‘Tis the season again! I have such fun doing little crafts like these with my kids for the holidays. I’m not generally a very crafty person, but a DIY handprint or footprint craft always seems feasible enough! I’ve found that if I’m intentional about the materials, the set up, and the clean up, then it’s doable and fun!
This year, Sophie and Soren and I made little “Love Bugs” valentines! These only required the kids getting paint on one foot, so it was workable and enjoyable for all of us! (Except for, I suppose, poor little Soren who doesn’t totally love the feel of cold squishy paint on his feet! Sorry, buddy.)
If you’ve followed along here at Just Bee for a while, then you may remember our past Valentine’s Day projects! When Sophie was 4 months old, we made a heart out of her two footprints. Then last year, we made two valentines: an awesome “blowing kisses” handprint valentine, and a bumblebee footprint valentine!
This year, we kept with the “bug” theme and used just one footprint from each child to create their own little “love bug!” I think they turned out really cute! This love bug craft would work perfectly with one child as well; it doesn’t have to be a siblings craft. I just wanted a craft that would allow me to showcase both of the kids in one fell swoop, so a little bug did the trick! 🙂
I’ll explain this DIY valentine in the same way I laid out the other valentine blog posts. If you think through your set up beforehand, then you’ll be ready to bring your child in and treat it like a fun-filled assembly line – with minimal mess and/or sadness! 🙂
Valentine’s Day Love Bug Footprint Craft
- Black markers (one thick, one fine tip)
- Red marker (I use a red Sharpie)
- Red paint (I usually just get some cheap acrylic paint)
- White paper or white card stock for footprints (both work fine, but I prefer card stock if I have it on hand). Cut this in half in advance. Quick note about this that I’ll address later on: I always make more footprints than we need. Like twice as many, if possible! There are always “oops” prints that happen when crafting with kids. So make sure you have a good stack of white paper on hand.
- Extra scraps of white paper for cutting out eyes
- Red construction paper
- Glue stick
- Optional: double sided tape
- 5″ x 8″ or 6″ x 9″ envelopes, to accommodate these large-ish valentines (I bought a big pack of these a long time ago and LOVE having them around to mail whatever Christmas or Valentine’s Day crafts we make!)
- Paper towels
- Small bowl
- Aluminum foil
- Cookie sheet
Baby/Toddler Preparedness Steps 😉
Since we’re dealing with wet paint and a wiggly toddler/baby, I like to take a few steps to combat crazy messes! (And the more you can streamline a craft, the less searching for materials you’re doing while the kids could potentially lose interest or get tired of it!)
I got out a cookie sheet and lined it with aluminum foil. This is where I squirted the red paint and where I could spread it all out.
I also got several paper towels pretty damp and set them in a small bowl. I wanted to have this on hand close by so that I could quickly wipe the kids’ painted foot off! I had a roll of dry paper towels nearby as well.
We do messy crafts like this on our linoleum kitchen floor – it gives me more elbow room to work with the child in my arms, and I feel more “in control” of the craft when we’re sitting. Plus, the floor is washable, which always puts me more at ease. 😉
Additionally, it may sound weird but I like to have the kids pretty much in a diaper when we do paint-related projects, to save us from having wet paint on our clothes! (And I wear older clothes that I don’t mind getting paint on.) Once Sophie and I made what we called “trash dresses” out of big black garbage bags, too, so there are always options, haha.
Beforehand, I also sit down and make a quick list of friends and relatives we’ll be making valentines for. That way, I know how many valentines we’ll be making and therefore how many footprints we’ll need!! (I always, always make more prints than needed. Like at least twice as many as we’ll need! There are a lot of “oops” prints that happen when crafting with kids, so making a lot boosts your chances of having beautiful footprints to select from later!)
Cut your white paper in half in advance.
Start by squirting the red paint onto the aluminum foil-covered cookie sheet and spread it around a bit. Make sure you have the sheets of white paper or card stock nearby. (I count out more than the number of valentines we’ll be needing.)
Hold your child in your lap and stick their foot in the paint. Then press their foot firmly onto the white paper, pausing for a second for them to relax their toes and to get a good “stamp” of the foot. (Don’t get way too much paint on the foot because a really goopy foot covered in paint will just make a big wet smudge!) For this specific love bug craft, I had Sophie go first and I made sure to stamp her foot off to one side enough so that Soren’s foot could also fit next to it later.
Continue this for all of the white paper, assembly line style. I can usually get at least two footprints done before needing to re-dip her foot in the paint. When you’re done, use the wet paper towels to do the initial foot cleaning before washing your child’s foot more thoroughly later!
Repeat with the next child’s foot, if you’re doing this with more than one kid!
Let the footprints dry – it only took ours maybe an hour to be completely dry.
Meanwhile, cut the red construction paper in half, and then trim it to make sure it’s a size that’ll fit in your envelopes! That’ll be the backdrop for your white paper. Next, trim each piece of white paper to be a little smaller than the red paper. Use double sided tape or glue to secure the white paper on top of the red paper.
With the thick black marker, draw the love bug’s head over the heel of the foot, and color it in. Then draw a stripe down the center of the foot, and add legs and little black hearts. Use the thick-tipped marker to write “LOVE BUG” or “LOVE BUGS,” below the toes of the footprint, writing the letter “O” as a heart.
Cut out little circles from the extra white paper. Glue these onto the bug’s head, and add pupils with one of the black markers. (Sophie helped me with this part!)
Then use the thin-tipped black marker to add a heart at the end of each antenna, and write your kids’ names at the bottom of the Valentine. Use the red marker to fill in the antennae hearts and the heart in the word “LOVE.”
There you have it! This is the perfect valentine idea for your little one to send to loved ones – it’s so cute! If you missed the “blowing kisses” handprint valentine, the bumblebee footprint valentine, or the footprint heart valentine, be sure to check those out, too!! (You can also click the links under each of the images below!)
If you end up making any of these DIY valentines, PLEASE tag me @hannahbeeolson! I’d love to see them!! Happy crafting! 🙂