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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