Plaster book ends are fun to make but there is a trick to it, so it might be well to have the group experiment with a few small casts first, to "get the feel" of it.
The simplest type of book end is shaped rather like a right angle triangle with the top cut off (Figure 47). They are made in a box of tin or wood with removable sides and with or without a bottom. Tape and string will hold the sides together until the plaster is dry.
Saw or cut the wood or tin into the pieces necessary to make a box the length, height and breadth of the book end you want. Fasten the sides with tape and string (Figure 48). Now cut a piece of wood which will make the slanting side or hypotenuse of the triangle. It must fit snugly into the box at an angle (Figures 49 and 50). Lay a piece of clay on this board, and roll the clay out so that it covers all the wood. Make a leaf impression on it as you did for the casts previously described.
Now you will have to slip the board with the clay into the box, remembering that the top of the book end is in the bottom of the box. Be sure your design for the book end is right side up on the completed cast! Fasten the board with tape, then pour in the plaster until the mould is filled. When the plaster is dry, remove the sides and board carefully. Remove the cast from the clay with special care if you want a second cast (the other book end) to be identical with the first and plan to use the impression in the clay again. Greasing the clay before the plaster is poured in will help.
End of box removed to show position of slanting side.
Rather than using a board and clay, and if you have plenty of clay, a clay triangle may be made, filling up the part of the box not to be occupied by the cast. Remember that the book end part is standing upside down, so apply the design to the clay in such a way that when the cast is made, the design will be right side up. Book ends should be covered on the bottom and back with felt, which is glued on, so that the plaster will not rub off on the books or table. The finished cast may be painted in any color that will harmonize with the decorative scheme of the room in which it is to be used and that is appropriate to the design used on the cast.