Tuesday, June 29, 2010

preserving prints

It seems every season brings a way to track and study our local critters. Back in the winter we loved seeing the tracks in the snow each morning. Last fall we took advantage of the wind blown low tides to track racoons. And now in summer all of our time out in the sand is revealing more clues to our local wildlife. Zach is loving the opportunities to cast more tracks in plaster. Here's what you need to try this as well.
Some standard plaster of paris mix you can pick up at the craft store. You end up going through it faster than you'd think, so get a good size container of it. Then you need a measuring cup to get your proportions right (1 part plaster to 1/2 part water). And old jar to mix your plaster in (sometimes it hardens up in the bottom, so don't use anything you care about or may want to use again). And something to stir with. Finally you need a frame to pour your plaster in. We often use a half of a pastic cup plucked from the marina recycling bins. You can build a little frame around your print with sticks and stones too. Just make sure whatever you use is buried down in the sand or dirt deep enough to prevent this from happening.
It will seep out the sides and not only make a mess, but also more than likely mess up your cast. This was a deer track that ended up being a blob because we didn't bury the frame deep enough. Lesson learned.
Once your track is framed up, just pour in your mix.
And then wait. Your mix should tell you how long to wait, but you want it to be thoroughly dry and hardened, so a minimum of about an hour is good, depending on the weather.
Pop it out, brush off the excess sand or dirt, and voila!

These sweet little bird tracks are on our summer nature table now. Zach now has a list of the tracks he's after for the season including a better deer track and a huge Great Blue Heron track too. My idea is to cast one HIS little tracks.

11 comments:

Wendy said...

That is really nice looking! We've done this before on dirt, but I much prefer the sand. Too bad we're a long way from the beach. :)

momma rae said...

this looks so fun!! i LOVE the idea of you casting one of his tracks.

Deb said...

What a fantastic idea! I don't know that we have the kind of terrain around here (suburbs) that could capture and animal print, but I LOVE the idea of getting the kids' prints.

You boy is adorable!

gardenmama said...

What a beautiful treasure to have on your nature table! I was thinking through your post wouldn't his little footprint be sweet : )

ella@lifeologia said...

I love this idea. super cool to create these treasures.

Joy said...

Ooh, very cool. I know my kids would love to do this! The only prints they've saved have been in snow so far. We'll have to give it a go. :)

Jenny said...

You just brought back lots of fantastic memories for me. I used to do this all the time when I was not much older than Zach. Bear, deer, birds, you name it. I think my parents still have a lot of the plaster casts we made.

http://aboardmadrigal.blogspot.com

boatbaby said...

Wendy - sand works really nicely. I think in dirt you need a really compacted print for it to turn out right.

Deb - you'd be surprised! Go for a walk in the early morning. You may see prints in small patches of mud along the sidewalk, gardens, etc.

Joy - how do you have the snow ones? In the freezer?


Jenny - that's so cool that your parents saved them.

Em said...

What an awesome idea!!!! I love it!

Nancy said...

this is such a neat idea--I'm bummed I only just discovered your post! thanks for sharing.

angelina said...

hey! thanks what a GREAT idea!!! we're in australia, but i know some folks back home woul'd loooove a kangaroo track mould! xxx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...