The goal of this instructable is to provide you PRO TIPS for casting soft alloys.
I often find sea glass in tiny pieces. Because of how small they are, it makes them difficult to drill or wrap with wire. Here is a method for casting silver solder around a piece of sea glass for display.
Step 1: Make a Sand Paper Form
I'm using 400 grit sand paper to make the tear drop form. You could use coarser sand paper but your cast will have a rougher finish. Using sand paper withstands heat and makes a sturdier form compared to regular paper.
I cut a square out and folded a crease about 1/4th into the paper. After tucking the other end into the crease, I taped it shut with duct tape. Make sure the sand paper is on the inside.
This sand paper came from the auto supply section at Wal-Mart. It was about $4.00 for 5 sheets.
Step 2: Set Up for Casting
If you don't have a soldering stone you can set this up on top of another sheet of sand paper over a scrap piece of wood.
Use a tiny dab of hot glue to secure the glass on your casting surface. Gluing the glass down will prevent it from shifting when you pour the metal. Place the form over the glass and check to make sure it's where you want it to be. Balance a socket on top of your form. The added weight will keep the form from toppling over when you pour.
Step 3: Cast Your Pendant
Put on your safety glasses. Melt about 12" of lead free soldering wire on a spoon. Verify the metal is evenly melted with a very gentle sway. The blob of molten alloy should roll back and forth evenly. Pour the metal in the form and give it a few minutes to cool off.
This solder can be found wherever plumbing supplies are sold. I also got this at Wal-Mart.
Step 4: Cut and Drill
Trim down the pendant with a hack saw. Mark the hole with a punch before drilling it out.
Step 5: Shape the Pendant
Since silver solder is soft, you can actually cut it with a razor blade. Just make sure you direct the blade away from your fingers.
Shape the inner frame of the glass by whittling away small pieces. Shape the rest of the pendant with files.
Step 6: Polish and Clean
Polish your work with polishing compound on a buffing wheel.
Clean it off with a degreaser and tooth brush. I'm using brake cleaner.
Step 7: Make More
This process is forgiving and inexpensive. So, make one for a pendant or make a bunch for a charm bracelet.
Thanks for reading, Brent.