Wk1-Art Experience-Plaster Casting

So today I did my first art project for my art class ART 110 Intro To The Visual Arts at California State University, Long Beach. The activity was to make a plaster casting of our hand or foot. I chose to do my hand.

Unfortunately, I am not able to go to Seal Beach tomorrow to do the project with my professor and classmates, so instead I just did the project at home with the help of my younger sister Nathalie. We don’t live very close to a beach so we improvised. Luckily, we have a playground in our backyard that has plenty of sand for us to use so that way we didn’t have to go all the way to a beach to do the project.

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Lovely little playground at my house.

The first thing was did was go to Home Depot to buy the Plaster of Paris box. It wasn’t too expensive. It cost $6.98. Well actually $7.52 with taxes to be exact. We also got the five gallon stir stick from the paint area, which were complimentary. All the other supplies that we needed we had at home (bucket, metal shovel, paint brush).

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Plaster of Paris box from Home Depot.

I didn’t know how this project was going to go down exactly so we tried this two different ways. We took another bucket and filled it with wet sand about half way then, I had my sister stick her hand in while I filled the rest of the bucket with wet sand and packed it in (Nathalie was my test dummy LOL).

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My sister Nathalie with her hand in the sand.

She slowly took her hand out to leave a mold, and then mixed the box of plaster with cold water in my other bucket. Instructions stated, two parts plaster, one part water. The mix should typically have of the same consistency of pancake mix but not as sticky and more watery, if that makes sense. Then I just took the pancake plaster mix and slowly poured it in Nathalie’s mold.

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Hand mold filled with plaster.

We still had a ton of plaster left over and I don’t like to be wasteful so we tried it a few more times. The second time, I just dug a hole in the sand and stuck my own hand in it to make my mold and filled it with plaster. My sister wanted to do it again so she made another hole in the sand for her hand and filled that one to with plaster too. The instructions from my professor say to let the plaster set for about half an hour. But, after all this art making and digging in the sand we developed quite an appetite. So we went inside to make mini burgers. While we prepared the meat, cut up the veggies and put some fries in the oven, my dad was firing up the grill. The mini burgers and fries tasted like heaven after all that hard work.

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Mini burgers 🙂

Through the haze of our food comas we almost forgot about our plaster castings setting in the sand! They had been sitting there for about 2 hours so they had to be ready. We carefully dug them out hoping they wouldn’t break. To my surprise, mine came out pretty nice with all five fingers still attached. You could clearly see it was a hand. I couldn’t say the same for my sister though…Unfortunately for Nathalie, the two castings she made looked like the hands of a zombie from the show The Walking Dead. The fingers all blended together and some were awkwardly large and some really short. I couldn’t stop laughing. Neither could our mom. She said they looked like something out of a scary movie. I’d show you a picture of them but I don’t want to give you nightmares. So here’s a picture of mine instead.

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Me with my plaster casting of my hand.

Overall, I really enjoyed doing this activity and having the opportunity to laugh at my sister. In the future, I would like to try this activity at an actually beach since the sand there is finer and would probably make my casting look better.

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