Plaster gauze is used in the medical world to create casts to stabilise broken bones. However, the same plaster gauze strips can also be used for sculpting. The benefit of plaster strips is that they are easier to prepare than traditional plaster that has to be mixed. You can use plaster gauze to create any sculpture by building a wire frame and covering it with the strips. You can also use it to make casts of someone's hand or foot.
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Things you need
- 18-gauge wire
- Chicken wire
- Wire cutters
- Plaster gauze
- Large bucket
- Large paintbrush
Create a base for your sculpture using 18-gauge wire. Twist the wire into the basic skeleton of the design. Create arms, legs or any other shape you desire. Use wire cutters to cut the wire into sections, as needed.
Wrap chicken wire over the wire skeleton to form a three-dimensional outline of the object. Fasten the wire around the skeleton with pieces of twine. The chicken wire should flesh out the frame of your scuplture, so that it is the approximate size and shape that you want for your final art piece.
Cut the plaster gauze into manageable strips. For small sculptures less than 24 inches in length, height or width, you should make each strip about 2-inches wide by 3-inches long. For large sculptures over 24 inches in length, height or width, you can make each strip about 4-inches to 6-inches wide and up to 24-inches long. Set the strips aside until you are ready to work with them.
Soak the strips in a bucket of water one at a time. Soak each strip for about four seconds, then drape it over the skeleton. Work from the bottom of the sculpture up. Smooth out the edges of the strips once they are on the skeleton to give the sculpture a smooth appearance. Overlap the edges of each new strip with the previous strips. Apply three layers of plaster overall.
Brush the edges of the plaster strips with a wet paintbrush to help blend the individual pieces together. Allow the plaster to set for 24 hours.
Paint, seal or sand the plaster as desired. Take care not to sand the plaster too much, or you will expose the cloth fibres under the plaster. This will give your sculpture a rough appearance.
Tips and warnings
- If you are using the plaster gauze to make a mould of someone's hand or foot, coat all skin with petroleum jelly before applying the plaster to prevent it from sticking to the skin.
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