Today I checked out the summer camp where I'll be teaching next week, and looked around at some of the projects that 1st session teachers were doing. One that really knocked my socks off was a casting project in which the kids were making plaster casts of their fingers/hands. I couldn't believe the detail (I swear you could have gotten fingerprints off of these) and asked how they did them.
The teacher said she was using a dental impression material called "Quala Alginate" from a dental supply company called BENCO, and stressed to get "normal set" rather than "quick set." Apparently this is the material that's used to make impressions of teeth. When it hardens, it's almost like thick....jello, I guess.
Anyhow, she mixes the powdered alginate in water (2 parts water, 1 part powder?) and pours it into a paper cup. The kids stick their fingers into the cup, and she pours more of the stuff into it. Dunno how long it takes to set, but apparently not too terribly long, as she said that she can do the mold and pour a cast during an hour period.
The kids carefully remove their hands, then plaster is poured into the mold and across the top of the cup (which makes a base for the fingers). (Some students were embedding objects into the base, too. I think this project has LOTS of possibilities....)
The teacher said that when SHE did it, she could get at least 2 or 3 casts from each mold, but that the kids tended to tear up the mold while removing the cast.
But these were AWESOME! They'd left their rings on (if they were wearing them), some had their fingers crossed, etc. I didn't have my camera with me, and hope I'll be able to get some pictures before the 1st session teachers leave.
The teacher had a large container of the stuff, and when I asked her about the price, she said that it was a little confusing when she'd called about possibly ordering more (which she probably won't need to do). The phone # on the package is 1-800-GO BENCO
Just thought I'd pass this along--if the stuff isn't too terribly expensive, I'd love to try this next year!
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