Plaster body molds are indispensable for artists and sculptors who need to work from a realistic perspective. They can be used for reference, but often times they become a piece of the actual artwork, saving the sculptor the time and effort of carving or fabricating the body part from scratch. The process in not exceptionally difficult, but it is rather time consuming, and requires an exceptionally still model, so keep this in mind as you begin.
Things You'll Need
- Petroleum jelly
- Instant mold plaster bandages
- Plaster knife
Grease your model with a thick, heavy coating of petroleum jelly. If you do not coat the skin with petroleum jelly, you will pull out your model's body hair when you remove your mold. It will also be more difficult to remove your mold, and can cause cracking and breaking. As plaster dries, it creates a fair amount of heat, so make sure your model is aware of this before you begin. Petroleum jelly also helps protect the skin from the heat.
Fill a pan with warm water and set it close to your model. Have your model move to the desired position. Note that this process takes some time so your model will need to be in a comfortable position or able to keep very still for at least an hour, likely more.
Take your first instant mold plaster bandage (see Resources) and cut it to size. Dip it in the pan of water, so it is completely saturated. Once in the water, the gypsum in the bandage will mix with the water to create plaster. This plaster dries quickly, so you will need to be ready to place it as soon as you dip it.
Apply the bandage to your model. Smooth it into any crevices or body contours. Also smooth out any air bubbles. Repeat the wetting and application process until you have covered the entire area you wish to mold, then begin another layer. Make at least three or four layers of plaster bandages or your mold will not be strong enough to hold its shape. Allow all layers to dry completely.
Use sharp scissors or a plaster knife to cut the mold exactly in half for removal. Be extra careful not to cut your model. You can use more plaster bandages to put the mold halves back together once they're removed from the model, or use them as is.
Tips & Warnings
- If you are casting something that naturally moves, such as a stomach that expands and contracts during breathing, plaster it in the expanded position so it doesn't crack as it dries and your model breathes.
- Photo Credit http://www.sxc.hu/photo/490953
How to Make Paper Mache Body Molds
Paper-mache body molds are used to capture the human form. Paper-mache can take days to dry thoroughly, so it's impractical to cover...
How to Make a Mold of a Body Part
People make body part molds for various reasons, including science projects, Halloween and for keepsakes. Regardless, if you don't do this correctly,...
How to Make Plaster of Paris Molds
Plaster of Paris is a molding material composed of calcium sulfate hemihydrates, calcium carbonate and crystalline silica. By mixing the powder form...
How to Remove Mold From the Body Naturally
Mold spores are common in the air we breathe. However, an overabundance of these spores in our body can cause body aches,...
How to Mold Realistic Body Parts
Sculptors and special effects artists use two-part molds to create replicas of human body parts. A plaster mold creates a negative impression...
How to Wrap Your Own Body Cast With a Gypsona Plaster Cast
Before you create a body cast from Gypsona bandages, there are some things to consider. First, plaster gives off heat as it...