Things You'll Need
- Liquid Metal Ladle
- Wood Crates
- Heavy Duty Tongs
People have been making statues out of bronze for centuries. The techniques used long ago are still popular today. A bronze statue is an elegant and powerful piece of art. It shows that the artist is not just a talented person with an eye for beauty but is also someone who can bend and shape metal into artwork. The most common practice used to create bronze statues is known as the "lost wax" process. It is a difficult and dangerous procedure but one that produces astonishing results.
Create a model of the statue out of clay. This will be used to create the mold. When the final bronze model is cast each detail of the clay model will carry over. Make sure that the clay is not too damp or too dry. Smooth out the details on the clay model.
Make the plaster mold by pouring the wet plaster into a box that matches the dimensions of your clay model. Place the model inside the plaster mold so the model sticks out halfway. Set up another box the same size filled with plaster and push the two boxes together so the clay mole is suspended in between the two. Wrap the boxes with some string to make sure they stick together.
Let the plaster dry for 24 hours. Carefully split apart the mold. Carve out a hole to pour the bronze in later. Pour a thin layer of wax over the inside of the mold.
Add 6 ventilation tubes to the wax head with small bronze piping. Place these at areas that won't cause damage to the detail like the cheek, hair or forehead. This will allow the excess bronze to escape without warping the statue.
Place the wax mold in a fireproof container filled with sand. Make sure that the base hole of the statue is visible so that you can pour the melted bronze into the wax mold. Pour the melted bronze into the mold and allow the entire structure several hours to cool. Using a pair of tongs remove the bronze statue from the sand.
Clean the bronze statue by cutting off the stems left over by the escaping bronze from the statue's figure with a hacksaw. Sand and file these areas smooth with the rest of the metal. Clean the metal of any sand or left over wax debris.
Consider visiting a working bronze artisan and asking to watch their process for creating statues. It is involved, expensive and dangerous so always leave tasks like these to the professionals.
Melting bronze is extremely dangerous. The metal can release toxic fumes while melting and cause tremendous burns.
Andrew DeWitt is a freelance writer/illustrator and stand-up comic with more than eight years of professional experience. He has written for Chicago Public Radio, Vocalo Radio, Second City Chicago, and The Lemming. DeWitt has a liberal arts degree with a double major in theater and creative writing.