Belly painting, what it is and how to do it

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Marie-Ange Demory
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  • 1 What is belly painting 
  • 2 When to do belly painting 
  • 3 Who to get belly painting from
  • 4 DIY Belly painting
  • 5 What to draw on the baby bump 
  • 6 How long does it take to make belly painting
  • 7 Which products to use 

Although coming from far away, belly painting has now taken hold in Del Paese and more and more pregnant mothers decide to treat themselves to this very special experience. Haven't you ever heard of it? Belly painting consists of having your favorite theme drawn on your belly. Sometimes it becomes a moment of celebration and sharing with your family to be immortalized with souvenir photos that remain over time. 

What is belly painting 

The term belly painting embodies its meaning. In English, belly means belly, while painting is painting. Another way to call this nice tradition is bump painting, where bump stands for baby bump. You will therefore have all understood that we are talking about that particular form of art that uses the belly of the future mother as a "canvas". 

As you can easily imagine, belly painting was born in the United States. It is often an integral part of another classic of overseas culture, the baby shower, that is, that kind of party that is held during pregnancy in honor of the baby arriving with the people closest to and dearest to the pregnant woman. Both belly painting and baby shower are now widespread throughout Europe, including the country of course. 

When to do belly painting 

The answer is quite obvious: when the belly is quite prominent. Having it painted in the first trimester of pregnancy doesn't make much sense. You better wait at least the second quarter, if not the third quarter. The bigger the baby bump, the more you can indulge in colors. 

An idea, however, could be to have more than one drawing done, to follow the evolution of the pregnancy. We begin by painting the small tummy of the first period and then move on to the "medium" one of the second part of gestation, to finally arrive at the "explosion" near birth. Depending on your availability of time and money (if you decide to have the drawing done by a professional) you can surely pass this "whim" to make the wait more fun. 

Who to get belly painting from

There are real professionals in this sector, the so-called belly artists. They usually have real studios in which they make their creations on bellies, comfortable environments with attention to detail. However, there is also the possibility of receiving them at home, perhaps in the context of a baby shower or an appointment with friends (Covid permitting, of course).

It goes without saying that this is a paid job. Costs vary depending on what you ask for, the type of drawing and any extra services, such as the photographer. The average is 100-150 euros, but take this figure with a grain of salt because it depends on the city and precisely on any "optional".

How to choose the professional? Sometimes simple word of mouth between friends or "belly colleagues" is enough, for example during the preparation course. It is very important to rely on competent people and above all who work in clean environments, using safe products. The skin could pass any harmful substances to the fetus, so you should definitely not take this lightly. To be sure, look for reviews on the person you identify: they could be very useful. 

DIY Belly Painting

As we said at the beginning, belly painting can also be a very pleasant home event. For example, your partner could improvise Van Gogh and decide to try his hand at his grandiose work of art on your belly. Your best friend or sister may want to do the same. There are also tutorials on YouTube to learn. 

If you already have one or more children, painting the baby bump becomes a moment of great complicity with them. Drawing for the upcoming little brother or sister will already make them feel great and involved in your new life. Give them the freedom to express themselves as they see fit, messing around if it happens. It does not matter if the design is not perfect from an aesthetic point of view: it will be perfect from a sentimental one, the most beautiful in the world. And if you really want the "top" one, you can always rely on a specialist.  

What to draw on the baby bump 

The rule is only one: green light to the imagination! Here we can give you just a few suggestions, but what matters is that you like and thrill the subject you choose. Of course there are some more feminine and some more masculine, but most are all unisex. Let's review some of them. 

  • : blue or pink are the classic of the classics, even for belly painting. You can clearly match them to the name of the prince or princess who will arrive.
  • Animals: they are a much loved theme, especially puppies: tender and irresistible. 
  • Fairytale or cartoon characters: from Mickey and Minnie to Bambi, you are spoiled for choice. 
  • Family portrait: it is especially good if there are older children to make them accept the little "intruder" better.
  • Natural elements: flowers, butterflies, planispheres, sun, moon, stars, clouds and so on and so forth, depending on what you like best.   
  • Different themes depending on the period: you can have something different designed according to the time you are or when you will give birth. Here are some examples: a pumpkin for autumn, a Christmas rosette, a blue sea for the summer, a flowering branch for spring, an Easter egg. 
  • Witty Faces: You know the funny face of a newborn making a face? Imagine it on your belly! 

How long does it take to make belly painting

The realization time depends on the design and its complexity. The average for a simple one is 30-60 minutes, but it could increase. Sit back, relax and enjoy the moment - it's all for you. 

Which products to use 

Belly artists know it well: products for drawing on tummies must be as delicate as possible. So keep this in mind if you decide to do it yourself. Security is the very first thing. Look carefully and choose only natural colors, hypoallergenic, without special chemicals and possibly not perfumed. In short, they must not contain anything that could trigger allergic reactions, itching, redness, wheals etc. 

The colors used to make up children's faces during the holidays or at Carnival will be perfect. If they can be used on the little ones they are also ideal for mothers. They are generally water-based colors and are easily removed. So they are just what you are looking for. 

There are belly paints that look like watercolors (you can find an example HERE) and are already equipped with a brush. If you prefer, there are also pencils for children's make-up (in this case for… “make-up”) and colors in tubes, much more similar to paints that can be applied both with brushes and sponges. Or directly with your fingers. 

Here's how to proceed. Always try the color on a small portion of the skin, a bit like you often do with hair dyes. This simple gesture serves to see if there are any reactions from the skin. If even after a few hours nothing strange happens, go ahead for your design! After the usual photos, to remove it, just slip in the shower or in a bathtub and rub lightly with a sponge. Even if the colors are harmless, always pass a generous dose of moisturizer after washing. 

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