How to Make Colored Plaster
I used to do Plaster of Paris crafts pretty frequently, but more recently switched to concrete for projects I would have previously made with plaster. It's the same exact process and I love the look of concrete, so it made sense.
BUT a while back, I got to thinking about how I might be able to add color to plaster for some mini planters I wanted to make. I did some research online, but couldn't find a solution anywhere.
Probably because the powder consistency of plaster is pretty important to it setting up properly, etc. So it's not just a matter of tossing in some acrylic paint and calling it a day.
And yes, it's true that I could just paint them after they're set, which I've done before. But I wanted the color to be a part of the material, not an afterthought. The texture is different, etc, etc.
So, after some experimenting, I landed on something that actually works! It will tint plaster nearly any color you want without changing the consistency of the plaster.
- plaster powder available on Amazon - also know as Plaster of Paris
- powdered tempera paint - THIS IS THE SECRET INGREDIENT lots of options on Amazon, I used this brand but any will work
Using a 5 to 1 ratio, scoop 5 parts powdered plaster into a medium sized container, and then scoop 1 part powdered tempera into the bowl. Stir together until an even color throughout is achieved.
FYI - You could probably use in less powdered tempera than that, to be honest. It really doesn't take much. The more color you add, the more vibrant it will be, put if you add too much, it will eventually cause the plaster to set incorrectly or not at all.
Where to Buy Plaster of Paris
If you'd prefer not to purchase Plaster of Paris on Amazon, there are lots of other places you can find this affordable crafting material.
Typically, you can find Plaster of Paris locally at craft stores and art supply stores, like JoAnn's, Michaels, and Dick Blick. Sometimes it's in the kids crafts area. But you can also find Plaster of Paris available at home improvement stores, like Lowe's and Home Depot, as well as places like Walmart and Target.
Some of which are also available online, so I've linked them above just in case.
Where to Find Rubber Molds for Plaster
There are so many options out there. But any silicone or rubber mold will work just fine, whether it's intended for food or crafts. Just make sure if you use a food mold for crafts, it stays for crafts only after that. Don't switch back to food use after using it for plaster.
So for example, I used silicone shot glass molds to create these mini planters because they were the perfect shape for what I was looking for. But you also use ice cube molds, chocolate molds, etc. Or just skip the food molds all together and go straight for the craft molds, which you can find all over Etsy from independent sellers.
What else can I use as a mold for plaster?
You're not limited to using silicone or rubber molds for plaster projects either. You can also use recyclable items around your house, like milk cartons or thin plastic containers from individual cups of oatmeal, yogurt, mac and cheese, etc.
You can even use something like a mailing tube, like I did for this DIY concrete vase. Just follow the instructions for that tutorial and swap out the concrete for plaster...and still use the cooking spray.
There are endless possibilities for Plaster of Paris crafts.