The Gerber Life Parenting Blog

DIY Crafts: How to make a plaster cast of your child’s hand or foot

November 27, 2015

Plaster cast hand- and foot-printKids seem to grow up overnight. Although you can’t stop the hands of time, no matter how much you’d like to try, you can capture a fleeting moment of your child’s formative years by creating a plaster cast of his or her hand or foot. As your child grows, it can be fun to reminisce about how small he or she used to be.

This DIY craft project – how to make a plaster cast – is easier than you might think.

What You’ll Need:

  • Medium-sized, disposable container, about 4“ deep (for example, an aluminum roasting pan, cardboard box, or plastic container)
  • Play sand, available at most home centers and garden centers
  • Water
  • Package of Dap Plaster, available at craft and home improvement stores
  • Disposable plastic bucket that has a pouring lip
  • Dry and wet measuring cups
  • Wooden paint stirrer
  • Paint brush
  • Strong string or wire (optional)
  • Watercolor paints


This project can get messy. Before getting started, select a shady location outdoors or else cover an indoor work area with old newspapers or a large plastic drop cloth to protect your household surfaces.

    1. Place the play sand into the container and lightly wet the sand with water. The sand should be just damp enough (not soaking wet) to hold its shape when a hand or foot is pressed into it.


    1. Gently smooth the surface of the sand, to prepare it for taking the impression. Make sure that the sand is slightly loose, not packed tightly, and long and wide enough for making a good impression of your child’s hand or foot.


    1. Have your child press his or her hand or foot into the sand, pressing down firmly to make a good, clean impression. If you don’t get a good impression the first time, simply mix the sand, smooth it, and try again.


    1. Mix the plaster in the plastic bucket, following the instructions on the package. Be sure to mix the plaster thoroughly to eliminate any lumps.


    1. After mixing the liquid plaster, you will need to work quickly before it begins to set and harden. Gently pour or spoon the plaster into the impression of your child’s hand or foot, filling to the top of the void.

Tip: Pour close to the impression, not from high up, to avoid disturbing the impression.

    1. Lightly smooth the top of liquid plaster.


    1. If you want to be able to hang the plaster cast, to display it, gently press a loop of wire or strong string into the plaster to make a “hanger.”


    1. Allow the plaster casting to sit undisturbed until the plaster is fully hardened.


    1. Gently pull the sand away from the plaster casting, and brush any remaining sand from the surface. Let the casting cure overnight, until completely dry to the touch.


  1. After the casting is dry, you can let your child paint the surface with watercolors.


This technique can be used to make a plaster casting of a number of other objects as well, so be creative!

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Categories: Parenting Tips
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