Beginning Wax Casting: Resources For Jewelry Makers

Wax casting makes it possible to create intricate and unique metal pieces for jewelry. Here are some tips for beginners on a budget.

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QuestionI'm very interested in wax casting my own jewelry pieces. What equipment do I need to get started? Frankly, I would like to spend as little as possible on my setup. Then again, I don't want to buy junk. Can anyone recommend a good set of wax casting tools that isn't too expensive?
wax casting
Wax casting makes it possible to create intricate metal pieces for jewelry. The wax model is used to create a mold into which molten metal can be poured. Photo by Mark Somma. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

Answer: There are affordable wax casting tools and references available for beginners.

Wax Casting Equipment On A Budget

You can find a list of equipment you'll need in this article on centrifugal and vacuum casting. The first resource you should pick up is Practical Casting: A Studio Reference by Tim McCreight. Tim explains in great detail how to create a very inexpensive wax casting setup. I've used his techniques, and the equipment that I made myself based on his book, for years. I've had great results. As a bonus, you can amaze your friends by explaining that you cast your beautiful jewelry pieces with a pipe nipple, some paper towels, and a mayonnaise jar lid nailed to a wooden dowel!

Happy casting,

Randy Frey

Jewelry Templates for Beginners

I've discussed the use of templates as drawing aids for refining design concepts in my jewelry design article. This applies to designing pieces for wax casting, too. You can buy plastic templates as well as use various drawing and design programs to create printable templates on your computer.

A drawing is used as a template to cut a design into wax. Photo by Mauro Cateb. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

If you're going to incorporate gemstones in your cast jewelry pieces, you can download and print two free gem charts from Tripps. These charts have diagrams of the nine most common gemstone shapes and their standard sizes. The diagrams are fairly accurate and come with a printed scale that you can check to verify accuracy. (The only noticeable inaccuracy are the "squares," which are obviously not square). As a set of gemstone templates you can use in conjunction with jewelry design templates, these are acceptable for beginners.

Hope this helps,

Howard Denghausen

Photo by Jessa and Mark Anderson. Licensed under CC By 2.0.

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