though she was lathered in cream. Poor thing. From that moment on, my infant cloth stash that took weeks to research was sadly packed away, we switched to the most natural disposable we could find, and made sure to use a high grade/wet barrier diaper rash cream at every change.

I’m a big proponent of using natural products on myself and an even bigger advocate of doing so on infants. I also get a kick out of DIY projects and being able to whip an item up in a few minutes should we run out of something. (Which is also why I LOVE cloth wipes and homemade solution.)

With Faye strapped to my front facing out so she could clearly see what was going on, I made a diaper cream and a diaper spray. (I’ll post the spray later this week.) They only took minutes to put together and I love them both. Because of her sensitive skin I use the cream over the spray when she’ll be in a diaper for more than 2 hours.

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DIY Baby Cold and Congestion Reliever

Faye has been sick for six days. It started off with a fever and cough. With tons of rest, her fever broke within 36 hrs, but that cough continued to get worse and worse. On Saturday night, she sounded pretty bad so we decided to bring her in the bathroom for a steam bath with essential oils before shelling some $$$ out for a vaporizer. (She has a cold mist humidifier, but it wasn’t doing enough to abate her hack.)

Faye enjoying her reflection during a steam bath.

Faye enjoying her reflection during a steam bath.

The lavender and chamomile essential oils–funny enough–aren’t essential, but they definitely sped up her recovery. Plus, they make your house smell amazing. The guy who delivered our bahn mi sandwiches from Ha Noi commented on how wonderful our house smelled while he was at our door. On top of it, these are two oils that are used in almost every single DIY natural product for babies as they have fantastic qualities from anti-fungal to anti-inflammatory (lavender oil benefits, chamomile benefits). Make sure to get high quality oils ** as you want them to be as pure as possible.

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