Wednesday, July 27, 2011

DIY Faux Cast Aluminum Sculptures

 This is a great carving project which has stunning results, using mostly house-hold items!

 You will need:
  • Soap (either full bars or travel size, we like the free ones from hotels)
  • Carving tools (potato peeler, paring knife, exacto, utility knife, speedball linoleum cutter, and if the soap is soft you could use an ink pen)
  • Foil tape, can be found at hardware stores like Lowe's or Home Depot
  • Large pink eraser or cork
  • Black paint and brushes
  • Paper towels
  • Wire
Step 1:
Gather your materials and sketch out a design for your soap.
Some soaps are difficult to carve while others can practically be molded with your fingers. We had a huge stash of soaps from hotels.

When selecting your tools, think about ordinary objects that might be used to create cool textures in the soap. The potato peeler is great for carving off edges while the cheese grader works like a wood rasp to create a shaved texture on the surface of the soap.
 The wire can be used to fix anything that might break off....It is also good for assembling pieces to a base.

Step 2:
 Carve your design into the soap using your carving tools. A speedball lino cutter works really well for images like this face. Remember to create a relief on the surface, leaving some areas raised.

If your sculpture is in-the-round, like the one below, you will need to carve every side.
Step 3:
 Cover your soap carving in foil tape. We like to cut small squares and strips to make covering easier. When the entire surface is covered, use a pink eraser or cork to burnish the surface, flattening some of the creases, by rubbing it with a piece of rubber or cork, you help the foil to adhere to the smaller details, showing off the relief and adding texture.
They look a little like foil bunnies at Easter!

Step 4:
If you create a base for your sculpture, or if a piece of it breaks before you cover it in foil tape, you can use wire to attach the pieces together. Be sure to give your soap the 'poke' test before you use it in your sculpture, if it is too hard to poke wire into, you won't be able to use it as a base or attach it to a base.

Step 5:
Once your sculpture is covered in foil tape, and the pieces are assembled, use a paint brush to cover the surface in black paint. The black paint will fill in the cracks. Wipe off the paint before it dries. This will give your sculpture the look of cast aluminum!

Make a series of sculptures and show them off!

If you try this sculpture yourself, please leave a comment with a link to your project, we would love to see it!!