Instructables

Silver Heart Pendant

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Picture of Silver Heart Pendant
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This heart shaped pendant first started off as a 1963 Canadian Silver Dollar. It was about 80-20 silver to copper. The rough shape was made using the lost wax technique and after hours of filing, sanding and polishing the final product was finished. It was made for my gf for our anniversary.
 
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Step 1: Wax Shape

Picture of Wax Shape
The wax used was from a candle from the dollar store.  It was heated using hot water and formed by hand. I made it a little bigger then what I wanted the final size to be to account for any shrinking and room to file and polish. The sprue (the hole made for the metal to be poured) was made extra large to be turned into the ring so it could be hung from a chain.

Step 2: Mould

The mould was made using drywall compound. This isnt ideal but I'm a poor student and its what I had available. Plus I figured if they use it in homes it must be fire resistant as its main ingredient is limestone
I covered the wax shape with a thin layer of compound to ensure it was completely covered and any air bubbles wouldn't affect the overall shape. After it was left to dry over night, the whole thing was placed into a lager cup of drywall compound with the sprue sticking up and left for a few days to dry.

Step 3: Lost Wax

Picture of Lost Wax
This is the lost wax part of the whole thing. I put the mould in the oven upside down so that the melted wax could run out. I set the oven at 350 F - seemed like a solid choice, thats how hot I cook lasagna... I then increased the temperature gradually to prepare it for casting. The hotter the mould the better. This way the metal isnt shocked when it hits the cold mould and the metal flows longer which increases its chances of getting in all the small spots of the mould.

I used a soup can as a crucible and melted the coin with a mapp gas torch. Mapp gas burns in air at roughly 3700 F.
This is by far the best one Ive seen so far.
I'm planing on making a ring for my gf on our 1 year with lost wax casting. Except not with the drywall, very nice low budget alternative though!!
Hi. i dont understand how you make the hole for the chain... tanks..
th30be2 years ago
How did you make the compound? Just mix it with water?
jkennedy1 (author)  th30be1 year ago
Yah, it comes as a powder and you just mix water according to the instructions
th30be2 years ago
So how do you make the compound? You did not really explain that bit.
puddingpet2 years ago
If your making small stuff like that, maybe you should try using cuttlefish. It has a wavy pattern you can put into your design(more or less depending on if you brush the powder out), and I think it'd be safer than drywall. It might be fire resistant, but the fumes from the chemicals are probably worst than cuttlefish. Their available in the pet bird section.
whygreen3 years ago
I've been playing with lapidary stuff for a while... Rocks, etc.. I've done basic silver bezels, etc. Now, I have the courage to try lost wax casting because I've been afraid it was too difficult. If I took 1 good thing away from this was that it must be workable going back 1000's of years. If you can do it with candle wax and drywall compound, I know I can do it. Thanks for the kick in the pants, I needed it to move forward.
Barrettkg3 years ago
Did you just use a drill press for the sprue and file accordingly?
jkennedy1 (author)  Barrettkg3 years ago
i filed the rough shape and used a vice and cordless drill and then cleaned it up
Wow. this is totes cute! you should put it on etsy. i bet you'd get super huge bids! I saw one just like this at macy's for like, $114!
krysteanuh3 years ago
This is gorgeous! I must try it :o
scoochmaroo3 years ago
Beautiful work!
I love this! It's so low-tech, I never would have thought of drywall compound. Keep up the good work!