Friday Five (#3) – Placenta prints!

Oh placenta prints! I love these things. What is a placenta print you ask? Well, after the placenta comes out, you lay it on a flat surface, pat it dry, and paint it. Then you gently press a flat sheet of white paper over the paint…and voila! You have yourself a bonafide print of your placenta that looks like a tree. Some people paint them in nursery colors and put them on the wall of the baby’s room…after all, it is the organ that helped grow the baby. And, you grew this entire organ all by yourself! For the holiday season, we got a little fancy and made a turkey for a thanksgiving baby and a Christmas tree for a December baby. The mamas loved it.

There are a couple things that I think make placenta prints work:

  1. Use good paints. I like these at Target because they come in a bunch of fun colors, transfer to the paper well, and they are easy to store.
  2. Use good paper. Flimsy computer paper doesn’t work. Thick, watercolor paper bigger than a 8.5 x 11 inch paper is generally best. Some placentas are really big and take up the entire sheet of paper, or, they actually go off the edge of the paper. The more space you have to work with, the more you can play with the cord! I generally pick up a brand like this at Walmart or Target.
  3. Have a good surface. I usually use the delivery table since the placenta is already there and it’s convenient. But any surface will do. You need enough space to lay the placenta and the cord out without running into your paper or paints.
  4. Use 3-4 colors! I love to do a base color, then a color along the spiral arteries, and lastly, a little splotching around the outside of the circle. I find this makes the colors blend and “pop” at the same time.
  5. Lastly, experiment! Some placentas are small and skinny and make more of a little shrub than a tree. Some placentas are huge and take up the entire page. Some have really long cords and you can do things like make a heart. Or make things like turkeys or Christmas trees! One of the coolest things with painting placentas is that if you don’t like your paint scheme or placenta print, you can wipe the paint right off and start over.

This video demonstrates the general idea. Anyone can do a print – I’ve seen dads, techs, sisters, doulas, even the mamas that just gave birth do a print! The one thing I differ on in this video is how she paints the placenta. I like to paint as described above…I’ll see if I can make a video for you guys next time I paint one.

Have a placenta print from your birth that you’d like to share!? Send me an email with your placenta art and we’ll start a photo collection for people to see all the beauty of placentas! Happy Friday!


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