There are two artists who come to mind when the medium of sculpture is mentioned. One of them is the Italian poet, architect, and engineer of the High Renaissance, Michelangelo. The other is Auguste Rodin, the subject of an internationally renowned exhibit at the VMFA. You can visit Rodin: Evolution of a Genius to find inspiration for this month’s Kids Can-Do. The master loved working in clay, creating sculpture models that could then be cast in plaster. Now you can create your very own plaster cast at home.
What you need:
• Air-dry clay or play-dough
• Plaster of Paris
• Objects with interesting shapes and shallow details (plastic toy figures work great!)
• Cooking spray
• Fine-grain sandpaper, a dust mask, eye protection
• Acrylic paints (optional)
What you do:
1.Flatten a ball of clay to at least the same thickness as the object you want to cast.
2.Slowly press your chosen object into the clay, but only about half way.
3.Carefully pull the object back out of the clay. If you mess up, that’s okay. You can reshape the clay and try again.
4.Spray the clay imprint with a light layer of cooking spray to prevent the plaster from getting stuck.
5.Mix your Plaster of Paris according to the directions on the box (two parts plaster to one part water). Once mixed, spoon the plaster into your clay impression. Let the plaster set for at least thirty minutes, or until it feels firm and a little chalky.
6.Once the plaster has set, very carefully remove clay from the plaster. The clay will still be soft, and can be used again if desired.
7.If there are any sharp edges, you can smooth them by sanding down your plaster cast with fine-grain sandpaper. Wear the dust mask and eye protection as needed.
8.Take it Further: Once fully dry, you can paint your plaster cast with acrylic paints.
(May require some adult supervision.)