This summer, my family has been spending a good amount of time near the ocean, so we’ve been doing lots of beach-themed crafts. Over the weekend, we made footprints in the sand and mosaic handprints with plaster of Paris. When we were done, Liam and Stella were so proud of their creations, and we had a few sentimental, handmade items to keep and display.

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Homemade swing. Dean made this one. You can hang it from a deck, a tree, etc… All you need is a piece of wood and heavy rope!

Footprints in the Sand

Materials

Plaster of Paris
Small bucket
Freshwater
4-inch lengths of string, optional

Instructions

Choose a site to cast your molds — the moist, hard-packed sand near the water’s edge works best.

Firmly press both feet into the sand. The prints should be about 1/2 inch to 2 inches deep. (If your child can’t press down that hard, he can use his finger to dig down into the print, following its shape).

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Liam makes footprints in the sand to start his craft

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Stella makes her footprints

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Footprints ready for plaster

Mix up the plaster, according to the directions on the package, so that it has a thick, creamy consistency.

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Plaster of Paris and bucket of Sea Water

Pour the wet plaster gently into the footprints.

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Plaster of Paris poured into footprints

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Put heavy twine or rope knotted on both ends into the plaster mixture before it dries. This is what you’ll use to hang your footprints.

After 20 to 25 minutes, gently dig the footprints out of the molds and brush away any excess sand. Set sole-side up in the sun for about an hour to let harden.

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Liam holding up final product. He was so proud!

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Finished footprints! We hung both the kids’ footprints on the wall outside of their rooms. Great memory keepsakes they’ll have forever! I wrote their names and the date on the back.

If you don’t have kids, this is a cool craft to do with your beloved pet’s paw print too!

Sandy Hand Mosaic

Materials

Beach treasures, such as shells, rocks, and sea glass (no seaweed)
1 1/2 cups plaster of Paris in a quart-size resealable bag
Water (salt water or fresh water)
Chopstick
Wood (we used driftwood)
Drill
Wood glue

Instructions

Have your child press his hand into damp, hard-packed sand, making a 2-inch-deep impression.

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Stella making handprints for her mosaic hand project

Line the handprint with treasures, taking care to set them lightly without pressing them too deeply into the sand.

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We gathered sea glass for our project and Stella chose for her design to use the sea glass to make fingernails. Very creative! You can also use shells.

Add 1 cup of water to the bag of plaster of Paris. Seal the bag and knead it to combine the two.

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Carefully pour the wet plaster into the palm of the handprint, covering the inlaid items.

Use a chopstick to push the plaster into the fingers and thumb. Add more plaster to the palm as needed.

Set the chopstick in place with 2 inches of one end submerged in the plaster.

Let the plaster set until it’s hard, at least 30 minutes. To remove the hand, carefully dig out the sand from around the plaster, then slowly lift the hand up by the chopstick handle.

Wrap your project in a towel to transport it. For a tabletop display, drill a hole 2 inches deep and a little wider than your chopstick into a piece of wood. Insert the chopstick handle, and secure it with wood glue, if needed.

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Stella with her finished mosaic hand

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You can also use other organic sea things to make sandy keepsakes. Be creative!

We had a great afternoon crafting on the shore. After our crafts, we had a delicious summer dinner! Tomorrow, I’ll share my recipes and photos of our meal, so stay tuned for that. Have you done any fun summer crafts? Share your ideas in the comments below, and I’ll feature my favorites in a future blog!

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