How to Mold a Plaster of Paris Footprint

Written by melissa j. bell
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Making foot and hand imprints is a classic project for kids and adult artists. Children's footprints are often painted with bright colours and used to make gifts such as tree ornaments and paperweights, while artists may use footprint moulds to experiment with cast body-form sculptures. The simplest method of creating footprints is using plaster of Paris, which sets quickly and does not require any complex mould-making equipment or the toxic materials often associated with moulding and casting.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Measuring cups
  • Bucket
  • Water
  • Stirring tool or dowel
  • Paper plate or other flat container

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  1. 1

    Measure 2 cups plaster of Paris and pour it into the bucket. Add 1-1/2 cups water to the bucket.

  2. 2

    Stir the plaster mixture until it is free of air bubbles and has a thick, soupy texture. If necessary, add more plaster or water to get the desired texture.

  3. 3

    Pour the plaster into a paper plate or other flat, shallow container, such as a tray, which will serve as a mould box. Make sure that the plaster is poured about an inch thick.

  4. 4

    Let the plaster sit in the box for two minutes, so that the mixture is slightly more solid.

  5. 5

    Put the mould box on the floor and step into it with the foot you wish to mould. Do not press down all the way to the floor, or your footprint will not have a bottom.

  6. 6

    Hold your foot in the plaster for two minutes, until the mixture hardens further. Remove your foot from the plaster with care.

  7. 7

    Leave the plaster to set overnight, or for at least 12 hours. Remove the plaster footprint from the mould box.

Tips and warnings

  • If you wish to use a container and not a paper plate to hold your plaster, spray the inside of the container with mould release first so that you can separate the dry plaster from it.

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