Introduction: Cast Gingerbread People for Christmas Wreaths
Materials - Gingerbread People
- Modeling clay - sculpt originals
- Scrap plywood, cardboard strips - for casting
- Liquid latex - for mold making - Tap Premium Liquid Latex
- Plaster of Paris - backing for mold
- Casting material - Durham Water Putty - inexpensive and available at most hardware stores
- Wood blocks, wire, Gorilla Glue - for attaching to wreaths
- Drylok Extreme Masonary Waterproofer paint without sand
- Acrylic paints
- Garland - craft store green pine garland
- Lights - light strings built in garland or added
- Plastic ornaments
Step 1: Sculpt and Create Mold
Hot glue strips of cardboard around the finished clay masters to create a box around each figure. This contains the latex but mainly is for the plaster backing pour. It just needs to be tacked in place, the first coat of latex seals it in place, but make sure it is tight against the plywood.
Follow the instructions for the liquid latex to lay down multiple layers. Be sure to push the first layer underneath all of the undercuts with your brush and pop any bubbles formed against the clay master. They recommend 8-16 layers with some drying between. We didn't put in any strengthening cloth but you can if you have something that might tear or you are producing hundreds of items. We ended up laying down 10 layers and used up half of a $20 container - so $5 per gingerbread person was great though a bit time consuming vs. 2-part one-step $$$ molding systems.
When the latex has dried. Fill the cardboard dam with plaster of paris. Strip off the cardboard then the plaster and latex should unmold nicely.
Step 2: Produce Gingerpeople
Mix up Durham Rock Putty to a thick pancake batter consistency so it will fill in all tiny details. Work the liquid-y putty into all of the nooks and crannies. As the putty starts to hardens you can still keep using it to fill the mold, but do not fill it level,a 1/4" to 3/8" thick layer is better - it will dry faster and not crack due to being so thick. There are 5 boys and 5 girls on the wreath and they take about 1 hour to dry each. The putty dries waterproof for outdoor use.
Step 3: Paint and Wire to Wreath
Paint each figure with Drylok Extreme Masonary Waterproofer paint as an undercoat. Paint with standard craft store acrylic paints then seal with clear shellac.
Glue a small block of wood with a wire hole to the back of each gingerperson using Gorilla Glue then attach to the wreath using craft wire.
We embellished the store bought garland with lights and plastic round ornaments. You can do a drape garland or a rigid backed wreath. Come up with your own theme-based custom ornaments and put them on trees, wreaths, and garlands - indoors or out!
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