Plaster of Paris.
This material is kept close to my heart. Whether it’s painting cookie monster as a kid, casting and painting cats with my brother or being the only one the teacher entrusted to mix the plaster properly in sculpture class in college.
I’ve been looking for months for plaster of Paris, which suddenly disappeared from the store I used to buy it. Today I walked down to the hardware store, and brought a kilo bag of it.
I have a couple of tips, that I’ve learned, to share. First off, mixing. If you’re mixing a big batch, the best way to mix is in a giant bowl with your hand. It’s useful to have two people, as you do not want any moisture getting near the plaster bag. Fill the bowl with about a third to half of cold water. Moving very gently back and forth with your hand, add a small amount of plaster at a time. Wait for it to dissolve before adding more. Move slowly, so you avoid making bubbles. The mixture will be ready when you lift your hand out of the mixture and it will be covered with a slightly thick milky film. Once the mix is ready, you’re ready to create. You can either create a mould for clay, take a cast of a mould or pour into a disposable container for carving. When taking or creating moulds, the best way to get details is to use an old paintbrush to coat the area where the plaster will be going while it’s still runny. Once coated, get a plastic spoon and spoon it gently onto your project. If you time it right, it’ll probably be getting thick towards the end of the process. Try to make more than you’ll need, I’m not sure that adding layers of varying degrees of set plaster would be as strong. Plaster can be sanded and carved with ease. It is quite heavy, so unless your pieces are tiny, they may not be suitable for cards or paper crafting. I’m planing on gluing mine to a wooden box to decorate it for a friend. Plaster of paris is porous, so doesn’t need any preparation before painting. It’s an all round excellent medium to work with for all ages and skill levels.
10/10 would recommend.