I have been excited to share this post all summer because it is an all-time favorite at our house. Perfect parts messy, colorful, and multi-purpose. This craft is easy, cheap and suitable for a wide range of ages.
>> Recycled toilet paper rolls (Ok. I like them. So what?)
>> Container of molding plaster or plaster of paris
>> Recycled fruit containers or other suitable castoffs
>> Tempera paints (if you can find powered temper, I suggest it but the liquid works fine)
>> Old baking sheet
>> Tin foil
>> Wooden stir sticks/popsicle sticks
>> Little hands
>> Large bowl and several smaller bowls (we used recycled dairy containers)
1. First, gather your supplies. I usually skip this step and scurry about like a wild woman trying to keep restless fingers out of goop until I have it all ready. This time, I was kind of bright for a moment and got everything gathered first. This is an important step in this case, because the plaster will set up quickly, so you’ll want to be prepared.
2. Use squares of tin foil to cover one open end of each toilet paper roll. Set each tube open end up on the baking sheet. Place other molds on this tray as well.
3. Before mixing the plaster, determine which colors you want to make and have these paints ready to add. Let the kids play with colors. It doesn’t matter if they come out wonky or weird. This is time to play and experiment. Perfection is not allowed!
4. Follow the package instructions to add water to the plaster of paris compound. The powder resembles flour. When mixed with water, it becomes thick like heavy pancake batter. I suggest adding a little bit of water at a time to reach a smoother, thinner consistency, like gravy.
5. Pour small amounts of the mixture into the smaller bowls and add the color quickly. Children can add these in increments to get light or dark colors. No such thing as too little or too much.
6. When they have achieved the color they want, help the kids pour the mixture into the tubes or containers, filling them as much or as little as you want. Tamp the tubes gently and allow to rest until set.
7. With small batches of leftover colors, make multicolored chalk by layering one color atop another. Or, swirl together with a stick or toothpick.
The chalk will need about 30 minutes to dry completely. The tubes will become soggy. This is fine. When the chalk is totally dry, tear the tubes away from the chalk and voila! If you use recycled plastic cups, I suggest a spritz of oil to make it easier to remove from the mold.
If there are small amounts of plaster left, scoop leftover plaster into plastic spoons and allow to set. Children can paint as desired, making them pet rocks or painted beetles. (FYI: Leaving them in the rain or puddles will compromise their stability.)
See? Easy peasy.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://www.primeparentsclub.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/JenniferBioPic.jpg
[author_info]About the Author
Jennifer Luitwieler is the Prime Parents’ Club regular arts and crafts contributor. She likes to sew, knit, embroider, crochet, papercraft and make jewelry. She also enjoys watching kids find their own style as they play with arts and craft supplies. Find her on her blog at http://jenniferluitwieler.com, or on Twitter as @jenluit and on Facebook. [/author_info][/author]