I was incredibly inspired by The Artful Parent play dough plaster casting. Play dough is a hit with all age groups, especially when they are encouraged to use wacky animals and tools to make marks.

Play is such a big part of learning that for the first few minutes we let kids create with the materials without forcing the production of a perfect mold.

Eventually the adults helped each child to create a mold with either objects on the table, hands, feet, or a combination.
The results were beautiful in the play dough and stunning when cast with plaster. The example below was made from dried poppy flowers, cut up ice cube tray from IKEA, and the student’s hands.

One of the best tips to making this project work in a classroom environment is to utilize the outdoors and mix the plaster in a heavy duty ziplock. I let interested kids mush the bag around to get out the lumps. Plaster is incredibly easy to mix because it’s 2:1 plaster to water.

After the plaster is worked in the bag for a few minutes you can cut the corner of your bag and squeeze the plaster into your play dough molds just like using a pastry bag.

After a few hours the plaster is set and you can easily peel back the play dough. If small bits of play dough get stuck on the cast you can roll them off with a bit of a play dough ball. Play dough grabs play dough just like velcro sticks to itself.