How to Use a Plaster Bandage to Create Artwork

Creating sculpture and artwork can be fun and relaxing. A variety of media are available to work with to create art, and medical supplies can be one of them.

Plaster bandage is often used to create casts for broken limbs, but can also be used to create plaster casts of body parts and to make 3-D art pieces.

Plaster bandage is fairly inexpensive, costing about $12 for a three-yard roll that is two inches wide. This would be plenty to create a face mask or other small piece of art.

Things You'll Need

  • Vaseline
  • Plaster bandage
  • Water
  • Paint

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Smear a layer of Vaseline on the body part of which you plan to make a mold. You only need a thin coat of Vaseline, but you must ensure the entire area is covered, so the plaster bandage will not stick to the skin. For example, if you plan to make a mold of a face, you will need to coat the entire face with Vaseline, ensuring eyebrows are coated and skin is covered in Vaseline out to the hairline.

Cut the plaster bandage up into small pieces. They should be about one-inch squares. If you plan on covering a face, you may want to make the pieces smaller, so they are easier to work with and can be molded to the contours of the face more easily.

Place a square of plaster bandage in your hand and add a small amount of water. Rub the square to make the plaster into a paste, making sure to smooth out all the lumps on the bandage. If the plaster gets too sticky, add a little more water to thin it out.

Place the wet bandage on the body part of which you are making a mold. Smooth the edges of the bandage, so it lies flat to the body, making sure to smooth out all air bubbles that may be trapped under the bandage.

Continue to repeat steps 4 and 5, placing them on the body part and overlapping them so there are no holes. You may need to put on two or three coats of plaster bandaging to make sure the sculpture will be sturdy enough to hold together on its own.

Allow the plaster bandage to dry thoroughly, then remove from the body by working your fingers under the edges and popping the plaster cast from the body. Once the cast is completely dry, use tempera or acrylic paint to paint the cast as you desire.

Tips & Warnings

  • Achieve a similar effect for artwork by substituting cheesecloth soaked in a mixture of water and craft glue for the plaster bandage.
  • Don't put plaster bandage directly on skin. It will stick to skin and may cause injury when you remove it if you don't put a layer of Vaseline on the skin before using the bandage.
  • Don't add too much water to the plaster bandage. This will cause the plaster to wash off, and make the bandage portion of the material evident when the cast dries.

References

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