Want an inexpensive DIY project that gives you a priceless artefact from your pregnancy to display on your nursery wall? Our step-by-step guide will ensure you (and your child) are left with a stunning belly cast to treasure like a sacred relic from what will seem like ancient history in not too many years to come! We’ll also give you tips for cutting costs on the materials you’ll need for this DIY project and finish with suggestions for creative ways to decorate your work of belly art.
The term “belly cast” is commonly used incorrectly to describe what is properly referred to as a “belly mold”. This is where plaster bandage is placed over the belly (just like an Egyptian Mummy) until the belly is completely covered with at least two layers of plaster. The end result is similar to looking at your pregnant belly through snug-fitting clothing - you can see the size and shape of the belly and bust, but the details including the belly button and nipples are not visible. This result is preferable to some women, whereas others prefer the result to be more like looking at a carved statue of a naked body. Despite the incorrect terminology, a “belly mold” is what most women create when they purchase a commercial Belly Casting Kit and this is the technique we’ll be covering here...
Commercial Belly Casting Kits provide convenience, as well as confidence if you’ve never dabbled in the realm of life casting before. However, purchasing your materials in a kit can prove costly with the inclusion of materials such as lubricant and a drop sheet, which could otherwise be substituted with everyday materials found around your home, such as your own belly oil and some newspaper to lay on the floor. It is also sometimes the case, that the purchase of a second kit is necessitated by a short supply of plaster bandage in the first kit. In turn, if you do choose to purchase a belly casting kit always shop around and compare the quantity of plaster bandage provided. Our list of materials (apart from the plaster bandage) includes items from around your home…
- Belly Casting Plaster Bandage.
- Lubricant: Petroleum jelly or your everyday belly oil brand. TIP - If you’re not too hairy on your belly and you’re not plastering your arms in your mold, no lubricant is fine. The lubricant is primarily to reduce any discomfort related to pulling out your body hair. Lubricant also reduces the amount of plaster that sticks to you – but not significantly. The plaster is non-toxic and easily removed in the shower, so there’s no need to worry about it sticking to you.
- Drop Sheet: either 3 layers of newspaper over a 2m x 2m space, a cheap disposable plastic table cloth, or any similar throw away plastic that you can use to cover your work space.
- Plastic Bucket: half filled with warm water.
- Scissors: for cutting the plaster bandage before you get started.
- Seat: a bar stool is perfect. A normal seat is too low for plastering the lower belly. You could perch yourself on a solid table edge, or lean against the edge of a desk, but it has to be comfortable (without moving) for anywhere up to 60 mins, so try it out first.
- An old sheet if required, to cover the bar stool, table or desk.
- Old tights, or underwear that can be thrown away.
While you gather your materials, you need to consider who you will choose to assist you in the mummification process! This DIY activity is more of a DIWSE activity – as you definitely need someone else to help you! Some women do this at their baby shower, with their bestie/s, with their partner, or their mum, or pay a pro to do it. Let’s get to it!
- Cut your plaster bandage into varying sizes, we choose lengths of 5cms and 10cms and then a few random sizes, not too large. Smaller squares can be cut for use over the nipples. TIP - Keep the plaster away from water before use. If it becomes wet, it hardens permanently and irreversibly.
- Prepare your work area with your materials and your common sense. TIP - Position your dry plaster bandage away from your water bucket and do not lift wet bandage pieces over your dry pieces of bandage.
- Go to the loo! Get yourself some water.
- Rub lubricant over your belly and any other body parts you’re intending to plaster. TIP - Use more lubricant on hairier body parts, but do not leave any clumps.
- Begin mummifying. TIP - remain as still as possible.
- Dip the plaster in the water and do not let it fold or double over, as you lift it out.
- Let excess water drip off over the bucket. TIP - To minimise mess, do not splash or shake the wet plaster bandage too vigorously.
- Place flat pieces of bandage on the skin, then gently rub the plaster surface to create a slightly creamy texture. TIP - this rubbing technique increases the detail picked up by the mold. Plaster bandage has the capacity to reveal every crease in the skin and even hair shafts if it is applied with care.
- Make sure there are no air trappings between the plaster and the skin surface. TIP - around the nipple can be tricky and where the breasts touch the belly, just do your best.
- Make sure you apply plaster to the surface of the skin without tucking the plaster under any skin rolls/crevices, particularly under larger breasts.
- Cover the entire belly, torso, hands/arms, whatever you choose to include and make sure you aim for even coverage. TIP – sometimes mummifiers apply extra layers to the centre of the mold and forget about applying extra layers to the outer edges. Aim for even coverage to ensure a strong belly mold.
- Allow to set until the plaster feels hard to tap. TIP - it takes about 10 minutes to set, so try and wait this out from when you apply the last piece.
- TIP - the plaster heats up as it sets, don’t let this alarm you. It doesn’t continue getting hotter for long. However, with the motherload you’re carrying, you may require a nice cool glass of water (and possibly a fan, depending on the weather) at this point.
- Your helper will need to assist you in removing your belly mold, as there’s a risk of dropping it. To remove it, try to peel your body away by wriggling sections out slowly. It feels like peeling off a band-aid.
- Allow your belly mold to dry for 48 hours before decorating.
As you can now see, the end result is similar to looking at a pregnant belly through a tight-fitting top - you can see the size and shape of the belly and bust, but the details including the belly button and nipples are not clearly visible. This result is preferable to some women, whereas others prefer the result to be more like looking at a carved statue of a naked body – correctly termed a “belly cast”. Whatever your preference, the belly mold you have just made is also a necessary step in creating a belly cast that displays the life-like detail of a naked body.
If you love your belly mold as is, it can be mounted on the wall with wire or kept private, it can be kept white or painted on the front, or it can be decorated with decoupage or a tile mosaic to suit the colour scheme or theme in your nursery. Belly molds are also often used as a prop in baby photography by placing your newborn on a soft white piece of fabric inside the mold to show the former positioning in the womb. Some women also like to add their newborns foot and/or handprints to the inside of the mold, along with their baby’s name, birthdate and other personal details. Your belly mold is not only a personal keepsake that you’ll appreciate however you decide to decorate it, but we hope you create happy memories of making it that will also serve as a special memento of this significant time in your life. We would love to see your work! Share your pics on instagram @cloud_9_baby_bedrooms or on our Facebook Page Cloud 9 Baby Bedrooms
Walk Like an Egyptian x
Author: Cloud 9 Baby Bedrooms