Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sandy Backyard Hand Mosaics

The boys and I took advantage of the beautiful spring-like weather today and did a fun little outdoor craft in our back yard. I got this idea from Family Fun magazine a while ago and will probably include it in the crafts section of the summer issue of Community Seeds.
First, sprinkle a little water in the sand to make it slightly damp. You don't want it soaking wet, just damp enough to make a good, deep impression. Have your child press their hand into the sand, making sure the make a fairly deep hand print.
When they remove their hand, use your fingers to make sure the impression is deep and that the sides of the hand print are fairly high.
Next, collect natural treasures from your yard. My boys enjoyed collecting small rocks, acorns, sticks, leaves, and even a small pine cone to decorate their hand prints with. Press the nice-looking side of each object down into the sand filling the hand print with as many items as you like.
ix 1 1/2 cups of Plaster of Paris with 1 cup of water well. Pour the mixture into the palm of the hand print and use a chopstick to fill the fingers with the plaster. Make sure not to over-fill the hand print, keeping all of the fingers separate. Place a wooden chopstick into the hand print so it is at least 2 inches up into the palm and about in the middle of the plaster. Leave the hand prints to dry for about 30 minutes. Carefully remove from the sand and clean off the front of the mosaic to reveal the treasures by dusting the loose sand with your hand. Be very gentle with cleaning and transporting, as these plaster hands are very delicate. We ended up breaking off a few fingers accidentally, which we reattached with hot glue.
This summer, our hand prints will decorate our garden as planter steaks. The next time we visit the beach, I'm bringing a gallon Ziploc bag with the dry plaster inside so we can make these right in the sand as a memory of a fun summer day!