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Belly Casting Information
01What is a belly cast and what do I do with it when finished?

A belly cast is a three-dimensional plaster sculpture of a woman's pregnant belly for the purpose of having a keepsake of the pregnancy.

Making a pregnancy belly cast is a fun and easy project using our kit. It takes only about 30 minutes from start to finish. All you need to provide is a pair of scissors and a basin of water. The casting material used in making a pregnancy belly cast is fast setting premium quality plaster of paris bandage material and it sets in as quick as 2-4 minutes.  The bandages are placed on mom's torso in overlapping layers. The result is a shell mold of the shape of mom's belly.

Some ideas for decorating include applying sequins, feathers, dried flowers, photographs or small, pretty, cut stones or glass. You also can wait to decorate it until after your baby is born and apply paint to your baby's hands and feet and put the prints on your belly cast. When your baby is old enough, you could even decorate it together. You could even have it bronzed. Your imagination is truly the limit.  Then use as a bowl, hang in on a wall as art, incorporate it into the baby's nursery decor, display on an easel.See finished belly cast examples here

02Is a belly cast difficult to make?
  There is no mixing of materials required and our directions are easy to follow. All you need to do is to take the rolls of belly casting material, cut them into varying sized strips, (shorter strips for your torso area and longer strips for your belly area). After preparing the belly with a lubricant or other barrier, then you take one strip at a time and dip it very quickly in room temperature water. Place the wet belly casting strip on your skin and repeat in overlapping layers with the remaining strips. You will only need to sit still for about 10 minutes after the strips have been placed on your skin and then your belly cast will be dry enough to pull off. Overall, the casting process takes about 45 minutes from start to finish including prep time and clean up. Once you remove your belly cast, please allow it to dry completely before decorating it. It generally takes about one to two days for a belly cast to dry. You will know it is dry when it no longer feels cool or damp to the touch. 
03When do most moms make a belly cast?
  Most moms make their belly casts anywhere between 34 to 36 weeks of pregnancy but we have had some that have made them as early as 30 weeks of pregnancy and some as late as full-term. It really is a matter of personal preference. 

Our best advice is not to wait too long (or at least have the materials on hand and ready to go) because babies have a way of coming early.
04How do I include arms and/or hands in the belly cast?
  You can include your hands and/or arms hands in your casting. You can also include the hands of a loved one in your pregnancy belly cast. It is very easy to do. Just put the hands right on the belly, apply the lubricant over the back of the hands as you are coating the rest of the mom's casting area, and then simply cast right over the hands. Make sure the fingers are spread far enough apart so that it is easily distinguishable that it is a hand being cast into the pregnancy belly cast. 
05How to support your breasts during the casting?

Since pregnancy belly casting is typically done with the mom unclothed from below the belly up, a common question we get asked is "just how can my breasts have some support while I'm doing the casting?" There are a few different ways to give your breasts some support during the casting:

1. Wear a strapless bra (keeping in mind the seems will most likely show through the cast) and then cover the bra with plastic wrap to protect it.  Apply the lubricant over the plastic wrap.

2. Put a layer of Glad Press 'N' Seal over mom's breasts.  Apply the sticky side next to the skin.  In most cases, the breasts can be somewhat supported with the Press 'N' Seal alone. 

06How to include thighs in the casting?

In order for you belly cast to look right, you will need to create your casting while standing. Start the casting from the top and work your way down. When you get to the bottom of your belly, place a piece of saran wrap over your pubic area to keep the wet casting material from sticking to it. Slather the saran wrap with lubricant prior to placing it over your pubic area. You will need to hold the saran wrap in place while your helper places the first wet strip over the pubic area. Thereafter, the wet casting strips will hold the saran wrap in place.

Alternatively, you can wear a pair of panties. Try to wear a more delicate pair since the seams won't show as much. Then tuck the saran wrap into the seams to hold it in place. 
07What is the best way to trim the edges of the belly cast?
  Don't worry about having the edges of your pregnancy belly cast be even as you are making the cast. After your pregnancy belly cast has completely dried, you can take a pair of sharp scissors and trim the edges to make them even if you like. 
08Can I reinforce thin areas of the belly cast?

Once your belly cast has dried, take a look at it to see if there are any thin areas that need reinforcement.  If you have casting bandages left over, you can reinforce the cast where needed. Simply wet additional casting strips and place them on the inside of your belly cast where reinforcements are needed. DO NOT place the wet strips on the front of your cast.

Apply a layer of plaster casting stone to the outside of the cast (if you want it smoother) or to the inside (if you'd rather keep the original appearance of the casting). 

09How do I get the belly cast to look smooth?

here are 3 options which can be used either independently, or all together. If you choose them all, do them in the order listed below.

1) This option requires no extra materials. While creating the belly cast, dip your fingers in water after you apply a couple of overlapping layers of the plaster casting strips and rub your fingers over the layers to mix the plaster of paris together among the layers. Work fairly quickly as the plaster strips will begin to dry within a few minutes after you begin applying the plaster strips. After your pregnancy belly cast has completely dried, very lightly sand it with the sanding screen included in our kit (while not disturbing the underlying plaster gauze).

2) Apply a thin layer of plaster casting stone (or other plaster product such as joint compound). Apply it with your fingers and as it starts to dry, smooth it out more with your fingers. Allow it to dry according to the manufacturer's instructions and then lightly sand it using our sanding screen. It is best to apply 2 thin layers of plaster casting stone, allowing each layer to dry and lightly sanding in between each coat.  This step also further strengthens the cast. [Plaster casting stone is included with the Basic Belly Cast Kit and the Luna Bean belly casting kit and is available as an add-on to the Complete Belly Casting Kit.]

3) Apply Gesso acrylic priming paint to your finished cast. This product has the consistency and appearance of white school glue. It not only helps to further smooth out the cast, it adds strength and seals the cast as well as gives it a perfect canvas for further paint decorating if you so choose. [This product is included in the Luna Bean belly casting kit and is available as an add-on to the other kits.] 

10How do I add a shiny finish to the belly cast?
  Once you have smoothed your belly cast to your liking, and then decorated it if you want, you can apply one or more applications of a spray varnish or lacquer. These products are readily available at your local craft store. They are available in a high gloss and satin finish
11How do I hang the belly cast on the wall?
  To hang your pregnancy belly cast with ribbon, punch a hole in each side of the cast at the top. The easiest way to put holes in a cast is to use either a phillips head screwdriver or a power drill bit. Gently turn the screwdriver or bit back and forth to make a hole. Think of where the strings for a halter-top would be and place your holes there. Start with 3 yards of ribbon. Fold in half and cut. Feed each piece through the front of your pregnancy belly cast and make a knot. Bring both pieces up and make a bow. These halter ties can be as long or short as you like.