Plaster of Paris Molds: Keepsake Treasure Tins

If you’ve ever seen pre-made baby and child handprint kits at stores, you know that while they’re convenient, they’re also fairly expensive. Fortunately, making a kit at home is easy and best of all, it’s also inexpensive. Making these kits from scratch at home, rather than buying expensive pre-made kits allows you to mold handprints or cherished objects whenever you want, as much as you want. Here’s a list of what’s required and the instructions for how to make your own:

What You’ll Need:


*Old cookie tins (find some old cookie tins in various sizes at garage sales or thrift stores, preferably ones that still have lids)

*Plaster of Paris (found at hardware or craft stores)


*Sand (optional)

*Spoon or stick for mixing

*Stuff: Miscellaneous things to imprint like stones, seashells, small toys, etc.


1) Lay out newspaper over work area to protect surface.

2) Measure out enough Plaster of Paris to fill up 1/2 of the tin (an alternative is to mix everything in a large plastic bag and then pour it into the tin).

3) Add water a 1/2 cup at a time to the tin of Plaster of Paris, stir with spoon or stick. In general, you want 2 parts Plaster of Paris to 1 part water.

4) Keep adding water and stirring until the mixture in the tin is a very thick, stiff consistency. If the mixture is too watery, add a little more Plaster of Paris.

5) Add sand, if desired, to add texture to the final mold. Stir into mixture.

6) Tap the sides of the tin to release any bubbles in the mixture.

7) Press hand or items into the mixture to create an imprint or press items into the mixture and leave them for permanent display.

8) If desired, sprinkle more sand over the top of the imprints. Don’t shake out excess until mold is dry. Glitter, would work nicely too.

9) Wash hands and preparation tools with soap and water.

10) Let mold in tin dry for one week before covering with lid.

11) Label your treasure with a name and date.

Other Tips:

For keepsakes that you can hang on the wall, use a disposable aluminum pie plate or the bottom of a whipped topping container as a mold. Use a toothpick, stick or paper clip to make a hole at the top of the mold. After the mold is dry, remove it from the plate or container and slip a ribbon or string through the top for hanging. This is a great method for imprinting things like shells and other natural objects that you’d like to display as wall art, and can trim your decorating budget considerably.

For a 3-Dimensional print, make a mold out of play dough in the bottom of a container, press hand or object deep into play dough, then remove and pour Plaster of Paris mixture over the imprinted play dough. Make a hole at the top with a toothpick, stick or paper clip for hanging. Once dry, pop the hardened mold out of the container away from the play dough and slip a ribbon or string through the top for hanging.