How To Create A Baby Art Attack

I’m no Neil Buchanan, but that doesn’t stop me from uttering – and adding to – these most famous of words…

“This is a (baby) Art Attack. THIS is a (baby) Art Attack. THIS IS (baby) Art Attack!”

In case you haven’t gathered, this post is about babies and art, namely Baby L’s recent quest to become the next big thing in the art world. This journey has not only seen her create a stunning, contemporary painting all on her own, but has seen it take pride of place in a National Art Gallery…if National Art Gallery means our living room wall.

Let me give you some context. On moving into our house, we put a picture up on the wall behind our sofa. This was one of the “Keep Calm and Carry On” posters which I had framed and gave to Hay as a present. This was way before the whole “Keep Calm” movement took over the entire world and was actually pretty cool six or so years ago.

But now we have come to hate it. It is everywhere. No, I don’t want to “Keep Calm and Go Shopping”, “Keep Calm and Eat Chocolate” or “Keep Calm and Love One Direction” – what I actually want is for the motto to “Keep Calm and Piss Off”, starting with getting off my frigging wall. There was an issue though – the wall around the picture had faded, meaning that we had the choice of keeping it up, taking it down and having a two-toned wall, or replacing it.

We chose option three. Or at least we attempted to. We spent the best part of six months looking around shops trying to find something we liked, but alas, everything was shit. That’s when the missus had a brainwave (I know, I was surprised).

Why don’t we make our own? Buy a big canvas, get some paint, then let Baby L go to town (metaphorically speaking, she’s a bit too small to get on the bus herself). So that’s exactly what we did.

After ordering some stuff online and sending the missus off to Hobbycraft – her subsequent struggles to put the car seats down and get the canvas in the car could actually be a blog post in itself – we had everything we needed and were ready to crack on. This included:

paint and canvas

Paint and a large canvas – two pretty critical components if you want to paint a canvas.

  • Step 1: Strangely, the first step involved no paint at all. Instead, it involved putting masking tape onto the canvas in a pattern. We decided to go with a kind of random design, which in hindsight looks a bit like a spiders web or explosion – we chose a centre point on the canvas and then worked outwards with lines from that point. An idea we toyed with was writing a word, but decided against that. In case you’ve never seen 60 Minute Makeover, the masking tape protects the surface from paint, meaning that when you peel it off, you’re left with white lines underneath. Magic!
  • Step 2: In order to create a contrast between the white lines under the masking tape and the rest of the canvas, we decided to give it a light purple wash of paint – a technique I picked up on the quite awesome show Watercolour Challenge. We did this by mixing paint on a paper plate, then sponging it on, ensuring that it was all painted in the same direction.
Painting canvas

Step 1 and 2: Putting on masking tape and sponging on a light wash of paint. What a work of art already!

  •  Step 3: Once the canvas had dried, it was time for Baby L to shine. The idea was to use a few different colours to build on top of each other as the painting progressed. We chose black to start with and poured it onto a paper plate. To avoid mess, we decided to strip Baby L down to her nappy and I too decided to get my kit off – I have plenty of photos of myself in just my boxers if anyone is interested? We’d looked for baby safe paint, i.e. stuff which is mainly water based and non-toxic. However, we couldn’t find any and only really came across ink pads. So, we decided to instead just be REALLY careful and ensure no paint got anywhere near her mouth / eyes. The best method I found was to just dip one hand or foot in the paint at any time, which meant that the danger could be controlled. When done with a hand, use a wet wipe to clean it, then move onto the foot. Another good tip is to take a leaf out of Tom Cruise’s book and use his Mission Impossible technique – if you hold the sprog by the waist parallel with the floor, her hands naturally wanted to touch the canvas and move away from her pretty little face. We then just let her do what she wanted, when she wanted to create random paint smudges all over the canvas. Then leave to dry.
  • Step 4: Repeat Step 3, this time using a different colour. Do this as many times as you want until the canvas is covered and you’re happy with the random baby markings. We used four different layers of paint – black, grey, purple and a darker purple.
Baby art paint collage montage

Step 3 and 4: Strip your baby, strip yourself, get out the paint, let them go crazy, repeat.

  •  Step 5: When the paint has fully dried, take off the masking tape for the big reveal. If everything has gone to plan, then you should be left with some nice clean lines which run throughout the painting.
  • Step 6: Hang the canvas on the wall. Stand back and admire it. Contact the local press to tell them that you’ve produced and unearthed an artistic genius.
Baby wall art canvas

The many stages of Baby L’s canvas from start to finish.

