Thing A Week 14: Silicone Tea Cup Cover Pewter Charms

Last week I made some silicone tea covers to help with the steeping process, this week I made some pewter charms to go inside the little indentation that I made in the top of the design. Using the process I have come to think of “making things in pewter” I used some mold max 60 (see here for the process), and made some lovely little toppers.

 

The nice thing about this design is that I can make any top charm I want.  Even a Bernie Sanders one…

Basically any small charm with the appropriate little T shapped bottom bit will fit into the tea topper.  I am going to have to think of some cool tea related things, but right now I just did some cat ears, a snail shell, and soon a tiny Bernie Sanders head.

At some point I will probably put some of these in my store.

 

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Thing A Week 14: Silicone Tea Cup Cover Pewter Charms

Last week I made some silicone tea covers to help with the steeping process, this week I made some pewter charms to go inside the little indentation that I made in the top of the design. Using the process I have come to think of “making things in pewter” I used some mold max 60 (see here for the process), and made some lovely little toppers.

 

The nice thing about this design is that I can make any top charm I want.  Even a Bernie Sanders one…

Basically any small charm with the appropriate little T shapped bottom bit will fit into the tea topper.  I am going to have to think of some cool tea related things, but right now I just did some cat ears, a snail shell, and soon a tiny Bernie Sanders head.

At some point I will probably put some of these in my store.

 

Do you want to help me continue to bring you great projects, while also getting great rewards?  Then support me on Patreon!

Become a Patron!

Thank you!

Thing A Week 11: Cactus Charm

My friend wanted a small cactus charm, so I decided to make her one :)

 

I started off by carving a small cactus out of wax, then cast in the same way I have been using for the last couple of projects.  I used Mold Max 60 from Smooth On, and some sulfur free clay to make a two part mold.

I cut some pour spouts, and air channels into the mold.  The tiny marks are the index things I made so that the form will only fit back together in one way, this make sure you always line the cactus up correctly.

A little baby powder to help the mold release.

Use a paint brush to distribute the powder evenly, knock out the extra.  You want a very thin layer.

Getting ready to pour, I used a lot of rubber bands, because the hot pewter tends to make the mold expand, and if you don’t hold it shut, it can run out the bottom.

molten pewter.  I use r98 pewter from Roto Metals.

Just after opening the mold.

letting it cool

I decided to try my hand at painting one of them, so I got some testors enamel paint.

I tried to layer the colors, to give a more realistic look.  I might send both to my friend and she can keep the one she likes the best and give the other one to someone else.  I have my doubts about how well that little key chain loop will hold on such a heavy charm, but I will give it a try anyway.

 

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Thing A Week 8: Run The Jewels Fist and Gun Hand Earrings

I liked the last two weeks projects so much (carving/casting the crow skull), that I decided I wanted to do some more carving and casting. Now that I have practiced a bit I think I can do it all in one week.

 

I have been listening to a lot of Run The Jewels lately (if you have not heard them, check them out they are great!).  Their logo is two hands in a fist and gun.

So I got out some wax, and started carving!

I took the time to drill two tiny holes in the back, and made some little copper loops, so that when they are cast they would have them pre-formed.  I want these two be earrings, so they are pretty small.

They would also make nice charms.

I then used the same method as before, placing them in clay, casting one half, and then flipping and casting the other half.

Don’t forget the mold release!  Or you will end up with a solid block of silicone.  Again I used high temp mold max 60 from smooth on.

I then cut in some air vents, and pour spouts, being careful to make the air vents smaller this time.  I didn’t know if cutting two different pour spouts into one mold would work, but it works like a charm.

They came out better than I could have hoped!  Lovely and shiny.  I am really surprised by just how detailed you can get with pewter, its pretty amazing stuff.

Thing A Week 7: Casting A Crow Skull In Pewter

Last week I carved a wax crow skull, or at least sorta one (I am no sculptor). Now I want to cast it in Pewter.

