How to make a detailed family cast from gypsum

Raising kids is a lot of work, but before you know it they're all grown up — heading off to school, going on their first date, and getting ready to move out. Photos and home movies are great ways to preserve that short time between birth and adulthood for all posterity, but why not add something a little different... like a family hand-casting made from gypsum!

You'll need:

Here's how:

Mix 3 cups of alginate molding powder with one gallon of water in the bucket. Stir the mixture with a spoon for about 45 seconds until it's thick but well mixed.

Now pour the mixture into a large measuring cup. Decide on how you want to hold hands and then dunk your hands into the molding compound. Now comes the tricky part: hold this position for about four minutes to make sure you create an accurate and detailed impression. If you're doing this with young children, you might want to hold their hands still to make sure.

When the mixture has firmly solidified, carefully remove your hands from the compound.

To wash out loose compound and prevent the gypsum from sticking to the compound later, pour some dishwashing detergent into the holes your hands made and fill them with water. Shake the measuring cup lightly to mix the detergent and the water.

Now it's time to mix the gypsum powder with water according to the manufacturer's recommendation. When it's well mixed, pour the gypsum compound into the mold and let it harden for 24 hours.

When it's dry, turn the measuring cup over onto the cutting board.

Use the box cutter to remove the molding compound bit by bit. Be careful not to damage the cast while doing this.

To remove the molding compound from those "hard to reach" places, you can use the dotting pens.

The result is a detailed and personal cast that represents the special bond between parents and children.

This kind of cast also makes a great keepsake for couples. Or if you want to include more family members, simply use a bigger container and more molding compound. Whatever combination you choose, you're sure to end up with a very unique souvenir of a special time in your life!

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Also hefty