What to expect before, during and after a life casting appointment.

What to expect before, during and after a life casting appointment.

What to expect before, during and after a life casting appointment.

So you’ve decided that you’d like baby casts taken. What should you expect before, during and after you capture an Impressive Memory?

 

BEFORE

Maybe I was recommended to you by a friend. Or maybe you saw a post on social media, or searched online. Did you attempt your own casts with a kit, or read my blogs? Now the decision is made – you’re ready to create YOUR Impressive Memories – so what happens next?

 

MAKE A BOOKING

booking shotMy online booking system lets you choose a date and time that suits you best. Whether you would like to cast on the same date as your first child was cast, or to mark a milestone event, or maybe just because it fits into your busy routine – you get to choose. You will be asked for a £15 deposit. Do you have an Impressive Memories gift voucher? There’s a unique code on the reverse, which you are welcome to use when you make your booking – just pop the code into the booking form. If you need to reschedule, it’s no problem – your confirmation email has a link for you to do this, up to 48 hours before your appointment. Your email will also give you travel directions and how to find me on Google Maps. You can also select an option to receive a text message confirmation and reminder too!

 

 

DURING

What should baby wear?

outside studioDress your little one in comfortable clothes that are loose fitting and easily removed. Preferably choose something old so it won’t matter if the casting gloop gets on it – I know it’s tricky to wear old clothes when you are only a few days old, but you know what I mean! It’s probably best that you don’t wear your favourite designer gear either…just in case!

What if they are sleeping?

Casting can be done when baby is awake or asleep. You are very welcome to feed your baby while I do the casts, as it helps to distract, relax and settle them. It’s not necessary and is purely optional – you know your baby best, and I’m happy to let you decide what’s best for them. Some babies cry, but most don’t notice anything is happening! There is never any rush – we will let them settle while we discuss what you’d like created, and throughout the process your little one’s comfort is our top priority. You’re also welcome to enjoy a lovely Tassimo coffee or a cup of tea as we create your memories.

casting baby foot appointmentHow are baby lifecasts made?

Taking the cast involves dipping your baby’s hand or foot into pink gloop. I’ll help you and baby get into a comfy position, and once their hand or foot is submerged it only takes a couple of minutes to set. Don’t worry – wriggling is not a problem! Once the mould turns to a soft, rubbery consistency it will come away from baby leaving them virtually clean and me with an impressive impression of their hands and feet. I will be 99% sure whether your mould has been successful, or if I want to take extra casts (so long as baby is happy). Occasionally I have an issue after you’ve left, and I might need to call you back another day, but this is extremely rare.

For every cast you would like made I need to take an impression. The mould cannot be reused and although I can create duplicates of your casts, I prefer to take a separate cast for each mould you’d like created – each cast is then as unique as your baby. For hands I often need extra moulds to ensure you get the best results.

Most casting appointments last about 45 minutes for a set of three or four casts.

PAYING FOR YOUR ORDER

You are very welcome to split the cost of your order. Your booking deposit will be deducted from your order total and you can pay half your balance at your appointment and the remaining balance on collection, in approximately five weeks’ time. I accept cash, PayPal, bank transfer and most major credit cards.

AFTER

Casting

unmould cast appointmentAfter you leave, I will begin to cast your moulds. This stage involves filling your impressions with a high quality, high density stone. Once this is done, your casts will be left to cure and set for several hours. When they are ready to unmould I remove the casting material to reveal the cast of your baby. The raw cast at this stage might have lumps and bumps, air bubbles or inclusions. At this stage your casts each get an initial ‘clean up’, which can take anywhere from ten minutes per cast to a couple of hours! (I am a perfectionist and a night owl!) They now begin to dry.

Drying

The drying stage is so important. Remember how long nine months felt waiting for your baby to arrive? But it was worth the wait, wasn’t it? Life casting is the same! Giving your casts the time to dry naturally and correctly gives them the strength, density and longevity that you want from them. Depending on the size of your casts, I advise a minimum completion time of four to five weeks. During this time, they will undergo more cleaning and perfecting, and I also cut and sand them to the appropriate shapes and angles for the frame and finish you have chosen.

Cleaning

cleaning a cast appointmentThe final cleaning stage for a raw cast is my favourite part! This is when your casts are as impressively perfect as I want them to be. They are then ready to be finished.

 Painting

I use several layers and techniques to bring out all the detail in your casts, with whatever finish you have chosen.

Framing

Your frame choice, photographs and name plaques are now all ready and waiting, and it’s time to assemble your finished piece. A final 24-hour wait until everything sets and cures, then it’s time to collect.

Collection

Once your order is ready I will let you know. We will arrange a suitable collection time and you can come and take your Impressive Memories order home with you.Luxury Silver single

Impressive Thank you to…

Impressive mummy Victoria Duff and her beautiful daughter Amber, who helped create all the images in this article.

