Body Cast

Body Cast

What is a Body cast? 

Body cast or life-casting, is a method of directly taking a mould from the body to produce a sculpture as accurate as a photograph. Thus, creating a three-dimensional copy of body parts or a whole living human being by the use of moulding and casting techniques.  

File:Shabbytravel Pompeii Body.jpg

Materials used for creating Body Cast 

The mould material, called alginate is mostly in the form of a thick paste which can easily take the shape of the body, it is non-toxic and not heated too much ensuring safety otherwise causing severe burns on the model’s skin. The body part, like a hand or foot, is then inserted into the container till the time alginate take to get set. The mixture is also used to create larger body parts and faces. The alginate is applied directly to the body part and then  the alginate is covered with plaster bandages or plaster impregnated cheese cloth in order to secure it. This covering is called a shell or mother mould

Process of Body Cast 

Moulding is the most important stage of body cast, as it creates the mould from which the final cast is made. Once the mould is strong enough, it is carefully taken off the model's body. Then a casting material, mostly in the form of a liquid is poured into the mould, which takes the shape of the mould and when cured completely, is carefully removed from the mould. After the final cast is achieved the mould is destroyed, this ensures the uniqueness of the sculpture. Further the final sculpture is left to dry for three four weeks before applying any paints if required. 

An oily substance such as petroleum jelly is applied to the surface of the model's body, so that the mould does not stick to the skin or hair. The model is then stationed in a desired position and has to hold this pose until the mould is removed from the body.  

During model prep, the alginate is applied by hand. It starts from the top of the head going downwards. After this, the crafting of nose arrives. The work around the nose is crafted using stick to prevent alginate getting into the nostrils. Thin coat must be applied pretty firmly on the areas other than face. Just after the first coating, is applied, the second layer is immediately applied allowing enough time to apply soft cotton over the surface. 

Removal of body cast

Once the material gets set, its removal is pretty easy. With hand moulds, one needs to simply keep hands loose within the mould, and then pull it out. For faces, the mould usually just drops off with a little prodding. Larger moulds are simpler; they generally just lift off by themselves. Face might require a bit of help to get the mould material out of the hair at the nape of the neck. 

Applications of Body Life-casting  

Body life-casting is the best method to create forever lasting castings of new born babies. It also helps in reproducing finger prints by law enforcement agencies like FBI. Body cast art helps produce a torso or an entire body for making special movie effects, museum preservation and medical training.  Reproducing details of someone’s hands, feet, fingers and face help in making movies’ special effects, orthopedic appliances and creating medical training aids. 


1. When did the culture of body life-casting become popular? 

- Body life-casting was widely spread in the 19th century. It was closely linked with both Art and Science.   

2. What are the renowned casts to heal fractures? 

- Fiberglass casts and plaster casts are the most popular ones. Fiberglass casts are much lighter and stronger. Plaster casts are less expensive and heavier. The main benefit of a plaster cast is its ability to mould it into a shape that offers better support for the injury. 

3. Can rings be worn during the moulding process? 

- Yes, definitely! Rings can be easily worn, as they can be easily cleaned up after the mould is made.  

4. Does a person who seeks body cast art needs to cut fingernails? 

- The alginate material captures every detail of flesh, cuticles, and nails in an exact manner. A person has to simply decide, how he/she wants the details to be captured.