Plaster of Paris is generally used to repair damages in plaster walls or is poured into molds to produce intricate and detailed trim or pendants. It doesn't shrink or crack when it dries but its soft enough that you could hand carve or alter the design with a sharp chisel. Since this can be done you could possibly sculpt anything you wanted as long as the piece was relatively small as larger pieces might crack.
Its been a couple years since I have tried my hand at carving and thought now is the perfect time to try this again.
- Dry Plaster of Paris
- Clean cold water
- Measuring cups
- Container for mixing
- Old spoon or knife
- An old cardboard 1 or 2 litre container of milk or juice
- Chisel or carving tools
Start by cutting the top off of your old milk of juice container and thoroughly wash the inside. Don't worry about drying it as you will be filling it with wet plaster. I ended up using only a 1 liter container as I wanted to work on a smaller piece.
Next, prepare your plaster by following the directions on the box. I needed 2 parts plaster with 1 part water which made a think pancake batter like consistency. Make sure to stir really well as clumps form very easily.
Pour about 1/4 of the mixture into the mould and tap the container to remove air bubbles. Keep adding a little at a time until your container is filled to the height that you want. Its good to have an idea of what your making so you know how big its going to need to be.
You will want to let it dry overnight before you touch it again. Once you are certain its hard and solid you can cut one side of the jug and peel the cardboard off of the dried plaster.
Place something down like newspaper or a piece of paper to catch any loose dust or carving scraps. Before you dig in make sure to draw your design onto the block of plaster. I decided on an cute little yet mean looking owl.
Start carving but don't rush and take your time! Its incredibly hard to fix it once you have removed too much. Be careful, always use the tool in a direction that is away from your body and hands and don't use something that you are uncomfortable with. I avoided using a chisel as they are very sharp and settle on a butter knife instead which seemed to worked just fine. I got a good outline with big details completed today and will go back and work on it a little at a time.
Depending on how you look at the sculpture, it kind of looks like a skull with cat ears. Muhahah!