Sunday, June 16, 2013

Father's Day Finger Painting

This is Dan's second Father's Day as a daddy. (Third if you count the fact that I was six weeks pregnant for Father's Day 2011.) I thought that it would be really nice if Lucas could make him something, which is kind of difficult when you consider that Lucas is 16 months old and the only thing he knows how to make is messes. But I didn't let that deter me. Along with everyone else on Pinterest, I had seen the idea of "writing" your child's name with painter's or masking tape on a piece of paper, allowing them to finger paint over top of it, and then peeling off the tape to reveal a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. I figured that would be something a 16 month old could do, and it would have the added bonus of keeping him occupied for a little while. I had a pack of three canvases that I bought at least four years ago with the intentions of making some sort of awesome craft project that never actually got made (shocking,) so I took one of those and put the words "World's Best Daddy" on it with painter's tape. (Pro Tip - if you're going to do this, try to find a phrase that doesn't use a capital "B" in it. That one letter alone took me 10 minutes.)

Using a finger paint recipe that I found here, I mixed up some paint. (If you're too lazy to click the link, the recipe is 3 Tablespoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup corn starch, 2 cups water. Mix them together in a pan, then heat and stir on the stove until it thickens. Let it cool, then spoon it into containers and add food coloring. Add more food coloring than you think you need, because it will look lighter than you expected when painted onto paper/canvas.) For the record, this paint came off of our skin really easily, and it also washed out of my clothes with no stains left behind, even though I didn't put the clothes in the wash until the next day. But don't wear your favorite outfit or anything. I can't guarantee that you'll have the same experience. It probably depends on the food coloring you use. Please don't sue me.

While I was making the paint, Lucas occupied himself by doing this:

I took the paint, canvas, Lucas, and a whole roll of paper towels; stuck them all in a giant box on my back deck; then climbed in myself. (It was a really big box.) At this point, I expected it to be like every picture I've ever seen of a child finger painting, ever. My child would be elbow-deep in paint, gleefully coating the canvas, box, and himself with all of the paint he could get his hands on. Instead, Lucas confirmed something that I was starting to suspect - he hates getting dirty. He tentatively stuck his fingers into the paint, immediately regretted his decision, tried to wipe his hand off on his shirt, realized too late that I had removed his shirt and that he was wiping paint on his chest, then just stared in dismay at his messy hand and torso.

I eventually got him to do a little bit of painting by doing it myself while making ridiculously over-excited noises to show how fun it was. The rest of the "painting" was from Lucas sitting on the canvas while playing with paper towels, walking across (and occasionally falling onto) the canvas while trying to escape the box, and halfheartedly wiggling his legs across the the bottom of the canvas.

However, we ended up with a gift for Dan that he can hang in his office until we can replace it with a piece of art that Lucas makes willingly (instead of one that his mean mommy forced him to make.)

See the big red splotch next to the letter B? That's where I tried to put Lucas's footprint onto the canvas. He screamed like I was trying to chop his foot off.

When it was dry, I peeled off the tape and then sprayed it with a clear acrylic coating to hopefully help preserve it. (I have no idea whether that last step was actually necessary.)

Lucas proudly gave his present to Dan (ok, he actually looked at it like he'd never seen it before), and Dan really likes it, so we'll classify this as a success.

Hope everyone had a wonderful Father's Day (and that no one else's gift made their children quite as angry as this gift did.)


  1. I always love the way you write/describe things!
    Aunt Abby :)

  2. this is the coolest idea ever. i'm going to get to see my nephews in august and i have a few canvases lying around (those genius canvas art projects never seem to get made with anyone i think). i'm totally going to do this with them. not for father's day obviously, but maybe with their names?

    also, this may sound creepy but i mean it in completely non-creepily, you have really pretty eyes. both of you.

  3. Aunt Abby - Thank you!

    Sarah - If you do it, post pictures! And thank you!! My eye makeup was busy traveling halfway down my face, but I still liked the picture. :)

  4. Aww, I love the photos! My daughter is similar with not liking to get dirty. For Father's Day, I tried getting her footprints on paper in the shape of a heart and she was freaking out over the feeling of her foot squishing into the paint! Once I did it with her little brother she was a little more into it but she is a total clean freak! A little dirt on her, she asks for a wipe. Something spills, she needs to clean the table! lol No idea where she gets it from!

  5. Anna - Thanks! I always thought kids were supposed to love getting messy! I guess our kids didn't get the memo...