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How to Do a Wax Sculpture

Do a Wax Sculpture

Things You'll Need:

  • Soldering iron--use this to heat your tools and soften the wax
  • Large and small looped wire tools--use these to remove wax and make hollows
  • Large and small wooden tools--use these to add wax and flatten it into place
  • Paring knife
  • Wooden work surface

How to Do a Wax Sculpture. Wax has been used as a medium for sculpture since the ancient Egyptians used it to make death portraits and sacred images. It is an ideal material for sculpture because it can be worked without danger of warping, peeling, flaking or chipping. Wax is a good medium for a beginning sculptor to use since it is forgiving and can easily be re-melted and reworked.

Draw several sketches of the object you plan to carve. Make sure you have drawn the object's profile and its appearance from the front and the back.

Prepare a solid block of wax for carving. You can either cut down a large block for a small sculpture, or you can join two blocks together by running a hot spatula between them. This will melt the wax slightly and the two blocks will become one.

Scratch the profile of the object on both sides of the block of wax with your paring knife. Be careful to make sure both sides align perfectly. Then scratch the front and back of the object on the front and back of the wax block.

Use your large looped wire tool to cut away large masses of wax that are not needed for your sculpture. Leave a small distance between the scratched outline and the wax you cut away.

Switch to smaller carving tools to modify the angles and blend the surfaces of the sculpture. Begin with the most prominent surfaces, cutting and forming the desired contours.

Continue blending and softening the edges of the wax until you have achieved your desired carved sculpture. Finally refine the sculpture by carefully smoothing each surface into the next.

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