How to make plaster of paris tracks

Today I am going to give you step by step instructions on how to make your own plaster of paris tracks. Some of you have been lucky enough to do this with me at Londolozi, now I’ll tell you how to do it at home!

Things you'll need

Things you'll need

What you need:

  • A bucket for mixing
  • 500g Plaster of paris (from your local pharmacy)
  • Water
  • A good stick for stirring
  • Some strips of cardboard (optional)
  • Stapler (optional)
  • An adult to help you

What you need to do is find s nice track, often in mud is the best, don’t do it in dry sand or your track will just come out as a blob! Rory Kane-Berman, one of the children who lives at Londolozi, was my trusty tracker, and he found me a beautiful lion track!

Rory looking for tracks to mould

Rory looking for tracks to mould

The lion track we found

The lion track we found

We piled out of the car (always careful to look for animals) and started getting ready. I made a ring out of the cardboard strips and put it around the track (I only did this because I didn’t want the plaster to run, but if you have a nice deep track and you are sure the plaster isn’t going to run, you don’t have to do this.)

Mix the water and plaster together with a stick

Mix the water and plaster together with a stick

We then started to mix the plaster, you will have to see for yourself how much to mix, but I find that one box of plaster makes 2 tracks (our lion track was HUGE so we used a whole box). We poured the plaster into the bucket and then added water, stirring with a stick we found. The plaster needs to get sticky like porridge, you need to be able to pour it but it can’t be loose like water. (In all this excitement make sure that you don’t step on your track!)

Carefully pour the plaster mixture into the track

Carefully pour the plaster mixture into the track

Make sure that the plaster is evenly spread over the track, if it is too thin it will break

Make sure that the plaster is evenly spread over the track, if it is too thin it will break

When this is ready your can carefully pour it into your track. making sure that the plaster is evenly spread. You then leave it to dry, this should take about half an hour, but always feel it gently at first to check. When you pull it up it will be very dirty, just run it under some water and you will see your track clearly!

Leave your track to dry for about half an hour

Leave your track to dry for about half an hour

The finished lion track!

The finished lion track!

Remember that you don’t need to have a lion track to do this, you can find tracks of your pets in your garden and mould them!

Let me know what animal tracks you have moulded.

Teacher Cinzia



5 comment on “How to make plaster of paris tracks”

    Sandy Lamb says:

    Hi Rory,
    I am Mrs. Lamb whose house you once visited. I am neighbors with Thomas and Carolyn. Do you remember coming here around Chirstmas time and we had a group of people your dad spoke to?

    This week is the Science Fair for my son Finley who is in Fourth Grade. I feel like you just presented your project too! How funny. You are all the way in South Africa and we are here in San Diego and you boys are working at the same things in school! His project is on Tsunamis which means “harbor wave” in Japanese.

    Thanks for sharing your work (Mark sent it to me!) and good luck in school. Maybe we will make a track of our dog!

    Rory Kane-Berman says:

    Hi Sandy

    Thank you for your message. Yes I do remember visiting you all in San Diego – it was such fun.

    I hope Finley did well at the Science fair – Tsunamis are so interesting.

    I hope we can visit you all again in San Diego soon.

    Rich says:

    Hi Sandy, I found this really cool link about Tsunamis and how they work. You can look at it here: http://www.weatherwizkids.com/weather-earthquake.htm rich

    Rich says:

    Hi Teacher Cinzia,

    Thank you for posting such an interesting blog on how to make plaster of paris tracks. I have often wondered how to make these prints and am now going to give it a try.

    Thanks
    rich

    Teacher Cinzia says:

    It is a pleasure Rich! Please let me know how yours turn out? And thank-you so much for the information on the tsunamis, I also found it interesting!

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