Before I can do that though I have to make a mold.

First I got a plastic cup and cut the bottom off.

Then use some molding clay to fill the bottom.

I then took the carving I made and carefully pressed it into the clay, carefully smoothing it around the model.  I think made sure that roughly half the wax was “under the clay.”

I then took one of those little wood things that come in flat pack furniture, and made some distinctive indents into the clay, making sure to leave room on one side for a future sprue. I found 3 to be the ideal number of divots that left room, but also made it so the mold would index.

Then I mixed up a small batch of Mold Max 60, a high temp. silicone that will withstand the heat of “low temp” melt metals like tin and pewter.

I mix in one cup, and then scrape the whole works into another cup.  This makes sure you don’t have any gunk on the bottom that is unmixed. Follow the instructions, use a scale, and if you have it use a vacuum chamber to degas the silicone.  Then wait 24 hours.  This stuff smells pretty rubbery, so do this in a well ventilated area.

Cut the cup away, and slowly remove the clay.

Carefully clean off all the clay, and very carefully cut away any flash that might have leaked in (around the beak area you can see some).  I used a brush to get clay out of the cracks.  DON’T pull the wax model out, you want it nice and snug in there.

Take that clay and flatten it out, then make a little wall around your mold. Its very important that you spray a layer of mold release on it at this point, or you will end up with a huge chunk of solid silicone.

You can see the mold release shiny area.  Follow the instructions on the can.  Then mix up another batch and pour it on top.  Wait another 24 hours.

Carefully crack that bad boy open, and see if everything came out ok.

Success!

I then carefully cut a pour spout, and some air vents.  I then realized the air vents were probably too big, so I put a little chunk of copper wire in there.

Dust a little baby powder on the mold (these pictures are from before I cut the vents) and push it into all the cracks with a fine brush.

Get some pewter, I got this big hunk off the internet, it was pretty cheap, I just use a torch to melt some off the end, I also had some leftover bits from previous pewter projects, so I dumped those into the crucible as well.

Heat it up until it balls up into a lump, it doesn’t take long, then scrape the gunk off the top with a spoon.  That gunk is impurities and will make your casting ugly.

I put a rubber band around the mold, and stuck it between two fire brick with a metal pan under them to catch any spillage.

I dumped it in slowly, and gave the side of the mold a tap.  You might have to do this more than once until the mold warms up.  But if you mess up just melt everything down and go again.

Let it sit for a while until the top part solidifies, than crack it open and see what you got.

I cut off the sprues with a wire cutter and jewelers saw.

I think cleaned them up with a file, and polished them a bit.

If you want to darken them up a bit, dip them in some ferric chloride (its the stuff you use to etch copper), it turns pewter a lovely dark color.  Ferric Chloride is an acid, so put some gloves on.

Then polish up the high spots and you have a pretty nice looking pendant. I made the model with a little hole in the back of the skull to put a chain through, it didn’t come out in the mold so I just used a drill to open it back up.

This is the second time I have used this casting method for small things, and have had really good success both times.  I like it so much that I think I am going to make some more things over the next couple weeks.

 

Bernie Sanders Head Badges!

I am feeling the Bern!  So much so that I thought I would make a Bernie Sanders head badge so that bicyclists for Bernie can show their love of this amazing candidate.

 

The first step was to carve them out of wax.

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Then I molded that wax carving into some special high temp silicone. I then cast them in either tin or pewter (each and every one comes out a little different, so far the tin ones seem a bit more shiny).  The results have been pretty awesome!

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They can be bent to fit on a bike, or left flat if you just want a shiny Bernie Sanders paperweight.

 

Every one comes out a bit different, but I like that, I might experiment with polishing them, but pewter and tin are very soft metals, and I don’t know if I have anything that delicate.

 

I am going to be selling them here, 27 dollars of every sale will be donated to the Sanders campaign.  Get your own!