When Henry was born my aunty bought me a hand and foot casting kit. It was one of the best presents I received as it meant I could capture a memory of his tiny hands and feet in the comfort of our own home. Those first couple of weeks where a time when leaving the house just seemed impossible so it was a fabulous activity to keep my mind working- between sleep deprivation and pure house chaos.
The kit I received was the small hand and foot frame kit from a company called Baby Rice. They have a huge variety of different kits but this is the one that I received: Baby Rice Kit. The box contained everything you needed to mould, paint and frame your casts.
Contained in the kit are: instructions, moulding materials, painting materials, glue and the frame.
The instructions are really clear but its a good idea to read through them before you begin and get everything ready. The mixture sets within 3 minutes so you need to have your baby ready to go- as I soon learnt!
They provide plastic cups to measure the ingredients in but I found it easier to use some large red party cups and a tub. Depending on the size of cast you are trying to achieve you mix the relevant amount of alginate powder with the water until all combined. It turns into a white smooth gloop. I found it easiest to measure my mixture first and then mix it directly in the tub I was using for the casting. Once mixed you hold you need to push your babies hand or foot into the mixture so that it is completely coated and hold it in place until it sets. Once set it turns to a pink solid rubber as can be seen below. It takes around 3 minutes to set but I actually found that if I put my little-ones hand in straight away by the time one minute had passed he had had enough and tried to wriggle away. Depending on the mood and temperament of your child I would do a practice run with a small amount of mixture to work out what is best for you.
Once the mixture is set gently pull out their hand or foot and put to one side while you make up the plaster. Really simple- just mix the plaster mixture with water until smooth and pour into the mould. In my first trial I had a lot of air holes so make sure you really top the tub and leave it to set at an angle to fill all the gaps. This is what mine looked like when it was left to set:
It takes a couple of hours to set by the mixture starts to go off as soon as its exposed to air so its best to do your test run and once complete then do the castings one at a time. I completed two hand castings and had enough left for a foot casting. Being honest this was the hardest part. He was not a fan of having his foot in the mixture and it got sprayed all over the kitchen! After a re-group I managed to capture his foot just as he was falling asleep, he was too tired to notice or to be bothered to fight it.
Once dry the pink alginate simply peels away and inside you are left with the cast. use the sandpaper to smooth any rough edges and then coat with the paint. I wasn’t sure about the colour of the paint but when it dried it turned into a really nice metallic pewter. Once all three were dry I assembled the frame and played around with the arrangement.
Once happy you just use the glue provided- a bit like a superglue- to stick the castings in place and leave to dry. I wrote Henrys name and age on the bottom righthand corner of my frame so I would always know when it was taken. It needs more time to set and once set I actually left mine stood up on the kitchen side for a day to check they where all completely secure and not going to fall when hung on the wall. I assembled and then hung up on our kitchen beam.