Pouring Bell Pepper Casts for Hydrocal Test

Yesterday was a busy day! I’m getting ready to pour a 2nd David cast, so I can submit it to the Conroe Art League Gallery. It has to be ‘sell-able’. That can be a real challenge!

My first cast turned out so-so, but the ears broke off. Ugh! So I plastered them back on. Then I stained it with an ink stain, but left a thumb print on his forehead. Sigh.. Definitely not nice enough to sell.

There are just no books or even decent online tutorials for how to stain and mount a statue. I’ve watched a ton and picked up hints along the way, but ultimately I’ve discovered that you just have to figure it all out for yourself. Hence the reason there is an instagram tag called #sculptureproblems. No kidding!

The David statue was my first real cast, so I’ve learned a ton. Even my rubber mold delaminated into four layers. So just putting it altogether is a bit of a challenge.

The whole mold is put together and ready to go for a new cast. However, I needed to test just how long I can let Hydrocal set before demolding . The challenge is to get the rubber mold off of the ears, nose etc without breaking them but not leave it to set so long that I can’t clean up seams or inconsistencies on the surface.

So yesterday I poured a trial cast of my bell pepper which is the only other mold I’ve done. I had a lot of left over plaster so that gave me a chance to keep testing every ten minutes or so.

Technically plaster sets in 35-45 minutes. Here were my results.

  • Cast at 5:17
  • Demolded at 5:45
  • Carved until 6:15
  • Still carveable at 6:28

I am very excited about the results! My teacher helped me cast the pepper last year with Hydrocal because it’s much stronger than typical plaster. But we let it set so long that I almost couldn’t clean it up.

I’m testing one more time (need all the bell peppers I can get!) and then I’ll pour a new David cast! Tomorrow after church, I plan to stain and drill the plinths my husband made for me to mount it too. I’ll post about that on Monday hopefully.

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