Charleston WorkshopThe serene flowers in their gold containers above were taught a delightful workshop in Charleston SC (see Charleston Works It .. Park Two, Archives).  Unfortunately, I was out of the room at that time.  So I had to teach myself in a project that couldn’t be messier!  The containers are made from plaster-impregnated cloth.

Plaster ClothPlaster cloth comes in rolls in several widths.  Once used for casts for broken bones, it is primarily used for model and mask making.  This came from Michael’s Crafts.  Other sizes are at Hobby Lobby.

Plaster Cloth stripsCut the plaster cloth into small pieces, strips work especially well.  Don’t make the strips too long or they will be harder to spread out after they are lightly moistened.  There is already a lot of white plaster detritus that spills from the rather cheese cloth like fabric.  This is definitely an apron and rubber glove project.  You know its messy if I put on an apron!

Red balloonsOrdinary balloons are the structure that creates the form.  I am trying for a set of 5 or 6.  The hardest part is to tie off the balloons and to keep the balloons about the same size.

Plaster cloth weavingDip each strip quickly in water.  Beginning on the bottom of the balloon, cross and cross the strips to create a surface, smoothing the plaster as you go.  The more you overlap the strips in several directions, the stronger the shape will be when it is dried.

Beginning the bowlWith the bottom covered, move the balloon right side up.  You can see my first mistake.  I used a non-permanent magic marker to give me a guide for the edge of the shape.  Unfortunately it bled into the plaster! Set the finished plastered balloons aside.  They should still have the balloon inside.  Very gently press them down on the tabletop to create a slightly flat bottom.

Orbs plastered goldAllow to dry overnight.  Then with a pin, gently pop the balloon.  Shake out any loose plaster like the ones on the left.  Paint them whatever colors you choose.  The inside is sprayed with Modern Master gold metallic paint by Design Master.

Silver plaster orbsTo paint the outside a metallic silver color without getting it inside, place the orbs on top of jars or bottles.  I am using other spray paint cans to hold them up.  The spray will reach all surfaces but not the inside.  On the left is mistake number two. The container on the left is the first one I made.  You can see I pushed down on the table a little too forcefully.

Plastered orb with pinholderUsing a glass votive candleholder, a tiny pin holder and water, each silver orb will hold the flowers of your choice.

Susan DetjensAnemones are very thirsty flowers.  They need lots of water and do not like being in Oasis.  Like tulips, they also grow each day.  These violet and purple anemones are shelter in the metallic orbs.

Susan DetjensThis could be a delightful project for children who like to make a mess (all children) and are patient enough to wait for the drying time.


About Susan

Susan Detjens is a former landscape painter, she lectures, demonstrates and runs workshops on floral design for museums, horticultural organizations and garden clubs across the US.
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