I Attempted Kate Middleton's Rainbow Paint Craft with My Toddler—and It Went Surprisingly Well

Hear ye, hear ye, Prince Louis is two years old today! Let me preface this by saying that I, like the rest of the world, was eagerly awaiting the royal (and modernized) tradition of the official social media birthday portrait reveal. But this year I didn’t even need to continually refresh @kensingtonroyal because Kate Middleton went ahead and did the world a solid and revealed a handful of birthday pics of Louis a hair early. As in the day before. (It’s all about the bright spots, right?)

But that’s not all. The Duchess of Cambridge took this year’s portraits (which she snapped herself, amateur photog that she is) a step further by including a craft. Yep, Kate gave all the tired, exhausted, burnt out “mums” desperately searching for something—ANYTHING—to entertain their toddler with, a rainbow DIY. For background, this is a nod to the symbolic gesture of support and gratitude that’s been dotting people’s homes during this pandemic. (Well done, Kate.)

prince louis birthday rainbow craft how to
Rachel Bowie

OK, I’ll bite.

You see, I have a 2-year-old myself who, under the circumstances (no child care, both parents working full-time), has been a constant challenge to entertain. We’ve busted out all our best tricks. We’ve reached into the depths of our imagination to come up with the most outlandish, time-wasting games.

As any toddler mom knows, their attention span isn’t the best at this age. Could I make like Kate Middleton and pull off a Pinterest miracle via these rainbow handprints? Inspired by the birthday boy, I decided to dream up my own directions for Prince Louis’s royal rainbow and test it out.

prince louis rainbow birthday craft how to
Rachel Bowie

I laid out a “drop cloth” (a trash bag that I cut up to be sure it covered the full surface of his toddler table). Then, I grabbed a blank sheet of paper and a piece of foil and pulled up the @kensingtonroyal pic to do my best to match the color scheme.

In an instant, I flashed back to my own preschool education: “Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple—that’s all the colors of the rainbow.” (Well, minus indigo, but we're doing the best we can here.) The Roy G. Biv anthem played in my head as I laid them out line by line on the foil.

Now, the ultimate test: Would my toddler be into it? I brought him over and sat him down. He didn’t resist as I stamped his right hand in the paint and then on the “canvas.” One down. Then, something magical happened. He wanted to do his left hand himself. Before I knew it, I had a Pinterest-perfect craft on the table in front of me. It felt like a beautiful parenting moment. We hadn’t even gotten paint on his clothes!

Two seconds later, I snapped back to reality as my son stamped his hands again and again in the paint, then on the paper (and, subsequently, the thankfully trash-bag covered table)—ruining the beautiful rainbow DIY we’d just laid out. But, as I scrubbed his hands post-craft, I couldn’t help but applaud Kate. With three kids, she’s not a parenting rookie. My guess is she removed the paper instantly post-stamping to preserve Prince Louis’s craft, leaving his work of art (and her memento of this age and time in history) intact.

Will I attempt this craft again in the hopes of getting a “clean” version? Maybe. But I also kind of like the messy result that is part rainbow, part globs of paint all mixed together to the point of turning a purple-y black. (It kind of sums up life right now, no?)

Bottom line, I’m grateful to the duchess for knowing exactly what moms need right now: a mindless—but royally-approved and also beautiful—distraction from the chaos.

Rachel Bowie Headshot

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...