Recycled Cardboard Plaster Reliefs


These small plaster reliefs started out from a cardboard and paper recycling project. I had saved several boxes from our favorite wheat crackers because they’re made of a very nice grade of cardboard that was sturdy yet flexible. I had fun thinking of different mediums I could try on these cardboard pieces and remembered a past project where I had used plaster on Styrofoam and wood. I wondered if I could try making a similar craft using these recycled cardboard pieces.


I decided to make a few little abstract dresses and other pieces. I took some newspapers we were recycling, tore some pages into medium sized pieces, crumpled and twisted them up into medium chunky pieces. I used several of the 4″ x 6″ cardboard pieces as the base for the dresses. I dabbed a little fabric glue onto the center areas and placed the bulky crumpled pieces of newspaper onto these dabs of glue so they could remain stationary for the next step. I decided to use a wall repair plaster that is pink and soft (like frosting) in it’s original form, but hardens and dries white in color. Once the chunky paper dried on the glue, I used a plastic knife to spread the plaster over the paper and smoothed it over the chunky paper.


It takes a little while to get used to this medium, but its easier to work with if you let the first layer dry overnight. It is then easier to work the plaster, shape it into a simple dress form and smooth out uneven areas. Once the entire piece was thoroughly dry, I painted it with gesso and let that thoroughly dry. I then painted the dress using yellow and orange acrylic craft paints. Once the paint dried, I spread plaster mixture onto the background to give it texture as well. When the background dried, I repeated with gesso and painted it a light green.


When I made the second dress (pink polka-dot dress), I made sure to use plaster mixture on the background after the dress form dried (something I didn’t do with the first yellow and orange polka-dot dress). After the second dress dried, I painted the entire piece with gesso and let it dry. I next painted the dress, and then painted the background. I painted the polka-dots on each of the dresses after their base solid colors were completely dry.



And again, although I had fun making these abstract pieces you see here (dresses, fruit, and flowers) don’t be afraid to try your hand at anything theme you like. Just have fun creating your own pieces of art.

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