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Plaster of Paris Ornament Kits

Posted by Big Boo on July 19th, 2010

PlastercastsI shied away from using the brand name of this particular toy as the heading for this post, simply because I wasn’t 100% sure I had the name right, but I’m pretty sure there used to be a range of these craft kits known as Plastercasts.

Given the trouble I had trying to track down a decent image to accompany this (I ended up with a rather poor image of a currently available kit of this ilk) it looks as though this is another one of those past times which are gradually fading away as people move towards more immediate (and less messy) hobbies.

My personal memories of this toy are of a Paddington Bear themed set that I must have received as a present at some point. The kit comprised a couple of wibbly wobbly rubber moulds, a big bag of plaster of paris, lots of little plastic pots of acrylic paint and a paintbrush.

You mixed up the plaster of paris, poured it into the moulds, waited for a bit, then carefully (you might want to get an adult to help with this bit) peel away the mould to reveal a pure white statue of, in my case, Paddington. Daub some paint over it and voila, your very own statuette to display proudly on your shelf or window sill.

I remember having this ornament sat on my shelf for many years, as I was really pleased with it and only ever made one of them because we could never find anywhere that sold plaster of paris without having to buy another complete kit.

However, there was always one thing I never understood. Why was it called plaster of paris? Well, thanks to the Internet and it’s ability to know pretty much anything, I now know – apparently the name comes from the source of a large deposit of gypsum, which is located in Montmartre which is near to, yes, you’ve guessed it, Paris! I always imagined the reason must have been something far more interesting than that, but sorry, apparently not.

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