Impressive photographer Lisa Christie, from Lisa Christie Photography who provided the excellent photography for this article.

I’m ready to book an appointment – take me there now!

Tell me more about lifecasting

How much will it cost?

Want to chat? – get in touch here

 

Read more

DIY Life Casting Kits -The problems with life casting kits & why they are a waste of money.

DIY Life Casting Kits -The problems with life casting kits & why they are a waste of money.

Should you use a DIY life casting kit?

So many parents have told me they attempted to cast their baby using a casting kit, not one of them continues to tell me it was a success, or that they were happy with the results.  The promise is to create a beautiful 3D cast of their precious child’s hand and feet, creating a keepsake to treasure, making a memory.  New parents think it is their fault that the results are not what they hoped for. They are left disappointed and often with a large dent in their wallet and nothing to show for it.  I believe that casting kits are selling a box of expectation, but deliver an expensive disappointment.

 

WHAT DO YOU NEED TO CREATE SUCCESFULL BABY CASTS?

  • Practice
  • Skill
  • Knowledge
  • Materials & tools
  • (A baby)

 

WHAT DO YOU GET IN A KIT?

  • A bag of casting material (This will run out long before you have had any chance to learn enough)
  • A bag of plaster (Most probably be of a very low quality and totally unfit for purpose)
  • A frame (This is just a cruel way of raising your expectations…)

 

The kit will often have attractive packaging with pretty pictures, but sadly not much else.  The box won’t tell parents what is involved (because then they’d never buy it) so that information is kept for inside the shiny box of hopes and dreams.

 

The reality is this. Expecting a person with no skill or experience, to work with low-quality materials, no tools, no machinery and very limited instructions, with unrealistic images and expectations – leaves parents feeling like they have failed. They’re out of pocket and with either no end result, or at least a disappointing one (they still have that pretty frame – just to remind them of what they’d hoped would display a cast).

 

The instructions provided will likely be very brief also.  Each situation is different, as is each baby you cast.  There are so many variables that it is just impossible to write a brief set of instructions. Life casting can become fairly scientific. Asking a sleep deprived new parent to read a manual is not a good idea!

MY STORY

My passion, nae obsession, for life casting started after I bought a kit!  I saw an advert in a magazine that showed a beautiful, high definition cast of a baby’s hands and feet.  I have always been artistic and loved being creative and crafty, I reckoned I could do this.  The kit was expensive, but it promised great results. So I bought it.  I ended up with a screaming child, half a foot cast, a hand with no fingers and a LOT of mess!  But I was determined not to give in…I kept buying more and more products, I borrowed other peoples babies (when mine had learned to high pitch scream as soon as she saw mummy and the pink goo approaching!) I experimented, I read, I learned, I practised. Over and over and over again…I did manage to make a set of my daughter’s feet as a gift for my mum & dad, but I never made anything worthy of a frame for a long time, and regret to this day that I don’t have my own child’s casts proudly on my wall.

CASTING KITS “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR” Or do you?

Several companies offer casting kits. I have chosen to look at Mothercare as an example. They are a highly successful company, they are a name that parents trust and their kit is easily accessible to purchase.

 

Mothercare 3D Casting Kit – Review

All images relating to this review are taken from the Mothercare website & links to the original provided.

“Create a lasting memento of your little one’s first few months with this lovely impression moulding kit.”

mothercare DIY life casting kit

Kit contains – moulding material, plaster and a frame (no mention of whether paint is included or framing adhesives, so assume it isn’t)

The box measures only 26cm so the frame can’t be any bigger.

Price is £45.

Problem 1

Expectation – You would expect to create something similar to the images shown.

Reality – You are paying predominantly for marketing and producing a kit – ah and a frame.  The materials provided could be minimal in quantity, with no guarantee of quality. That makes it an expensive frame in a pretty box!

DIY life casting kit 2Problem 2

Expectation – “I will have a framed cast of my baby’s hand”

Reality – Firstly, casting a baby hand is not an easy task. Many experienced life casters struggle to do this, so to expect a new parent to manage this is unfair. PLUS – Babies do not hold their hands as shown in this image…that hand cast is taken from a much older child. This in itself is not an issue, the kit doesn’t claim to be only for babies, but if this frame is less than 26cm in size, and you look at the dimensions of the frame, the mount and the hand, the dimensions appear impossible…Could that hand cast and that frame have never met?  Could this be a combination of two separate images, merged using technology?

 

 

Problem 3DIY life casting kit 1

This picture is better.  If you zoom in on this image on the website, you do get a truer indication of the end result you’d hope to create.  This cast has virtually no definition, the big toe is damaged and there are several very noticeable lumps and bumps, also flattening to the sole of the foot.

