Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Crazy when plastered

So after you have been painting for what seems like forever, you really want to mix up the medium and try something new.  So why not try sculpting plaster of paris that has been set up in pop cans?  It seems like a logical jump, right?

So the first step in this lesson is to have every student cut the top off of a pop can, wash it out and put their names on it.  I then take a day or two and fill all of those pop cans with plaster of paris.  I know it is something I should teach the students to do, but I feel we would waste so much plaster when they fill their containers too full or they don't mix fast enough that I have just decided I will do this step.  Sometimes it is just easier to do than to teach.  I know I fail.  :(

After they have set up, which usually takes a couple of hours, we then peel off the pop can and throw that away.  We now look at our plain white chunk of plaster and figure out what they are going to carve into it.  I did have them draw some cylinders in their sketchbook and try to figure out how to fit a specific shape or design inside of those cylinders like they have fit in a pop can.  We look at some small toys and other things that could fit in that shape.  I also show them Michelangelos unfinished sculptures to show how to see the image emerging from the solid chunk of white.

I then give them carving tools and paper clips to start carving their masterpiece.  Here's a tip; carve on a papertowel so that you can just throw the mess away at the end of the class period.  Make sure you are working on all sides and not just focusing on one.

Damaris W.

Jaizen H.

Kimi K.

Andrew C.


  1. These are cool- did you have any break or students who needed to start over? I'm totally with you on pouring the plaster yourself- it's sometimes just easier to do these things ourselves!

  2. Luckily this year I didn't have any break on me. I usually make a few extras just in case I mix a bad batch of plaster, but I didn't need them this year.