Step 2: Wax pattern

To make a ring, first you need to carve a wax pattern. I use a green jeweler's wax to make my patterns.

The wax is carved using a dremel type tool to first rough out the shape and then this is refined using scraping/carving tools and small files. For scraping and smoothing small flat areas (such as the top of the ring) an old small screwdriver works really well. Wax carving is something that requires a fair bit of patience- remember that the better your wax model is the better your finished casting will be.

Here are the basic steps on how to carve a Hal Jordan wax ring (this is the easiest wax of the three to carve.)

1) To carve the wax ring first slice off a section of ring wax that is slightly wider than what the finished ring will be

2) Now open up the hole in the wax until it approximates your finger size- it's better to have it too tight than too loose at this point as you can always remove a little material later on. Then use a Sharpie pen or scribe to draw the profile of the ring on the wax and cut that out of the wax.

3) Now rotate the wax so you're looking at the end of the ring. Now draw the shape of the ring on the wax and remove the excess material. At this point you're only trying to establish the general shape of the ring and thickness of the ring shank.

4) Now switch to the top of the ring. Draw the circular shape on the top of the ring and remove the extra material. Now is when you have to start blending all the contours of the ring using a scraping tool- just work at it slowly until you get the final shape you want.

5) Now cut the symbol into the top of the ring using a Dremel tool and then refine it using a small flat scraping tool.

Once you're happy with the look of the ring you can smooth the finish with some fine sandpaper and steel wool. Wax carving is something that is hard to learn- there have been whole books written about it. You just have to jump in and start carving and go from there.

If you're going to make a glowing ring you have to remember to make the ring tall enough to house the LED and watch battery- this will more than likely require you to carve the wax from a larger block of solid wax (unless you have really small hands.) I've listed a supplier and part numbers for both types of wax below.

The insignia area of the ring should be somewhere around 10mm to 12mm tall, depending on the exact battery and LED you are using and how deep your pattern is cut into the top of the ring. If you need it to be lower you can carefully sand down the top of the LED to reduce the height but unless you find an extremely low profile LED and battery I think it'll be very difficult to get the total height down under 7.5mm to 8mm at the very lowest.

The best way to figure it out is bend the leads on your LED and then hold your battery underneath it. Measure the height of the LED and battery together and then add a little extra for the engraved pattern on the top of the ring. This is of course assuming you're making a Hal Jordan or Kyle Rayner style ring- the Alan Scott ring as I made it would have to be slightly different as I didn't make the band thick enough or wide enough to hold the 3v battery.

I ended up making three wax patterns for the Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner and Alan Scott rings.

Here's a detailed list of tools/materials:

From- http://www.ottofrei.com

Ferris green ring wax (T200 flat side with hole) part# 121.369
Block of green wax for carving light up ring (this is needed due to the added height for the LED and battery)- part# 121.0706
Saw frame- part# 149.740
Wax sprue wire (6ga.)- part# 121.560
Large carving burr- part# 120.205
Wax file- part# 131.384
Wax saw blades- part# 149.300D
Wax carvers- these are a better combination (one flat and one detail carver) than the blue handled carvers I show in the photos and they're half the cost- part# 121.851 & 121.852

Not all of the tools are absolutely necessary- you can substitute a couple of small flat bladed screwdriver for the wax carvers and you can use regular Dremel burrs for carving as well. Wax files are nice to work with but wood files and coarse metal files will also work.

Otto Frei is a great company to deal with and you don't have to be a professional jeweler to buy from them. I've been dealing with them for nine years and the service is always first rate.

Gnechanic4 years ago
Do you know any work around or substitue for having to buy/use the wax sprues. I don't think my michaels store will carry them and that's where I'm going for my supplies. couldn't you just use some left over modling wax to make some up or use some plastic tubing (thinking of my spare air tubes for my fishtank). What I know about silicone is that it's nonstick, it shouldn't stick to the plastic during curing and the model being molded doesn't have to be completely wax, right -other materials can be used: metal, plastic, etc.? thanks. first timer molder-caster.
Honus (author)  Gnechanic4 years ago
You can use whatever you want to shape the ring model and sprues- you could even use modeling clay.
merice1 Honus4 years ago
hey honus i just follow you said and i modify my green lantern ring and it came out awesome dood im gonna post this in this website check it out
Honus (author)  merice14 years ago
Cool- I keep an eye out for it! I'm working on modding the new movie rings right now. :)
Gnechanic Honus4 years ago
thanks, nice to know modeling clay wil work; I get them free at the school sometimes :D compliments on your craftsmanship! Those wax rings look so smooth!
TheAlmost4 years ago
oh my gosh this is SO cool! I have been looking for a decent light up Hal Jordan ring for YEARS (I'm a bit of a comic nerd!) How much does this cost to make?
Honus (author)  TheAlmost4 years ago
Figure around $70 or so for the materials to make the glowing ring (not including all the tools.) Of course that will supply enough casting resin to make a lot of rings.
batjeepster5 years ago
What if I wanted to duplicate an old ring from my child hood could I just not use that instead of making a wax replica? It is a smooth plastic
Honus (author)  batjeepster5 years ago
Sure you could use that.
Waffle25 years ago
I am only 12 ( so stay away pedo's) So can you make me one? It would be cool if you could cause I am a really big Green Lantern fan. So if you can tell me and I will tell you which one. and if you cant Let me know.
Honus (author)  Waffle25 years ago
Sorry but I don't make them!
hey how much did it coast for the waxs and how do u get the colors
Honus (author)  gearrider895 years ago
The wax material is around $7 or so. I don't understand what you mean about the colors.
Lissbirds5 years ago
Is it possible to carve the wax without a Dremel? I don't have a Dremel and just thought I'd ask if it was possible to carve it only by hand. Thanks!
Honus (author)  Lissbirds5 years ago
You can carve it by hand it'll just take a lot longer.
Lissbirds Honus5 years ago
Ok, thanks for getting back to me! I might find a Dremel to borrow, though. :)