The Basic Process in Making Plaster Mouldings

Blog |November 6th, 2015

Making plaster moulding is an art form, and anyone who holds an appreciation for 16th century architecture can appreciate the wonderful and highly decorative results from expertly crafted plaster mouldings. The actual process is quite simple, although time-consuming, but for highly decorative work such as replicating and reproducing historic buildings, inside and out, only the best plaster studio can do.

The Production Method and the Making of Plaster Mouldings

Nearly unchanged for many years – the process of making plaster moulding is simple, time-consuming and can be very tedious work. The types of designs that are produced, and can be produced, are limitless. This fact makes moulding today a necessity when decorating and planning new and old buildings, inside and out, especially older buildings that are of Victorian and Edwardian era themed.

The first step in the process is to have a design of the molding to replicate, and almost any style or design can be replicated, the most popular being artwork inspired by 16th century architecture. Whether it is a new plaster mould, or ones to be repaired and replicated, a drawing or sketch will be made as a guide.

The second step involves making the clay modeling, in this stage of the process the designs and shapes from the sketch drawings are meticulously reproduced into the clay model, which will later be used with plaster to make moulds of them. Designs such as leafs, balls, flowers and the Fleur-de-lis are common examples of such popular designs.

The third step takes the pattern design and repeats it into a clay model plate, so that it can be moulded with silicone – a rubber based sealant, and then it itself is cast into plaster.

The fifth step takes that design profile pattern and forms it using a 200-year-old traditional process – it is cut out of zinc, and then mounted or fixed into a frame, usually made of wood, and then the created model is ready to run in plaster. Once the plate design has been ‘run’ enrichments are laid down into the model, and then the design from the sketch is ready to be moulded.

The sixth step takes the created mould and then rubber is poured into it. The outcome is called the “Pour Mould’ and is finally ready to be used in manufacturing plaster mouldings.

Much, much more can be learned about the process to make mouldings, it is a fascinating and rewarding art form and folks like Hopkins Plaster is keeping it alive and well.

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