Immortalize your pregnancy by making a cast of your belly.
Step 1: Lay down a tarp Lay down a tarp or some newspapers and cover a chair with an old sheet. Making a cast is a messy job.
Step 2: Get materials ready Set a large bowl of water on the tarp for dipping the strips. Cut the preplastered gauze into strips 12 to 18 inches long, and snip three small squares to cover the belly button – plus six more for the nipples if you're including breasts in the cast.
Step 3: Prepare the mom-to-be Have the mother-to-be strip down to a pair of underpants she doesn't mind getting ruined; then rub petroleum jelly or cocoa butter on all areas you plan to include in the cast. Have her sit at the edge of a chair or stool.
TIP: Remind the expectant mom to use the bathroom before the casting begins because she won't be able to move for about an hour.
Step 4: Begin plastering Put on a pair of latex gloves. Begin dipping strips into the water and patting them onto the mother's chest and belly. Use the small squares on the navel and nipples, pressing them gently so they conform to the surface. Avoid covering these areas with larger strips; you want the cast to preserve those shapes.
TIP: Shape the navel and nipples The cast will be sturdier if you overlap the layers in different directions.
Step 5: Work quickly Apply at least three layers. Work quickly! The plaster starts drying within minutes.
Step 6: Let it dry Let the cast dry, which should take 20 to 30 minutes.
Step 7: Remove gently Gently pull the cast off the mom, and wipe off any excess plaster. Place the cast on the newspapers or tarp, belly-side up, and let it dry for another 48 hours.
Step 8: Even out bumps Even out bumps with a piece of sandpaper until the cast is smooth.
Step 9: Seal it Seal the cast by brushing on gesso, a canvas primer you can find in art supply stores. Voila! Your pregnancy belly is preserved for posterity.
FACT: Did you know? Bobbi McCaughey's waist measured 55 inches when she gave birth to septuplets in November 1997, and her belly was about twice the size of a typical full-term stomach.