Painting fish, or whatever you want

The other week I went to the Kumeu Show here in Auckland, and one of the stalls I came across really captured my attention. There were rows upon rows of plaster-of-paris moulded shapes on the trestle tables, and some tables set up behind with a range of paints and brushes.

I love painting, so you can imagine I was right into this.

I picked up a fish figurine, and for a low $3 I was allowed to take it and paint it.


What you will need:

  • Plaster of paris. This is reasonably cheap from the Warehouse, or any craft store. Haven’t checked out $2 shops for it, but I’m sure I could find one that sells it.
  • Wire (to make the hook to hang it up by)
  • Moulds. Any moulds will do, but I would go for the nice rubber/latex ones work well because you don’t risk breaking the plaster of paris. Two dollar shops, warehouse, craft stores (such as Spotlight), all sell moulds in various forms. Great thing is that this is a one-time investment as you can keep reusing them.

Trim off small bits of wire before starting and bend them into little U shapes (or staple shapes). The spiky ends need to be inserted into the plaster of paris shortly before it hardens. This will create your hook to hang the piece up by. If you don’t want to hang them, you can bypass this. Or you can add the hooks later, though sticking things to plaster of paris is quite difficult as it is very powdery.

I don’t think I need to describe how to mix the plaster (instructions will be on the packet), or how to pour it into moulds (self-explanatory, right?), or even tell you to wait until the plaster is completely dry before removing it from the mould… right?

But once you have a nice collection of blank figurines, it would make a great kids activity. Put out the figurines, put out the paints (you may want a drop cloth, or do this on the back lawn), and let them have at it.

If you want to seal the paint, wait for it to dry completely and cover with a varnish spray. This can be bought from any good craft store (or possibly the Warehouse, too… where everyone gets a bargain).



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