Intern’s Corner: How-To: Cast yourself in plastic

Craft & Design
Intern’s Corner: How-To: Cast yourself in plastic

CRAFT: Intern's Corner
Every other week, CRAFT’s awesome interns tell about the projects they’re building in the Craft: Labs, the trouble they’ve gotten into, and what they’ll make next.
By Lindsey North, projects intern
Here’s a project I just made with the casting skills I learned for CRAFT Volume 07 — a jewelry stand in cast resin, molded from my own neck and shoulders.
But let’s go back. It was my first plastic experience. Not a credit card kind of plastic, but a liquid form of plastic, the kind that can get everywhere if you’re not careful. In CRAFT Volume 07 we did a fun how-to project, the Kona Kai Jewelry Stand, using bamboo and casting resin — fun stuff, but I didn’t know that yet!
So I’m reading the directions; I know where to get bamboo, aquarium gravel, et cetera, and then I come to the resin and catalyst. Up until this point I’d been a somewhat traditional crafter, ya know, knit, crochet, and so on. I have no clue where to find resin or how it works. I have a vague understanding of it because I’ve used epoxy in the past and heard that it was similar.
Off to the computer I go, trying to find a local place that sells plastic supplies. And I’m in luck, only 20 minutes from the office is TAP Plastics. After doing this project, I fell in love with casting resin and silicone for making molds. You can make pretty much anything from these materials.

Anyway, I was flipping through that crafty CRAFT magazine the other night and I came across the bamboo-resin jewelry hanger. I thought, I can make a jewelry display using resin like I did previously. But now I’m going all out. I want to make a stand that resembles the human neck and shoulders, but add a personal touch, so that it isn’t like one you could purchase at any old store.
So … I found some food-safe silicone to make a mold from, and with the help and supervision of a friend, proceeded to cover my neck and shoulders in the blue silicone. After letting it dry, my supervisor made a small cut along the spinal area, using child-safe scissors (they’re not as sharp as ordinary scissors, just in case).
What next? Carefully peel away the silicone mold and tape it back together. It shouldn’t be too difficult. Now put the mold in a container and surround it with rice or sand to help it keep its form during the casting process. Use casting resin or plaster of Paris to fill your mold (plaster’s cheaper, but resin is clear — cool effect!). Let it set according to the package directions. After the prescribed amount of time, you may remove the mold and remove the cast object. (It’s easier to take off the mold when you’re not trying to take it off over your head.)
Now you have an awesome, personalized jewelry stand! I covered mine in foil, and thought it looked pretty snazzy. You can collage it, paint it, gild it, do what ever you want to it, have fun. And if you think that it’s totally beyond redemption when you finish the decoration, you can always do another pour in the mold you made.
I also did a hand casting so I could put my rings on my hand. Cool, huh? But plastic doesn’t move the way skin does, so the rings don’t always fit the same fingers. If you use plaster of Paris you can easily sand it down so that everything can fit where it should. Resin is a bit harder to sand but still very doable.
Have fun and play with plastic!
Your CRAFT intern,

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