Friday, September 30, 2011

Merry go round - Write a simple tutorial - "Quick bird sculpture"

It's the last Friday of the month, so join us on our merry go round for a quick spin.  The merry go round is where a group of 11 artists/craftwomen link together around the world and tell you a little about their art and craft, through blogging on the same topic.

This month's topic is "Write a simple tutorial".  So here is mine: "Using plaster wrap to create a bird sculpture".

I first came across plaster wrap cloth at the beginning of this year when I was in Mexico in a class for encaustics....then more recently in another class. It's a very simple, and cheap media for whimsical sculptures. And quick to work with too.  The example here took me about 30 minutes to make.

Plaster wrap, is also called "rigid wrap" and a few other similar names. You can find it in the sculpture and clay area of craft stores.  It is like the product they used to make casts from in emergency rooms, if you broke your arm or leg. 

Here is what you'll need to make your own plaster wrap cloth sculpture:
  • 1 packet of plaster wrap cloth
  • Water
  • Aluminum foil
  • Masking tape
  • Scissors -  not your best
  • Paper towel
  • Acrylic paints
  • Dowels or wire - optional

    1. The first step is to create the basic shape of the sculpture using aluminum foil.  Squidge it into the general shape and if you need to add two parts together, for example, a head to a body, secure these with masking tape. The aluminum foil can be made into little flat pieces too for ears or wings etc and secured to the main part of the sculpture with masking tape.

    You can also use cardboard at this stage for some parts of the structure, again adding them to the foil with the masking tape.
      2. Now wrap the whole structure in masking tape, to keep the structure all together and provide a base for the plaster wrap

      3. Add any additions at this stage for hanging or supporting, such as dowels on the base for it to stand up, or wires to hang, or wires for feet

      4. Cut up the plaster wrap into small strips. The one I used is approx 4 inches wide and I cut it into approx. 1 cm strips.

      5. Quickly dip a strip of plaster wrap into the water in the cup and as you draw it out, drain it along the edge so some of the water comes off.

      6. Now apply the strip onto the sculpture base, pressing it into place.  Repeat with more strips, each overlapping on the sculpture.  You want to get between 1 and 2 strips thick all over the sculpture.

      You can cut the strips up into smaller sizes too, to attach to awkward shapes and get in small gaps. If you want plaster wrap on any of the dowels or other attachments, wrap those too.

      7. You have a choice now. If you leave this as it is, you will end up with a sculpture with texture to it that may by just the style you want.  If you want something smoother, go over the sculpture with a damp finger, rubbing each area so the holes in the cloth fill in with plaster.  This will give a smoother end product. The first photo below shows the area under the wing un-rubbed and the second photo shows it rubbed in, for a smoother finish.

      8.  Pat off the excess moisture on the wrap using a paper towel.

      9.  Leave to dry in the sun.  It'll take a  couple of hours. You can also put it on a warming plate if the sun isn't shining.  It'll dry hard and tough.

      10. Paint as you wish in acrylic paints, bend the wires, drill it, etc and enjoy your quick and easy sculpture!  I'll paint mine sometime during the coming week and show you the final sculpture then.

      *** LATEST NEWS 10/12/11 - I ended up finishing him off in tissue paper instead of paint. You can my blog post about it here and here is his photo:


      Here are a couple of photos of another bird I did and painted.  What this birdie is sat on, isn't finished yet, but it gives you an idea.

        Hope you'll give it a go - and if you do, please let me know!

        To find out what tutorial the other members of the merry go round have done this week,  click on the links below:

        Samantha at Vintage is for lovers -
        Jen at Painted Fish Studio -
        Bethany at Dirksen Dabbles -
        Laura at Blue Terracotta -
        Monika at Red2White -
        Mitsy at ArtMind -
        Kim at Vilt a la Kim -
        Sara at Crafts of Texture -
        Mariana at Florcita -
        Agathe at Le Bar du Vent -
        Ruth at Birdland Creations -

        Or else you can click on the blog hop below.  If you are a merry go round participant, please add your link if it's not already included. You can then copy the code and put it on your blog post too.


        meherio68 said...

        My own tutorial will fly as well. It's just it still has to take off...

        Anonymous said...

        what a lovely birdyou created!! I always make plaster masks with this stuff... thanks for sharing!!

        ArtMind said...

        What a fab idea, Ruth! I love your bird & tutorial! Plaster strips are such great material to work with!