17 answers

Plaster of Paris Craft Idea

I am in charge of crafts for VBS this year. Our theme is Army of God. On Tuesday, I need to do a craft that ties in with "... and your feet fitted with readiness that comes from the gospel of peace." (Ephesians 6:15) I thought I had all of my lessons in place but then I came up with the idea of footprints. I would love to do plaster of paris footprints, but I don't know if it would be cost effective. It's hard to tell how many kids will come, but we are expecting 30-40. Can someone tell me how much plaster of paris that I would need for a project of this size? My resources are limited both financially and geographically. I live in a small town and Walmart is our only choice for shopping. I suppose my cheapest idea is to make a dip thier feet in paint and make a footprint banner to hang up on the wall.

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So What Happened?™

Wow! What great responses that you all gave! We have a very crafty bunch of moms here! All of the ideas were great! I finally settled on the footprints with paint idea. It was the cheapest (we already had the tempra paint) and least time consuming one as well as very colorful! I hung the banner after they left in the front window of the church where the children come in. I can't wait to see thier faces when they see where I hung it up. I also made a separate footprint to send home with them later this week. All of these ideas have sparked ideas for later projects. Eventually, I'll be able to use them all. Thanks everyone!

Featured Answers

I like the paint idea, just imagine a colorful banner of little footprints hanging on the wall, and then at the same time, if you wanted them to have something to take home you could let them each do a personal print for Mom and Dad on a piece of paper or a paper plate.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

I like the paint idea, just imagine a colorful banner of little footprints hanging on the wall, and then at the same time, if you wanted them to have something to take home you could let them each do a personal print for Mom and Dad on a piece of paper or a paper plate.

1 mom found this helpful

I have an idea that is different by inexpensive. When I was a kid in VBS I remember we made sandals to march in, we traced our feet on a piece of cardboard, then cut them out, next holes were punched along the sides, last we laced brown yarn through the holes with enough left over to wrap the yarn around part of our legs in a criss cross pattern.

I persoanlly have never worked with plaster of paris. I have however tried and failed twice and putting my children's foot prints in those concrete stepping stone kits. I would say the best and easiest would just to pait their feet. You will get the same effect but with a ton less mess and stress. Another thing that I did for Grandma one year was to take the big stepping stones that you can find at Lowes and put their footprints on that. Not sure if you have a garden or play area around your church but you could paint their footprints on the stones and then place the footprints around the church. Not sure where you live at but you said a small town, I am sure that someone from your churc will be traveling into a bigger town where there is a Lowes or Home Depot and can pick them up for you.
Goodluck and let me know how things turn out

i do a lot of volunteering myself. i would go to Walmart and asked them to donate the stuff you need. i would think concrete is cheaper than plaster of paris. have the children put vaseline on bottom of foot and then make a quick foot print. Let it dry and then let the kids paint them. You could put the concrete in a shoe box lid to make your square. Have them do one foot at a time so that they are not putting their entire weight on the concrete. good luck

I think I would go with the homemade playdough, too. It's fun to add food coloring to it and make it colorful. For my sons' birthday party in January, we made green homemade playdough for a Shrek theme. I was surprised that the green washed right off. And it does harden. If you have access to an oven, you can bake it at 200 degrees for a faster hardening. Otherwise, it will take a while longer. That's a really cute idea, though - making footprints!


These are great ideas! I especially like the one of making sandals!
Or you could make tin can stilts.
Ask church members and the community to donate coffee cans (tuna cans for littler kids). Punch holes near the bottom of the can with a nail and hammer. Run jute twine (Wal-Mart hardware department) through the two holes and make a circle of twine long. Set the cans open side down on the ground, kids set their feet on the can and lift the twine so they can hold it while walking.
I still like the sandal idea for time and cost reasons!
Good luck!

I did this a couple of years ago for VBS. I recall using a kiddie pool with sand. The kids would make their footprint in the sand and we would then have one person in charge of mixing the plaster of paris and pouring it into the footprints. The kids would decorate with beads or what decorations we had out. They were left over night to completely dry. Many supplies can be donated.
Good Luck,
T. H, Raytown, MO

I have a craft book that suggests salted dough (it comes with a recipe) as a cheap alternative to P of P. It doesn't last "forever" like Plaster of Paris, but it can be easily painted and made with flour, water, salt, and cornstarch. If you're interested, e-mail me and I'll scan the recipe and send it.

You might also just trying doing the footprints with ink pads. We tried using paint to make a shirt for my husband last year and it was also quite messy and hard to get the foot print to turn out right because it was runny. My girls are very young so the age of the kids will also make a difference. Our nursery for Mother's Day used an inkpad to do hand print and it turned out SO cute. It was a lot less messy, easier to clean up, and you could help the littler ones a lot easier because it didn't drip all over. Just an idea.

