Traditionally, bronze was cast using the "lost wax" technique. This process, however, is extremely time-consuming and complex. Today, many artisans opt for cold casting, which is much simpler and does not require the use of molten metal. Cold cast bronze, however, is not true bronze; it is actually an combination of polyester or epoxy and bronze shavings. This cuts the production cost while retaining the bronze look. A DVD is a basic shape and can be cold cast by a beginner, provided the proper steps are taken.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Silicone mould kit
- Bronze cold-casting kit
- 2 plastic cups
- 2 medium-size plastic containers
- 1 plastic bucket
- 1 stick
- Electric drill
- Drill mixer attachment
- Matt polyurethane spray
- Large paintbrush
- Rotary tool
- Steel wool
- Plastic gloves
Prepare a container to hold the DVD. It needs to have walls to hold the silicone but not be so big that there is excessive waste. A cardboard box or even the lid to a cardboard box should be sufficient. Clean the container and place the DVD inside.
Open up the silicone bucket and stir with a stick, smoothly and in a circular motion so as not to produce any air bubbles.
Slowly pour some of the silicone into one of the plastic cups as smoothly as well to avoid air bubbles. Stir in the catalyst provided with the silicone mix, using the prescribed ratio. Mix enough silicone to cover the DVD completely --- about 1/8 inch thick.
Stir the silicone and catalyst together until there are no air bubbles or lumps in the mix. Allow this mix to sit for several minutes, so that any trapped air bubbles have a chance to rise to the surface.
Pour the new mix into the other plastic cup. This is to separate the mixed silicone from any granules that may have settled on the bottom. As always, pour slowly to avoid air bubbles.
Slowly pour the mould over the DVD in a thin, even stream, from about two feet above the DVD to reduce the possibility of air bubbles developing.
Once the DVD is completely covered, lay the strips of gauze over the poured silicone to strengthen the mould. Pour another thin layer of silicone over the gauze. The total thickness should ideally be about 1/8 inch.
Let the silicone sit for drying and hardening. This may take up to 12 hours; check the box to see how long you must wait. Drying time is mostly dependent on what catalyst is used.
After drying, pull the silicone mould out of the box and remove the DVD. Turn the mould upside down, so the interior is exposed. It will look like a DVD-shaped depression.
Making the Mold
Pour the bronze mix into the larger plastic container. The mix should come with instructions as to the correct proportions. The amount poured should be enough to cover the DVD in a thin layer two times.
Mix the ingredients using the electric drill mixer attachment. It is fully mixed when there are no visible white streaks.
Separate half the prepared mix into the other plastic container.
Mix the accelerator into one of the containers, in the proportions recommended by the guidelines included in the kit.
Dip the brush in the mix and paint the inside of the DVD mould with the mix. Cover the entire surface.
Wash and dry the brush. Refer to the bronze cold-casting mix to find out whether the brush should be cleaned with paint thinner or water. This will depend on the particular ingredients in the mix.
Lightly tap your finger onto the bronze painted into the mould. If your finger does not leave any mark, it is dry.
Repeat Steps 4 through 6 with the other container of mix, giving the mould a total of two coats.
Mix the "backup mix" included with the kit in the last clean plastic bucket, according to the kit instructions, using the drill mixer attachment. Add the accelerator in the amounts recommended by the kit, then mix again until you see the mix get thicker.
Grab some of the backup mix and begin spreading onto the mould using your gloved hands. Cover evenly until the back of the DVD casting is fully covered. Smooth it out a bit to make presentation of the casting easier.
Leave the casting to dry according to the mix instructions.
Pick the mould and casting up out of the box. Peel the mould off the casting.
Clean the major excess casting off of the sides with the rotary tool.
Using the plaster rasp, clean excess bronze off of the sides and back to a finer degree.
Smooth the sides, back and front to the desired look using the steel wool, rubbing it vigorously over the casting.
Spray the DVD casting with matt polyurethane to finish.
Tips and warnings
- Since a single DVD is quite small, try another casting of several DVDs piled on top of each other. Do not use DVDs that you intend on watching later.
- Always wear plastic gloves when working with these and other chemicals. Work in a well-ventilated area.
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