December 6, 2019

DIY Baby Keepsake – using Homemade Clay!

DIY Baby Keepsake - using homemade clay!

This is a fantastic & frugal way to preserve your baby or children’s footprints or handprints.

They look so professional and yet they are so cheap and easy to make!

Making the Clay

Ingredients

 1 cup Cornflour or Cornstarch

2 cups Bi Carb Soda

1 1/2 cups Water

(Food colouring if you desire)

Method

Place the flour, bi carb and water into a medium saucepan and mix well with a whisk until it resembles runny cream (add food colour at this point if you want a coloured clay).

Place the saucepan over med-high heat and continually stir with a large spoon (making sure you are scraping along the corners of the pan.

The mixture will start to bubble then it will quickly turn into a thick mashed potato consistency (see image).

Homemade Clay

Homemade Clay

Turn this onto a sheet of baking paper and cover with a damp tea towel to cool.

Homemade Clay

Side note *I store any leftover dough for 1month by wrapping it in a damp tea towel, sealing it inside a ziplock bag and refrigerating it.

Making the Baby Print Keepsakes –

It’s then just a matter of rolling out dome dough and stamping some feet or handprints :).

DIY Baby Keepsake - using homemade clay!

DIY Baby Keepsake - using homemade clay!

You then need to place the completed prints in a warm oven to dry out fully (aprox 100degrees or on the ‘keep warm’ setting) – you need to place them directly in the oven so they don’t start to crack as they air-dry. We have learnt that it’s best to place them on a drying rack or a cookie cooling rack inside the oven (this helps to dray the base also). They will need to bake for at least one hour to dry completely – maybe two if the clay is more than 2cm thick.

DIY Baby Keepsake - using homemade clay!

Once they are dry from the oven, and cool to touch you can paint them any colour you like. We used gold and silver spray paint but I would love to do some in some fluro pink and yellow!

DIY Baby Keepsake - using homemade clay!

Once the spray paint has dried I gave them a final coat of clear varnish (in an aerosol form).

I purchased some cheap shadow box frames from our local discount store ($9 – $13). It was then just a matter of removing the insides and sticking some black cardstock to the inside of the frame (using lots of double sided tape). Then I used the glue gun to apply lots of glue to the back of the footprints, glued these to the back of the frame before replacing the glass frame.

DIY Baby Keepsake - using homemade clay!

DIY Baby Keepsake - using homemade clay!

DIY Baby Keepsake - using homemade clay!

I plan to make another one with some white writting on the black cardstock – recording some cute info like his age, weight, number of teeth, favourite toy, etc, etc.

I’m sure you will love doing this craft with your kids or maybe doing it for a friend as a gift like I did.

Please let us know if you give this a try, we’d love to see the photos! You might like to post them on our Facebook page as we are starting a ‘Fan Photo’ Album!

Louise x

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134 thoughts on “DIY Baby Keepsake – using Homemade Clay!

      1. Hi. Am doing it right now. Lovin it so far. Thanks. Just a short question,must we spray paint it immediately or can we wait out till tomorrow?

    1. Hi there, yes bi card soda baking soda are the same thing and can be found in the baking aisle of you local supermarket : ) Jenni x

      1. I was thinking the same Oma 🙂 Maybe baby girl’s hand just after she is born early January, along side brother’s and Mum and Dad’s too. Love this site. I work in a creche and you have some ideas I can use there. Thank you.

  1. Will be definitely giving this a go. Great idea. Can you use just normal play dough instead of making you’re own? And can you dry it out to make it hard?

    1. Play-dough (homemade or store-bought) will NOT work if you intend to create a keepsake, but it is the perfect medium to use as “practice dough” in preparation for making the final product. While your keepsake dough is cooling, roll out some play-dough and practice the art of pressing hand and foot prints. Your baby won’t be so timid when it’s time to press the keepsake dough, and you will have learned a few tips and techniques that make hand/foot printing much easier!

  2. Love love love this!! I did this today with my 4yr old daughter and my 5month old son worked out amazing and soooo easy!! 🙂 love looking at your posts I’m here everyday!! 🙂

    1. Awwww Thanks Crystal! I’m so happy we could help you make this keepsake :). You’ve made my day. Feel free to post a pic to our Facebook page if you like.
      Louise x

  3. Love this! What kind of paint should be used? Can this clay be dipped in laquer to make it shiny/seal it?

    Thanks for the great idea!!

