Introduction: Paw Tag
Here’s a fun casting project without all the typical materials. While polymer clay, silver solder, and corn starch aren’t typically used this way, it still turns out a decent end result. Special thanks to dthomp0 for helping me out with a dog volunteer.
Caution! Molten anything can cause severe burns. Anytime you use a flame make sure you’re in a well ventilated area and that you’ve taken fire safety precautions. As always, be careful and work within your experience.
Step 1: Prep the Clay
The form is made from polymer clay. After kneading it I rolled it into a ball. I coated it in cornstarch to keep it from sticking. I then took a glue stick and mashed the ball flat. I pushed the edges back in to form up a little wall.
Step 2: Make the Paw Print
I made the paw imprint using the back handle of a small paint brush. I then coated the form with corn starch and blew it out. This helps the molten solder flow through.
Step 3: Cast
I placed a section of solder in a spoon and heated it with a torch (a common gas stove will melt solder like this just the same). Once the solder was molten I poured it into the mould.
When solder is molten it wants to stay in the shape of a ball. Just like water forms a drop. Because of this, the larger the area being cast, the harder it will be to cast a design. I was able to cast the paw by itself just fine but when I made it bigger (to stamp a name) the paw would no longer cast. To help it along I pressed the molten solder down with a piece of marble.
Step 4: Stamp and Polish
Since solder is so soft it shapes and polished quickly. It was eaisily stamped with dies. I used a scouring pad and buffing wheels; both on my drill press. The letters were filled in with permanent marker.
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