The Belly Cast

Huichol mandalaThe belly cast is a wonderful way for the mother-to-be to create a beautiful record of her pregnancy and express her creative side.

Essentially, the mother’s belly is wrapped in a fast setting plaster-of-paris cast, which hardens into a permanent form.

It can be extended to include her arms, bosom, upper thighs, as much as the mother wants and remains comfortable through the process.

The belly cast can be created during a baby shower or blessing way as one of the fun activities.

Another advantage here is that you can have plenty of help, including someone to take pictures, as well extra hands when it comes time to clean up.

Total time from start to finish: approximately 30 minutes

The Materials

cast_kit

Kits are available online and from stores like BabiesRUs.

  • A plastic drop cloth to protect your furniture and floor.
  • 3-6  rolls of plaster strips – each one is 4 inches wide and 5 yards long. This is the same material that would be used for a broken arm.
  • Scissors
  • Rubber gloves
  • A basin of warm water
  • Lubricant – an alternative to petroleum jelly, a therapeutic salve
  • A paint brush and some gesso finishing paint

 

The Instructions

  • Cut the plaster strips into short pieces of multiple lengths, 2 to 18 inches in length
    Include pieces approximately 3 inches square for creating nipples and the belly button.
  • Allow mom to sit in a comfortable chair.
  • Coat Mom’s belly and breasts in a lubricant.
    This insures the cast comes off her body easily when the task is complete.
  • castDip each strip in the water. Do not soak or twist. Gently wipe free of drips.
  • Apply to the belly and body parts until there are about 3 layers of material.
  • Apply extra strips to the sides of the belly to strengthen or enhance the durability of the finished cast.
  • Work quickly. – After they become wet, the plaster strips dry and harden in as little as 2 minutes.
  • Remove the finished, hardened cast from the mother’s body.
    The cast will begin to separate from her body on its own when it is ready.
  • Use sandpaper or a sanding screen to make the surface smooth.
  • Allow the cast to cure approximately 1-3 days.
  • After the curing has taken place, coat the finished cast with a protective coating, such as spray varnish or lacquer

Tips

  • Insist mom take a bathroom break before getting started.
  • Be sure you have plenty of drop cloth to protect your furnishings. Newspaper works too.
  • If including a hand as part of the cast, spread the fingers apart to make them stand out.
  • Breast support during the casting: Wear a strapless bra.Cover it with saran wrap. Coat the saran wrap with lubricant.
  • Including the thighs: Do the thighs last. You will want the mother to stand up when applying strips to the thighs in order for the finished product to have the proper appearance.
  • If any areas of the cast appear thin, add addition strips to the inside of the form.

firebirdIdeas

  • Prepare the cast ahead of time and bring it to the baby shower.
  • Decorate and display at the shower.
  • Have each family member or friend decorate, write a note or an affirmation on the cast.


Therapeutic Benefits

  • Builds a positive self-awareness and body image
  • An outlet for expression through art
  • A fun way for women to connect and share stories, creating an atmosphere of sisterhood.
  • An opportunity for the pregnant woman to feel pampered and nurtured.
  • Can include instruction and steps for breast examination

Painting and Finishing

  • Coat the entire exterior surface with a water based, dry-wall paste or spackle. Use your hands to make it smooth.
  • Allow to dry 2-3 days.
  • Use sandpaper to make the surface even smoother.
  • Paint the entire exterior with a base color. It could be white, or your main background color. Paint with one coat, allow to dry, and then add a second coat.
  • Draw your design lightly with pencil, then use acrylic paint to fill in the color.
  • After the piece has been allowed to dry thoroughly, cover your piece with a water-based, dry-wall sealant available from a hardware or building supply store.
    wonder woman
belly cast workshop

Belly casts created by attendees at The Farm Midwifery Workshops

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