Plaster of Paris is a versatile material. Used for centuries, this powdery white substance has been a tool for artists, physicians and law enforcement workers. Artists use it to make frescoes and molded figurines. Plaster casts immobilize broken limbs and detectives have used the material to capture tire tracks and footprints.
Pinatas made from plaster of Paris are sturdier than papier mache. You can also complete them faster since you will only need to wrap one layer. Purchase craft quality plaster bandages, rather than the medical version to save money. Dip strips of the plaster bandage in warm water, and as they soften, wring out excess water. Wrap around a balloon, covering the entire surface except for the balloon tie. Once dry, pop the balloon and remove it through the top. Paint and embellish as desired. Fill it with small toys and candy and hang.
Use plaster of Paris to create fresco paintings. Michelangelo's paintings in the Sistine Chapel are the most famous of this style of work. Basically a fresco is a painting created on wet plaster. To do this at home, you will need a piece of plywood or burlap as the painting surface. Spread wet plaster of Paris on the painting surface, leaving a 1-inch border around the edge. Use watercolors or acrylics to paint directly on the wet plaster. Leave flat to dry. If you used material to paint on, carefully pin the edges to a piece of wood to display.
You can use plaster of Paris to make small figurines, charms for jewelry or Christmas ornaments. You can pour wet plaster into any plastic mold. Choose the many varieties of soap molds and candy molds available in craft stores. Make hand prints by pressing your hand into a sheet of clay. Pour the plaster of Paris into the mold and let dry. Cast other objects the same way; create a mold from clay, pour the plaster in and then, once dry, peel the clay away.