How to Repair Plaster of Paris for Crafts (In 4 Steps)

I remember breaking one of my mum’s vases when I was little. Of course, I swore it was an accident, but then again, running around the living room flailing my arms about wasn’t exactly me being careful, either. 

It feels like karma caught up to me recently when my son accidentally tipped over a plaster of Paris statue I’d made. But the nice thing about plaster of Paris crafts is that as long as you collect all of the pieces, you should be able to put them back together.

Here’s a guide on how to repair plaster of paris for crafts to help. It will take a few simple items and a lot of time and patience, but it’s doable.

Step by step: Repairing Plaster of Paris Crafts

Glue the craft pieces back together with regular school glue, and hold the pieces in place with tape. After the glue dries, remove the tape. Fill in any gaps you find with paper mache made with glue and tissue paper. If it mache sets roughly, use sandpaper to smoothen it out. 

After completing the basic repair, use a paintbrush to apply a few layers of glue to the little cracks and fine lines you find. You can repaint the craft after it dries. 

Here’s a detailed breakdown of the process:

Step #1: Glue the Pieces Together

Use school glue to stick the plaster of paris back together

Use school glue to stick the pieces of the craft back together. Try to keep gaps and cracks to a minimum. If you find that the craft pieces need to be held in place, apply tape to the pieces to hold them in place. 

After the glue dries, remove the tape, and inspect the craft. If you don’t see any significant gaps or cracks, you can move to step #3. However, if there are large unfilled gaps in the craft, move to the next step.

Also Read:  How To Make Textured Paint For Crafts (In 4 Messy Steps)

Tip: While it may seem like it, using superglue, epoxy, or hot glue is not the best way to repair plaster of Paris crafts. Regular school glue seeps into the pores of the POP, rebuilding the bond between the broken pieces.

Step #2: Fill Gaps with Paper Mache

Making a solution of paper mache

Load paper towels with glue and use the paper mache to fill in any gaps in the craft. Smoothen out the paper-filled areas with your fingers before the mache dries. Let the mache dry. If you find that an area dries too high or bumpy, use sandpaper to smoothen it out.

You must remember to use a fine sandpaper and smoothen out the areas you fix in small strokes. If you find that an area is too small to smoothen out with fine sandpaper, you can use a small nail file for the job.

Suppose the gaps you need to fill are large. Plug the paper mache into the gap and let it dry. Then, alternate between applying layers of glue and paper towel to the gap. Use a paintbrush to help you rebuild the hole in this way. When the gap is filled, use your fingers to smoothen it out. When the mache dries, sand it off and smoothen it out with sandpaper and a nail file.

Step #3: Fix Lines and Cracks

Fixing the little lines and cracks in the craft will take the longest. First, use a paintbrush to apply glue to the cracks you see in the craft. Let the glue dry, then apply another layer of glue. Repeat the process until the gap is sufficiently filled. Finally, smoothen the glue out with the paintbrush or using your fingers. 

While it may seem excessive, you will need to fix the fine lines and small cracks to repair the craft fully. After filling all of the cracks with glue and it dries, use sandpaper to smoothen off the surface.

Also Read:  How To Paint Pavers For Crafts (Brick, Stone & Concrete!)

Step #4: Repaint

Repainting a plaster of paris craft

Test out your paint colors on some scraps before you apply them to the craft. Ideally, you must paint just the gaps you filled with the paper mache. However, if the damage is bad, you will have the repaint the entire craft. 

Correctly matching the colors is key to getting the piece looking the same way it was before. Take your time mixing the colors, so every part of the craft looks just like you want it to look.

How To Repair Plaster Craft With Missing Pieces

Using a sandpaper sponge to smoothen the surface

You might have lost some pieces of your POP craft, and so I’ve found a solution to repair any big missing pieces for your craft. You’ll need to recreate it with plaster of paris, before attaching it to your base piece.

Here’s how:

  1. Take a drill bit and drill small holes in the spot where the craft broke. This will help the new POP material you add hold onto the dried plaster.
  2. Add some screws to the holes.
  3. Make a form using cardboard, and push it against the repair area.
  4. Mix hydrocal with white glue, and pour it into the form.
  5. Smoothen out the mixture, and let it set overnight.

After the mixture sets, you can use 220 grit sandpaper to smoothen out the newly repaired craft.

Here’s an easy video guide illustrating the entire process:

This is the right way to repair any large chunks of plaster of Paris that broke off the craft.

Crafting Ideas with Plaster of Paris

A bag of plaster of paris (POP) solution

While you can make statues out of POP, you can also make simpler crafts like candle stands, minions, ghosts, and pen stands. All you really have to do is find the right object to make the mold from.

To make candlestands, pour the POP into a cupcake wrapper and stick a candle in the middle. Hold the candle there until the POP sets.

On the other hand, to make a pen stand, you can fill up a toilet paper roll with POP and stick pencils in it to form holes. You can use the toilet paper roll as the mold for making minions, too. The only difference is that you don’t have to fill the roll with as much POP.

Also Read:  How To Clean Crab Shells For Crafts (5 Easy Methods)

Making ghosts is as easy as cutting little pieces of cheesecloth, dipping them in the POP mix, and wrapping them around paper balls. When the POP sets, you can draw faces on the cheesecloth with a sharpie and make them look like ghosts.

How to Repair Plaster of Paris for Crafts

When your plaster of paris craft breaks, it can be difficult to recover it to its original glory. But with this how-to guide, you should be able to save it or give your POP crafts a new lease of life!
Prep Time12 hrs
Active Time2 hrs
Total Time14 hrs
Keyword: Crafts
Cost: $5

Equipment

  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Drilling Tool

Materials

  • 1 bag Plaster of Paris
  • 1 bottle School Glue
  • 1 roll Masking Tape
  • 1 pack Tissue Paper
  • 1 roll Paper Towels
  • 1 bucket Paint Your chosen color for your crafts
  • 1 bag Hydrocal

Instructions

  • Glue the POP pieces back together with school glue and masking tape to hold
    1 bottle School Glue, 1 roll Masking Tape
    Use-school-glue-to-stick-the-plaster-of-paris-back-together
  • Fill any gaps with paper mache
    1 bottle School Glue, 1 roll Paper Towels, 1 pack Tissue Paper
  • Fix any cracks with glue, let it dry then reapply more glue as needed
    1 bottle School Glue
  • Repaint your POP craft with chosen color, it may need a whole fresh coat of paint
    1 bucket Paint
  • For any lost pieces, you may need to recreate them and use a drill to secure big pieces back in place
    1 bag Plaster of Paris, 1 bag Hydrocal

Notes

Breaking one of your crafts made from plaster of paris can seem like the end for it, but with this guide, you should be able to restore it and use that craft for a new project.
Whilst the end result might not be the perfect craft it once was, it could be easily used to inspire a new creation!