Chris brought us a frame she had stored in her attic and told me it had been in the family for generations. I knew right away it was a plaster over wood frame and wanted to repair it as best I could. I’m always up for a new challenge 🙂
The whole frame had cracks and dings and those areas were easy to fill in, but the two major portions missing molding required a bit more time and TLC.
I’ve played with Sculpey clay before – it does well for making molds so it was the first item on my shopping list.
Before plopping a chunk of Sculpey onto the frame, I needed to create a protective barrier in order to prevent the clay from sticking into the crevices of the frame. I used American Paint Company’s clear wax for this purpose.
After making the molds, I followed the directions for hardening the clay and mixed a small amount of Plaster of Paris.
Once Plaster of Paris hardens, it is solid and will not dissolve or lose it’s shape if it gets wet.
Once I achieved a good replacement, I sprayed water on the exposed wood of the frame and on the underside of the molded piece, and spread a thin layer of Plaster of Paris on to act as “mortar,” ensuring the replacement molding would adhere permanently.
A bit of tooling with dental picks, and the new molding fit perfectly in. Now on to the thin, more elongated portion of the missing moldings.
Again, using Sculpey Clay to create new molding.
EPIC FAIL. The molding was too thin and the Sculpey Clay too rigid to allow for one good piece or pieces of new molding. Luckily, I had some Plastilina – it doesn’t dry and cannot be hardened in the oven like Sculpey clay – BUT, figured I could freeze it to make it hard enough to work with, yet flexible enough to peel off of the cured Plaster of Paris.
Straight out of the package, I kneaded it long enough to form onto a good piece of the frame
VOILA! It works ….so far, so good.
After making the impression, I placed the Plastilina in the freezer just long enough to harden but not freeze.
After putting the Plaster of Paris onto the frame, I put a tiny bit of plaster into the hardened plastilina mold, mushed the two together and let it dry. While the plaster dried, the plastilina warmed back up to room temperature, making it flexible again.
I was so excited when I pulled the Plastilina off the first section…not so pleased with the second section.
A few more tries and another cup of coffee, I finally got it “just right” enough to to carve out the finer details. Once that was done, it was time to restore the gilding. The first step was to paint the repaired areas with black chalk/clay/mineral paint.
After applying the gilding in various tones around the entire frame, I then buffed it all back to a wonderful shine.
I hope this inspires you to try something new!