Dipping fake flowers in plaster can create detailed, hard flowers that are fun to paint and use in ways you can’t with soft fabric flowers.
When my cousin was in town for the wedding she showed me a few pins with plaster dipped flowers, I was so inspired, I thought I’d give it a try. Looked pretty easy and the end result looked so beautiful, but I hadn’t used plaster of Paris for years, yet alone for something like this. The medium took some getting used to and definitely was not as easy as I thought it would be.
What you’ll need:
- Silk flowers*
- Plaster of Paris
- A reasonably small container for mixing
- Something to mix with – I used a plastic fork
- Clips to use for hanging
- Something to hang drying flowers on – I used a wire hanger
- Wax paper
* TIP 1: After experimenting A LOT, I found some flowers really work, and some turn out a mess. Roses worked really well. Flowers that are very flimsy or have a ton of thin petals close together don’t work well. By the second or third time I bought flowers for this I figured but the test… if you flip the flower upside-down, the structure dos not change very much. This way you can see the detail and separation of the petals.
You’ll want to set up where ever you are working by covering it with wax paper and wax paper below where you are hanging the flowers to dry to protect the surface. Prep the flowers and leaves by cutting them into manageable pieces. It would be very difficult to dip a whole stem with multiple leave and flowers at the same time.
Mix your plaster in a small container. You don’t have very long with each batch of plaster before it starts to set, so for this it’s important to work in small batches. At first I used a red solo cup, but then found an old Parmesan container worked even better because it was slightly wider. I mixed 1 cup of plaster (pressed kind tight) too 3/4 cup of cold water. The consistency needs to be that of runny pancake batter… a little thinner then you think it should be.
* TIP 2: There were a couple of batches I tied that were too thick and none of these flowers turned out. Just a big clumpy mess. Same with using a much larger plastic container. It just wasted a bunch of plaster. Stick with making thinner plaster in smaller batches for the best results.
When you dip a flower in there swirl it around a lot to get plaster between all of the petals, remove it from the plaster mix and hang it up to dry. The plaster will set in about 10 minutes. If you want to try and work with it (move the petals around once it’s been dipped in plaster) about 5 minutes after it starts to set, it’s still pliable. I was able to do this to one flower but was horrible unsuccessful trying to fix larger flowers this way.
* TIP 3: If it doesn’t look right the first dip, DON’T try and dip it again. They just turn into plaster balls that way. Well, actually you can try it, but don’t say I didn’t warn you If you need to touch up the plaster, use an old paint brush to apply it where the touch-up is needed after the initial coat dried.
Once the plaster has dried completely you can paint the flowers whatever way you like. Use a non-water based paint – Acrylic and Spray Paint worked great.
* TIP 4: If you are painting them a light color or the plaster is really thin in some areas. Paint the whole flower white before painting it the desired color. It will add a little strength and hide the silk color from poking through.
Plaster dipped flowers are a new favorite technique of mine, but it took a few attempts to really get the grasp of it. I hope this makes it a little easier for y’all to learn from my mistakes in this medium. Check back soon, I can’t wait to share the projects I made from all these plaster dipped flowers!