Yes, I did it. I made a belly cast. When I first learned about it, I thought it was a weird thing for pregnant women to do. But then I read up on the process of making a cast of your baby bump and became intensely curious about the experience of creating one. Honestly, it seemed like a fun DIY project to do with the Dude. And it did turn out to be fun.
Of course, now I don’t know what to do with the belly cast. I simply wanted to make one, but I’m at a loss as to what to do with the final product. It will probably be stuffed in a box and buried in the closet. But I do want to take pictures of it with Nuggz once he’s born (Nuggz is our nickname for the babe). I’m especially keen to see his reaction to it when he’s a bit older; I think it’ll be hilarious.
The belly cast is still in its raw state. You’re supposed to sand it down and seal it with gesso. There are plenty of instructions on the web and YouTube videos showing you how to make a belly cast. Here are some tips I’d like to share based on my experience:
- Start from the chest down.
- Make sure to grease up your skin really well at the start or you’ll get a surprise wax job when you remove the cast. I used olive oil.
- Try to avoid wrapping plaster gauze beyond the sides of your torso on to your back or it will be difficult to get the cast off of your body. The Dude went too far behind my sides, and he had to cut the sides of the cast a bit so he could wriggle it off of me.
- Work fast! The plaster gauze dries pretty quickly.
- Maintain good posture while sitting or standing so that the cast doesn’t look weirdly lopsided.
- Do at least two layers. It’s a good idea to reinforce the thin parts with more plaster gauze later, but make sure the cast is completely dry before reinforcing (about 48 hours later) and it’s important to apply the additional gauze on the underside of the cast.
Given that I didn’t have professional maternity portraits done, I suppose making a belly cast is an alternative way to remember this unique time in my life.