Belly Casting Instructions
Pregnancy is a beautiful state for a woman, so it is natural to want to preserve the memories of that time. Many women take photographs or measurements to document the growth of their bellies throughout pregnancy. One way to preserve the memory involves casting, or creating a replica of the expectant midsection to hang on a wall or display on a table or stand. Casting allows a four-dimensional view of your pregnant form.
Purchase four rolls of pre-plastered gauze, which eliminates the need to purchase or mix plaster for your casting. Cut the gauze into sections about 12 inches long. Cut 2-inch squares of gauze for the belly button and one for each nipple if you are including your breasts. Purchase petroleum jelly, scissors to cut your gauze, sandpaper, a 3-inch paint brush and some gesso, a sealing agent typically used for sealing canvas. If you want to add color or design to the cast, purchase acrylic paint in the desired colors. You'll use it to seal your finished cast.
Use an old sheet or drop cloth to cover a chair in your home, as well as a tarp to protect the floor under the chair, which should be placed in the center. The subject should be nude except for some old underwear or shorts that don't cover any part of her belly. Seat her in the chair and place the strips of plaster and a bowl of water on the floor in front of her. Apply petroleum jelly to the entire area that will be included in the cast. Use a thick layer of petroleum jelly so the plaster does not stick to the woman's skin.
Applying The Cast
Dip the strips of plaster into the water and apply them to the belly one by one, but quickly because the plaster will dry rapidly. Use the small squares of gauze to cover the belly button and nipples. Use the large strips for the entire belly, but don't overlap the belly button or nipples. The small squares should be the only thing covering them to ensure your cast shows their small details. Apply three layers of the strips to the entire belly area. Overlap the strips in a criss-cross fashion to make the cast sturdy. Leave the cast on the woman's belly for 20 to 30 minutes to allow it to dry. Remove the cast by gently pulling, and let it sit on the tarp for about 48 hours to fully harden.
Finishing The Cast
Even out the bumps in the casting with sandpaper. Also, use the sandpaper to smooth rough edges around the cast. Use a clean dry cloth to wipe away plaster dust. If the cast is to be painted in colors or designs, decorate it with acrylic paints and allow it to dry. Use your 3-inch paint brush to seal the cast with gesso. You now have a perfect replica to document a pregnancy.