Jewelry with an Organic Style

Jewelry with an Organic Style

Casting


posted by LjB on , ,

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As I promised last time I wanted to do a blog post on my casting experience. Sorry it has taken so long but sometimes life can get in the way of the creative process. I have been wanting to cast for a very long time, so I thought I would dive in and see if I could make something. I started with a delft clay kit which was pretty reasonable in price and is great for beginners.

It comes with this red clay which is reusable and an aluminum mold. To the left is a photo of the first silver blob I made. My intentions where to make a silver heart like the one on the right, which I used to create the mold. Well I just kept getting blobs. I was becoming very frustrated needless to say, but I was going to cast something by the end of the day no matter what!!!  Some may know that I am part of the Etsy Metal Team, there are many experienced and fabulous casters on the team who helped me with my casting dilemma.







Their main recommendations are that the silver must be hot, hot, hot hot and you need to pour fast.  As you can see in the heart photo the silver would cool to fast and therefore stop flowing. After studying the situation,  I made some of my own adjustments. The first time the pouring hole was in the middle of the aluminum circle, then I moved it closer to the edge of the aluminum circle this way the pouring distance was shorter. I also made the pouring hole in the shorter end of the aluminum circle. I hope the photos that follow will make things easier to understand. 

First, using a ruler make sure your delft clay is soft to the touch, somewhat like when you are chopping vegetables with a knife. Them pack the clay into the circle using you chasing hammer with the rim of the circle facing down. This way you do not damage the rim with your hammer.


It needs to be packed down nice and tight, then smooth out the surface with the edge of the ruler. 


I wanted to cast some antique buttons so I pushed the button in and then you must add some baby powder and brush of the excess. This way, the two sides won't stick together. 


Line up the two marks and fill in the other half of the aluminum circle nice and tightly. Then carefully open the two sides to remove in this case the button and make the pouring holes.


I used clay carving tools, drill points and dapping punches to create the holes. The pouring hole should be at least 4mm wide when you are first starting out. As you go along and get better at pouring then you can reduce the size of the pouring hole. I am still at 4 mm, I need a lot of practice. 



I used the drill bit to make the hole and the dapping punch to smooth it out. Remember to line up the marks on the outside of the aluminum circle  when you close the two halves again. 




Gather some silver scrap and add a pinch of borax. Your crucible should also be coated with borax before you start to use it. Put some borax inside the crucible and torch away, a clear film will start to form on the inside of the crucible. This will help prevent the silver from sticking to your crucible, and it is normal that it will turn red.


HOT AND MOLTEN



Pour fasts and keep the flame on the silver when pouring.


After many trials I have a few buttons. I also made a silver sheet which I rolled out in the rolling mill down to a 20 gauge sheet so I can reuse it in some of my projects. I used the silver buttons as charms on some of my bangles. 




Here is a delft clay tutorial I found very helpful on youtube, I am sure you will find it helpful. I also want to inform you it is VERY addicting. Now I want to cast everything!!, next casting experiment will be a ring band, hope I do not get any more silver blobs. 



















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