Last year in the Easter sales I picked up an Easter egg mould for $1 from Spotlight. Totally exciting, this bad boy means I can mould 12 (half) eggs at a time. So as we approached Easter this year I started wracking my brain for a little moulded craft idea for my class to complete. I came up with Easter plaster of paris magnets.
Having only one mould and 25 students, I decided that I would mould and dry the eggs myself. This turns the activity into a definite craft rather than art activity, but was very managable and easy to complete in a short space of time. I also wanted the magnets to be an Easter gift to my students, rather than several weeks of tedious work. I made up 31 eggs, which gave me a couple of spares and a couple to decorate as examples for the children to see the process.
The children were given the option of two types of decoration- painting the eggs in layers, or decoupage. Painting the eggs was tedious at some points, as the children had to wait for each layer of paint to dry. However, normal school acrylic paint dried really quickly and I had a selection of Easter activities (word-searches etc) for the children to complete while they waited. To create the decoupage look the children were given stacks of magazines (donated to my classroom by a friend) to cut out interesting patterns and color schemes and a pot of PVA glue. Each piece they glued on needed to be really small (about the size of my fingernail) to create a smooth finish.
Each egg was left on top of a milk bottle top to dry. This stopped the eggs sticking to the newspaper. The upturned milk bottle tops also made a great cradle when completing the back of the magnets. Just write their names on the newspaper next to the egg so you can tell them apart.
After the eggs were completed I spray painted the eggs with a clear coat of varnish. Being budget conscious I use car spray paint from Super Cheap Auto for $7.50 a can. Super cheap and super long lasting, a really good buy. This gave the eggs a beautiful shininess. The magnets came from the $2 shop (12 for $2, and they need to be quite strong). The magnets were glued on the back with a hot glue gun.
Plaster of Paris 3kg= $13.50 on TradeMe (you really only need a small amount- maybe around 500g?)
Magnets= $2 for 12 from the local dollar shop
Hot Glue gun
Clear spray paint= $7.50 from Super Cheap Auto