Toolbox Tuesday – Plaster of Paris

Hello, my little tater tots! (Shout out to Sunny Carvalho for giving me tater tots on the brain.. Hah!)

FIRSTLY, let’s talk about last week’s winner!  Thanks to the magic of random.org, we have one!

*drumroll*

*dancing girls*

*bears in tutus*

It’s RUTH!  WOO RUTH!  

*pompoms* 

*backflips* 

*breaks a hip*

I’ll be contacting you and getting your goodies mailed out post haste! <3

This week’s trip to the toolbox is all about plaster.

Look, you can totally buy plaster at any craft store, I’m sure.  I grabbed some (and by “grabbed some” I mean I made The Manflesh haul it around) (and by “SOME” I mean 25 pounds.  I don’t mess around) last time I was at Lowe’s.  I swear I’m starting to sound like a Lowe’s commercial.  NONE OF THIS IS SPONSORED.  Hey Lowe’s, hook me up!

I don’t have an awesome picture of the plaster cause I came home and immediately dumped it into a bucket so that I made a huge mess in the driveway versus making a huge mess in my studio.  Sometimes I have brainystuff happening in my ideafactory.  It happens!

Here’s a picture I stole from the Lowe’s website!

I have a few things I want to do with this, including texturing a whole room at the house, but I started with molding.  I have a drawer full of molds – I’m sort of obsessed with making them – so I figured I’d test it out there.  The plaster has a working time of only 6-10 minutes, hardens in about 30 minutes, and is fully cured in three days, so you need to be kind of quick with it, mix it in small batches, and try not to get it everywhere.  Easy-peasy, right?  RIGHT!

You mix it with cold water, two parts plaster to one part water.  I mixed it in a red Solo cup because I’m super fancy.  Once you’ve stirred it up and it seems smooth, smack your container on the counter a couple of times to pop any bubbles and chunks of plaster, then mix it again.  My plaster came out pretty smooth.  I then poured it into a Dixie cup to pour into the molds since they’re more flexible and easier to deal with.  The Dixie cups.  Not the molds.  Though they’re pretty flexible and easy to deal with too.

Look.  It’s going to tempt you.  You’re going to touch it after, say, 20 minutes, and it’s going to seem dry.  IT ISN’T.  Let it sit.  It’ll seem totally reasonable to go ahead and try to unmold it, and it will promptly break.  ASK ME HOW I KNOW THIS!  You don’t have to, I’ll tell you.  I did that.  It broke.  WHOOPS.  

After an appropriate amount of time has passed and the plaster is totally hard and doesn’t make a divot when you poke it with your fingernail, unmold those babies!

OooOooOOooOOoooOoo!!

Okay.  A couple of notes.  I made the key from a purely experimental standpoint, just to see if I could use plaster to make something delicate.  I fully expected it to break, so I wasn’t very careful with the pouring and made a big mess.

To my complete surprise, it popped out, no problem!  Since there are so many bubbles and so much over-pour, I snapped it in half to see how easy it broke.  It broke pretty easy, so it likely wouldn’t stand up to being turned into a pendant or anything.  

I poured everything in one big glop, so there are a lot of bubbles in areas where there is a lot of detail, like these chill pills!  

I’d definitely recommend that you pour just a little bit, slosh it around, bounce it off the table, make sure to get all the nooks and crannies filled, and then fill the mold.  The same thing happened with the frames, but I LOVE how they turned out.

In this case, I think the air pockets just add more to the look.  Love it.  

The baby heads?  Perfection.

So all I really need to do from here is be a little more careful when pouring.  I think I can handle that.

Next week I’ll have more on plaster (because I have more experiments!) and another giveaway!  Woo!

Go forth and mold something!

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3 Comments

  1. Amber K

    Those frames are so amazing. I really really like the baby head on my left, with the crack like mark on its skull. It just gives it a lil something extra, ya know? How did you make your molds for the frames?

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