Varied Uses of Plaster

 Plaster is a simple powder that is mixed with water before use. The material cures slowly to capture the shape in a solid form. This plaster can be used in varied ways to suit different purposes in the arts.

Plaster is a humble white powder made with a combination of lime or gypsum with sand and water. It is mixed with water to form a stiff paste before application. It dries to a solid form in some time. It is usually known as plaster of Paris as the gypsum was mined in abundant quantities in Paris.

The most common use of plaster mix is to coat walls and partitions to make the surface smooth. It is used to make false ceilings apart from stucco work and rendering. It also lends itself well for decorative architectural moldings like cornices and corbels.

Plaster is also used in the medical field to make casts for immobilizing broken bones and supporting the fracture till the bones can set properly once again.

A variation of the regular plaster also finds its way into the world of mold making and casting. This is different from the regular plaster of Paris which tends to become chalky and flaky over time, does not hold detail well and is hydroscopic in nature.

The art variant of plaster is harder which allows it to capture crisp details and set to a smooth solid. Yet it can be carved or tooled as desired. This is used in mold making and latex slush molds while plaster bandages are used to make shell molds or even form molds.

Plaster can be used for general mold making, but care should be taken as the material tends to emit heat due to the chemical reaction. Therefore, it can damage the product or harm the model when applied directly on the body. Some people have been known to get burns when plaster is used in large volumes!

A better application of plaster is for making the life castings. The plaster mix is poured into the alginate or silicone body mold and allowed to cure. After demolding, it turns out a bright white life cast that is a spitting replica of the original body part. It can then be finished as required before being put up for display.

Plaster is coated over gauze to form plaster bandages that can be used to make shell or mother molds. The wet bandages are smoothed out over alginate or rubber molds. They dry to a rigid form and thus lend the required stiffness to the flexible molds that would otherwise flop over themselves making it difficult to cast properly. The same bandages can also be used on the skin to make rough body part molds like the abdomen as they do not have much detail. Artists also use the same technique for making a face mold for making masks.

EnvironMolds offers a range of plaster options for pottery, casting and the ever-popular Plaster of Paris bandages.

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