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Making your own gossip stone is fairly straightforward - you only need to combine ideas from several different techniques, so if you're new to crafts, this project would be great way to experience a few different skills in one project! Plus, it's very portable - by combining what I've done (from papercraft model to solid plaster statue) with other Instructables on making papercraft from computer models you can design your own papercrafts, and you could even use 3D scanning to replicate real objects! Even without that, there are tons of papercrafts that already exist...
Before you begin, know that you'll need the following:
- Plaster of Paris (I used DAP plaster from Home Depot)
- Mold material (I used cardboard... bad idea. It got soggy and flimsy, so use plastic from a food container or something.)
- Printer, paper, marking utensil, scissors
- Sandpaper (optional)
- Rotary tool (optional, if you want to carve it - you could try going by hand too)
- Paint (I used black and white acrylic)
Without further ado, let's get started!
EDIT: I just realized that I'm not the first to write an Instructable on this idea - krummrey has has a much more professional project here. My Instructable is more of a casual, fun sort of thing. If you really want to get serious using this technique, I recommend taking a look at his too!
Step 1: The Papercraft Model
I found this particular design on Nintendo Papercraft. If you're content with the size (that is, if you prefer a little desk gossip stone like the one I made) then just print it out, trace it onto the mold material, cut it out, and tape it together, preferably with duct tape, as that resists water well. Skip the tabs used for gluing in normal papercraft and the bottom, though, as the tabs would leave undesirable indents and the bottom is where we'll pour in the plaster. You may wish to mark or score where the folds will be also.
If you'd like yours larger, well, you still just print it out. The only difference is that in this case, you'll want to measure all the sides in the figure and calculate how to scale everything up to the size you want - everything scales by the same factor. For example, if you wanted to make it twice as tall, you'd simply multiply all the lengths by two. All the angles will stay the same, so you can simply trace them out from the smaller paper model. I've used this technique to make life-sized cardboard models before; it works well as long as you trace angles and measure carefully enough. Essentially, you construct the model by drawing a rescaled line, measuring and tracing angles from its edges, drawing the next edges off the angles you just traced out, measuring and tracing angles from this new edge, and continuing on until all the edges have been drawn.
Step 2: Make the Statue
This step will depend upon your plaster - mix and pour according to however yours works. When it's ready, removal will depend upon what you used to make the mold. If you do it in a more effective way than I did, peeling off the tape should be enough. However, my cardboard melted into the plaster a bit when I did this, so I had to rub it off.
You can use sandpaper to remove any raised edges or sharp corners you don't want. To engrave the face, I simply taped the paper I had traced the mold from over the face. The paper acts as a buffer, so make sure you go over it enough with your rotary tool to get through to the plaster underneath. If you don't have a rotary tool and are engraving by hand, plaster is fairly soft, so just press through with a knife or chisel to get the pattern through, and then remove the paper and do the rest of the engraving. If you're not doing this either, you could paint the face on.
Step 3: Painting, Method 1
This part was fairly simple for me, but if you're a more proficient painter than I am, you could certainly take it in a new direction! What I did was a three-step process with two shades of gray, which is why I used black and white rather than buying only gray. I first painted on a base layer with the lighter color. Then I painted a darker color in the engraved channels. Finally, I painted the lighter color again over the darker color patchily so that it still showed through in places but blended fairly well with the background. Dry brush painting is one way to do this.
If bubbles left little holes in your project, you can try to fill them in with paint. Spackle would probably work even better.
One more piece of advice: don't try to make it perfect. Eventually you'll get to the point where you dislike as many of your modifications as you like. Besides, it's supposed to look like a rock. Have you ever seen a perfect rock?
Step 4: Painting, Method 2
After looking at my reference material again, I decided I wanted to try repainting it. This time I used a little bit of light paint on the rougher side of a synthetic sponge to give the stone a speckled appearance, and then I mixed additional shades of gray to get it closer to the original. I dry-brushed again for the grooves. After that, it's done! If you wanted to be extra careful, you could seal it too, but that's not definitely not necessary.and could make it look less rock-like.
I hope you enjoyed this project as much as or more than I did!