I wanted to make a personalized charm bracelet for a friend. So I began casting charms using the sand casting method. This can also be used to make pins and pendants. This method is simple and fast, it takes about a half hour to complete from start to finish.
Step 1: Supplies
1. Casting blank (the object you want to cast)
2. Casting sand
3. Casting form (holds the sand while casting)
4. Corn starch
6. Sculpting tool
8. Tongs or crucible clamps
9. Propane torch
10. Casting pewter(no lead)
11. Finger files
12. Dermal tool or drill press
13. Drill bit
Step 2: Prepare Casting Blank
For demonstration I used a rubber star fish toy from the dollar store. You can also mold a blank using femo-clay. For sand casting it is important that the blank has no undercuts.
To prepare the blank, brush both sides with cornstarch. This keeps it from sticking to the sand.
Step 3: Creating the Sand Mold
You can buy a casting form or make one out of two pieces of PVC pipe. Press casting sand into the bottom half of the mold until it is level. Pack down the sand.
Carefully press the blank into the sand. Use sculpting tool to press sand against the side of the blank.
Brush more cornstarch over the blank and surrounding sand. This will keep it from sticking to the other half of the mold.
Latch or pin the top half of casting form in place. Fill with sand and pack firmly.
Carefully separate mold layers.
Step 4: Creating the Spew
Use the sculpting tool to cut lines from the opening in thecasting form to your blank. Carve the sand away from this area to form a spew (this is where you will pour the metal in). Repeat this process on the other half of the mold. If your blank has thin or pointed areas you may want to carve lines radiating out from the blank in the sand. This keeps trapped air from preventing metal flow into your mold.
Next use the sculpting tool to remove your blank from the mold. If sand falls into the hollow during this you can use the sculpting tool to remove it.
Step 5: Casting Your Design
Carefully, so as not to loosen the sand, clamp the mold halves back together. Set mold on side so opening id pointing up.
Place pewter casting pellets into the crucible. Heat the crucible and casting pellets with a propane torch. The metal is ready to pour when it melts and forms a loose free moving ball in the crucible.
Using tongs, pour the metal into your spew while continuing to heat with the propane torch.
Before the metal cools lightly tap the mold to help drive the metal through. Wait five minutes for the metal to cool then open the mold.
Step 6: Finishing Your Charm
You can either saw or file off the spew. Use finger files to remove any edges caused by loose sand. At this point you can also change the shape of your design some.
After all edges have been smoothed and shaped you can drill a hole. For a charm dill a hole at the top and attach a ring. This can now be strung on a bracelet or necklace. For pin drill partially into the back of design. Place you pin in the hole with metal glue and let dry overnight.
Step 7: Other Designs
Sand casting can be used on a variety of designs. Besides the starfish charm the above images also show a cast heart pin and rose cross pendent.