That same day, we also created a plaster cast of her body, using plaster bandage strips.
The plaster was applied directly over skin, and was considerably messier than the paper tape. The process was a lot of fun, but absolutely in no way, shape, or form safe for work.
The basic idea with the plaster is the same as using paper tape. Start with a long strip of plaster tape beneath the breasts, another over top of the breasts, then an "X" of long strips crossing between them. From there, it's a question of applying short strips over the curve, starting by pressing each strip's center against the skin and then smoothing it out toward the ends.
There is an issue with using plaster tape, which we quickly discovered--even if you use hot water to dip the strips of plaster tape in, the subject will likely get cold very quickly, because the cheesecloth that the plaster tape is made from is a very efficient wick for evaporative cooling. The plaster gets cold as it sets!
A hairdryer makes the plaster set more quickly and also makes the person you're casting a lot less miserable.
Once the first layer is done, it's time for a second layer; after that's done, it's time to wait. Even with the aid of a hairdryer, it takes the plaster time to set.
Once it's finally set, bandage scissors are used to cut a slit down each side. This is a lot trickier than it looks. The plaster is extremely form-fitting (as you might imagine), and it sticks to skin tenaciously, so getting the scissors under the plaster is no mean feat.
Once that's done, yet another challenge presents itself. Remember how I said plaster sticks tenaciously to skin? That makes removing the two halves of the cast a nontrivial exercise; joreth described it as being something like having a full-body Band-Aid being removed. From both sides of your body.
It took quite a while (and more than a few squeaks and "Ow!"s) to pry loose the two halves of the cast. Unfortunately, I somehow neglected to get a picture of the finished result, but the two halves of the shell are re-attached to each other using more plaster tape, much as with the paper tape version.
The competition for the geek points to the first person to identify the alphabet used in the paper tape version