Tutorial on how to make a plaster angel out of an old tin and twigs for legs. There are a lot of pictures, and I will explain every step of the process.
List of materials
- An Altoids tin or other tin with a lid
- two sturdy twigs
- plaster strips (can be bought on Amazon)
- a flat stick
- aluminum foil
- masking tape
- acrylic paints
- clay face, polymer clay or air dry clay
- Apoxie Sculpt or other epoxy clay
- a piece of cardboard
I began the process by making a hole at the top of the Altoids tin and two holes on the bottom using an awl. On the bottom part, I pushed in the awl as far as it could go to get holes large enough to insert the twigs. You can use a drill, but you would need some clamps to hold the tin in place.
I used aluminum foil to keep the flat stick and the legs firmly in the tin, and then I sealed it with masking tape, making sure to tape the legs firmly to the box.
Then I wrapped the whole thing with strips of plaster. Use a separate bowl for water (not your water coloring bowl) to dip the strips, and put a protective sheet under the plaster. I used newspapers, but you can use plastic. Keep in mind that plaster is dusty and messy. The plaster will stick to itself, not the tin, so you need strips that are long enough to wrap around themselves. Note: wash your hands in the bowl when done, not under the faucet until most of the plaster is removed. Do not empty plaster water into the sink. I pour it outside, but you can let the plaster sink to the bottom of the bowl, and the next day (or so) pour the water down the sink and scrape the plaster into the trash.
(Sorry about the blurry image.) I wrapped the plaster especially tight around the top of the legs and the flat stick, several layers of plaster. Then I let it dry. If it’s cold to the touch the next day, it needs to dry longer. When completely dry, sand it lightly with some sandpaper, and seal it with two layers of sealer. I used Liquitex matte medium, but any sealer will work.
How to make the wings
I used 19 gauge annealed steel wire for the wings. See picture for how I bent it to form a figure eight (sort of.) The twisted part in the middle will act as the wall hanger. Bear in mind the wire will rust in contact with wet plaster, but I liked the effect. You can use aluminum wire if you don’t like rust.
Then I covered the wings with plaster and let them dry.
I worked on two different angel sculptures so the pictures are a bit mixed bag.
Re clay faces
I made the faces from polymer clay and painted them with various layers of paint. I have a tutorial on YouTube on how to paint faces. You can sculpt a very simple face out of clay and paint it. VIDEO LINK.
I added a piece of cardboard to the head for a headpiece and to hold the face in place. I mixed some Apoxie Sculpt to make a thin layer for a halo and stamped it with a rubber stamp. I rolled a piece of clay to stick on the back of the face to attach to the clay halo. I also added a flat piece of clay to the back of the cardboard.
When dry, you could see the flat stick through the clay, so I added another layer over it. Epoxy clay takes about 24 hours to dry completely. I also added clay to the wings to attach them to the body. Glue doesn’t work well on plaster even if it’s sealed, so go for some kind of epoxy clay.
My second doll is below.
The hearts on the chests of the two angels are made from Apoxie Sculpt and then painted when dry. I used raw sienna to paint all the edges of the tin and wings to get an aged effect.
Then I used unbleached titanium white and titanium white in layers to cover the body.
I sealed the angels twice when dry, painted the heart embellishments on the chests, and added some sweet affirmations from a Tim Holtz book of inspirational quotes. Two happy angels!! 🙂
They are available in my etsy shop Earth and Faery. Please check out my other art items for sale as well. 🙂 Thank you for reading this far. If you have questions, please post them in the comments.