Crafting with children: Creative plaster artwork

by Malaikha

Plaster is a very diverse but also cheap material which offers a lot of great possibilities for unique art pieces.

The only disadvantage of plaster is that the material feels quite cold when working with it. That is the reason why some small children do not feel comfortable when touching it. However, as soon as they got used to it, it is great fun to muck around with it. And anyway, it is always better to use warm water and there is really a wealth of possibilities for great art works with plaster. Please note that plaster should not be disposed through plug holes, since it will otherwise get hard in the pipes and will block them completely.

Plaster bandages are really nice and easy materials to use, especially for children. They can be purchased in every pharmacy in different sizes and it is very easy to cut them in the requested size and shape by using normal sissors. For the work with the plaster bandages a big bowl of water is needed. The bowl has to be big enough, so that the bandage pieces can be fully dunked into the water. The work with the wet plaster bandages is easy and offers several possibilities. With them it is possible to produce casts of body parts or objects and also a prior made framework designed with different materials can be plastered. To work with plaster bandages it is recommended to put at least 3 layers, so that the product is turning out really hard at the end. After letting it dry for 2 days it is possible to paint it nicely as well. 

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Plaster powder can be purchased in every hardware store. For blending the plaster powder with water there are special small rubber buckets, which are easy to clean after use. The main rule for blending the plaster powder is that the plaster always has to be mixed in the water, not the other way round: Water always first! There are different mixture ratios:

  • For very inviscid plaster: equal one part water and one part plaster powder
  • For creamy plaster which is perfect for pouring: one part water and two parts plaster powder
  • For moulding plaster: one part water and three parts plaster powder

 For coloured plaster, it is possible to add batik dye to the mixture. When working with plaster it is always important to work quite fast, because the plaster gets dry and hard very quickly. There are several techniques to use the plaster powder:

  • Pouring plaster: The plaster is poured into moulding shapes.
  • Plaster relief: The plaster is poured in a big shape before decorating it with small items or casts of them.
  • Plaster dipping: Different items can be dipped into the plaster so that they are getting completely covered and hard.  
A nice idea: Plastering your belly to have a perfect memory of your pregnancy with this crafting set
Proudbody Deluxe Pregnancy Belly Cast Kit

Belly Casts enable expecting moms to create a lasting memory of their pregnancy in the privacy of their home in just 30 minutes. Once made, a belly cast can be left as is for a ...

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Pendants out of plaster

To craft nice pendants using plaster you will need:

  • Plaster powder
  • Small rubber bucket to stir powder
  • Wooden spoon
  • Dishwashing liquid
  • Cookie cutters
  • A box filled with sand
  • Water
  • Paperclips

 Prepare the box with the sand by making sure that the sand is even in the box. Slather the cookie cutters with the dishwashing liquid. This will help later to push out the plaster easiliy. Push the cookie cutters gently in the sand, so that they can stay stable. Prepare a mixture by using one part water with two parts plaster powder, then pour it carefully in the cookie cutters. Also push a paperclip in every cutter because this will act as suspension later. As soon as the plaster is hard enough, it can be pushd out of the cookie cutters and the pendants are ready. They can be painted and used for necklaces, for the Christmas tree or for a mobile.   

Funny bottle figures out of plaster

For the funny figures you will need:

  • Plaster powder
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small rubber bucket
  • Empty plastic bottles
  • Finger paint
  • Accessoires to decorate the figure (wool, funny eyes...)
  • Water
  • Knife

Mix the plaster powder with water to get a creamy dough. Then fill the dough in the plastic bottles. When the plaster is really hard, use a knife to remove the plastic from the plaster.

The plaster figure is now the body. With different accessoires and finger paint you can decorate the body to produce funny dolls. You can use wool as hair, pieces of fabric for clothes etc.

More plaster crafing ideas on Amazon
Teacher's Guide to Plaster Crafting

30 Quick and Easy projects kids can make.

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Ancient looking picture frame out of plaster

For the nice picture frame you will need:

  • Plaster powder
  • Water
  • Wooden spoon
  • Small rubber bucket
  • Plain picture frame
  • Pieces of fabric
  • Paint

Mix the plaster powder with water, then dip the fabric pieces in the mixture. The wet pieces can be draped around the picture frame, that is how we get nice structures.

Instead of fabric pieces and plaster powder it is also possible to use plaster bandages directly, but, however, the fabric pieces make more interesting structures.

When the plaster is completely dry, you can paint it. By using silver or golden paint, you will receive a more ancient looking effect.

Plaster work for home design
Plaster Studio: Mixed-Media Techniques for Painting, Casting and Carving

Return to the origin of the earth and discover a new way of playing in the mud. Raw, friendly and easily altered, plaster is perhaps the most versatile art medium you have yet t...

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The Natural Plaster Book: Earth, Lime, and Gypsum Plasters for Natural Homes

For builders of natural homes (straw bale, cob, adobe, rammed earth, and other natural materials), this unique step-by-step guide takes the confusion out of choosing, mixing, an...

View on Amazon

Updated: 08/01/2012, Malaikha
 
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Rose on 11/27/2013

What a great idea for creating art works!

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