"Not this again Mom", says Peter, my 16 year old, who recalls seeing the blender and related equipment out on the kitchen counter when he was eight. Has it been that long since I casted paper? Not sure. It certainly was a preoccupation for months. A few weeks ago I pulled out my stash of casts - literally hundreds. I needed to find my sunfaces for a project I was working on.
Since I had all this stuff out I thought I'd show you, and introduce you to paper casting if you've never done it. Super easy. I like to use kleenex - the almond color is hard to find but makes a lovely cast, particularly if you are going to use it plain.
When was the last time you used your pearl ex? Now would be a good time to pull them out and try with paper casting. Any of the powders are lovely as a dusting on the casts - but they must be brushed onto the mold before the pulp goes in. Much harder to dust onto the cast after, and it won't stick so well.
I always think it's interesting to see dimensional objects in art, even better if it's an artist-made element.
Materials: blender, small strainer, clean sponge, molds, optional: pearl ex powder and paintbrush, most of all: PATIENCE. While preparing the cast is simple, you really, really need to let it air dry. DO NOT try to force to cast out of the mold or you will be disappointed. I set my molds near a heating vent and wait overnight. When they are properly dried they will pop right out. I call that "harvesting" my casts. You can usually get two sets made per 24 hours. If you want an interesting random finish on your cast you can brush the mold with pearl ex - very lightly!
Tear up the kleenex in strips and place in a blender filled with water. Let soak a few minutes, then turn on the blender and let it grind into a slush of pulp. Doesn't matter how much water you use so fill it up! Next, take a small strainer and scoop up some pulp. Once the water has mostly dripped out you can take a pinch of it and set it on your mold. Keep scooping and pinching pulp into place until your mold surface is covered. Take your sponge and start pressing down on the pulp to extract as much water as you can. This also helps to get the pulp filled into deepest grooves of your mold. When you think you have extracted as much water as you can, set the mold aside and let it dry naturally. When the cast is completely dry it will have popped out of the mold.
On the left is a terra cotta mold that didn't work too well with casting - it had rough edges that caught the paper and didn't release cleanly. Since I loved the image I did a little work to make my own mold that worked better. I melted friendly plastic and inserted into terra cotta mold. Once dry, I took the friendly plastic (lower left pic) and squished it into a slab of polymer clay. Baked the clay, then had a new mold (middle). You can see by these casts that I liked making partial faces. I think they are more interesting than full face casts. The white one had been painted with gesso. The dark one has been spray painted. The others are examples of almond kleenex from molds that had been dusted with copper pearl ex. The picture at the beginning of this post shows a painted cast used on a journal page.
Below you can see various castings and their molds. The column came from a costume jewelry pin that I made a mold with. The wings are cast from a pre-bought mold, found in the polymer clay aisle. The hearts are all cast from the backsides of brass charms. The little heart with wings was created by making my own mold with polymer clay, and pressing in a heart brass charm, followed by the set of wings. It's hard to find nice big brass charms in stores these days, but Fancifuls, Inc. always has them in stock. Give Donna some business and stock up on some cool charms to cast paper with. Another cool thing to cast onto: your rubber stamps!
Why not make some paper hearts for your handmade Valentines this year?