Of the many projects you can do to commemorate your pregnancy, making a pregnancy belly cast is one that is deeply personal, yet simple to do. Some women make only one belly cast, usually sometime between 32 and 36 weeks of their pregnancy. Others do three belly casts -- one in each trimester -- to memorialize the growth of a baby throughout the pregnancy. Whether making a belly cast to use as a bowl, a nursery decoration or a time capsule, you'll be delighted with this one-of-a-kind keepsake.
Purchase a belly casting kit from a baby store, superstore or online. Alternatively, buy plaster bandages from a local craft store and cut them into strips.
Enlist the help of your partner, a friend or a family member. Ask a third person to photograph the process, if desired. Lay a drop cloth to protect the floor where you'll be doing your project. Arrange the chair on the drop cloth and sit in a comfortable position. Ensure the belly-casting materials are near the chair.
Spread a layer of petroleum jelly over your stomach and any other areas that are going to come into contact with the plaster. Cover your breasts with petroleum jelly as belly casts typically include the entire torso. Wear a strapless bra and cover it with clear plastic wrap or put a layer of self-sealing wrap on your breasts before applying the lubricant.
Ask your helper to wet the plaster bandages or gauze strips in warm water. Smooth them over your torso and stomach. Instruct your assistant to overlap the strips. Ensure there are no open spaces. Remind the person doing the cast to work quickly as the plaster strips will begin to dry a few minutes after you start the application process.
Reinforce your belly cast with multiple overlapping layers. Dip your fingers into the warm water and rub them over the layers to mix the plaster together and smooth the surface of the belly cast. Allow the cast to dry for a few minutes before your helper takes the mold off your body.
Place your belly cast in a secure area and allow it to dry for at least 24 hours. Trim the edges to make them even, using sharp scissors. Decorate your belly cast, using paint, tile or other materials, if desired.
If you're not comfortable putting plaster onto your body, even with the protective layer of petroleum jelly, consider using paper mache to make your pregnancy belly cast.