Shrines – Add Texture with Plaster and Gauze

Plaster and gauze can add exciting dimensions to your art shrines. In fact, the effects can look completely unlike a “plaster cast.”

The following instructions are page one of two.

A package of plaster-embedded gauze. This is what doctors used for casts on broken limbs, in the past. Vets still use it sometimes. You can buy it as an art supply (shown left), or from a medical supply house, or through your veterinarian.

At left, you’ll see it as an art supply, “PlasterForm,” from Amaco. I buy mine at Texas Art Supply. A package is about $4.50 and will last for many projects.

You’ll also need the surface that you plan to embellish, a cup or bowl of water, and household scissors. You may also want to include optional surface embellishments. (Also see “Embellishments for mystery and dazzle.”)

1. Open the package and unroll some of the gauze.

Work over newspaper or a surface that is easy to clean up. The gauze is dusty, and your worktable will be covered with a fine plaster powder.

2. Cut the gauze with household scissors. The plaster will tend to dull your scissors.

I usually cut through fine sandpaper to sharpen the blades after working with this gauze.

3. I get the best results when I trim the gauze into irregular shapes. My largest pieces are usually about two inches on the widest edge. My smallest pieces are about 3/4 inch on the narrowest edge. Start with at least six pieces when you are trying this technique.

It helps to cut all of your pieces before getting your hands wet.

4. With your shrine (or surface that you plan to embellish) nearby, dunk one piece of the gauze into a cup or bowl of water. The temperature does not matter, and you only need enough water to cover the gauze completely.

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