    1. So glad you like it! We used acrylic spray paint and then a spray on acrylic sealer. I’m sure it would dip just fine too. My kids have also painted the clay using liquid acrylic paints and brushes – then I sealed them using the acrylic spray sealer. x

  4. We loved making these, but they are horribly cracked. I put them in the oven after preparing them. Could I have over cooked the mixture? I’m really bummed that we goofed these up but will try them again

    1. Hi Mindy, Sorry to hear this, the only time I had an issue was when I left the dough out on the bench too long before placing it in the oven.
      I’ve since made many things without a problem.
      Louise x

    2. Mindy, I had the same problem I wonder if my oven was too high. I did it on the lowest setting. The joy is the ingredients are so cheap I’m just going to redo at the weekend. Best of luck for your next batch. X

  5. Hi, mine all came out horribly cracked too..I made the dough per the instructions, then i got confused, i thought you were supposed to cool them overnight in the fridge or something, in a ziplock baggie wrapped in a towel..witch I did, and after warming up the dough by kneading it and rolling it out to the right shape..not one of them came out not cracked or worse..also when you roll it out is is supposed to be on a wet towel? so..um can you send me a clearer set of instructions? I am horribly lost. Thanks, alot.

    1. Hi Amanda,

      You don’t need to refrigerate the dough – we only do that with any that is leftover to re-use another day.

      You do need to keep the fresh dough damp (by using the wet towel) then place your keepsake in the oven to bake AS SOON as it’s been made (don’t leave it in the open air or it will start to dry out and crack). When it’s placed directly in the oven it will quickly start to harden and therefore shouldn’t crack.

      I hope the above info helps.

      Louise x

  6. I made this today and my mix was very sticky and the prints kinda grew back out please help tell me what I done wrong hehe

  7. Are you able to write on them? Like instead of putting a foot or hand print?
    if yes, how would I go by doing this?
    I’ll be doing this tomorrow 🙂
    im so excited!

      1. But is it an actual liquid or powder the bi carb has me confused as I don’t know what it is. Thx

  8. I’m excited to try this tonight with my youngest, but I don’t have any spray paint on hand… Can I add color to the mixture while in the pan you think? Thank you!

    1. You sure can :). I’ve even used some glitter in the past. I would still recommend sealing it with a varnish spray if you plan to keep them forever. Louise x

  9. Hi,
    I made these with my 2 year old daughter. It did crack a little bit though I had put it in the oven immediately but when I spray painted it, it looked quite natural. The cracks kind of added to the aesthetics of it.

  10. I’m confused, the comments on here say that bi carb soda is the same as both baking powder and baking soda, however baking powder and baking soda are completly different. Which is it?

    1. Hi Sandra, A very low temp below 100 degrees Celsius – we usually use the ‘keep warm’ function :). Louise x

  11. Argh just made these today, worked perfectly!!! I’ve passed this along to my mummies group who had tried and failed with a different recipe.
    Love it xx

    1. Is anyone able to tell me the weight of the ingredients in grams. In the UK we don’t use cups so I’m struggling to find the right amounts. I really want to make this but as of yet….I’m unable to. Thank you x

  12. Kind of confused as to why theres still no response to my question…especially since there was another person with the same question. Funny how the comments that compliment u get response. If you dont know the answer just say so. Dont worry I figured it out myself. The box of baking SODA says sodium bicarbonate whereas the baking POWDER has sodium bicarbonate plus other ingredients. I would guess baking soda is wht everyone else has used.

  13. I tried this out today. I baked it in the oven at 170(my lowest setting) then moved it up to 200 as it was still not done. After 3 hours I tried to remove it from the cookie rack and it broke in half, the middle was still wet, and it was stuck to the rack. I will try it again tomorrow, any advice would be appreciated.

    1. Maybe try cooking the dough a little longer? I’ve made some very thick ones without a drama. Also keep it under a wet tea towel if you’re not ready to put it in the oven straight away. Hope that helps. Louise x

  14. Ahhh! I just made the Dow and go to preheat the oven and it only goes to 170. They’re is no keep warm function. Is this okay??

    1. That should be fine Sarah – just keep them in until they’re solid…and obviously take them out if you smell smoke ;). Just kidding – I’m sure they’ll turn out great :). Louise x

  15. Hi Louise!
    just thought might be a good idea to add a hole if desired after making the prints to pop a ribbon through for Christmas decorations??! Was thinking a kebab stick? Thoughts? 🙂

    1. Hi Louisea, that’s a great idea! We have made them like that here -http://pagingfunmums.com/2013/12/06/stamped-clay-ornaments/ . We used a drinking straw to make the hole :).
      So happy to have another fellow ‘Fun Mum’ join us here :). Thank you for your comment.
      Louise xx

