The Versatility of Plaster in Arts

Plaster powder is a favored art material as it lends itself well for making molds, casts and even shell molds. Both plaster molds and casts capture the details well and set to a smooth and rigid form.

There are many mold making materials like clay, wax, polyurethane rubber, silicone rubber, etc. Similarly, there is no dearth of choice for casting the mold, it ranges from gypsum and resins to various kinds of rubbers. However, only a few materials can double up for making both molds and casts.

Plaster is one such versatile material that is equally suitable for molds and casts. Additionally, plaster bandages are commonly used for making shell or mother molds too.

Plaster of Paris bandages

Let’s take a look at the multipurpose nature of plaster in the world of mold making, casting and life casting –

Molds – Plaster powder is mixed with water to form a fluid paste. This can be applied over the object or poured into a mold box to form a smooth and solid mold. But care is needed as the plaster can deform easily while it is wet. Yet, the mold will capture crisp details without becoming chalky over time. It can also be carved or tooled easily. The same plaster is often used for restoration works as well.

Life casting artists even use plaster for making molds of the hands. All that the model has to do is dip the hand in the container of plaster mix and hold the pose for a while. The hand can be extracted after a while and a negative impression will be left behind.

Casts – The same plaster slip can be poured into a mold to form a figurine, statuary, earthenware or other art casting. It picks the details well and sets quickly to a smooth and rigid form. The cast remains lightweight making it easy to demold, work on and carry around if needed. It also holds the finish well without chipping or cracking over time.

In fact, plaster is considered the ideal medium for making life casts in both alginate and silicone rubber molds. You can choose a bright white, high definition plaster to get a natural white finish.

Shell molds – Gauze strips that are infused with plaster are the material of choice for backing flexible molds, such as those made of alginate or silicone rubber. The same plaster gauze is also applied directly on the human body to make body molds. While the plaster bandages cannot capture fine details and can release heat, they are still suitable for belly molds, especially for pregnancy casting.

Precautions – Keep in mind that you cannot use generic plaster of Paris for artworks as it tends to get flaky and can develop cracks. Special art plaster is available in art stores. It is equally important to mix the plaster and water properly and in the correct ratio to get a smooth and thick blend. Furthermore, avoid working with plaster on humid days as this will extend the drying period.


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Challenges In Life Casting.


It’s not just inanimate objects alone; it is also possible to make molds of humans and animals. However, working on a living being requires a much more careful approach.

A skin-safe mold making material like alginate, special silicone rubber or plaster bandages can be used. The artist has to still work cautiously to avoid causing any kind of harm or even discomfort to the model. For instance, a release agent is essential so that the mold making material does not snag in the body hair and make it difficult to demold.

Going further, the artist has to take immense care when working on the face. The mold making material has to stay clear of the eyes and mouth. It should not clog the nose either as it will become difficult to breathe.

Even the pose of the model has to be carefully planned and tested so that he or she does not feel uncomfortable or even restless. Keeping them calm and relaxed can be quite a challenge for the artist.

However, the artist also has to be prepared for things to go wrong despite taking the best precautions. After all, they are working on a live person and some things will always be beyond their control. Being able to take the disruptions or even failure in stride and being willing to start the work all over again is as important as being skilled at their art!

But once an alginate body mold is ready, it can be easily cast into to create a beautiful life cast. All the artist has to do is clean and prepare the mold before pouring in the plaster (or other appropriate casting material) and the mold will churn out a beautiful replica of the model.

The mesmerizing charm of the life cast will put paid to all the efforts that went into creating this magical art form!

Life casting artists can easily source all their art materials and supplies from EnvironMolds at


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Hands Together in a Life Cast

Hand Casting Near Me

Getting a life cast done is generally deemed a lone event. You commission an artist to cast your face, hands, torso or even whole body and that’s that.

However, having other people with you in the life cast can make it more interesting and memorable, isn’t it? But how is this possible?

Let’s consider the possibilities:

How about casting your hands intertwined with your spouse’s to celebrate your everlasting love? It could even be you holding your baby’s hand or a grandparent(s) lovingly clasping the grandchild’s hand. Or how about having siblings’ hands together? In fact, such life casts make for a beautiful gift and are cherished forever.

Another alternative is to cast your pregnant belly with your spouse or older child’s hand cradling the bump? The thought itself can make you tender and bring a tear to the eye.

A ring of hands is another popular life cast with multiple people such as children, parents, grandparents, other relatives or even friends and colleagues holding hands together. The wreath formation can be as big or small as you like and makes for a lovely keepsake.

When casting multiple people together, it is not just about how to make a mold from the body but also how to get the pose right and keep the participants comfortable.

If you wish to try casting intertwined hands or make a ring of hands, all the required materials and supplies can be easily sourced online from The website even provides kits with clear, detailed and illustrated instructions to help you every step of the way.

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Posted by on May 17, 2017 in hand casting


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A Product Called Silicone Rubber


Silicone rubber can be used to reproduce almost anything. Indeed, silicone is very versatile and is a good bet for all types of general mold making applications – be it candles, soaps, refrigerator magnets, ornaments, figurines, model furniture and other prototypes.

Food-safe variations are suitable for making baking containers, food molds, candy molds and ice sculptures as well. These silicone molds lend themselves well for casting with resin, plaster or other materials as needed.

