It rained heavily the other day, and after the deluge stopped, I went outside with my children to enjoy the fresh air. Everything was wet; there was mud everywhere. In a patch of mud near our house, the kids and I spotted many prints made by various things- some animal prints, a bike tire tread, and shoe prints.
Seeing all those prints in the mud reminded me of an activity I'd read about in a book when I was a kid- making plaster casts of footprints. I already had all the necessary equipment, so decided to do this little project with my kids.
It's really very easy.
What you want to do is make a circle out of something stiff to make the sides of the mold for the plaster. I used strips that I cut out of cardboard, and then clipped them together with a clothes pin.
I then stuck these around the footprints I wanted to make a mold of. I pushed them into the ground a little bit to make them more steady.
I mixed up some plaster of Paris powder with water until it was paste thick, and then we poured it into the cardboard rings surrounding the footprints.
The hard part was waiting for them to dry.
Let them wait half an hour to an hour, and then carefully remove them from the dirt.
Remove the cardboard rings.
They'll be covered in dirt. Lots of dirt, most likely.
Let them dry fully, and brush off the dirt as well as you can. If they're fully dry, then you can even wash the dirt off them. When Mike tried to do that, I thought he'd ruin it; I thought the water would melt the plaster. But it didn't it worked out fine, and the dirt washed off while the plaster remained.
Then it was time to paint!
I honestly have not been able to figure out what animal left the yellow prints, but the other ones were dog and cat prints. The kids and I looked up these footprints on charts of various animals to discover who made the prints.
If you don't have any animal prints available, or if you want to change this up, you can also make a plaster print of human footprints or shoe prints. And if you want, you can make it into a lesson on criminal investigations, since they also use these techniques to try to find suspects.
Ever make a plaster cast of anything? Molds or footprints? Does this look like something your kids would enjoy doing?
Linking up to Mostly Homemade Monday,