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I’m trying to make a Mother’s Day art project with my toddler. My idea is to trace their hand on some special paper, use a craft knife to cut the hand outline out, and then pull off the hand. My toddler would then paint the paper, and once done, I would pull off the entire top layer of paper so only the hand print persisted.

Does paper like this exist? What’s it called? Any recommendations on where I can obtain it?

Bonus if a kind of paper exists that reacts to heat and causes it to dissolve, letting me use a laser printer to cut out the hand print instead of a knife for better accuracy.

Thanks!

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What you are looking for is called frisk or frisket film. While not a single piece of paper with removable top it allows you to create essentially the same set up.

Frisket is a thin film sheet with low tack adhesive on one side. You attach it to your paper, cut out your shape, lift off the sections you want to paint, then let your child go to town on it. When done just lift off the frisk. Some are even reusable so you can make multiple versions.

It is basically a stencil that sticks to the paper. I have used it often when doing air brush work and it is very versatile and easy to use.

You could even cut it before attaching to the paper, so the laser cutter option is there too.

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    This worked perfectly. It was super easy to transfer the image onto via tracing and then cut it out using an exacto knife. Thank you! The only issue I had with it is it didn't work in my laser printer and ended up jamming it ... which should have been obvious to me since laser printers use heat to adhere the toner and the thin film will obviously melt given enough heat. – Kyle May 11 at 18:29
  • Ah... right. When you said laser printer I read laser cutter. Glad it worked for you! – rebusB May 12 at 19:40
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While Elmy has the right idea with masking tape, I have found that, in practice, even the gentlest painter's tape tends to tear up paper.

What you want here is temporary repositionable adhesive (glue). It's available under a variety of brand names (Aleene's Repositionable Tacky Spray, Aleene's Tack-It Over and Over, Elmer's Craftbond Repositionable Glue, 3M Spray Mount Repositionable Adhesive, etc). These glues come in a variety of forms (spray, stick, and liquid) and function much like the line of glue on the back of a Post-It note--they hold in place, and peel away easily. Because of how gentle the glue is, it's very unlikely to damage paper when pulled away.

In a project like yours, you may wish to use a stick or stick and spray combination, to ensure you get enough adhesive around the edges of the cut-out to prevent glue from bleeding underneath. Cut the paper, run the glue around the cut edge, and follow the instructions on how long to let it dry before adhering it to your heavier ground, pressing along the cut edge to ensure it's as sealed as possible before giving it to the child to paint.

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    Thanks. I'm going to hold off on giving an accepted answer until I try the project out myself and see which works for me. – Kyle May 5 at 18:47
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    This made me think of masking liquid where you could paint out the areas you don't want painted. Basically like rubber cement with different solvents, but rubber cement will do in a pinch. Super handy with water colors, but probably a little to fragile for this situation. – rebusB May 9 at 13:55
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    I opted to use rebusB's solution, but your solution would have worked too. I tried your solution and the adhesive definitely worked, but frisk film was much easier to use and required much less effort. Thanks! – Kyle May 11 at 18:31
  • Could the downvoter explain what they find wrong with this answer? – Allison C May 13 at 13:38
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    For toxicity and mess of spray glues. But OP said it worked so I'll fix it. – rebusB May 13 at 15:33
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I hope I understood your plan... You want to create an outline of the hand, let your toddler draw all over the place, then remove any paint from outside of the outline?

That's exactly what masking tape / painters tape is there for.

You should probably use a somewhat thicker paper or white cardstock as your base. Cover the whole project with a layer of masking tape and outline the hand of your toddler. Then carefully cut through the masking tape along the outline and remove the masking tape inside the outline. Let your toddler have some fun with paints and when they are finished and everything is dried, you peel off the remaining masking tape.

If your child is supposed to color the hand with pencils, the masking tape could be dislodged in places. I think crayons would work very well for this project and create a nice, sharp outline.

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    Thanks. I'm going to hold off on giving an accepted answer until I try the project out myself and see which works for me. – Kyle May 5 at 18:47

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