Moreover, silicone rubber can be used for both mold making and casting. In fact, this flexible rubber works as the product of choice for making multiple casts of almost any item. There are skin safe silicone rubbers that prove apt for special effects and duplicating skin surfaces apart from making realistic dolls.

It should be kept in mind that silicone rubber is an expensive material per se. However, what still makes silicone so popular is that it is flexible, durable as well as resistant to water and fire. It does not even stick to anything; therefore you don’t have to seal the mold or apply a release agent unlike other rubbers.

Moreover, silicone molds are reusable and will work well for making thousands of duplicate castings. And the rubber is especially worth the price when casting higher volumes of the same item. On the other hand, as silicone tends to stick to itself, scrap silicone can be recycled in large castings as well.

The only problem is that silicone rubber is susceptible to air bubbles. Therefore, it is better to use a vibrating table or vacuum chamber to remove the air trapped in the silicone.

Silicone rubber comes in two types – condensation cure and addition cure. They have their own unique characteristics and need to be used accordingly.

EnvironMolds offers an exhaustive range of silicone rubber options on its website Apart from the regular offerings, there is SkinRite for realistic mask making and dolls, food safe FDA approved BakeSil for food molds and a skin safe LifeRite for making life castings.

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Posted by on October 17, 2016 in Art & Craft


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Why a Vacuum Chamber is a Must

vacuum_chamber_and_pumpWondering how to rid your molds and casts of those pesky air bubbles that pop up no matter how hard you try to keep them at bay? When all the tapping, shaking and pouring in high, thin streams fails to keep air from getting trapped in the mold making or casting material, it’s time to invest in a vacuum pump and chamber!
Indeed, a vibrating table or even pressure pot can never be as effective as a vacuum chamber. This is because the vibration motion manages to lower the coefficient of friction when the mixture is placed on it. Air bubbles will rise to the surface and can be popped easily, but this does not mean that the material is completely deaired.
On the other hand, a pressure pot merely squeezes the trapped air bubbles to microscopic sizes. Now when the material leaves the pressurized vessel, the bubbles will mostly regain their original size. This is especially true for soft rubbers as they are stretchable; the bubbles will expand again to form warts on the surface or even cause the mold/cast to collapse.
Therefore, using a pressure pot is effective only for resins, as the mold or cast will set to a rigid non-flexible form. Here again it is advisable to leave the mold or cast inside the pressure pot until it has cured. Casting resins under pressure will deliver a bubble-free casting.
Therefore, only a vacuum pump with vacuum chamber can completely deair both silicones and polyurethane resins for completely bubble-free molds and castings.
EnvironMolds stocks top quality and cost-effective vacuum pump with vacuum chamber that is a must-have for every art studio. Simply place the mixed rubber/resin in the vacuum chamber and switch on the pump. The material will rise for some time before leveling out to show that air has been completely removed. Now your material is ready to deliver perfect molds and casts!

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Posted by on September 20, 2016 in Art & Craft



Model’s Pose Is Everything

pouring_latexLife casting is not just about choosing the right materials – be it alginate, polyurethanes or plaster or knowing the right techniques. The success of your life cast also depends on the model and how he or she poses for the life cast. In fact, veteran life casting artists uphold that the pose is everything when it comes to life casting.

Novice life casters often opt for complicated poses in a bid to make their artwork look complex and interesting. While there is nothing wrong with this, you have to keep in mind the model’s comfort in the said pose. For instance, will any model actually be able to balance on one leg or keep the head titled at an awkward angle for half an hour (or even more)?

You can assert that the model is paid to stay in a particular stationary pose until the mold making material has set and the mold is removed from the body. However, if the desired position or posture is not natural or maintainable all your time and efforts will go waste.

refills(Life casting)Therefore, it is always advisable to suggest different poses to the model and discuss whether there will be any problem in holding it. Try out the final pose for a while before beginning the life casting. Carefully designed model stands and other suitable props are also required to support the model and keep him or her comfortable in the motionless pose.

In sum, plan and discuss the model pose beforehand to avoid rude shocks later.

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Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Art & Craft



Role of Humidity in Art Studios

pumpkin_headWe pay careful attention to all the minute details when making a mold or cast –mixing the materials in the proper way, de-airing them to get rid of pesky bubbles and applying an appropriate release agent for demolding the mold or cast.

But how many of us actually take notice of the room temperature during the cure time of the mold or cast? We are mostly unaware of the toll that atmospheric humidity can take on our molds and casts.

For instance, excess moisture in the atmosphere can delay or even impair the curing process of various resins, polyurethanes and latex mask rubbers. In fact, humidity is responsible for everything from tacky latex masks and cloudy effect in clear resin castings to foaming in polyurethane rubbers. It can also reduce the normal shelf life of various mold making and casting materials.

At times, the outside temperature may feel pretty normal or you may be oblivious to an atmospheric change, but the humidity can still be pouring_latexwreaking havoc inside your studio. Therefore, it is always better to have a humidity gauge in your workspace and keep the studio well ventilated at all times. Exhaust fans and air conditioners can also help to obliterate the effects of humidity. However, the best bet is to invest in a dehumidifier. This will remove the moisture from the atmosphere and ensure that you have dry and safe air in your studio!

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Posted by on May 2, 2015 in Art & Craft


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