revisiting plaster cloth

Discussion in 'Photos & Videos' started by JKountz, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. JKountz

    JKountz Member

    Hey again everyone, Im at the stage now of applying the plaster to the new layout and Im having some real trouble with plaster. Actually, plaster is kicking my butt!! Ive read a number of posts here and other forums about making your own plaster cloth by dipping paper towels in plaster and while Ive tried this for some reason I just cant make this happen. Either the plaster sets up too quickly or the paper towel wont hold the mix enough to harden properly. Could someone with successful experience with this process walk me through this? Boy talk about feeling really silly....

    Thanks group!

  2. 60103

    60103 Pooh Bah

    I haven't done this for years, but I seem to remember that the plaster had to be somewhat liquid. When it becomes a bit more solid, it's time to move to a new batch of plaster, possibly trowell the solid stuff on somewhere.
    I was watching a couple of experts have trouble with plaster which set up far too fast. They thought that it might have been sitting around too long.
    (We used Hydrocal for this.)
  3. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I have never had any success with that myself. I just go buy the plaster cloth. I cut it into small strips use a hot glue gun and glue the dry pieces where I want them then spray it with water untill wet. I then use a wet 2inch paint brush on it (Keeping the brush wet) to smooth it out.

  4. Joepomp

    Joepomp Member

    Someone on the Gauge suggested used dyer sheets. I was not impressed with the suggestion, untilled I tryed it! If the Plaster is liquid, and you don't work the heck out of them, they work better then paper towels.
  5. nachoman

    nachoman Guest

    Use newspaper or those brown "industrial" paper towels. The kitchen ones are much too flimsy, and cause issues when dippiing them in the plaster. Cut the newpaper into strips about 1.5-2" wide and 6" long. Mix your plaster to the consistency somewhere between pancake batter and white gravy. Dip the strips of paper in one at a time until they are completely sumbmerged in the plaster. You don't want any dry paper. As you remove the paper strip from the plaster, run it between your fingers to get most of the excess plaster off. You want it so be slightly drippy, but not have plaster running everywhere. Next, lay the strip on your layout, and smooth in place with your fingers. If you mix the plaster to thin, the final product will be weak, and if you mix your plaster too thick, it will be difficult to dunk the paper strips in. Once the entire area is covered, mix a thin batch of plaster and pour it over the scenery. let this harden slightly, then as it most of the way set up, use a cheap 99 cent 1-2" wide paintbrush dunked in water to smooth the surface. If the plaster has not set enough, the plaster will move too easily and gob up the brush. If that happens, let the plaster harden another few minutes. You want it hard enough that it takes considerable working with your wet paintbrush to smooth out your landscape.

  6. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    The plaster mix has to be about the consitency of gravy. You do end up throwing a lot of it out as it sets, and you do need to stir it quite often, as the plaster will settle on the bottom. Also you need to put more than one layer of plastered paper towel on the base strutures to get the required strength. Also smooth the air bubbbles out of it you may get between the layers. And it is VERY messy compared to plaster cloth. You will need to throw away a lot of your plaster mix, as it begins to set and thicken.

    Mix your plaster/water in quite a shallow and wide dish. Take each sheet of paper towel, hold it by the corners, and dip in the plaster mix. In one side of the bowl, and drag it through, under the mixture, and lift it out. Sometimes it will rip, cling together, drip everywhere and do all sorts of stuff like that. A bit of practice helps, but it is very messy compared to plaster cloth, which is well worth the added expense, in time, strength of finish, and ease of use.

    Hope this helps. :thumb: :wave:
  7. lester perry

    lester perry Active Member

    I agree with you there it is definatly well worth the cost.
  8. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    have never used paper towels but use old bed sheets ripped in to strips and add a bit of salt to the mix to slow it down(not much just a pinch) have done 3 layouts this way with minimal mess and expense.
  9. JKountz

    JKountz Member

    Ok, armed with all this new information, tomorrow I shall try again! Ive about got my mountain area ready for plaster and will post results with some pics for you guys. Well that is if it doesnt come out a total mess....Here goes nuttin!

    Thanks for the advice everyone.

  10. jimmybeersa

    jimmybeersa Member

    Jim .....I had a lot of success early in my modeling days useing the paper from cement bags its tough see my post reply to the very good paper mache photo "how Too "
  11. mikecrackers

    mikecrackers New Member

    hey guys,anyone ever try fiberglass window screen.just staple it in place then brush it with plaster.if you go to where someone repairs windows sometimes you can get the old screen for free and it works great.thanks mike

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