Plaster of Paris Handprints

This is another Christmas 2012 gift we made to give to both my and Gordon’s parents. I think it makes a lovely gift for grandparents, but I really want to make more to hang in our house as well because the finished handprints are so lovely!

You will need:

  • playdough or similar (branded works better as the consistency of home made dough can be tricky to get right)
  • a mould (we used a round, shallow pyrex dish)
  • cling film
  • rolling pin
  • plaster of paris
  • paint

To begin, cover your mould with cling film.  Roll the playdough out to approx 1.5cm/2cm thick and place it in the mould, making sure the playdough rises at the edges to create a “bowl.” Ensure the surface of the playdough is as smooth as possible.

Press your child’s hand into the playdough, making sure you press down each finger and their palm firmly but evenly, so as to get a good impression.

Make up the plaster of paris according to the instructions and tap the container of mixed plaster on a hard surface a few times to get rid of as many bubbles as possible. Pour into your mould. Gently agitate the plaster in the mould to remove any remaining bubbles and create a smooth, even cast. Leave to dry for a few hours.

Remove the hardened plaster from the mould, using the cling film to assist. Rub away as much playdough from the plaster as possible, then use a small brush or similar (we used an old toothbrush) scrub off the remaining playdough under a little running water until you have a clean hand print.

Leave the print to dry and harden thoroughly for a few days before painting/decorating it. We first painted the whole cast with white paint, and then painted the hands in different colours.

The only problem with the prints we made is that there is no way of hanging them up! Since making these I have discovered that you can simply press the ends of some ribbon or string into the wet plaster in the mould and this will dry in place and become a hanger.

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7 thoughts on “Plaster of Paris Handprints

  1. That sound like a lovely idea 🙂

  2. rishasiara says:

    Super Idea for a lovely fathers day gift .. off to the shop to get things tomorrow

  3. helen says:

    Hi thanks fir this. We are making a family ‘tree’ of handprint casts and have a few done already but not painted them yet. What type of paint do you recommend to ensure we don’t lose the details of the lines. Thanks

    • Hi Helen. We just used a kids ready mixed paint. We used a small brush to ensure a thin covering so as not to lose the detail and did three or four coats for each handprint. Hope that helps 🙂

  4. joy says:

    how much plaster of paris did you use to make one handprint

  5. Would it be okay to paint them the same day? Wasn’t able to get the stuff until today.

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