Most asked casting questions

close up of bench peg with a variety of cast rings in silver and rings in blue wax, one ring is in turquoise wax

Huge thank you to Alexandra of Jewels by ADFK who has a casting company in Germany, and the team of Silver Cloud Casting in New Mexico US for answering these questions!

Alexandra answered more casting questions in why does this happen in casting? and miscellaneous casting questions in case you want to know more!

How should I package my waxes if I post them to the casting company?

Hard on the outside, soft on the inside.

You want to use a sturdy container to protect your waxes from the shipping process. And you want the inside of the container to be lined with something soft to protect your waxes from each other and the container. Make sure they fit snugly inside without moving around, and you're good to ship.

The moving around is what can damage waxes during shipping. They can get surface scratches from repeatedly moving against each other. The more fragile waxes can crack, dent, or parts can completely break off when they move around. Add enough softness to the inside to make sure that won't happen!

It’s not 100% necessary to wrap your pieces individually, especially if they’re soft and snug inside. If you feel your pieces need the extra padding and protection you should do it.

This is how I packaged my waxes in Dublin.

red cardboard box lined with kitchen roll paper and 3 blue wax rings lying on top

It’s one of those cardboard jewellery boxes with the foam insert removed. I lined it with kitchen roll paper, my waxes, and kitchen roll paper on top. I would shake the box to feel/hear if it rattled. If that was the case I would add more kitchen roll. I posted it with regular mail in a regular envelope (not even padded!) and never had a problem!

It was only a short journey for the waxes, it all stayed in Dublin. I knew that if I posted it during the day it would be at the casters the next day. It was a gamble the first time and I only sent pieces I was ok with getting damaged. But nothing got damaged during posting that first time or any time after that!

From Vienna I posted my waxes to Germany. This was a much longer trip that would take several days and my package would go through many more hands and machines. So I upgraded the shipping container to something sturdier than a cardboard box.

left a Wilhelmina mints tin lined with cotton wool with 4 blue wax rings on top, right a round plastic container lined with kitchen roll paper and a 9 blue wax rings laying on top

A mint tin, an empty plastic container, anything that you’re sure won’t buckle under the weight of other parcels during shipping! The rest of my packaging system stayed the same. Kitchen roll and a shake test. I did use a padded envelope for these as well, just to be safe.

As long as your waxes are snug inside and can’t move it doesn’t really matter what you use for padding: bubble wrap, kitchen roll, cotton wool, tissue paper. Whatever you have on hand!

Should I sprue my wax or will the caster do that?

There are casting companies where you have to sprue all your own work, so you should definitely check with yours if that is the case. But most of the casting companies can sprue your wax for you.

If you decide to sprue your own work, you can choose a place that’s going to be easy to clean up after casting. For example, I would never put a sprue on the inside of a ring because I find it torturous to clean up! You also reduce the cost a tiny bit by doing this part yourself (there’s still a sprueing fee since the caster has to attach it to the casting tree).

You have to make sure the sprue is attached properly. If it’s not secure, the metal can’t flow to your piece and you end up with a bad cast. You also need to consider the angle to make sure the metal can flow from the sprue to your piece easily.

If you’re unsure about where to sprue, you can send a photo with your proposed sprue placement to your caster and ask for advice.

Paper with a turquoise wax ring and a blue wax ring lying on top, underneath the rings a rectangle is drawn to indicate where the sprue should be

This is how I’ve done that in the past. My piece on some paper and I draw where I plan to put the sprue. Email the photo to my caster and ask if that’s a good place for the sprue or if I should place it somewhere else.

And of course you can just leave the sprueing to the casters. They’re the professionals who do this every day!

Can you mix different waxes on one piece?

Yes you can! You can mix different wax colors and even mix hard and soft waxes together.

Turquoise wax ring with a band of twisted wax wire going around it

Just make sure your waxes are properly attached to each other. As long as your piece doesn’t fall apart when it gets attached to the casting tree, there’s no problem casting. The wax melts and burns out all the same between 62 to 120 C.

Can you make moulds from wax?

Yes! You can totally have a mould made from your wax. But you want to check with your caster what types of moulds they make and if they can do it. Because there are 2 different types of mould:

Hot moulds (vulcanised rubber moulds) get made by heating and compressing rubber. Wax pieces won’t like the heating and compressing and can get deformed in the process.

Cold moulds (silicone moulds) get made by pouring liquid silicone. This is the mould you want for your waxes!

After the mould is made it gets cut open and occasionally a wax gets damaged during the process. If you want your original wax back you should let your caster know. I'm not sure it's standard procedure to send the wax back after a mould has been made of it.

Can you add metal details to your wax piece and cast it?

It’s possible! But just like casting stones in place or casting organic material, there are more risks and a bigger chance that it can go wrong. Before you send a piece, check with your caster that they can do it/want to try it. And accept that the risk is yours and you still have to pay your caster even if the cast fails.

Depending on the metal you used in your piece and the metal you use for casting, 2 things can happen. The most likely outcome is that the metal piece and casting metal stay separate. Think of it like stone in place casting. The cast metal goes around it and holds the metal piece in place, but the 2 are separate pieces.

But there’s a chance, if the casting metal is hot enough, that it’ll melt the metal piece slightly and form a welded bond with it.

If you like a challenge and experimentation, give it a try and see what happens!

More questions?

These are the questions I get asked most often. If you have a different question about casting let me know! I'd love to write more blog posts about this topic!