Plaster and Wire Mobile

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This is a project in problem solving, balance and creativity. Be creative and have fun!

By Anitra Redlefsen [Anitra is an artist, educator and art consultant from Medina, Ohio.]


Your objective is an art piece that is well designed — variety and unity — of line, direction, size, shape, texture etc.

What You Need:

  • two or more rolls of fast setting (5-8 minutes) plaster bandages, 3″ wide and 3 yards long (depending on how much you want to sculpt.
  • 20 gauge wire (medium weight)
  • 24 gauge wire (thinner)
  • wire cutters
  • wax paper
  • newspapers and covers for table surface
  • paper towels or napkins
  • plastic cups or small containers for water (you soak the plaster strips in water)
  • cardboard cylinder about 4 – 1/2″ high and 1 – 1/2″ in diameter, empty bathroom tissue holder perfect!
  • paint (optional)
  • tweezers
  • scissors
  • wipes for hands
  • water

What You Do:

  1. Cover your work surface well with newspapers that can be discarded when you are finished with this project.
  2. Cut strips of plaster bandages that “fit” what you will be wrapping it around. For example, for once around the cardboard cylinder, you might cut a strip about 7″ long. In this project, the cardboard cylinder is going to become a container or vase.
  3. Soak/dip the strip quickly in water just to get it nice and wet. Apply it around your surface.
  4. Do this as many times and with as many strips as needed to cover your surface, just enough so that you cannot see the former surface underneath. You can add more water with your fingertips to keep moistening and smoothing the plaster. You can also reshape the surface (ie the cylinder) into an interesting shape while it is still wet; it will dry to the new shape.
  5. With the cylinder, be sure to also put some plaster bandages on the bottom. Leave the top open. Also. fold some over the inside edges to finish it off and provide a nice edge.
  6. Let plaster set for about 5-8 minutes. It is a good idea to put a piece of wax paper underneath your item so that it does not stick to the newspaper.
  7. Cut three or four pieces of wire to whatever length you like; these are going to be your flowers and stems. With each piece, make a loop of a desired size and shape just as you did with the cylinder.
  8. These plaster bandages can also make shapes by themselves without using a surface like the cardboard cylinder. For example, you can roll it into a ball, into a long roll, into various shapes. You can affix to other objects with more wet plaster bandages.
  9. When everything is dry, arrange your flowers/stems in the vase in a composition that is balanced and interesting.
  10. You can even paint your sculpture if you like.
  11. You can use your sculpture as a subject for a drawing. Notice the interesting positive and negative spaces. Use different values or colors to paint an interesting design and composition.

Plaster and wire mobile.Plaster and wire mobile