Lost wax casting is a technique for making jewelry cast in metal from sculptures made of wax.
Start by cutting, sculpting, or carving a 3-dimensional model out of jeweler’s wax to create a mold in the shape of the jewelry piece you want to make.
The mold is then encased in a plaster-like substance called ‘investment’, and molten metal is poured into the hardened investment, burning out the wax and replacing it with the molten metal. When the metal cools, the investment is broken away to reveal the cast metal piece, which can then be polished and finished as desired!
This video shows you the basics of the lost wax casting process.
Learn more about the lost wax casting process from any of these recommended books:
Lost – Wax Casting: Old, New, and Inexpensive Methods. This book is a basic introduction to lost-wax casting with emphasis on jewelry making. It is designed to be used both as a textbook and a reference book and is directed primarily at beginners. Experienced casters, however, will probably find some useful ideas; they may even find some new techniques.
Practical Casting: A Studio Reference. By metalsmithing guru Tim McCreight, this book is a studio reference for jewelers, metalsmiths and sculptors. It consists of hundreds of drawings and concise descriptions as well as a complete appendix includes charts and tables not available elsewhere. Thorough safety considerations also make this book and invaluable resource for those teaching themselves these casting techniques.
Fine Art Metal Casting: An Illustrated Guide to Mould Making and Lost Wax Processes. This book provides a unique, all-encompassing, visually-based demonstrative source which will prove invaluable for art-, craft-, and design-based practitioners, and more. Mould making and the lost wax casting of metals for fine art are long-established techniques, which involve both artistic and material science considerations. The methods described in Fine Art Metal Casting cross a broad range of disciplines, from ceramics and glass through to jewellery and areas of conservation, archaeology, and palaeontology, where replicas must be made.