Introduction: World of Warcraft Hearthstone Plaque

About: I'm a Renaissance woman. I love to create things with a fantasy, medieval, or geeky edge. I'm also a math/science nerd. I have a passion for all things Halloween. I like to build props, create costume elements…
Home is where the heart is but, in World of Warcraft, it’s also where the hearthstone is. Give your favorite player a place to truly call home with this hearthstone handmade by you.  This plaster replica will hang flat against a wall or can be used as a unique office decoration.

Using modeling clay to create a single-use mold for both the roughly-hewn edges of the stone and the engraved rune will make each hearthstone unique.  Because modeling clay is so flexible, there is no worry about undercuts in the unmolding process.

Step 1: Supplies

  • Modeling clay (NOT Play-doh)* - white or grey are best; colored clays may transfer color to the plaster
  • Plaster of Paris
  • About 6" of copper wire**
  • A piece of clear, smooth plastic - large zip top bag or plastic from a product package
  • Paperboard scrap, lumber, cookie sheet or similar for a work surface - must be flat
  • A variety of tools for shaping plaster: a craft knife and sandpaper; plastic or wooden clay tools if you have them
  • Paper or plastic container for mixing plaster, at least 3-4 cups volume
  • Popsicle stick or other implement for mixing plaster
  • Water
  • Hearthstone template - this is about 3½" X 4½" but I have also included the picture file so you can scale it up or down if needed.  If scaling, please remember to scale the sizes and amounts of supplies accordingly.
  • Acrylic craft paints, etc. for finishing - this part is up to you (see final step for ideas)
* Play-doh is water-based and it will absorb some of the water from the plaster and get gooey.  I tried it, with disastrous results.  Stick with traditional non-water-based modeling clay.  Some clay will transfer color to the plaster.  On the edges, this coloring can be cleaned off but in the engraved rune, it's best to use white, gray, or blue if possible.  Paint may also cover staining.

**I used copper because it won't rust.  Aluminum will also work.  Select wire that can hold the weight of the finished product which is a little less than a pound.

Step 2: Preparation

Lay your work surface on a table or counter.  Put down your template and place your clear plastic over the top.

Step 3: The Hanger

When I create a hanger back for a plaster piece that I want to hang flat against the wall, I arrange the wire inside an open cavity.  To achieve this, I encase the hanging section of the wire in modeling clay which is removed after the plaster sets-up.

  • Shape a rectangle of modeling clay about 1.5" X 1" X 1/4" thick.
  • Lay the center of the wire across the modeling clay, as shown. Fold the clay over, encapsulating the wire in the center.
  • Curl the ends of the wire.  The wire is not likely to slip out but this is a further measure that I like to take.

Step 4: The Rune

In this step, modeling clay is used to create the effect of a deeply engraved rune.  Use less clay if you prefer a different look or more shallow engraving.

  • Roll out a clay snake approximately 8” long and 1/4” diameter.
  • Cut the ends as shown, with opposing angles.
  • Lay the clay snake on the plastic over the template and gently flatten, pressing it into the plastic for a good seal.

Step 5: Finish the Mold

Here, modeling clay is used to oval border of the stone.
  • Create a strip of modeling clay about 16" long, 1" wide, and 1'2" deep. Don't make it a perfect strip. You want a lot of variations in thickness.
  • Lay this on its side all the way around the perimeter of the template, pressing down firmly to create a good seal against the plastic base.
  • Create a rough bevel by angling the clay edge out slightly as you move up, away from the plastic

Step 6: Pouring the Plaster

A word of warning: air bubbles are you enemy in plaster pours.  Because of this, be careful not to introduce opportunities for air bubbles to form in the wet plaster while mixing or during the pour.  (Also, if you've never worked with plaster, know that you should NEVER EVER rinse the extra plaster down the drain where it can settle and harden!  Instead, allow it to harden in its mixing container and throw it away.)
  • Pour approximately 3/4 cup COLD water into the mixing container.
  • Add 1 ½ cups plaster to the container and mix thoroughly.
  • Tap on the sides of the container or pick up the container and bang it on the counter lightly to release bubbles.  You'll be tapping the mold as well but it's good to release bubbles in both steps.
  • Pour the plaster into the mold you’ve prepared.  Pour into the swirled section and allow to spread from there.  Fill until nearly to the top.  Tap the mold or the surface it's on to even out the top and release the bubbles.  Tap vigorously until bubbles stop rising to the top.  If your work surface is not flexible, you can also pick it up and carefully tap it directly onto the counter to release bubbles.
  • Drop the hanger assembly into the plaster toward the top and centering.  Press the wires extending out of the clay into the plaster.  For good measure, tap again.
  • Allow the entire thing to set about half an hour or so.

Step 7: Unmolding and Shaping

  • Once the plaster has hardened to the point where it won't retain a dent when pressed, you can peel away the clay from the edges.
  • Using a toothpick or plastic tools, pry the clay out from around the hanger to expose the wire.
  • Turn it the piece over and pry the clay out of the engraving.
  • Use your tools to smooth and shape the edges, including the edges around the engraving to give it a roughly chiseled look.  You might want to shave some of the plaster away from some areas and sand it away from others.
  • Once you are satisfied with the look, allow to cure for at least two days.

Step 8: Finishing

The process of finishing the stone is up to you.  It can be painted with acrylic craft paints and sealed with craft paint in different finishes, according to your taste.  I thought that the stone should be a matte greyish-white and the engraving should be a glossy jewel-tone blue.  But this is my personal preference.

If you are going to hang this, it's good to seal the back with acrylic sealer or cover it with sticky-back felt because plain, dried plaster can leave chalky residue on a surface.

This is how I finished mine:
I thought the color of the texture of the plaster was perfect.  The engraving was a different matter.  I tried blue RTV silicone but what I had on hand, while the perfect shade of blue, was opaque, not translucent.  In the end, I used a dimensional fabric paint, Tulip Gellies in Blue (there is no glitter in this and it gives a jewel-like appearance.)  I am very pleased with the results.  If that had not worked, I would have next tried a translucent blue faux stained glass paint to give a similar look.