Plaster Casting

One of the most unique things I find about plaster casting, is how fragile the medium actually is. Plaster is inherently hydrophobic, not in the chemical sense, but rather in a personified sense. Plaster can, and will dissolve when exposed to water after it has been set, so care needs to be used when working with plaster.

For this piece, I relied on my trusty assistants, my wife, Justine, and our dog, Aspen. They were both crucial in this process, as pictures needed to be taken, and cuteness needed to be present. I opted not to go with the beach route, as I am busy during the week and going to the beach over memorial day weekend is my nails on chalkboard. My wife, on the other hand, loves the beach and was quite upset about this decision.

About the piece, and first about the sand: I am not a fan of working with sand, its granularity and plasticity cause it to be an unforgiving medium for plaster, but as this was the directive, I complied. The sand I purchased from Home Depot for a whopping $1.97 and the bucked and plaster came out to about $8, bringing the total to around $10. Not bad for a budget project.

The plaster mixed well, as the instructions were followed with care, aka, I can measure things well by eye, and probably didn’t mess that part up. Mixing the plaster is rather satisfying, as you see the hydration process turning the powder from a solid to liquid, then the semi-solid coagulated into a hardened shape. Shape is the best way to describe it as I chose to use the base of my hand and fingers as the chosen body part. We were going to use Aspen’s foot, but decided against it, as Aspen would not have been a happy volunteer.

The cast came out better than expected, only a finger short, but that’s the nature of working with sand. I enjoyed the fact that this piece was relatively inexpensive, and easy to produce. If I were to perform this casting again, I would probably use putty as the cast to keep the rigidity of the mold.


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