  16. I made 2 of the handprints. One for the wall and with the other 1 used a straw to poke a hole at the top. After setting and painting I added a bow and hook – my “baby” is 23 and I gave her the one from my wall when she had a child and I use the other one as an ornament on my Christmas tree every year! 🙂

  17. I have a question .do u put the dough ontop the washcloth and cover it or just lay the washcloth ontop? And how long do u cool it for ? Help its really sticky

    1. Hi Kelli, You just need to cover it with the damp cloth so it doesn’t start to dry out. If it’s very sticky it may need a little longer cooking time. It just needs to cool long enough for you to be able to kneed it without burning your hands. Hope that helps. Louise x

  18. I did this same idea using salt dough. This looks nicer. I used a plate hanger and some straight pins to “hang” or secure the keepsake in spathe shadow box and it worked well.

  19. Hey I don’t know how old this is or if you still answer questions but I’m wondering how much one batch makes? Did you do all three of the ones in the picture with just one batch? I just want to do one handprint and one footprint of my baby and I’m thinking half the recipe would be enough. Is it ok to half the recipe or would that affect how it cooks and works. Thanks. I love this idea! I’ve been wanting to do my son’s prints since he was born 3 months ago but the kits at the craft store are so expensive!

    1. Yes, you should be able to halve the ingredients without a drama :). I think half would be the perfect amount. Louise

  20. Hi I made 2 batches of these and they both cracked. I put the dough straight into the oven as required. My oven is gas however and i baked them on 120 for an hour should I possibly have turned the temp up more? Also my dough was quite warm when I baked them as I didn’t wait for it too cool completely, could this be why they cracked? Such a great idea, any suggestions would be great. Thanks. Kim.

  21. Hi! First let me say I LOVE your site!! =) So many awesome ideas!!

    I am getting ready to make these but I have a few questions first… I am going to do my 7 yr old and 8 yr olds handprints, and my 1 yr olds footprints – it’s Dad’s birthday today =) will this make enough for all 3 or should I double the batch? Also, the lowest setting on my oven is 200, is that ok? And last, can I set it on a cookie sheet to cool? Or maybe regular paper? I don’t have baking paper =/ oh yeah, and when you put it in the oven, do you put it directly on the rack or use a cookie sheet? Sorry for all the questions, and thanks in advance! =)

    1. Hi Kyrie, I would suggest making a double batch. Place the completed prints directly onto the cookie racks to dry in the warm oven (this will help the underside to dry fully). We just used the baking paper to keep mess to a minimum and to keep the dough from sticking to our work surface. The lowest setting should be fine – just allow a couple of hours for them to fully dry. Don’t remove them from the oven until they have cooled :). Louise x

  22. I tried this earlier and when it was cooked it all broke and started crumbling should I put the damp towel underneath while we making the foot prints any tips would be really helpful going to attempt again tomoz

    1. Hi Donna,

      It might help to keep a damp towel under it while you stamp it but I think it might be a rapid cooling that makes it crack? I always leave them in the oven to fully cool. Hope that helps? Louise x

    1. Hi Mary, Great question! I haven’t tried using a dehydrator before – I might have to test it out with our next project! As long as your oven is on the lowest possible setting and you keep a close eye on them I think it will be fine. Louise x

  23. This is a great recipe. I made a half batch and added food colouring to the mix before heating. This made enough for eight small footprint ornaments. I would love tips for making handprints. My tip for rolling would be to put corn starch on the rolling pins and also on the hand or foot that you are printing. Waiting for ours to come to room temperature after 1.5 hours on warm & hold oven setting.

  24. I’m terribly late as it looks like this was posted over a year ago but I have a few answers as to why some peoples may have cracked when others didn’t. Since in the article you did not specify that the oven needed to be set to 100 degrees CELSIUS and only said it in the comments, those of us not using that measurement of temperature may very well have had our ovens set too low causing the dough to crack before being cooked enough to dry without cracking. 100 Fahrenheit is only 37 Celsius, this also may explain why some were still wet read: undercooked and why some people don’t even have a setting as low as 100 degrees.

    1. Hi Christi, I’m sorry to hear that, the only time we had this happen was when we left the clay in the open air uncovered before placing them in the oven. I made a batch a few days ago and set the temp much higher (I was in a rush lol) they still turned out just fine. Maybe you could try a higher heat? Sorry I couldn’t be more helpful.
      Louise x

      1. Do you think I didn’t let them cool long enough? I let them sit 20 min, then rolled them and kneaded it. it was still sticky when I took the towel off, but got better after kneading. should I let it sit longer?

  25. I love this and plan to try it for Christmas gifts. Can you use craft paint instead of spray paint? I was thinking of maybe making little reindeer out of her feet.

