How to make plaster handprints

How to make plaster handprints

When you have multiple kids, getting them interested in anything other than fun is sometimes challenging. My kids like playing with plasticine, so plaster arts fall into the same category.

What is good here is that plaster handprints are something easy to make that even the smallest ones can participate in. I can tell my 3-year-old was as excited as the 6-year-old when we started making these.

Making plaster prints of your child’s hands and feet is easy and fun. When you make plaster prints of your child’s hands or feet, you get a memory of what your child was like when they were the age you made the prints.

It is a great memory to have tiny plaster prints of when your child was one year old or any age. You can look at the plaster prints in the future and remember what it was like to have them when they were much smaller.

You can also treat this guide as to how to make baby handprints at home, as the process is precisely the same. You need to support baby hands and feet more than bigger kids.

How to make homemade Plaster of Paris handprints

So now, with the sales speak done, let us move on to how to do plaster handprints. You need to gather the materials in the following list to make these.

Remember that these are just guidelines; you can use whatever is available, and the only thing you need in this form is plaster. The containers for it can be whatever is functional and easy to get.

Handprints are part of Plaster of Paris crafts that are popular and common; there is also a guide for plaster animal footprints here.

You will need the following supplies for this craft

  • Plaster of Paris
  • Water
  • Sand
  • Mixing bucket
  • Mixing stick
  • Paint (optional)
  • Paintbrush (optional)

To make homemade plaster prints of your child, you will need some plaster. You can buy your chosen plaster at a hardware store.

Then you will need plaster and a bucket to mix plaster in. Any bucket will do that you won’t mind getting a little dirty during the process. Cheap ones are being sold at the hardware store as well.

And you will need some sand. The sand should be moist and in a box that is big enough to fit the object you are making a print of.

The moist sand in a sandbox will also work if you have one. Imagine it like being at the beach, moist sand makes more compact soil, and it’s easier to mold.

The last thing you might need is some paint if you want to paint these art pieces. Here is a guide on how to paint plaster art to learn more about it.

How to make homemade plaster for handprints

How to make Plaster of Paris hand molds

Step 1: Find a place you can create a sand row.

This row must be long enough to accommodate one hand from each child you want to make a handprint from.

You can use some container for the sand or spread it on plastic; everything works if you do a little sand wall around the handprint area so it won’t get on the edges of the container.

Or if you want to make this a regular hobby, maybe make a small box out of wood with small walls.

Take the moist sand a smooth it out. You don’t want the sand to be too wet or dry, or you won’t be able to get your handprint to stay.

Step 2: Take the hand or foot you want to make a plaster print off and press it into the sand.

Pull the hand or foot straight up from the sand. They will need your help because it is important that they pull their hand directly up into the air and not move it in any direction.

If you did not get a good print of the hand or foot, you can smooth out the moist sand and try to make a good print again

Sometimes you have to try to make a good print several times before you get a print that you want to make a plaster of. The smaller the kid, the harder it will be.

Making the print can be a fun time with your child. Playing in the sand is good constructive fun.

If your kids are the same age or the same size, you can try the prints in the sand in alphabet or age order, so everyone will remember which handprint belongs to who.

Step 3: Once you have a hand or footprint in the moist sand that you are happy with, you are ready to make the plaster.

Follow the directions on the plaster that you have bought.

If there are no instructions, use a large bucket and combine 2 cups of plaster and ¼ cup of water for each kid. So if you have four kids, you would need 8 cups of Plaster and 2 cups water.

To keep mixing simple, there’s no harm in making a little extra, do a handprint yourself as well.

Step 4: Gently pour the plaster into the print of the hand or foot that you have made.

Be careful when you pour the plaster, so you don’t disturb the moist sand. If you do disturb the sand, you will have to redo it to make a good print.

When the plaster is poured into the moist sand print, let the plaster dry as specified in your plaster instructions. Usually, overnight is enough, but you can let it be a little longer if you do a thick layer of plaster.

Step 5: You can gently pull out your plaster print when the plaster is hard.

Always be gentle when you remove the plaster hand or footprint. Gently wipe off the excess sand on the plaster and let the plaster print relax and dry out.

You can mark the backsides of the handprints, so you know who they belong to.

Optional: Paint the handprints like the kids want to.

You can try realistic skin colors, paint fingernails, and do other art and decoration. Kids usually have some vision of what they want to do, depending on their age.


I tried to keep this guide as close to the topic as possible. You can print almost anything this way if you can get your kids to do it. Do they have a favorite toy that could be pressed into the sand to make a mold? You can do it.

The most important thing for me here is to get some good memories with the kids and have fun. The kids will have wild ambitions with their toys, but some can be worked with.

Just remember that kids will make a mess, so making these somewhere outdoors could be a good idea, or use some plastic for protection indoors. The plaster is the only thing that’s hard to clean, so you don’t need to mind too much.