At least this image is a more accurate representation of what you MIGHT achieve.  But £45 for a single foot cast is not much cheaper than many life casters charge – is doing it yourself worth the extra time, effort, stress & mess?

 

 

 

 

Is £45 a fair price to spend to end up with a low quality, low definition foot cast of your baby?  If you think so, then go ahead and buy the kit…but perhaps read some reviews first –

Screenshot 2016-07-18 12.45.03

Good to see that Mothercare responded…but still choose to keep selling a product that is failing more customers, than it is serving…

Screenshot 2016-07-18 12.44.42

Not everyone is unsuccessful – but be realistic. If only one customer in ten has managed, will you? Do you mind if it doesn’t work out? Is losing £45 an issue or not?

Screenshot 2016-07-18 12.45.21

Unfortunately, the reality is that kits can be a false economy.  Yes, they are cheaper than paying a professional life caster, but the chances of ending up with a final product worthy of hanging on the wall is far less likely. So you could be paying a lot of money to end up with the possibility of having nothing to show for it.

life casting feet

Life casters have experience, they have the skills, the correct materials, and the knowledge to keep your precious baby safe, content, relaxed and at ease – giving you the very best result.  Of course, differences between life casters also varies hugely too…so again…research is important.  I wrote a blog about this too…it’s HERE. Also check out my Q&A web page full of hints and tips on how to get the best life casting results for you.

 

Still fancy getting creative? by all means, have a bash! Try making some foot impressions in salt dough. Paint those little fingers & toes and make some gift cards. Sprinkle your child in glitter and have some fun. But when it comes to life casting – use a pro.

 

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When is the best age to take casts?

When is the best age to take casts?

WHEN IS THE BEST AGE TO CAST?

The quick answer to that is – RIGHT NOW – make a booking at impressive Memories today – click here! Quickest blog I’ve ever written. The End.

Oh, if only it was that simple, but the thing is…It’s too late to capture today, if it’s already tomorrow.


“I wish I’d done this when they were smaller”  

“I’d give anything to hold those new born feet again”

“You forget how small they were, so quickly, don’t you?”.

But when is the best age? – well it depends – I’m not being noncommittal. It depends on what you are casting, and WHY.

 

  • Why do you want life casts?
  • Why now?
  • Why might waiting be better?
  • Why should you NOT wait?

 

 

There are no age limitations on my life castings. 

What I can’t do is pause time, or go back in time…that would be pretty clever…

Being prepared and being organised is the key to successfully holding onto YOUR Impressive Memories. 

I noticed on a website that the caster wouldn’t cast babies older than 6 months, “due to them being unsuitable” – Who is not suitable? The child or the caster? 

Another company claim that babies who “don’t cooperate” will have to pay extra if more casting material is needed, AND return another day!  – I would never expect my customer to pay extra because thier baby had wriggled! On occassion I have asked customers to return if I feel their casts are not impressive enough. Usually I know before you leave if the cast will be succesful, but not always. If I wouldn’t be happy to hand over the cast to someone, or to receive it myself, then it gets redone. 

If Grandparents are also keen to have casts and keepsakes, it’s a good idea to do them at different ages to yours.  If you have newborn casts taken, they could wait until baby is 6 months old…then you can compare and see how they’ve grown.

Will this be a one off experience? Or are you planning to return for more casts at a later date?

Where will you display your casts? Are they just for you to see or do you want the world to know how impressive your memories are?

When you look at them, how will they make you feel? Are you sad to see those tiny hands and feet grow or are you desperate to reach the next stage?


Life casting is as much about the story and the people, as it is about the finished article.

Meeting new people, and welcoming families back – one of the best parts of my business.

In the last few weeks I have cast new born babies who arrived in the world weighing less than 3lbs. I’ve travelled to home visits to cast a dad and doting daughter, because time is precious. Met a solicitor, working on horrific child cruelty court case.  She brought me her nephew to cast. She hugged him just a little bit tighter, trying to understand the reality that not all babies are cherished.

Yesterday I was creating the most stunning piece of jewellery for a friend that is a story of her fostering memories within a bracelet – more about that soon!! And I’ve helped a daughter wear a fingerprint in silver – a memory of her mum who passed suddenly just days before. Families have come back with the latest addition on the exact same day they cast their first child. I’ve had messages at 3am from mums who just gave birth – still not announced to their family – but making a booking to have their casts taken!

I also cast my first international wedding couple who were preparing for their Scottish wedding celebration before returning back to Serbia. (If anyone is planning a trip to Serbia, let me know…we still need a method to safely transport it back to them!)

My work is an emotional rollercoaster!! No wonder I feel so exhausted!! (But I love it)

BOOK NOW

YES, BUT WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO CAST?

I don’t think there is such a thing!  Whatever you cast, and whenever I cast it, we are taking a tangible snapshot of that moment.  Here are some of the benefits and possible disadvantages of casting different ages.


best age to cast babies4

 

 

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If you’d like more information, get in touch HERE.