  26. Loved making this. Worked great. I have an 11 month old granddaughter, and it was going to be difficult to get a good handprint….so I rolled out 4 disks of clay and put one each on seperate paper plates then pressed her hand into them while she was sleeping! I got excellent prints this way! If you do it this way with infants, be sure to wipe their hands clean afterward….the raw claw has a terrible, baking soda taste!

  27. Hi!!
    It’s lovely idea, I m super excited to make this with my 2 month old daughter…. can’t wait….. The only problem is we don’t have oven at home however we have microwave can u Plz suggest the alternative if possible….. Awaiting for ur reply…. Thanks

  28. hi… just planning to make this for my LO. i just want to ask can i put this in microwave??? because i don’t have oven!!!

  29. Hi. Really keen to try this out. Just one questions – does this last long? I live in a hot, humid climate. What are the chances of the dough being devoured by ants and insects? Is there any way of protecting the finished piece from them?

    1. Hi Ankita,

      Ours are lasting really well (unlike salt dough). If you give them a spray with a varnish sealer after they dry that should help to keep them :). Louise x

  30. When you say Bi Carb Soda – Exactly what is this????

    This is a Serious Question and I truly hope it is answered. If you could give me some name brands to use, because I am in Canada, and things are different here.

      1. I am from GER and we only have baking soda to buy. I tried it several times with it and NEVER worked. So I’d say it is not the same.

      1. I don’t think brainless is the best way to respond. How about, “Yes you can get it from the baking section.” There’s nothing wrong with some one not knowing something. But it is wrong to be rude. You’re an adult. Act like it.

    1. No it’s not, it’s bicarbonate of soda. If you cake bake and ever use the wrong one – you’ll know!

  31. Hi
    I loved it! The dough looks so smooth and fantastic.
    And no harm done if bub accidentally licks the hand etc too.
    Thanks so much for sharing.

    Cheers.

  32. Hello!
    I absolutely love this and with father’s day in two weeks I’m looking to recreate last years gift but with a better recipe. I will definitely try yours and thanks for the tip on using the cooling rack in the oven. It should cut down on drying time a lot! Is bi carb the same as baking soda?
    -danielle

  33. Nice project! I recently had a paw imprint made for my Golden Retriever who just crossed the rainbow bridge. Any idea what kind of glaze might protect it? Thanks!

    1. Hi Mark, So sorry to hear about the loss of your dog. I had two Golden Retrievers as a child – such beautiful animals. I would suggest a clear spray on sealer. I’m sure your local hardware store can help you find the perfect one for the job.
      Louise x

  34. Hi,

    That’s a wonderful idea.

    I wanted to know if it’s very strong like rock after baking it, I would love that. Would it break when we handle it after baking? Or do we need to handle it softly and frame it before it breaks.
    THank you….!!!!

  35. Hey, I tried this recipe today but when I mixed 1 cup bi carb ( 250 ml) , half cup corn flour and 9th and a half cup warm water , the mixture was quite thick. It never took any liquid form while I mixed , cooked or baked it ( it failed during baking because it didn’t dry evenly) , but my guess is that I mixed wrong quantity. Please tell me if mixture being thick is normal. And for how long should I cook it if it already looks like mashed potato consistency. Thank you

  36. Hi, I’m trying to make these imprints, but they turn yellowish in the oven, as if burnt in some places 🙁 have any one experienced this? Wonder what could. Be the thr reason….

  37. Hi, can anyone confirm what the quantities would be in grams and ml for UK baking? I tried doing a conversion but I think I must have got them wrong as the clay has continued to dry out and has cracked completely.

    Really disappointed as they looked so good after we’d just done them!

    1. Second wanting to know the quantities in grams! The weight of cornstarch especially can differ so much depending on how you fill the cup (do you scoop? or spoon?). I’ve tried this clay 3 times now and only the first time it turned alright and didn’t crack when drying. I have a feeling cornstarch is the “glueing” component here. I think I usually get the dryness of the mash even,so it must be that the components are different proportions.

  38. Hi,,I cooked the dough and covered with damp cloth but when it was time to roll it out the dough was still extremely sticky?

  39. Mine were beautiful until they started cracking in the countertop oven i used. Didn’t use my regular oven because it’s lowest setting is 170° F. Please help u really want to redo these for fathers day.

  40. I made these today and they just wouldn’t dry out, they have been in the oven for 3.5 hours and are still slightly soft so will leave them out of the oven over night.they are also all cracked too.such a shame as myself and my sister in law looked forward to making these of our babies feet.

  41. Really good idea and so easy to use but mine also cracked and pealed slightly at the edges when baked.might let it air dry next time.

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