I finally hung A2′s belly cast on the wall in the kids’ room, to go along with EB’s, so I thought I would share how to make one. My mom did most of them, so it’ll be a mix of how she did it and my input. She’s the trained artist and retired art teacher, so basically all I did was provide the belly and opinions. Her comments are in blue. If she’s involved, any project will last at least a 1,000 years. As long as the wall paintings by the Mayans and Minoans.
- Mom, was it easy?
The whole thing was easy, perhaps because I have worked in plaster before and knew how to work with it. Smooth each layer so that the plaster surfaces the gauze to a smooth feel like tooth paste.
- What didn’t work like you expected?
The second cast didn’t express upright body posture because the pg person was helping. It would have been better to have her just sit and not move. (Yes, I helped because it dried so quickly, I can’t help helping, and I felt like I should be the one to rub in the strips on the boobs.)
- What did you do differently this year than for the last belly cast?
Restructure the shape because of the body bending when the person tried to help. (Alright, alright, it would’ve been better if I sat still.)
- What materials did you use?
- What times would you recommend waiting for materials to dry?
- Anything else you’d like to include?
Take your time and don’t be in a hurry.
- In a warm place remove clothing, apply a very thin coat of vaseline to all parts to be covered by plaster. The pg person can do this if she wants. (I wore shorts that I threw away afterwards. I also put the band-aids on my nips so it wasn’t so…obvious as in the last cast.)
- Cut strips of gauze into 8″ lengths. These can be cut smaller for curves so the gauze wont wad up.
- Dip the gauze into water, remove, run two fingers down the gauze to remove excess water. Smooth onto skin. Start in one place and spread out from there. Apply three coats. (I sat on a plastic chair with my back as straight as possible. No leaning or bad posture, ladies! It’ll make the cast look dumb.)
- Let dry on pg person about 20-30 minutes. It will warm up while curing. (Not hot or anything though. It’ll start to pop off on its own as it dries.)
- Gently remove cast and let dry for one hour.
- Once hard, add additional layers to weak spots and over the edges to firm up shape. (She did this recently, 5 months after cast was complete, to reinforce, fix problem areas, and make smooth edges.) Let completely dry – 2 hours.
- Add dowels, vertical first, then the horizontal for side support. Connect dowels with a wrap that forms an X. Let dry-2 hrs. (This will give the cast structural integrity and give a place to add wire to hang it on a wall.)
- Drill holes in dowels, add eye screws, then wire.
- Paint two coats of paint; let each one dry.
- Paint the varnish on inside and outside. this enables cleaning with a damp cloth as plaster catches dust while hanging in place. (EB’s was a dust-magnet and the texture of the plaster made it hard to clean.)
- Date the inside, include baby’s name. (Handy if you have more than one belly cast. Although, I can tell them apart because one was significantly less nipply than the other one. Something to think about when the kids grow up and show it off to their friends. We used the date the cast was done so I remembered how soon before my due date it was made.)