Making Memories

“I want to create as many memories as possible during these times – things I can keep forever.”

Instructions for Handprints and/or Footprints

Handprints are like snowflakes- each is unique in the entire world. They are evidence of that preciousness of some we have cherished, long after they are no longer physically with us. These are an intimate way to involve family and to make a priceless treasure for several individuals or just one person.


Handprints and footprints are simple, inexpensive and can be done quickly or slowly. They have even been done with whatever is handy, like chocolate sauce! Just a few helpful hints are listed below. Keep them in a frame or a special box to preserve the paint.


1.  Lay out a waterproof pad to protect/bedding/clothing

2.  Mix paint if using smaller poster board/ paper or dip brush in paint jar. You can pour some out onto a paper/ plastic plate for easier application

3.  Apply paint to hand(s) or foot(s) so you can still see the subtle lines on their hand etc

4.  Press hand or foot straight down onto poster board or card (do not smear/bump hand/foot) Use your fingers or a helper to gently press on their fingers/hand (or toes/feet) to insure complete print.

5.  Lift hand straight up off poster board or card or the lid of memory box (paint dries within 5-min. approx.)

6.  Do more for others if desired, for friend of child, siblings etc to each have their own

7.  Offer to do family’s hands also. (Create “family portrait’ i.e. patient alone, patient with other family members.)

8.  Label handprint with name and date- or allow family to do so.

Saving a lock of Hair:

This may seem startling but it often has been important for parents to have tangible reminders of the details of their child’s body, features etc.


If desired by family, offer obtaining a lock of hair from child, preferably from back of head or neck.


Family may choose to do so themselves or wait until after the child has died.


Use a small piece of ribbon to tie hair lock to keep it together


Keep in a box or at least in a plastic bag until you decide on a more permanent container.

Article contributed by Liz Sumner RN, BSN