Arts and Crafts With Plaster of Paris

Written by joanne thomas
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Arts and Crafts With Plaster of Paris
(Comstock Images/Comstock/Getty Images)

Plaster of Paris is a quick-setting white plaster that is useful for various arts and crafts projects. Working with Plaster of Paris successfully and safely requires some caution, and it is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for preparation. It should only be prepared by an adult, and always in a well-ventilated area. The liquid plaster lends itself to casting and moulding, and when it is dry, the smooth white surface readily accepts paint.

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Handy Jewelry Holder

Make a whimsical “handy” jewellery holder using plaster of Paris and a disposable latex glove as a mould. The method is simple but you have to be patient as the plaster hand will take a long time to dry completely. This craft is easier with two people. You should both wear protective gloves while working. Mix up plaster of Paris, have a friend hold open the cuff-end of a disposable latex glove, and pour or spoon the liquid plaster into the glove leaving about 2 inches of the cuff at the top. Shake the glove to ensure that the plaster settles evenly into the fingers, then hang it in a well-ventilated area to dry. Make sure that you hang the glove so that the top of the plaster is flat. This means you will be able to stand the hand up on a table or dresser. You can leave the hand white or paint it, and optionally glue a set of acrylic nails to the fingers. Use the fingers to hold rings, drape necklaces and bracelets over them, and keep your watch around the wrist.

Hand Print Memory Keeper

Use plaster of Paris as a mould for your children’s hand prints and footprints to create memorable keepsakes. When the kids are older, you can show them how small their hands and feet were. Pour liquid plaster of Paris into a shallow dish, such as an old pie tin or plastic food container. Assist your child with quickly pressing their hand or foot directly into the plaster without wriggling, then immediately remove it. Wash all the plaster off the skin immediately as plaster of Paris can burn the skin with prolonged exposure. Let the plaster dry and turn it out of the dish. You can paint it or use a marker to indicate the child’s name and age or the date you made the casting. If you want to hang the casting on the wall, make a hole in the top with a dowel while the plaster is still wet.

Sidewalk Chalk

Transform plaster of Paris into sidewalk chalk using poster paint. With one batch of plaster you can make lots of chalk, making this craft project an inexpensive alternative to buying sidewalk chalks. Wear protective gloves, prepare plaster of Paris and divide it into several old containers—one for each colour. Add a squirt of paint to each batch and stir it in with a dowel. Add more paint for brighter colours. For chalk moulds, choose from small paper or plastic cups, egg cartons, paper toilet roll tubes with one end taped over, or plastic sandwich bags suspended at an angle so that the plaster pours into one corner. The chalk takes about 24 hours to dry completely.

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