You could always ask for donations of pie tins, flour, and salt...make the homemade playdough and press into tins and have them put their footprints in them....if you wanted to do colors, just add food coloring to the playdoh recipe. Once the impressions are made, just let them air dry. If someone in the church has a KitchenAide mixer it will make it go A LOT faster and easier on you to make and knead all the dough. You can store them in zip lock bags or tupperware until ready to use.

Plaster of Paris if pretty messy, I have used it many times, and it is also fairly bad for your health if you use it for a long period of time in an area that is not well ventilated. I might try using a playdough recipe called Baker's Clay. Here is the recipe. You will have to bake it though. Don't know if your church has an oven available.
Shape and bake Christmas ornaments, jar lids, etc.
Mix together:
4 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cup water
Knead until smooth. Add food coloring if desired. Make shapes and bake at 300 degrees until set and golden (1/2 hr to 1 hr). Seal with shellac, or for a more golden appearance, paint with a beaten egg.
It is a little cheaper than plaster of paris. But it takes you more time.
Good luck.

Good Morning S., WHat a great idea. Footprints are awesome, but I think the paint would be better, with a roller to apply it. You can make a flour and salt based mixture. I can not remember the measurements of each though. :( I did it years and years ago to make braided bread bowls and napkin holders.

You could use the banner idea on the wall, but have an extra print for each child's foot, to take home at the end of VBS.

I remember VBS so well..lol I was 4 yr old teacher until our own boys became 4. Then Hubby and I switched to the Kool-aide and Cookie monsters......lol For about 14 yrs ;)

Best of Everything to you & yours. Have a Awesome VBS!!
''If You Need Help, Ask God. If You Don't, Thank God''...

Hi S.,

I have used that plaster of paris, it is easy to use but it sets up fast so you'll need atleast 2 of you if not 3 or 4. I don't know what ages you will be working with but a couple of people to help would be a good idea. Also walmart sells it in their craft aisle and it is about $3 for a 2lb box I think. You could also get the plastic plant holders and put the plaster in for a mold, make sure you line the pan with vaseline so the mold will come out easy. I would set up an aseembly line, such as -
1 person line the pans with vaseline (as you go)
1 person start mixing the paster of paris (make sure you have a measuring cup and plenty of water)
2 people helping the child stand on 1 foot (and make sure the bottom of their feet are clean before and after)
1 person helping put the child's foot in the mold so they don't step to hard in it.

I would write on the bottom of each planter mold the child's name with a black sharpie, hand them out and have them line up.
The plaster of paris sets up in a couple of minutes so once you get it completely mixed you need to pour it in the mold. In 5 minutes it will not be able to be molded so keep that in mind. You will have to move fast and quick.
I would also have to people at the start of the line to make sure everyone is getting their shoes off and everything remains in order.
Hope this helps, W.

That sounds like a neat idea! The question I would have would be: what would they do with the impressions & how thick would they be? I think if the impressions are thin you could get 2-4 impressions per box (depending on the size of each child's feet) & that could get expensive & really messy. Personally I have never done anything like this with plaster of paris. Financially I would do the paint foot prints on a piece of paper (use a brush or sponge to put the paint on their feet so their are not a lot of paint drips), glue a typed verse or phrase at the side of the prints (with the child's name & date) & laminate it with a machine or clear contact paper (if possible). It would make a great memory item for the child to remember their experience & for parents when the child grows up!

Do NOT use concrete! It says on the bag that it can burn your skin. It gets hot when water is mixed with the powder!!!

God Bless!

How about just doing foot prints with paint on cardstock and cutting them out. I like to keep cut outs of my kids hands and feet in scrapbook albums. Good Luck!

If your church doesn't have tempra paint then Walmart does. The banner idea will work just as affectively and sounds great. Use different color paint. Even take a piece of construction paper for each child so they can bring a footprint home with the verse on the bottom. Anytime my kids did a footprint we've kept them...no matter what age they were. The paint would be cheaper than the plaster of paris. It is not terribly expensive, but is pricy and you'd need a lot for that many kids. Also plaster of paris starts to heat up as it dries, so you'd have to get it off of their feet fast. I'd just do the banner idea. You could write the verse on the banner really big on the bottom and go from there. If your church has a resourse room, use bulletin board paper, if not Walmart craft department may have some butcher paper rolls. Just depends on the Walmart. I hope God blesses your VBS this year and that you see many children come to Christ. Good Luck and God Bless.

They have a new material out that is more pliable, but I don't know what it is...I did a footprint of my daughter in it for the grandparents and it is like playdo and not as messy. It takes a few days to dry so if you did it in the first of the week, it would be dry in about 48 hours. And if they feel they made a mistake, it can be rolled out again and done over. Hopefully it doesn't cost much and you would be able to do it. Let us know how it goes.

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