Upsetting Mother Nature?!

Upsetting Mother Nature?!

This autumn, Mother Nature might consider hanging it up, as Mr. and Mrs. Brown now has the leaf making gig well under control!  Armed with an arsenal of crafting supplies, they fix to fashion fabulous fall foliage facsimiles. Let’s see how they did it!

Starting with standard Plaster of Paris, a selection of leafy specimens are painted with a very thin coat on the front side.  After allowing each coat to fully dry, another coat is applied.  This is repeated several more times.  Eventually, after fully allowing the plaster to cure, the original leaf is peeled away, leaving behind a very detailed impression. 

This is a fantastic and safe way to get people into casting and mold making, even kids!  It is certainly fine to stop here, break out the paints and go to town.  But, if you intended to make multiple copies of the leaves, in perhaps a different material, silicone is the answer.

Acrylic strips were then used to build a perimeter around the plaster impressions.  When pouring silicone inside, it is of utmost importance to make it as water tight as possible as to not spring any leaks. Ample amounts of hot glue along the seams can work wonders here.  Another great tip is to fill in corners of the box with sulfur free modeling clay to help reduce the volume of expensive silicone needed. 

Lastly, it is sprayed with mold release to help make the demolding easier, but don’t be surprised if your fragile plaster master must be broken to fully remove it from it’s silicone entombment.

After cleaning up the plaster bits and clay, it is time to mix the resin.  Any number of colored pigments and dyes could be added at this stage.  In order to obtain a bubble free casting, a pressure pot is highly recommended. In this project, only one of the molds was small enough to fit into the chamber, so if you don’t have one, it is certainly not the end of the world.  When the pouring is complete, don’t forget to blast the surface with a blowtorch or heat gun to pop any bubbles that may want to rise to the surface.

When the prescribed amount of time has passed it is finally time for the moment of truth! Demolding! It may be necessary to surgically cut the mold in various places to get the casting out.  As long as you are a bit strategic regarding the cuts, it should be perfectly fine for another casting.

Now onto the final stage of this project, the painting/finishing stage!  Break out your favorite paints and go to town! 

After you have your faux leaf painted just how you like it, it should be sealed. Here Mod Podge was lightly painted on. Don’t worry about the white color, as it dried perfectly clear.

Realistic, cartoony or abstract could all be amazing directions to take the painting of the leaves.  There is no real wrong way here and it is a chance to relax and enjoy the process.