Maybe it’s never even occurred to you; or maybe you’ve been dying to do it ever since you got pregnant. Either way, belly painting can be a fun way to express yourself when you have a beautiful, round baby belly.
Belly painting is an activity that is quickly becoming more popular, but it’s not new; in fact, it’s a variation on a tradition that is thousands of years old. The roots of belly painting can be traced back to the tradition of applying a natural plant dye known as henna to the skin in intricately patterned designs. Henna designs were believed to bless and protect a mother and her baby during pregnancy and delivery.
Today’s belly painting experiences can range from spiritual to simple entertainment. But either way, having someone carefully paint your skin – whether it is henna or paint that is being applied – can be a very calming or soothing experience for an expectant mother. To make the most out of your belly painting experience, follow these tips:
Belly Painting Tips
- Be safe: Use paint that is designed for the skin, not latex or acrylic paint. Face or body paint is probably the easiest to use; you can also make your own paint using face cream.
- Do a test run: Test the paint on a small area of your skin first to make sure that it applies smoothly and is not irritating – and to make sure that you’ll be able to take it off when you’re ready. It’s also a good idea to do a practice run of your design so you know how to paint it and what it’s going to look like. If you’re doing your own painting, set up a mirror in such a way that you can comfortably see what you are doing.
- Stay protected: Wear washable clothing and protect the area around your paint job with newspaper or a tarp.
Once you’re ready to get going, you can let your imagination run wild:
Belly Painting Ideas
- Seasonal ideas: Winter snowman, Valentine’s Day heart, Easter basket, summer beach ball, Fourth of July fireworks, Halloween pumpkin, Thanksgiving turkey, Christmas ornament.
- Personal favorites: Sports team logo, college mascot, favorite flower, interpretation of your favorite artwork.
- Creative designs: Fishbowl, baby face, globe, watermelon, arrows, sun, moon, stars, good luck symbols, image of a baby in utero.
Also you don’t have to limit yourself to pictures of “things.” One idea is to do your belly painting at a party or shower and have everyone autograph your belly or let everyone contribute her own design. Another possibility is to get siblings involved and let them do handprints on your belly.
Last but not least, don’t forget a camera (or a video recorder) to document your experience. You’ll want to be able to show your little one how beautiful you looked when you were pregnant, and how excited you were for his or her arrival.