How to preserve your child’s footprint in plaster

We may not be able to catch a breath, but we can catch a footprint. Here’s a beautiful, easy, inexpensive craft recipe to catch your child’s footprint — or hand print in a plaster keepsake.

handprint plaster of paris


A great way to capture baby’s footprint. I love this method, more than any kit you can buy, because it creates a raised relief.” The footprint is raised, rather than indented, into the plaster.

  1. Flatten the playdough and place in the box. Don’t worry about making it perfectly square or round – let it be uneven to give it a nice chiseled, natural look.
  2. Put your child’s foot or (hand) into the playdough to make the impression of the footprint. (Warning — this can be frustrating, and may take several tries.)
  3. Once you’re satisfied with the footprint impression brush the play dough lightly with Murphy’s Oil Soap.
  4. Mix plaster of Paris, according to manufacturer’s directions – once water is added, work quickly — it sets up fast.
  5. Pour the plaster of Paris onto your playdough “mold”. Depending upon how thick or runny your Plaster of Paris is, you may need to pinch the edges of your mold to keep the Plaster of Paris from running off the sides. But don’t worry too much about this — it won’t affect the finished product. You just don’t want the whole batch to run off your mold.
  6. You are now looking at the back of your footprint keepsake. So, now you need to think about how you are going to display your footprint keepsake. I use 2 drywall screws, connected by picture wire. Wrap the wire around the screws tightly to create the hanger.
  7. In about 3 minutes, the plaster should be firm enough to hold the screws. Start to screw them into your mold. You want them to be located on the right and left sides in the top third. (Confused? Take a look at the back of framed art you have hanging in your house.)
  8. Now – quickly, use a nail to scratch in the date, and the initials.
  9. Now, the fun part. Once the plaster is completely hard, (usually just a few hours), peel off the playdough and discover your masterpiece.
5 comments to “How to preserve your child’s footprint in plaster”
  1. Pingback: How do you catch a breath? - susiej

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  3. My grandson recently passed and my daughter has a footprint and handprint of her son that the hospital did for her in plaster paris; she wants it preserved forever, what are your suggestions? She was interested in an enclosed shadow box maybe?
    Thank you

    Columbus, OH

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