Cast of Pregnant Belly

Archived Q&A and Reviews

My husband and I would like to make a cast of my pregnant belly - has anyone done that and can give us advice on where to get the material we need (we live in Berkeley) and how best to approach this project, what to be careful about and what not to do! (or maybe you know an artist who does that in or around Berkeley) Julia
You can make a cast of your belly using plaster roll (used to set broken arms). You can buy it at Amsterdam Arts on University. You just clear a space, lay down LOTS of newspaper (or better, do it outside if you have privacy - makes a lot dust that isn't good to breathe), strip, put on LOTS of vasoline (DON'T miss any patches, like I did - ouch!). Cut the plaster roll into strips big enough to go around your belly, and have your helper dip in warm water, squeeze out the excess, then smooth on your belly. I used 3-4 layers. Smooth well with extra water for an even finish. It firms up so you can take it off in about 20 minutes. (It will get warm, but doesn't burn). Cut off the excess with old scissors before it's totally hard. A friend of mine painted hers - looks fab. Have fun! Heather
There are a couple ways to do this. There is a kit that some maternity shops sell - it's about $30 and comes with instructions. There is also an artist in Santa Rosa (I think) who will make the cast and then paint it for/with you. Natural Resources in San Francisco has a video of the woman (can't remember her name) and her phone number. It looked really cool. My husband and I have done it ourselves for both of my pregnancies. They both came out pretty neat (my almost 5 year old loves hers and tries it on occasionally). We used casting materials from medical supply stores. Most recently, I bought the materials at Johnson's Medical Supplies on Shattuck (they were great). I guessed about how much we needed - I think I bought 4 rolls of 4 and 4 rolls of 3. I think that was enough, but the cast is stronger the more layers you do. You cut them in strips of 8-10, dip in water and place on your belly. It dries quickly, so move fast. After it dries (about 10 minutes or so), your partner peels it off and lets it dry. The more layers the better as the cast will be stronger. It's important to vaseline your belly first (or use a cloth sock, which can be bought at Johnson's too), use plastic wrap over hair, and to work fast. Jen :)
I have done belly castings both times I was pregnant and they came out great. The most important things to remember is to put vaseline on everywhere the plaster goes before you start putting on the plaster. I forgot to do this the second time and ripping the cast off my skin and hair was almost as bad as labor. You can buy the materials you need at any medical supply store. There is a store across from the Berkeley Bowl that has the stuff. It's basically packages off gauze that already has plaster on it. You get it wet and then apply it. Of course someone else has to do this and you just need to sit still. Have fun. Liz