Cast Metal Bookmark Using a Clay Mould





Introduction: Cast Metal Bookmark Using a Clay Mould

About: I am a Marine Engineer in the RNZN (39 years done in various navies) and am looking forward to retirement!!! so I can do more messing about with tools

Having never tried my hand at metal casting I thought I would have a go.

I decided to try first on a small project to minimise expense.

Most of the "ingredients" I had lying around the place, the end result, while not perfect is, I think, a good start and I will use it as a learning experience -- ie watch this space for something more ambitious

Step 1: The Moulds (or Molds If You Are American!)

I used some modelling clay that (allegedly) sets in air without baking

I pressed in a small model of a dolphin to leave an impression, I then cleaned the impression up as needed with a small craft knife. (I also made a shark shaped one but more of that later)

You know I said that the clay air dries, well it doesn't so I baked it for an hour at 100C

Step 2: The Bookmarky Bit (OK I Don't Know What You Call It!!)

So I cut a few pieces of scrap stainless steel into triangles and bopped (technical term that!) a few holes in it for purely aesthetic reasons, and polished them up a bit

Step 3: Casting A.k.a What Could Possibly Go Wrong!

So I gathered the bits I needed.

The moulds

the bookmarky bit (still don't know what to call it)

some lead free plumbers solder

a Butane torch and a lighter

I melted it on a ceramic tile to protect the table surface

Step 4: Popped Them Out of the Mould

They look a bit rough (and tbh the shark looks nothing like a shark!) but we can fix that

"Igor - fetch the Dremel"

Step 5: A Little Bit of Dremelizing

So attacked with the dremel to shape and polish a bit

The shark has become a cod, or a pirahna or something but the dolphin is still dolphiny

Time to try something bigger and put the lessons I have learnt to good use

Vote for me 'cos I'm lovely!! ;-)



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    Thes look neat! So, you melted the solder into the molds and stuck the bookmarky bits on top of them?

    1 reply

    Yup - that about sums it up! I will make some nicer ones now I have figured out how it works (I'm thinking a semi submerged hippo)

    Sorry,...major safety tip!! I forgot to mention the tin can gets EXTREMELY HOT & my Dad used pliers to hold the can & then pour the lead with it for the soldier mold.

    1 reply

    As I said in the text "what could possibly go wrong" ;-)

    This brings back old memories. My Dad used to cast lead soldiers for us to paint (w/oil-based Testor's enamels back in the 1950's). He used a metal 2 part mold, melted the lead on top of the stove in an empty can & then slowly poured it into the mold. I'm not sure, but he may have pre-heated the mold in the oven so the "pour" reached all parts of the mold well.

    Your clay mold idea is brilliant, but I was wondering if, instead of needing a propane torch, it would be easier & cheaper to use your stove. Although, I'd put the tin can in an old baking pan in case there are any "leaks".

    1 reply

    I guess I could probably do it on the stove, but was in the shed for this as it was a bit of an experiment, now I know it works (without me setting fire to the kitchen) the old ball and chain may let me in the house!

    So the cast portion of actually made of solder? Very clever! (You might want to add a warning for folks with young kids to use a lead-free solder?) Thanks for posting. :-)

    1 reply

    Thanks , I did put that in the text but maybe I should highlight it