Party Activity: Painting with DIY Seashells

Even the wildest party animals enjoyed sitting down between splashing in the pool and digging in the sand at Addison’s mermaid party.  I had a craft ready and it turned out to be a popular hangout in the shade.  Using the same molds with which I made the candy seashells, I also made paintable shells out of Plaster of Paris.  Simply follow the directions on the container to mix the Plaster of Paris solution, pour into the molds, tap gently to remove air bubbles, and allow the shells to set (about 30 minutes).  Dump the mold over and the shells plunk right out.  I put them outside in the dry heat for about 24 hours to dry all the way out, then sprayed them with a coat of clear spray paint.  The clear coat seals the shells up so that they don’t absorb so much paint and are ready to go.  I provided a bucket of shells and a bucket of paint brushes, as well as acrylic paints in small plastic bowls from the dollar store.  I also covered the paint table with a piece of (party color coordinated) oilcloth, which scrubbed down nicely after the party.  
Have you used Plaster of Paris lately?  I had some in the cupboard that I used to make baby foot impressions a few years ago.  I pulled it out in the spring and tried it out in a 3D egg mold and discovered how great it sets in plastic candy molds.  But since I couldn’t figure out how to dress up the molded eggs at Easter, I glued a shell on the front, propped the top open, and used them for this mermaid party as little shell-like candy dishes.  I think they look so cute filled with little candy pearls! 
So anyway….Plaster of Paris + candy molds = fun for kids, fun for you!
Plaster of Paris is available at craft and hobby stores
Candy molds are available at cake and candy supply stores and many craft stores, I got the seashell molds from Sugarcraft and Joann’s

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