When we were kids we used to buy plaster of Paris, pour it into molds, paint the finished object and sell them to make money for clothes and other things. Having created dozens upon dozens of little chickens, kittens, puppies and goldfish as a child I somehow lost touch with the craft over the years. What’s great about plaster of Paris, though, is that you can make most any image from it, it’s cheap, and even a child can mix and pour it into molds.
Traditional molds were metal – now plastic – and come in so many sizes and shapes that anyone would easily be able to find something that they like, be it Indians, horses, lighthouses, butterflies or fruits. The thing most people don’t know, however, is that you really don’t need a mold to make certain decor pieces.
Here’s the little secret: old clothing makes for great plaster of Paris molds and give you a new and interesting decor piece like no other. Take a little girl’s bib shorts, for instance. You know the type – they’re shorts but have an attached bibs and look like overalls. Dip them in plaster of Paris, though, and set them on newspaper to dry, and soon they’re a cute little silk flower holder.
Stand the pants, or other item of clothing straight up while drying by using newspaper to stuff it. You might have to straighten the garment once or twice, but the plaster will set quickly. Allow to dry for the stated time on the plaster package. When dry, the plaster garment can be painted any color you wish. You can also glaze it to give it a ceramic look.
Although most garments will have an opening, like the bottom of a shirt, or the leg holes of shorts, you can still make a pot for a real plant out of these. Sew a piece of fabric into the opening before dipping in the plaster and when dry, you’ll have a planter that can hold dirt and water.
The plaster of Paris garments are cute and unique – you’ll rarely see them anywhere else. There’s so many choices, too. Dip an infant bootie, paint it and give it to the parents of a newborn, with a plant in it. Cut jeans off like short-shorts and dip them, too. After you paint them they can be used to hold curling irons and hairbrushes, silk plants or any number of things.
The plaster of Paris can be used to dip shirts, skirts, pants, shorts, shoes, socks, handkerchiefs, pockets removed from clothing – even underwear – as a gag gift. You can even wrap scarves around newspapers to make unique basket-type designs that can be as short or tall as you wish.
Plaster of Paris is very inexpensive, considering the amount of items you can make with one batch, and you’ll have a great time making them. And, you’ll have lots of new decor pieces for your home, as well as gifts for others, at a fraction of what ceramic items cost. You’ll find plaster of Paris at any craft store or you can go online to look for better deals.