Monday, 29 October 2012

Fun with papier mâché

    Making a mould of your foot turns out to be a surprisingly difficult business. You scrub your toes and put socks on, so your feet are a perfectly accessible part of your body, right?
papier-mache-foot    You find out just how inflexible you have become as you grow up when you have to hold your foot up in the air and apply wallpaper paste soaked newspaper to its sole. As an experiment yesterday I had a go at using papier mâché to mould my foot for lastmaking, and I have to report mixed results. And a lot of contortion and aching leg muscles, it's surprisingly difficult to not put your right foot on the ground for a couple of hours.
    We all made papier mâché stuff at primary school. My art teacher mother reminded me that schools have the luxury of leaving stuff to dry for a week, my cast had to dry in an evening. So there I was last night with a hair dryer, trying to make my soggy paper covered foot dry enough to remove the paper in one piece.
    It worked, just. Eventually I was able to ease a soggy paper slipper from my foot and place it on a wire cooling tray to dry out. And though it will inevitably have settled a bit, with a carefully placed teaspoon or two to maintain its arch, it looks as though it'll deliver a reasonable mould of my foot.
    I'm still going to go with my original plan of using latex moulding compound for the same task. And I may also pick up some of the moulding supplies used by podiatrists, foam impression moulds and polymer moulding socks. My preoccupation is with making an accurate mould of my foot, and if it takes several attempts then I'm quite happy to go along with that.


  1. Have I missed something here :) Why are you making moulds of your feet?

    Or were you just bored? ;p


  2. Go to the hobby store, they have quick setting molding compound which sets in minutes. Then you can use that mold for what ever medium you choose to make a replica of your foot.

    Hope that helps

  3. I just had an idea too....yes, I do get these strange thoughts now and then....Would expanding foam do the trick? Surround the foot with a small cardboard box but don'r allow the foot to touch the bottom whilst you inject the foam into the box. This stuff sets in seconds then all you have to do is (hopefully) cut it into two halves to remove your foot. Covering the foot with vaseline would prevent the foam from sticking to your skin. Just a thought.

    Shirley Anne x

  4. Morning all,
    I've considered expanding foam, as well as plaster of Paris, but I'm wary of using them as they are both exothermic. This story illustrates the dangers:

    Plaster of Paris bandages are an option though, as used in hospital casts.

    I did look at hobby store moulding compound, alginate gel. It's rather expensive and the moulds don't last. However if my cheapskate approach doesn't work then I'll probably come back to that.

    1. I knew about plaster of Paris (or any other plaster really) as they contain lime which heats when mixed with water. If mixing with the hands plastic gloves should be worn as they should in any case when mixing anything this way. I didn't know that expanding foam was exothermic too. It looks as if it's going to be difficult finding a suitable material methinks.

      Shirley Anne x