Plaster gauze is a type of gauze wrapping that is typically used in creating masks, body casts, and similar items that require the flexibility of gauze and the hardness of plaster. It consists of a length of gauze that is coiled into a roll and when dry has the texture and flexibility of gauze. The gauze is made with dried plaster powder infused into the gauze itself, so this type of gauze is usually white and may have a slightly powdery feel to it. When plaster gauze is dipped in water, however, the plaster is activated and the gauze can then be set onto anything and will quickly harden.
Sometimes called art gauze or sculpting gauze, plaster gauze is commonly used for a number of different crafts and artistic purposes. The gauze is fairly safe to use, though it should not be eaten or chewed, as saliva can activate the plaster. It can, however, be used by children under adult supervision. Plaster gauze can usually be found in arts and crafts stores, and comes in rolls of varying lengths and widths.
A great deal of the popularity of plaster gauze comes from how simple it is to use and the excellent results that even first-time users can enjoy. When dry, the gauze feels much like any other type of gauze that might be used as a bandage or part of a costume or decoration. The gauze can be measured out and cut into strips of any length.
These strips of plaster gauze can then be soaked in water for a moment to activate the plaster within the gauze. It is typically recommended that after soaking, the gauze be allowed to rest for about 30 seconds to drain off excess water and ensure full activation of the plaster. Water being used will usually take on a slightly milky appearance due to the plaster; plaster gauze should be used outside or in an area lined with paper or plastic to prevent damage to flooring from dripping plaster.
The wet plaster gauze can then be applied to any surface or object and will harden fairly quickly in a dry environment. When used on a person’s face, for a mask, care should be taken to avoid contact with the eyes or insides of the nose and mouth. It can also be helpful to cover skin in petroleum jelly or a similar substance before applying the gauze, to ensure it can be removed more easily once hardened.