The Challenge: To perform a successful Valentine’s Day craft with two toddlers – my niece (age 2) & my son (age 2.5).
My Inspiration: I found this adorable craft on Pinterest and figured it seemed easy enough to accomplish with the kids.
What I Need:
- A white canvas
- Acrylic paint (3 colors – Pink, Purple, Red)
- Thin cardboard (I used a discarded food box)
- Masking tape
- Paint brush
Who is Helping Me: The toddlers! I needed their willingness and their paint covered index fingers to accomplish this craft.
Who is NOT Helping Me: The toddlers! They didn’t quite understand the concept of singular fingerprints and they wanted to go hog wild finger painting. I had to be very controlling during the process – see below.
Also, I went to the eye doctor shortly before editing the photos for this post… I had my eyes dilated which robbed me of my close-up vision so my ability to edit the photos was severely inhibited.
How I Did It:
- I went into my word processor and typed the letters” L,V,E” and increased their size until I felt they were appropriately proportional to the size of the canvas. I also found a heart clipart and increased its size until it was similarly proportional to the letters. I printed the letters and the heart out.
- I cut the letters and the heart out from the paper and taped them to the cardboard. I used the printed letters as my “stencil” for cutting the cardboard. I left the printed letters attached to the cardboard with the masking tape. Since I’d be using the cardboard letters a stencil on the canvas, I didn’t worry about perfection.
- I positioned the letters and the heart where I wanted them and taped them down to the canvas using the “tape loop method”. The “tape loop method” is when you fold a piece of tape into a cylinder so that you make a sticky-side-out loop for taping stuff together.. I know ya’ll know what I’m talking about… I just don’t know what the fancy technical term for it is. I covered the entirety of the letters in masking tape before I taped them to the canvas so that they’d hold up a little better.
- I splooged a small amount of each colored paint onto a paper plate, sat the toddlers down and
forcedinvited their compliance. I took the hand of one kid at a time and gently dipped their index finger into one of the colors of paint and instructed them on how to make a fingerprint. After each kid made a sufficient amount of prints in that particular color, we’d move onto another color. We repeated this method until the canvas was very full of finger prints. I had to hold and guide their hands quite a bit. They both wanted to just smear paint all over the canvas wherever they pleased. Again, I will remind you that I was exceedingly gentle in correcting this unhelpful desire and tried not to rob them of all their fun.
- Once I thought we were finished, I removed the letters/heart and I realized that their little prints were not quite dense enough to distinguish the outline of the letters. I had already washed their hands and they had moved on to playing with toys, so I had to creatively solve this problem on my own. I replaced the letters/heart stencil and found a paint brush and gently blended their prints that were along the border of the stencil. This made the letters more obvious without completely robbing the craft of it’s childlike craftsmanship.
- I removed the stencils and let the canvas dry far away from curious little hands. Here’s the final product:
Would I Do It Again?: Totally! I do think the kiddos may have been a tad too young to fully enjoy and participate in the craft, but with a little
forced encouraged participation, they liked it! They pretty much like anything that involves paint and getting messy, so I don’t think they were phased by the increased complexity of this particular craft. I like what we did with blending the paint around the letters. It looks a little messy, but everything about life with a toddler is a little messy, right?