Embarking on the Journey of Life Casting

Life casting is not easy, but it is not rocket science either. Knowledge of the materials, the process and the application is essential, but you will not get the hang unless go ahead and give it a stab.

Life casting is a wonderful art that has captured the imagination of many an artist. While experienced and accomplished artists seem to easily create spellbinding life casts without breaking a sweat, fact of the matter is that making body molds and life casts is quite a complicated and painstaking process. It calls for working with care and precision while paying attention to minute details. Knowledge of the various materials, their properties and other factors is also essential. And the artist has to be particularly alert as he/she will be working on live models and cannot afford to harm/trouble them in any manner.

However, this does not mean that novices cannot try their hand at life casting! Following is what a beginner needs to know/do:

  • Different materials and supplies are required for making the body mold and life cast. Alginate is a natural material and can be safely used on the model; skin-safe silicone rubber is also a good option. A release agent has to be applied first and the mold has to be reinforced with a shell mold of plaster bandages.
  • You have to acquire the know-how about the various processes like how to properly mix the mold making material, apply it on the model, demold the body mold, pour the casting material, finish the life cast and so on. This can be learnt from instruction guides, tutorials or attending live workshops. Small tips and tricks from expert artists – like making the face mold with the model lying down, using soft water for mixing alginate and twitching the body to remove the mold - can make a world of difference.
  • Prepping the model is a crucial step of the life casting process. The model has to be informed about what lies in store, how to hold the pose, warning signs and so on.
  • You will never feel you are completely ready, so just go ahead and jump in. Do not be afraid to get your feet wet as theoretical information can only go so far. And there will definitely be loads of mistakes on the way. Try and try and you will definitely succeed very soon. In fact, both experience and perfection comes from trying.
  • Life casting is a messy job. Be prepared to get your hands dirty. Once you get the hang of the process, you will start enjoying it and even become proficient at it very soon.

In general, there are different materials and varied techniques for mold making and casting. Body casting and life casting follow most of the same principles, but it gets complicated by the fact that you are working on a real person and not an inanimate object. This is why many artists prefer to start with regular mold making/casting and then move to life casting!

The Ins and Outs of Plaster Bandages

 Plaster of Paris is a common material that finds usage in construction sites, orthopedic chambers and art studios. When plaster is infused into gauze, it forms the very resourceful plaster bandages.

Plaster of Paris is a quick-setting gypsum plaster that comes in the form of a fine white powder. It forms a paste when mixed with water and when allowed to dry, it will take a solid form. The name plaster of Paris comes from the abundant gypsum found near Paris that is used for the preparation.

This is commonly used as a building material to form a protective coating on walls and ceilings apart from giving aesthetic finishing touches. The same plaster powder can be used to immobilize joint or limb fractures. In the medical field, it is applied as a slab, splint or full cylindrical cast on broken bones by orthopaedics. It dries to form a rigid cast that will hold the broken pieces of the bones in place and help them to heal. Dentists also often use plaster to make molds of the teeth to be replaced.

But not many people may be aware that woven fiber material (like gauze) can be soaked in a plaster solution and then dried to produce Plaster of Paris bandages.


Plaster bandages are usually used to form shell molds over flexible molds – like those made of alginate or silicone rubber. It forms a stiff covering that helps the mold retain its shape and the firm mold can then be used for casting purposes.

Apart from this, the bandages are also directly applied on both living and non-living models to make form molds. This will capture the basic shape without the finer details. Therefore, it is usually used for making belly molds (like pregnancy casting) and other basic shaped figures.

How to use?

Plaster bandages are fast and practical to use. The reverse process comes into play here – just soak the bandages in water and the moistened bandage will be ready to use. The bandages will harden rapidly, to form a resistant structure which does not lose shape.

Roll out the bandage and cut into the required lengths. Take a bowl of water and soak each bandage for a couple of seconds before squeezing it gently. Then apply on the required surface. Smooth it out with the fingers while ensuring that air bubbles do not get trapped inside.

Where to find?

EnvironMolds offers a complete array of materials, supplies and tools for making molds, casts and life casts. This includes top quality plaster bandages at very reasonable prices. The bandages are skin friendly and smooth. They offer rapid plaster immobilization with quick water absorption that enables faster application on the molds or even the body. There is appreciable mold ability which allows it to conform properly to where it is applied, thus facilitating easy and accurate molding.

What’s more, the same bandages can also be used in the medical arena to form plaster for bone and joint fractures.