Would you like to make a booking? CLICK HERE.

Hope this has helps you to decide when to capture YOUR Impressive Memories.  Have you had a look through my Q&A page? It’s full of information that will hopefully interest you.
Have an Impressive Day,
Jen x

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Did you know about this?

Did you know about this?

Voting is now open for Scotlands Business Awards Grand Final 2015-2016. 

I won the regional award of Fife’s Best Home Business 2016 – now I am through to the NATIONAL FINALS.

I’d like YOUR help for a chance to win a National Award – Can you help?

Click HERE to vote now for Impressive Memories.

Just click the link and fill in the two sections – that’s it – done. Impressively grateful – Thank you, Jen x

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The story so far…

Several months ago I was scrolling through Facebook, after eating my tea, and saw a friend had voted for a cupcake company and shared the link.  It’s a tough old world for small businesses and I was happy to help them by casting a vote.  Then I noticed a Glenrothes category…I clicked that too…and as I read through a list of local business names I saw “Impressive Memories”.  My first reaction was “OH NO!!! Someone has the same name as me!” Then realised it WAS me! I shouted on my daughter…

“I think I’ve been nominated for an award”

“Oh…yeah….that? I nominated you ages ago…I forgot…” not even lifting her head from the iPad!!

And so it began…I am THE most uncompetitive person but knowing that MY business was in a competition I was suddenly feeling like a protective mother who’s child had been nominated for an Oscar!

It’s hard to describe how you feel about your own business.  For me, it is like a second child. It takes up 99% of my thoughts. I constantly want to improve it, grow it, develop it and be the absolute best I can be.  I am my harshest critic, I suffer massively from self-doubt. I will not stop until I am absolutely satisfied that it is the best I can create, and even then I can still find fault.

I also find it very difficult to ask for help.  I am fiercely independent and some have even suggested stubborn!

But this competition needed votes…so I asked for help…

The result was quite overwhelming – people were happy to help and the comments that they wrote really blew me away. It was so unexpected but so lovely to hear from people who I’d met years ago, still willing to share, and vote, and support me.

Maybe asking for help is ok?

Maybe it’s not a sign of weakness but a sign of strength?

Next came the surprise visit from the competition hosts.  He explained a little bit more about the process and seemed quite intrigued by what he saw in my studio. (He also enjoyed a nice Costa coffee, which all customers are welcome to have when they visit me). And then it was back to voting.

As the final approached I really didn’t mind if I won or not, I was happy knowing that I’d made lots of people happy creating their memories,  and they were willing to support me.  I wasn’t able to go to the award ceremony at Balbirnie House but had fellow business friends there, who kept me updated with tweets and texts throughout the evening.

The first award I was nominated for I didn’t win, it was for Best Glenrothes business and was rightly won by Alison Stewart HairdressingMy second nomination was for Best Fife Home Run Business and I WON!!  I was delighted and totally shocked – I had never won an award before and it felt awesome.  Again, the self-doubt crept in and I felt a bit nervous about telling anyone…did it seem big headed? What would people think? But then I remembered that all those people had taken the time to vote, and they deserved to know the result.  So on the Monday morning, I shared the lovely news and again I was humbled by all the responses.

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A couple of days later I then remembered – winning at a regional level meant you then went forward to the National Awards!!  Eek!!  Back came the mind monkeys, the self doubt, the ‘I’m not good enough’ and the ‘little me’ syndrome.  But this time they got swiftly kicked in the proverbials…

I love what I do, and I do it because I love it.

memorial header

For me, creating my business ‘Impressive Memories’ has been a journey. A journey similar to taking a toddler on day trip, accompanied by a baby goat, that involves a trip round a busy supermarket on a warm day – yup one of THOSE journeys.  Running a business is quite similar to parenting – you try to be the best you can be, you’re never entirely sure what the day will bring, but whatever happens…you get through it!

I am following my dreams.  I chose this path, and this journey and I know the destination I want to arrive at (the toddler and goat might have other ideas).  Self-doubt is not a bad thing, it just reminds me that I do this because I care, and I value what I do.  Maybe that’s also why I want to succeed as much as I do? Maybe without all the lessons that life has thrown at me,  I wouldn’t be who I am today, and my business wouldn’t be what it is either.

So, What’s Next?

I’d like to ask for your help again.

The Grand Final is being held at the Sheraton hotel, Edinburgh, on Sunday 28th of August.  If you can spare a minute to click HERE, it would make an Impressive difference to me.  It will help create my memories, which means I can keep capturing yours. Plus, my daughter wants her own horse…I have no choice but to get more Impressive.

PS – I’ve made another new silver charm…great for those of us with Pandora bracelets…all handmade, all unique to your design.

BEAD CHARM Pandora Style