Silver Heart Pendant




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.

Step 1: 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

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.

Step 4: Rough Cast

After 15 mins of cooling, this is the mould broken open. The mould ended up cracking during the pre-heat which lead to its rough shape. Leaving it to air dry longer so all the moisture evaporated would probably have fixed that.

Step 5: Filing

Using a variety of files and 120 grit sand paper the heart is taking shape

Step 6: Polishing

Using finer and finer sand paper the surface was beginning to shine. After the 120 grit, I used 400 grit (the picture shown) and then straight to 1500 grit. 

Step 7: Finale

After a few hours of watching tv and polishing the pendant with polishing compound and a cotton rag I got the surface to a finish I liked. I found that extra-whitening toothpaste worked better than the compound for its final shiny finish.



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    14 Discussions


    1 year ago

    I always think I need a tool for "this" and a tool for "that" - you are so cool ? you use the best tool, your mind.


    5 years ago

    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!!


    6 years ago on Step 5

    Hi. i dont understand how you make the hole for the chain... tanks..


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Yah, it comes as a powder and you just mix water according to the instructions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    So how do you make the compound? You did not really explain that bit.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    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!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I love this! It's so low-tech, I never would have thought of drywall compound. Keep up the good work!