Saturday, January 30, 2010

Valentine Plaques

I really, really enjoy making seasonal plaques with my babies. I came up with this idea originally in autumn a year ago. This is the fourth time we’ve made them– autumn and winter ones, then my beloved hand prints – all Mama’s love handprints, don’t they? – and now these hearts. Since we have an official place to hang our seasonal plaques, now – we’ll just keep making them, and change them out with the holidays or seasons. :)

For this one you’ll need

  • Plaster of Paris (two cups makes two plaques)
  • water (one cup)
  • a mixing bowl for your plaster (I always use the last plaster of paris container – any large and soft plastic container is ideal)
  • pretty bits from nature (birch cones, glittered rosehips and dried cranberries, winter’s flowers, acorns – whatever your world offers you.
  • ribbon, raffia, or something pretty to hang them with
  • a drinking straw
  • and a frame – small plastic (disposable but re-usable) plates are perfect for this project. You can also use whatever you like – a box lined with a plastic grocery sack will also work.

Note on working with plaster of paris: Do not wash any remnants down the sink! It will clog your pipes! Use a napkin if you have a problem.
Also remember that it’s much easier to clean up when it’s dry – it comes up easily off a smooth surface if you scratch at it with your fingernail, and if you just leave the bucket or soft bowl that you mixed it in until it dries, simply squeeze the container, and the plaster will crack and break – then you can easily just dump the plaster bits into the garbage. So the disposable bowl or bucket can be used for this again and again.

When all of your supplies are ready, and you have an idea of the shape of your design and what materials you’d like to use in front of you, make the plaster: two cups of plaster to one cup of cold water will make two plaques perfectly.

In the first minute after it’s poured, get ready to work quickly. If you begin too soon, your materials will sink too deeply into your plaster, so wait about one minute before beginning to work. If the plaster is not flat, shake your plate back and forth to flatten your working area.

Start laying – not pressing, unless your plaster has hardened already – in your design.

When it starts to set, but is not yet hard, press in the bits of straw so that you’ll have two holes from which to hang your plaque.

Finish your design, and let it set. It doesn’t take long – five minutes or so.

After a couple of minutes, twist and lift out your pieces of straw.

When it’s all the way set – at least ten minutes or so, you may pull the plate away from the plaster – the plaster will release easily and immediately.

When you’re certain the plaque is dry throughout, thread in and tie your ribbon.

If you’d like a stamped edge, like we have here,

just press a stamp pad all around the curved edge of your plaque – it’s a lovely effect, I think.

If any of your pieces fall off (we usually have a little something fall off), just use a bit of craft glue to put it back in place.

There. ‘Tis done.

Isn’t that lovely?

And wouldn’t Grandma love one? Or two? Or a collection? :)


  1. they look so cute with the red spotty ribbon

  2. Love them! You could have a rotating collection for every season, and each child. Great idea!


Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!