Ring of Hands | Page 3 - ArtMolds

Figure 16. The cotton pad is gently touched to the entire alginate surface leaving cotton fibers behind.


ArtMolds Lifecasting Series

Gently pat the previously prepared cotton pad onto the surface of the alginate with the inside surface of the cotton pad to allow the fibers to stick into the sticky alginate surface. This action will bind the alginate to the plaster bandages that you will apply next.


Once you finish applying the cotton fiber, begin dipping a plaster bandage into a bowl or tray of warm water and carefully apply it to a forearm. Smooth it down against the alginate surface, of the alginate, making certain there are no air bubbles underneath the bandage. Air bubbles will create deformities in your finished casting. Continue applying plaster bandages by overlapping the previous one by one third with a new one. Continue the process until the entire surface of the alginate mold is covered with plaster bandages. Once the plaster bandages solidify the will act as an inflexible shell mold to support the delicate alginate mold during casting.

Let the plaster bandages dry.


Figure 17. Plaster bandages are applied on top of the cotton fiber to poduce a rigid shell mold.



De-Molding. When the plaster bandages have hardened after drying, it is time to de-mold. A putty knife is used to slip under the edges of the alginate carefully sliding it completely around the periphery of the mold. Be careful how deep you insert the blade of the putty knife as you don’t want to nick any of the hands underneath. Inserting the blade should break the suction created by the mold. Using both hands lift the mold off of the participants. As you remove the mold, keep your fingers under the alginate and use your thumbs to hold the plaster shell mold in place.


Figure 18. The completed mold is examined.

Cover the Arm Holes. Now tip the mold upside down and place it carefully in the mold box cradle you prepared earlier. You will need to cover the openings where the arms entered the mold. Wet out the remaining plaster bandages and cover the arm holes. Let these bandages dry.


Figure 19. The mold is laid in the mold cradle where the arm holes are plugged with plaster bandages.


Mix and Pour the Casting Plaster. The next step is to mix the casting plaster according to the directions on the package. When you have a mixture about the viscosity of thin yogurt you a ready to pour.  Before pouring, take a chip brush and paint the interior of the mold with a coat of casting plaster. This is called the face coat and it help to eliminate air bubbles that can ruin the look of the surface of your casting. 


Figure 20. Casting plaster is mixed and readied for casting into the ring of hands mold.


When you finished the painting. Let it sit for ten minutes or so to thicken. Then, slowly fill the Ring of Hands mold to the top with the balance of the casting plaster. 



Figure 21. Plaster is poured into the hand mold. Note that the arms holes are coved by added plaster bandages.

After you are finished pouring, knock on the side of the mold with your knuckles for a minute or two. As you do, you will notice bubbles forming on the surface of the plaster you just poured. The knocking action drives air bubbles out of the mold. You do not want air bubble in your castings. This helps remove most of them – but not all.    

Figure 22. The mold is filled to the top and left to cure, undisturbed for at least three hours.


Add Hanging Wire. This is the time to add a wire to the rear of the wreath so it can be hung on a wall for display. Cut a length of picture wire. Then tie a loop in each end about two inches on either side. Embed each of these loops into the wet plaster and leave the wire untouched until the plaster cures.


Figure 23. Picture wire is looped on booth ends and insert into the wet casting plaster.

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