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Art Activity- Sand Casts

I have a great summer activity for you to do with your kids. The two main things you need is a little plaster of Paris and some sand and water. This idea is something I have done myself with kids, but it was an article by Donna Erickson who has a syndicated column with family fun activities that reminded me of it. I hope you have fun. Click here to get the instructions to download and print.

Material: plaster of Paris, water, paper cup, empty quart-size (500 ml) plastic recycled food container, stick or old spoon, sand (do at the beach or use a home sandbox); optional – Paper clip (for hanger), shallow sand molds like fish, sea animals etc. or other shallow molds , natural objects such as shells, rocks, twigs, bark, driftwood

  1. Make a mold in damp sand, at least 2 inches (5 cm) deep.  If doing this at the beach where there is a tide, make sure you do this where it will be above any high tide line for at least 2 hours.  If the sand is dry you can add some water to it.  You could even put sand into a pie plate or old cake pan.  You can make a free-form design with your hands or use a toy mold. Press the mold into the sand to make the shape then remove the mold.  Note: any connecting areas in your design should be at least 2 inches wide to keep the final plaster project from breaking.
  2. Add any additional details to your design.  Rocks pushed into the sand and left there will create depressions in the finished product when removed after the plaster is dry.  An item pushed into the sand and removed before you pour in the plaster will create a raised design.
  3. Natural objects can be pressed into the sand mold and either left there to be incorporated in the final project, removed (as long as no plaster is on top of the item), or used to create designs and removed as mentioned above.
  4. Pour a cup or two of water into the plastic container and add the powdered plaster according to box directions.  Stir with a stick or old spoon.  The mixture should be smooth and thick like a milkshake.  DON’T over stir. This will cause the mixture to set up too quickly and makes the final product weaker.
  5. Pour the plaster into your sand mold, spreading it evenly to all areas with the stick.  Dispose of any left-over plaster in the garbage NOT a sink or toilet
  6. If you want to have a hanger on your art, poke a paper clip halfway into the plaster at the center top as the plaster thickens. If the project is large you may need to put two paperclips evenly spaced from each other.
  7. Allow the plaster to harden for about 1 ½ hour depending on the size of the mold.  Carefully remove the plaster from the sand.  Any leftover hard plaster should also go in the garbage. Sand will be stuck in the plaster, making it look like you have a item made of sand.
  8. You can wrap your art loosely in newspaper to let it dry completely.  Carefully brush off any loose sand.  Glue on any additional decorations if you wish. 

Note: This activity has been re-written from Donna’s Day Creative Family Fun by Donna Erickson.

. And please make sure you post pictures of your kids having fun doing it or at least their sand casts when they are done. Click here to get the instructions.

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