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Rustic Home Decor: DIY Plaster-Dipped Carafes

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I am always drawn to mixed textures: metal and glass, fabric and metal — that sort of thing. And one day I got an image stuck in my head of the super matte, thick texture of plaster and the high-gloss transparency of glass, combined. However, I couldn’t decide what the application would be because plaster on glass isn’t permanent — you can scrape or wash the plaster off with ease. I was torn as to where I could use something temporary like this.

And then it struck me: for events and parties! We create temporary decor for events and parties all the time, like flower arrangements, place cards, and bunting in the trees. So why not use plastic-dipped glass as a temporary, but really cool, addition to decor?

I pictured a rustic dinner party or a country wedding — two events where a plaster and glass item would really add something lovely to the decor. And then I thought, how about a plaster-dipped carafe? And oh my, I love how these turned out! The contrast between the two materials is gorgeous. Just what I hoped.

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If you’d like to try this method, you’re in luck. This project only requires two things: a glass carafe and plaster. Don’t worry if you grow tired of the look or the plaster gets scuffed. As I mentioned above, the plaster is easily removed and the glass cleans up perfectly.

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This could also be a fun accent at a baby shower or just simply sitting on your mantle with flowers tucked inside. Or dip a dozen and use them to line a table at a wedding reception or dinner party. It’s a way to elevate a simple carafe and make it feel special. And it’s so easy! As long as you can mix up plaster (according to the package directions) and know how to dip something, you’re well on your way to creating this textured treatment.

Let’s get started!

Supplies:

– plaster (I used Plaster of Paris)
– glass carafes (all stickers removed and the exterior cleaned with rubbing alcohol)
– wooden craft sticks, or some other straight-edged utensil
– parchment and wax paper, optional
– wipes, damp smooth white cotton towel

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Step 1:

After cleaning the carafe, assemble all necessary materials for the plaster according to the manufacturer’s directions. Plaster has a limited window of workability, so having everything necessary close at hand is essential.

The best dipping happens right away before the plaster begins to dry at all so move quickly! Prep the plaster, mixing it thoroughly and quickly. Try to get it as smooth as possible. After stirring and before dipping, firmly tap the container with the plaster on your work surface to release air bubbles to the surface. The more you tap, the more bubbles will come up. Use a wooden stick to scrape the bubbles away from the surface before dipping, which is barely visible above.

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Step 2:

Dip the carafe in the prepared plaster, lowering it to your desired depth. If you need to, you can tip the plaster container to get the plaster higher. Pull the carafe from the plaster and shake off the excess plaster while holding the carafe upright. Think: Shake down and off.

Note: Tipping the carafe on its side (like in the below picture) and shaking the plaster off will make noticeable lines or trails as the plaster slides off the side. So don’t tip to the side. The image here is just for reference — to show what the plaster looks like pre-shake off.

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Step 3:

Continue to shake the liquid plaster down and off until the surface is smooth. If you want a thicker layer, you can re-dip and re-shake off the excess plaster on the carafe at this point.

Two things to note: 1) the plaster accumulation will not be substantial, which is okay, and 2) the plaster in the dipping bowl is drying and will become clumpy and begin to stick in chunks. Instead of trying to get all the layers done the first time through, consider allowing it to dry for a bit and then re-dipping it later.

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Step 4:

Once you are happy with the smoothness of the plaster, set it on the parchment or wax paper to dry. If there is excessive plaster on the bottom of the carafe, the plaster will be pushed out at the bottom, making a ridge footer.

There are two options here as well: 1) sometimes picking it up and moving it to a new spot on the parchment paper releases the footer, and 2) if that doesn’t work, use the wooden stick to gently and smoothly scrap away the extra stuff.

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Step 5:

To add another layer of plaster for a thicker look, prep your plaster like you did for the first layer. You will still need to move quickly so the plaster doesn’t dry out, but you also need to be quick and watchful for the plaster on plaster part. Plaster is much more porous than glass and will readily stick to itself very easily and very quickly. Something as little as the plaster not being level on all the sides of the glass creates uneven layering and is hard to fix on the second go-around.

Just like the first time, dip the carafe into the plaster and shake off the excess. Remember shake down and off. Like I mentioned above, the plaster will not smooth out as easily because of the porous first layer, but with enough muscle and force, it will eventually smooth.

Place it on a clean section of parchment paper, again looking for the extra footer ridge. If necessary, move it to a new spot or use a wooden stick to gently smooth it out.

Allow to completely dry and use as you wish. When you are tired of the plaster look or the plaster has gotten dinged or damaged, simply scrape off the plaster and thoroughly clean the carafe. You may start anew or try a different look!

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Below shows the difference between two layers of plaster (on the left) and one (on the right).

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A few more pointers:

– A bucket or mixing bowl with a wider opening is easier to work with and in. It’s easier to shake off excess plaster into a wider space. Less edge-bump blemishes, too. However, a wider bucket or bowl requires more plaster to create a deep dip.

– If after your first dip you decide you want the plaster dip to be higher/deeper, subsequent layers will not hide the previous layer. The initial layer will show through as a ridge. It’s easier to scrape off the not-high-enough-layer and start again.

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I hope you enjoy the project. If you give it a try, I’d love to hear about it!

 

Photos and styling by Amy Christie

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