I know that parents are often overly proud of their child’s accomplishments and may wear the rosiest of rose-tinted glasses, but I’m pretty bloody pleased with the end result from our baby Picasso. The colours go with our living room perfectly, it is a talking point, it is great to know that we did it as a family and it is pretty cool to see random baby footprints, handprints and fingerprints dotted throughout the painting.

What do you reckon? Have you ever done anything like this with your sprog before? Do you want to buy it – I’ll start the bidding at £2k.

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  • Beau Blue

    Aww i love this!! Good work Baby L! I think we may do something similar as it looks amazing!

  • Baby L is an artistic genius!
    Be warned though….my father in law is an artist. He wears a bandana at all times (including my wedding day) and he never has any money.
    Is this the future you want for her?
    And PS. I love One Direction. And I can’t keep calm about it. I’ve tried.
    Perhaps I should see a therapist)?!

    Lush post x

    • I’ve been saying you should see a therapist ever since we first crossed paths. The bandana is a bonus in my eyes, but the no money isn’t. Don’t want her to be mooching off me now!

  • Dohigh Dawn of the Dad

    I’ve been waiting to see the final product and wow! I’m definitely going to be giving this a go. Pride of place above the mantle 😀

    • Thanks buddy – turned out better than we hoped! Let me know how you get on 🙂

  • Love this idea. It looks fantastic! Definitely will give this a go when the Bald One is a bit older. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks 🙂 Bald One haha. I assume you mean the baby and not the other half? Good luck!

  • Kirsten Toyne

    I love this. My blog is about the emotional side of raising kids (The Guilt Free Guide) so I normally comment on those topics, but i saw your photo and I had to take a look as I love doing art stuff. My boys are older but I already have a plan to get them doing some slight variation of this soon. thanks for that. #MMWBH

    • Ooooh sounds interesting – keep me updated with what you have planned. Cheers for stopping by 🙂

  • Love stuff like this created as a family. Well done. I’m sure the Turner Prize will be in touch soon #sharewithme

    • They better bloody be, how am I supposed to get rich if she doesn’t win any awards! Thanks 🙂

  • Mama MKDPR

    What a cool and creative idea. Love it. I’m off to try something similar…

    #MMWBH

  • Random Musings

    What a fantastic idea! So personal and looks amazing too. #MMWBH

    Debbie

    • Thanks Debbie – yeah that’s what we liked about it – could have turned out crap but we’d have still liked it as we did it together and it won’t be replicated. Particularly like the little hand prints etc you can spot.

  • Haha, brilliant idea! I bet she had lots of fun painting! And the painting turned out pretty nice!

    • Thanks! She did actually cry for 3 of the 4 times we painted, so not sure if we traumatised her or not! Feel like one of those pushy parents 🙂

      • Oh boy, when going into regression therapy when 20 years old, this is what she’ll remember as the moment things went wrong..: My parents made me goof around with paint! 😉

  • This is fantastic! I’m definitely going to give this a go – we have a wall looking for a piece of art right now and that would be perfect!! I also loved your reference to watercolour challenege haha! xx #MMWBH

    • Thanks 🙂 Sounds good, let me know how you get on. Haha, I totally forgot about that show until I was writing and it brought back memories!

  • Mornapiper

    This looks fantastic, I would love to try it. I must admit I read this at work with my two colleagues looking over my shoulder both going ‘but look at the wooden floors! Their house will be wrecked’. I think I might need to cover my house in the equivalent of a giant condom before undertaking this project. I really like the effect with the masking tape though. In fact I like it so much I’m adding it to my Pinterest board – you’ve really arrived now!! #MMWBH

    • Thanks! And cheers for sharing, I’ve definitely made it now as Pinterest scares me a bit! Luckily our floor has many a colour in it, so most of the grey and black blended in. I jest, you can let your colleagues know that it all came up with wet wipes – I’m sure they struggled to sleep tonight not knowing the outcome…

  • What a fantastic idea….It looks like you had a lot of fun!

    • Thanks Kim – not sure if ‘fun’ is the right word, more a means to an end as we needed something for the wall and had already bought the canvas 🙂

  • FANTASTIC! I’ve been waiting for you to post this since you published the finished product on Instagram. I’m going to try it myself with my 16 month old. She’s got a penchant for paint (so much so that my walls are splattered with them–thank goodness for water based paints, right?) and we have the same dilemma in our home that you did. Hopefully it’s as successful as your project was. Thank you for sharing this, Dave! It’s such a stunning inspiration.

    • Thanks Maria 🙂 Sounds good, keep me updated with how you get on. Although if your little girl likes getting it on the walls, how about you turn your house into a giant canvas?! Wow, “stunning inspiration”, never had those words said to me before without the words “you’re not a” in front of them 🙂

  • I say start selling them. What a great project and it looks great in the end for your wall. Be proud it’s great! Thank you so much for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

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