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Lesson Plans

Plaster finishes (condensed)

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Mon, 24 May 1999 16:45:22 -0400 (EDT)

Thanks to all who responded to my request for ways to finish the surface of
a plaster sculpture. I got so many good ideas from all of you, and I am
having a tough time deciding which one(s) to try. I thought you might like
to see the condensed version of all the ideas since many were sent only to
me .

In college we soaked them in milk until the milk dried up. It smelled really
bad until they dried completely, but it gave them a nice marble-like finish.
It was supposedly a very old process (perhaps from the days of milk paint).
Maybe you could dip them in milk and let it dry so it wouldn't be such a
long process.

I had a teacher tell me to put a layer of gesso over a Styrofoam sculpture
to seal it and to smooth it. Might it work the same on plaster?

Try clear polyurethane-but do it outside b/c of fumes. Linda in NC

Try priming them and them brushing on and wiping off water based stain
(available from Triarco Art Supplies in MN.). Dry brushing a metallic
acrylic paint on after the staining also can add a nice effect (gold and
brass are particularly effective). If you want a cheap and relatively
non-toxic glossy finish, Futur No-Wax floor finish is a good product to
buy. It's basically an acrylic sealant and washes up with soap and water.

I remember creating a plaster sculpture in a college 3D course and the
professor had us rub paraffin wax all over the plaster when they were
completed. It made a great finish.

You can thin Elmer's glue with water and brush it on for a nice finish.

I have used polymer medium and rubbed dry tempera pigment into the wet paint
to control the color..then top with a coat of clear polymer. also wax,
paste wax will seal the plaster and when rubbed gives a nice patina. The
wax is especially nice if vermiculite is mixed into the plaster when you're
making it. It also makes it easier to carve. Candle wax mixed with
vermiculite and carved is also quite beautiful and has the advantage of not
being a moisture carrier as plaster can be. Marianna

In college, over 10 years ago, I made a plaster sculpture. I finished it
with coats of Ivory bar soap. Put the bar of soap in a bit of water and suds
it up with a paint brush then brush it on the plaster. You may have to put
on a lot of coats but it will become shiny and smooth. I still have mine
and it is still shiny and smooth. Carol

We had success using acrylic paint, so you could probably use acrylic
medium on them. Shoe polish also makes a really nice patina on it--guess
you could use white.

A nice finish on plaster sculpture if you don't mind a glossy finish is the
clear latex. We order it through our school storeroom in our Green Bay, Wi.
district. It is made by Northland Paint Co.. I use it over painted (rather
than glazed) ceramics, paper mache, over some tempera paintings. It gives a
beautiful sheen, and gives the tempera paintings added life. I use a brush to
apply it, at times a brayer to apply it. Small sculptures could be dipped.
Very versatile. Barbara

  • Reply: Skiart: "Re: Plaster finishes (condensed)"