How to make plaster handprints

How to make plaster handprints

Do you have a horde of kids and need some new ways to entertain them? Or maybe you want to make a piece of memory with them that you can look at with them when they get older?

Whatever the reason is, plaster handprints are something easy to make that even the smallest ones can participate in. I can tell my 1-year-old was as excited as the 4-year-old when we started making these.

Making plaster prints of your child’s hands and feet is easy and fun to do. 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 1 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 exactly the same. You just need to support baby hands and feet a little more than bigger kids.

How to make homemade Plaster of Paris handprints

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

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

Handprints are part of Plaster of Paris crafts that are quite popular and common, there is also 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 home made plaster prints of your child you will need some plaster. You can buy plaster at a hardware store.

Then you will need plaster and a bucket to mix plaster in. Any kind of 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 it should be 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.

Last thing you might need is paint if you want to paint these pieces of art. Here is a guide on how to paint plaster art to know 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 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 be getting on the edges of the container.

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

Step 2: Then take the hand or foot that you want to make a plaster print of 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 actually get a print that you want to make a plaster of. Making the print can be a fun time with your child. Playing in the sand is good constructive fun.

If your kids are same age or 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 4 kids you would need 8 cups of Plaster and 2 cups of 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 in order to make a good print.

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

Step 5: When the plaster has dried you can gently pull out your plaster print. 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, do other work of art and decoration. Kids usually have some sort of 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 make 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 also have fun. I know 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 only thing that’s hard to clean is the plaster so you don’t need to mind too much.

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