Make Your Own Belly Cast
by Annemarie van Oploo
Belly casting is inexpensive and easy (if a bit messy) project to do with your partner or at your Mother Blessing. The cast provides an impression of your beautiful pregnant belly that you will marvel at once your body returns to pre-pregnancy shape! Thanks to my friend Erin Potts for helping me refine these instructions. Pam England also has a set of instructions in her book, Birthing from Within, along with some pictures. Have fun!
- 5 gypsona rolls (7.5cm X 2.7 m)
- 2 small hemp cord loops
- blue pad
- latex gloves (2 pairs)
- plastic sheet
- Plaster of Paris (optional)
- Plastic tub
- 1 small old towel
- 1 larger old towel
- a plastic chair (a garden chair works well, preferably one that reclines)
- and a belly casting BUDDY!
- Optional: fine-grain sandpaper, and Gesso spray (available at any art or craft store)
- Put on old cloths that you do not mind getting dirty. The plaster usually washes out, but you don't want to take a chance.
- Select a location to place the plastic sheet on the floor and put the chair in the middle so you will have access all around the chair. Recline the chair and drape the large towel over the chair for the Belly-castee to sit on.
- Cut gauze rolls into strips with the scissors. 4 strips should be around 50 cm long, the rest should vary in length. Lay these strips on the blue pad along with the hemp cord loops.
- Fill plastic tub with warm water (around 20 °C) and set it on the blue pad beside the strips of gauze.
- Put on latex gloves.
- Go topless and change into old sweatpants or shorts. Tuck a small old towel into the waist band and pull it down to just above your public hairline.
- Put on latex gloves and apply Vaseline in a thin layer all over area to be casted. Begin at the shoulders and all the way down to the top of the waist band of your sweats or shorts, don't forget your sides! THIS IS A VERY IMPORTANT STEP, WITHOUT THE VASELINE, REMOVAL OF THE CAST WILL BE DIFFICULT & PAINFUL!
- Sit back and relax.
- Take one of the long strips and glide it quickly through the water, keeping it taut, open and flat.
- Lay it along the bottom of the belly-castee's belly and smooth it flat.
- Take a second long strip, wet it, lay it across the belly-castee's collar line and up onto her shoulders and smooth it flat.
- Take the third and fourth long strips and lay them in an X with the ends matching up to the ends of the bottom and top strips. Smooth them flat.
- Apply the other strips in various directions, filling in the gaps, and smoothing them flat.
- Place the loops for hanging the cast appropriately at the shoulders. Cast over them and begin to form a second layer with the remaining strips. Smooth flat.
- You may want to apply the Plaster of Paris to help make a smooth finish on the cast. (See instructions on mixing the Plaster of Paris on the Plaster of Paris container.)
- Wait approximately 5 minutes after you are finished before attempting to remove the cast.
Removing the Cast & Clean -up
- As the cast dries, it will become slightly warm. Once this sensation has stopped, you can try to squirm and wiggle a bit to loosen the cast.
- If the cast isn't set yet, then wait a few more minutes.
- Once the cast is off, you probably want to take a shower to wash off the plaster and Vaseline!
- Once the cast is set, you can help the belly-castee loosen and remove the cast from her belly.
- Lay the cast in a place where you will not have to move it. Inspect the cast for frayed edges - you can cut these off with scissors if you like.
- Throw the towels and any clothes that got dirty into the washer as soon as possible to help ensure the plaster comes out.
- Clean off the chair and the plastic sheet (you can reuse or recycle it), and clean up the other supplies.
Allow the cast to dry completely for 24 - 48 hours. It should be uncovered and have free air flow around it. The warmer the room, the faster it will dry. After it is dry, if you used extra Plaster of Paris to smooth the cast, you may want to sand smooth any bumps. You can then spray the cast with Gesso and allow it to dry according to the Gesso instructions. Once the Gesso is dry, your cast is ready to decorate (use your imagination) or its ready to hang up as is.