Many people fall victim to the “Do it Yourself” approach to life casting. Product descriptions make the process seem simple and encourage expecting parents to try it out themselves. The results are far from breathtaking. Many times the final product leaves the parents feeling cheated and ends up in a box where is proceeds to degrade and fall apart over the years. The most popular type of D.I.Y. Life Casting is Plaster Bandage. These are rolls of gauze bandages impregnated with plaster. You soak them in warm water, put them over Vaseline covered skin, and wait for them to set up. I’m going to show the steps I take to turn one of these monstrosities into a stunning maternity casting you can be proud of.
A client came to me with a mold she did of her pregnancy with a “do it yourself” plaster bandage kit six years ago. The mold was structurally sturdy, but relatively unshapely, and the inside was full of creases and cracks. I spent some time reshaping the mold, and building up weak spots to get it ready for casting.
Here is the casting pulled from the mold. Already it looks better. I did some clean up work around the edges before taking this photo, but there is still a ton of work to do to get it to look like a proper life cast.
Sanding, patching, filling, more sanding.
In this step, I try to get the cast as smooth as possible by sanding and rasping all the bumps and creases and filling in all the pits and dens. Due to the nature of plaster bandage molds, this is always the most time and labor intensive part.
After thinking about whether to have me sculpt the nipples and other details back into the casting, the client decided to go for a more stylized approach and have everything sanded smooth.
Gesso is applied to the casting to add in skin texture and disguise small imperfections.
Here is the finished casting with removable cover. The client chose a porcelain white finish for the body, and a light grey for the cover. From this angle you can really see its shape.
There you ave it. Complete reshaping and reconstruction of a malformed and worn out casting. If you have ever done one of these, and would like me to make things right for you, let me know. The great part about this service is – we don’t have to reside in the same part of the country! In most cases, you can simply ship me your old casting, and I can send you back one you can be proud of. Check out more casting repairs here.