Tips for Working with Plaster for Making Castings

Fine art casting plaster is the material of choice for making casts. This is high-definition and yet easy to use as long as the proper mixing and pouring directions are followed. Find some more tricks here.

Plaster is considered the most common medium for making casts. It creates a rigid form with a lovely white finish that will stand the test of time. Plaster casting is often favored by artists over and above silicone or polyurethane rubber, and for good reason at that. In fact, it is the material of choice for making life castings as well.

However, the plaster used for castings is not the regular plaster of Paris as it tends to get chalky and flaky and will not be able to hold details well. Special plaster powders are available that have distinct additives and have been heat treated which alters these natural properties of plaster. In this way, it becomes suitable for fine art casting as the plaster cast can hold details without chipping or cracking.

This material is quite easy to use. Just mix the plaster powder in the specified quantity of water and it will be ready to use. Keep in mind that the water should be at room temperature and it is better to add the plaster powder to the water and not vice versa. The mixing can be done by hand (with gloves) or an electric mixer while taking care to avoid air from entering the mix as it can lead to air bubbles in the cast.

The plaster mixture is quite workable. One of the secret tricks is to apply a thin coating all over the surface of the mold and allow it to set a little. Then pour the mixed plaster slowly and in a thin stream to avoid air pockets.

It will set and cure naturally to a fairly hard structure. In fact, the cast should be demolded when it has set hard, but still feels a little on the wet side. There is no need to worry as the plaster can still be carved or tooled even after it has cured. Just sprinkle some water to wet the surface and it will be ready to use.

Another tip is that working with plaster can get quite messy. Therefore, artists prefer to clean as they go to keep the dust and waste from piling up. Also, keep in mind that plaster should never be applied directly on the body as the material releases heat as it cures which can cause burns at times. However, plaster bandages are sometimes used to make form body molds.

Best option

CastRite Art Casting Stone is a fine plaster powder that gives a natural, bright white finish to the castings. It can be used for making figurines, statuary, picture frames, life castings and even restoration works. All castings will turn out detailed, strong and durable. Enjoy the smooth plaster surface finish in the casts and life casts!

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