Recessed Hangers for Poured Plaster Pieces




Introduction: Recessed Hangers for Poured Plaster Pieces

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…

This is a simple method for creating a recessed mounting system for simple flat-back plaster objects.  The resultant hangers will allow the objects to hang flat against a wall.  Hanging wire is embedded in modeling clay before being pressed into wet plaster.  The clay is later removed and the result is a cavity with a recessed hanging wire to accommodate nails or other hanging assemblies.

I used this technique in my Hearthstone Plaque and Chalkboard Conversation Heart Instructables but the hanger assembly seemed really useful so I thought it deserved its own Instructable.

Step 1: You Need

Modeling Clay*
Wire for Hanging (non-rusting like copper or aluminum; sized to hold the weight of your finished product)
Plaster mold
Plaster - mixed as directed

*This MUST be traditional modeling clay or Plasticine, not Play Doh or similar play clays.  Play Doh is water-based.  It tends to absorb moisture out of the plaster and turn into a big, gooey mess that can't be pulled out of the cavity easily.

Step 2: Sizing

Decide how deep you want the cavity to be.  You probably don't want the cavity to be any deeper than half the full depth of the object. 

Determine how wide you want the cavity to be.  It should be fairly wide, allowing you to center the object when it hangs.  This is especially important with unsymmetrical objects because you won't know where the center of gravity might be.  Add an extra inch or more (depending on the size of your object) to this width and cut your wire to length.

The cavity should also be sufficiently tall, so the object hangs off the wire, not the top of the cavity.

Step 3: Creating the Hanger

Next you simply need to embed your wire in clay that fits the dimensions of the cavity in which the wire will be placed.  Make sure your wire ends are poking out.  I like to curl or bend these so the plaster "grips" it better.

Step 4: Installing He Hanger

Pour your plaster piece, tap out air bubble and immediately place this assembly in the back, roughly centered vertically and above the center horizontally in the thickest section you can find. Make sure you embed the wire edges in the plaster.

Once the object has set, use toothpicks or other tools to dig out the clay. Finish the piece as you'd like and hang from your wire.

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    11 years ago on Introduction

    I usually just flattened a paper-clip into an S shape and almost totally submerged it in the plaster when it's starting to solidify. When it had hardened, I hung the thing on a nail using that end of the paper-clip sticking out.

    I guess I could scrape out a teaspoon of plaster (before it hardens) just under that paper-clip to make it hang totally flush.

    Another trick I used with plaster is straighten out steel clothes hangers and put these in the plaster to make it tougher/stronger.

    Plaster cleanup is hard. I squirted lemon juice on the linoleum floor once to try to dissolve it. I reasoned that plaster was alkali and that I needed something acidic to dissolve it. Didn't work wonders, but it wasn't less effective than soap (soap is usually alkali)


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    That's a good solution. You could also push a piece of modeling clay into the back to create the hole and pull it out later. I posted this, mostly so I didn't have to describe this process and why I have a piece of clay in the backs of several Instructable projects on which my hanging system will show.

    Some of my projects aren't symmetrical so this gives me lots of room for error when hanging these objects from wall hooks. I also use this when I have children paint hanging "frescos" on fresh plaster. The plaster is reverse molded to allow for a freshly poured plaster surface on which to paint. The clay-covered wire is placed in the back of the mold prior to pouring and the clay is removed when the whole project is complete. Hmm...might have to make an Instructable for that.