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Make your own Plaster Plates for Decoupage Folk Art or Hand Painting

Make your own craft plates - How did you do that?
Easy to make plaster plates to decorate with decoupage, hand painting, folk art, paper macher etc..

Folk artists and crafters who love doing decoupage, folk art painting, or even fine are always on the lookout for new and unusual items to decorate with their particular craft. Items that do not cost the earth but are attractive, cute, adorable etc. are not always easy to find at a bargain price, but you can easily make your own small plaster plates or plaques with plaster of paris using simple plastic picnic plates (the throw-away kind) as moulds.These plastic plates come in a variety of shapes and sizes. I have only used the usual round lunch or picnic plate and the larger oval shaped dinner plates but you can find other shapes as well. There are small round plates that you would normally use for serving dessert or cake. There are also larger ones that are generally used as platters or dishes. These are the kind of plates I am talking about:
Plastic picnic plates or dinner plates are not the only items you can use as moulds. There are so many items out there that you can find at flea markets, and op-shops such as cheap plastic dishes, trays and platters. As long as they are slightly flexible they will work as a mould. Items that are too ridgid do not make good moulds because it would be very difficult to get the set plaster to release from the "mould" when it has set.
Hand painted plate using round plastic plate as a mould.

Decoupage plate using prints from CD #22 and round plastic picnic plate as a mould.

Decoupage plate using prints from CD #18 and round plastic picnic plate as a mould.

Decoupage plaque using decoupage prints
and oval plastic picnic plate as a mould

Oval welcome plaque using decoupage printon a hand painted crackle look background.
Oval plastic picnic plate was used as the mould.

Making the plates or plaques

A couple pounds of Plaster of paris
1 packet of plastic picnic or dinner plates for the moulds
12 guage galvanized wire ... for making the hooks
A small flexible plastic jug or mixing bowl for mixing plaster (about 1 litre)
Old spoon or spatular for stirring
Pliors for bending and cutting the wire
Plastic sheeting or newspaper to protect your work surface
1. Making the Hooks

Cut the wire into approximately 10 cm (4 inch) lengths.
First bend in half by hand, (see diagram below) then bend back the end as shown.The hook must be able to sit
quite deep in the plaster with enough of the loop extending out of the plaster to allow for hanging.When you think you have enough hooks made, go to step 2
2. Lay out the molds ready for pouring
Lay out the picnic plate moulds on a flat work surface that is protected with a sheet of plastic or several layers of newspaper.
3. Mixing the plaster
Fill the small plastic jug 1/2 full with clean water at room temperature.
If the water is too hot, the plaster will set too quickly and if too cold, the plaster will take much longer to set.
Slowly sprinkle the plaster into the water until the water cannot absorb any more plaster and the plaster starts to settle just a little bit above the water level in the jug
Leave the plaster to soak in the water for about two or three minutes
After that time, gently stir the mixture from bottom to top with an old spoon, spatula or your hands so as to break up any lumps but try not to beat or whisk or air bubbles will form in the mixture ... and you don't want that!. When the plaster is well mixed, tap the mixing jug or bowl gently on the table encourage any trapped air bubbles to rise to the surface.
Pour the mixture into the plastic picnic plate moulds to a depth of approximately 1.5 cm (5/8 inch)
Again, lift each plate slightly off the table with both hands and gently tap each one in turn on the table to make any air bubbles rise to the surface. ... next ...Position the hooks in each plate and leave to set for at least 20 minutes or until the plaster has heated up and then cooled again.Once the plaster is set, the "plates" or "plaques" can be removed from the moulds.
Flip the plates over and remove the now hardened plaster plaque from the plastic picnic plate. Place in a open area to dry for a few days before using. To tell if the plaster is completely dry, it should not feel cold or damp to the touch. Do not try to dry them in an oven as this will cause the plaster to weaken.
4. Prepare to be creative
Once the plaster is completely dry, the back and any rough edges of each plate or plaque will need a light sanding to remove any roughness. Once this is done to your satisfaction, Wipe away any dust residue with a damp rag and you are ready to start decorating.
5. Ways to decorate
There are many differen ways to decorate these adorable little plaques or plates.
1. Decoupage with photograps and floral prints to create a unique gift.
2. Decoupage with traditional decoupage prints.
3. Hand paint with folk art techniques and designs.
4. Hand paint with egg temperar paint. This is my most favourige medium to use on plaster. You must experience it to know what I am talking about. The egg temperar goes on like velvet.
5. Fine art in any style. Great little practice pieces when learning new techniques.
6. Any 3D art techniques

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