Casting Process: Fiberglass

It's been what, three weeks, and I'm finally read to cast. This is it- you either do it right, or you ruin everything, and it's all decided in about 15 minutes. Work fast and accurately. I did this casting as a demo for the Sculpture 1 class- I'm starting to really like teaching..
Prep the mold the night before- Paint on an even coat of Shellac to seal the plaster. When that's dry, paint on a layer of paste wax to act as a release agent. When that's all finished, the mold is ready for the gel coat. This is the first layer that captures all the detail in your image. Use Bondo car body filler. Wear gloves.
Fill a wax cup with Bondo, and add a dash of fiberglass resin to make it thinner. Knead the Bondo's tube of red catalyst till it's no longer watery, then squeeze some into your cup and mix thoroughly. The chemicals will not begin to react until you add catalyst. The Bondo should be light pink- if it's too light, add more. If it's too dark, it'll kick really fast and you'll have very little pot time.
Paint the Bondo mix all around the mold, avoiding air bubbles. Push the Bond to the lip of the mold, but be careful to keep the sides clean. When it starts to kick, the chemicals heat up. Let it set for 30mins, or till it's dry to the touch. Wash all tools in acetone. Cut up fiberglass matte into squares of different sizes, and have them ready and on hand. Wear gloves and sleeves... Fiberglass will make you itch all day if the fibers get in your skin.
Pour fiberglass resin into a wax cup and add its catalyst: MEKP (methyl ethyl ketone peroxide) will make you blind if it gets in your eyes, it'll burn your skin, and it's somewhat explosive... so handle with care. I think the ratio is 7 drops MEKP per tbs of resin... but I just kinda eyeball it. Mix it up, and paint it into the mold on top of the Bondo. Lay fiberglass matte into the resin, and paint more resin on top till the matte is soaked. Make sure the matte squares overlap; this is where fiberglass gets its strength. Add more layers and you could run this sculp over with a car no problem. (I didn't get a picture of this step while I was teaching)
Let it set for 45mins, or till it's dry and cool to the touch, and then break off the plaster with a chisel and hammer.

Et voila, I've got a body! It's lightweight, weatherproof, and super strong. It needs sanding, patching, and painting still, but I'm over the hump.


Special thanks to Willa Fan, who curated the show my paintings are currently hanging in. Though it's not a big show, it's garnered me some publicity- my site traffic is up 65%, and that doesn't hurt! Go check it out!

~Upcoming Events~

10/15/09- Moaning Pipe Cabaret this Thursday 6:30-8. I'll be playing music! Ukazoo Books on Dulaney Valley Road, Towson. No cover, free coffee!

10/16/09- Glassblowing this Friday 6-11 @ McFadden Glass Art on Eastern Ave Baltimore. I'll be blowing glass! Live glassblowing demos, drink specials, no cover, free parking.

10/17-09- Glitterama this Saturday @ Creative Alliance, shows at 7 and 1o. $12 for all the burlesque you can handle! The King of Kitsch, your well-greased host, Greggy Glitterati, brings you both the beauteous and the nutty in an evening of wonderment. The luscious Lena Grove of Gilded Lily. The titillating boylesque of Paco Fish. The socially-conscious puppetry of Sibelius and The Cause Company. Comedic burlesque babe, Ms. Shortstax. The death-defying trapeze of Nicollete Le Fay. Ms Malibu, the fiery mistress of Tiny Hats! The Living Balloons of the immaculate Poptarts! And laying the beats beneath the bumps, DJ Wachsentush!

Hope to see you there!


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