Making Plaster Work for Mold Making and Casting

As we all know; plaster is a very versatile material. A modified version works well for making molds, casts and life casts. The trick is to use the right formulation from a reliable source to get best results.

Plaster is simply a mixture of sand with lime and cement. This soft white powder is mixed with water to create a workable paste that can be applied on different surfaces. It yields a smooth and hard surface finish when dry.

Primarily used as a construction material, plaster can form a protective or even decorative coating on walls, ceilings, etc. The same plaster has found its way into dentistry, orthopedics and other applications. What’s more, it lends itself well to arts like plaster casting, mold making and life casting too!

Indeed, this material can be used to make both molds and casts. Plaster molds serve as the base for industrial applications for making metal castings wherein molten metal is poured into the mold and allowed to harden to form the cast. When used as a casting material, it yields crisp details with an excellent finish. And plaster happens to be the material of choice for making life casts. Be it face, torso, hands, feet or the whole body, the stark relief of a bright white plaster cast stands unparalleled!

Additionally, plaster is infused into gauze that serves well for making shell molds. As the plaster turns stiff on drying, it helps reinforce flexible molds so that they can retain their shape without flopping during the casting process.

Some artists even use the same plaster bandages to make rough belly molds and masks. This captures the basic shape and form of the model without getting into too much detail.

How to use?

Mold making and casting artists should keep in mind that they cannot use regular plaster (or plaster of Paris). This will tend to turn chalky and flaky, not to mention that it fails to hold details well. A specially formulated form of plaster is considered better suited for mold making and casting applications.

Keep in mind that plaster cannot be used directly on the skin. The paste will emit heat as it cures which can even burn the skin. Therefore, it is better to stick to applications on inanimate objects. However, plaster infused bandages can still be used for making body molds.

What is important here is to use the right form of plaster. Take CastRite Art Casting Stone for instance – this comes from a trustworthy manufacturer and is considered the perfect choice for castings and life castings. It has been specially heat-treated and will set fairly hard, but can still be carved and tooled as desired. This fine arts casting stone also holds excellent detail without chipping, cracking or even becoming chalky. The plaster can be used for making castings in alginate, resin and silicone molds.

In sum, indulge in the goodness of plaster, but make sure to opt for the best option!

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