Q:

What is plaster of Paris used for?

A:

Plaster of Paris is used to make castings, including those for jewelry, pendants and embellishments, as well as sculptures and decorative objects. It can also be used for crafting projects and to make home decor objects.

When plaster of Paris is used to make items such as castings, planters and home decor objects, a release agent such as petroleum jelly is applied to a plastic mold of the desired shape. Then, a well-mixed plaster of Paris is poured into the mold and allowed to set for one hour. The plaster is then removed from the mold, and excess material is trimmed from the edges.

For sculptures made of plaster of Paris, an artist typically creates a base of the desired shape from materials such as craft wire, newspaper or other household items. This base is called an armature, and is required to provide strength and stability. The armature is treated with a spray-on release agent, and then coated in plaster of Paris.

In all instances, the item made from plaster of Paris must be left to dry for up to 24 hours before it is painted or otherwise decorated.

Plaster of Paris powder is light and fine and should not be inhaled. The plaster gives off heat when water is added, so users should be careful not mix it with bare hands.

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