How do I make my plaster moulds? Honestly.....not with a lot of enthusiasm.
Plaster is not my favorite material to work with....in fact plaster and I don't really enjoy each other very much. If I can, I let someone else make my moulds for me, but that's usually for large production runs. If I only need a few tiles for custom orders, then I just suck it up, get the apron and gloves on, and mix it up.
|I set my wax on a thick pane of glass, which gives me a level surface to pour the plaster on.|
|I brush a thin coat of vegetable oil onto the wax to help the plaster separate from it.|
|I use plastic slats to create the frame that the plaster will be poured into. I seal the edges with soft clay.|
|Mixing the plaster. I use the intuitive method of mixing the plaster into the water - add the dry plaster to the water until it makes dry islands just above the level of the water. Then I let it slake for a few minutes and stir for 8-10, while impatiently waiting for the perfect moment to pour.|
|I overfill the frame and let the plaster stiffen while I clean up the mixing bucket and messy spills.|
|When the plaster just begins to harden I use another plastic slat to level the it to the top edge. This ensures a consistent thickness and level to the mould.|
|Surface and edges are clean and now I just have to wait for the plaster to finish setting up. I take care not to go far because I've found that the plaster can get hot enough to warp the wax. I release it when it's hot to the touch.|
|A lovely sight is a just released plaster that has NO bubbles and every detail is in perfect form. This one turned out great.|
Now that I have a working mould, I'll let it dry for a day or two and then...onto pressing the tiles!
Labels: fireplace restoration, L'esperance Tile Works, linda ellett, recreating fireplace tile, replacing a missing fireplace tile, reproducing Victorian fireplace tile, tile reproduction, Victorian reproduction