Toddler-made Christmas gifts: Hand- (and foot-) painted picture frames

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a toddler-painted photo frame is worth a thousand hugs.

That’s why Peeper and I crafted this gift for her Grandma and Grandpa this Christmas.

When Eric and I were discussing what to give his parents this holiday, he mentioned that what they’d really want was a photo of Peeper. Eric’s mom is big into family lineage, and her walls are lined with pictures dating back to Great-great-great Uncle Obediah. (Seriously.)

So I dug out some cheapie Ikea frames that had been sitting empty for too long for me to admit here, and we got to work. This is a fantastic last-minute gift and would work well for any occasion (or, heck, a project for a kid’s birthday party!).

Toddler picture frame - Ten Thousand Hour mamaToddler Picture Frame - Ten Thousand Hour mama

Really, the project is simple. I just took the white mats out of the frame, poured paint and let Peeper go all Picasso on them. If your kids are a little older, the craft will be a lit less messy. If you have toddlers, too, then here are a few tips:

1. Do a floor routine. If you’re using a small frame and mat, your tot can probably paint it on the high chair. If you’re using a big one (like we did), try the floor. I cut a paper grocery bag and taped it to the linoleum as a back drop (and later used it for wrapping paper! two birds with one stone!); just don’t do this if you have hardwood floors.

2. Go minimalist with colors. Pour only a few colors onto a palette (or, in our case, a paper plate) at a time: If you offer the whole rainbow at once, it’ll turn into a brown smear in no time.

3. Guide their art. I had to strategically place the mats every so often so Peeper painted the whole thing. This may or may not have involved picking her up and planting her feet, which she prefers to paint instead of paper, on white sections of the mat.

4. Be prepped to clean up. Have a damp rag handy to wipe up your kitchen. I’ve had great luck getting Crayola washable paints off walls, linoleum, the fridge and the oven. You’ll also want to have everything prepped for the bath, because if your kid is anything like mine, she’ll need to get hosed down immediately after the craft.

Happy holidays and happy gifting!

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