Introduction: Recessed Hangers for Poured Plaster Pieces
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
Wire for Hanging (non-rusting like copper or aluminum; sized to hold the weight of your finished product)
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.