These hand soap dishes are a two part project that will teach students the concept of positive and negative space. You'll want to cover your tables with newspaper to make clean up easier. To make the hands, each student needs to hold a small amount of plaster in their hand until it hardens. I recommend doing only one hand since they have to sit still for 10 min while it hardens.
Once students are ready, mix up a small batch of plaster and put it into palm of the students hands, make sure to cover the entire top surface but DO NOT get plaster underneath the hand or their hand will be trapped in the hardened plaster! Once their hand is full, have them hold still until the plaster hardens (about 10 min). The stiller they can be holding the plaster, the less chances of major cracking or breakage off the mold. While the plaster starts to harden I explain to students how this will be the negative space of their hands and that we will use it like a stamp to create the positive space of their hand in clay. You can show examples of positive and negative space in art too.
HINT: You may need to mix up multiple batches depending on the size of your class, try not to mix up to much at one time or it will harden before you get to pour it into their hand. If you have never worked with plaster before, I recommend trying it out on your own before attempting with a class--it's a very manageable classroom material if you know what to expect!
Once the plaster is hard, have students remove their hand slowly, small pieces will break off of the edges. Write their name on the plaster and put aside to dry completely (12- 24 hours). All of the crumbles of plaster should be wrapped up in the newspaper that you used to cover the tables and thrown away. Make sure students wash their hands in a bucket not at the sink --plaster will clog up your sink!
For step two, you'll use the students plaster hand molds as a stamp and press clay into the mold. I have students flatten out a piece of clay about the size of a large hamburger and lay that over the plaster mold. Press the clay gently but firmly into every contour of the mold and then gently peel the clay away. You should have a perfect positive of the mold with every detail showing. You can use tools to trim and clean up the edges, make sure that you write each students name on the bottom of the clay hand (they will all look alike!) Let them dry, bisque fire, glaze with a translucent glaze and glaze fire. These hands make great soap holders or business card holders and make great Mother's and Father's Day gifts too!
!!! B CR8IV!!!