How You Can Do It, And A Collection Of Ideas For What To Paint

Whether it's for Halloween or Easter -- or just for fun -- belly painting is catching on! Here's how you can do it, and a collection of cool ideas for this way to make a unique memory of your pregnancy.
Nancy J Price

belly art

Have a ball!
Almost nothing suits a bulging belly more than playing up its spherical shape! Go for anything from a beach ball to the ball for your favorite sport (such as baseball, basketball, bowling, soccer or tennis). You can also decorate yourself with a sports team emblem or a side-view of a helmet. Or go national with a flag or country's symbol -- such as the Stars and Stripes, the Union Jack or a maple leaf.

They're all a-round
Other inspiration includes everything round. Here are some ideas -- from the silly to the sublime:

Mother Nature
Angel or baby face
Owl or other animal face
An egg cracking open
Art imitates life
CD (or vinyl record)
Crystal ball
Jack o' Lantern
Nose of a plane
TV screen
Hat (Stetson or sombrero)
Top of a cake
Dinner plate
Scoop of ice cream
Ice cream sundae
Donut with sprinkles
Bagel with cream cheese

Who says you always have to think "round" when you paint your belly? Paint whatever you like -- whatever means something to you. Sunbursts, spirals and kaleidoscopic images of all kinds are fun.

belly artWhile simplicity is an asset for such a convex canvas (one with a sometimes-wiggling occupant, no less), you might want to do something a little bit different. For example, some moms choose to depict a version of baby's life in the womb, an image of baby bundled in a blanket, or simply paint a welcome message with lip-prints kisses, handprints and hearts. Want more ideas? Paint a landscape of an ocean view, a mountain range or even a sunset. Draw a bird flying through clouds, a bunch of flowers or even a rainbow. What else fits? Think about what you would have in front of you -- maybe an open book or a computer keyboard.

And remember: You don't have to paint with traditional strokes. For example, you can use the brush end-on to make a pointillism (paint in dots). Also think about trying other techniques, such as using sponges or stencils... or even just your fingers (or the older sibling's fingers and handprints)!

Belly bonding
Who says belly painting is just for you and your kids? It can be a fun thing to do with some other expectant friends!


In 2001, a group of women from Washington trained for Danskin's women's triathalon, a fund-raiser to find a cure for breast cancer. "We spent the hot summer months swimming in the river, rising our bikes and getting up early to run before it was too hot," said Jennifer Wright. Their husbands cheered them from the sidelines when they raced in August, 2001 -- when they swam half a mile, biked 12 miles, and then ran just over 3 miles.

One year later, eight of the women who trained (and five who participated in the triathalon) prepped instead for the marathon of labor. "One by one, we each got pregnant," says Jennifer of their coincidental pregnancies. "In celebration of this beautiful occasion, we all gathered for an evening of belly painting. This was another opportunity to celebrate our growing bodies and friendships."

What you need
You can either make your own paint (see recipe below) or buy some face paints. Amazon offers both a Family Makeup Kit or Paint Yourself Wild: An Animal Face Painting Kit, either of which might work for you. For black lines, use a black eyeliner pencil. (You might have use for other colors of eyeliner, too, depending on your design.)

Face paints are made to be gentle on the skin, and shouldn't stain. (That said, test any paint on a hidden section of your body before slathering your belly in blue and orange if you're concerned it might not all come off right away.) Cold cream works well for face paint removal.

Here's how you can make your own face paint at home!

For each color, you will need:

  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon water
  • 1/2 teaspoon cold cream
  • Food coloring
Mix all of the above ingredients in a small bowl, egg cup or in a muffin pan. (Use a different container for each color.)

Before you start to paint, protect the entire area with a dropcloth. You will probably want to sit down, so make sure you're comfortable. (And if your belly is very big, you may not be able to color the underside where it touches the tops of your thighs without a little work.) Wear washable clothing (keeping in mind that the paint may not wash out entirely) and make sure your belly can be painted on without fabric getting in the way.

Capture the moment
Just as important as the paint is the camera. You simply have to capture the moment -- your baby's scrapbook would be empty without it. Document the whole process (maybe even shoot some video) so you have pictures of every step!

When photographing your belly, be sure to get shots from several angles and some close-ups. You might want to hold up an empty picture frame to "frame" your belly art. Alternatively, you can pose next to a mirror to get both sides of your tummy in the shot.

Have fun, and happy painting!

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