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Natural Object Casting

Many natural and found objects can be cast in metal using the “lost-wax” method, capturing incredible detail and preserving the intricate textures found in materials such as seed pods, paper and cardboard, fibers, bugs, flowers, and some hard plastics. This demo-focused virtual workshop will demonstrate how to prepare the materials for casting, give an overview of the casting process, and then show how to clean and finish the metal castings for use in jewelry.

If students want to cast their own natural object models, they will need access to casting equipment in their home studio or through studio rental.

Meet the instructor

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April Wood is a metalsmith and jeweler living and working in Baltimore, MD. She is a co-founder of the Baltimore Jewelry Center, a metals + jewelry community education space in Baltimore city, where she worked as Studio and Program Manager, Exhibitions Director, and an Instructor. She received her BFA in Studio Art, concentrating in Metals/Jewelry, from Texas State University – San Marcos and her MFA from Towson University. She has taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art, the Corcoran College of Art and Design, Penland School of Crafts, Idyllwild Arts Academy, and Towson University. Her work has been featured in Metalsmith, Surface Design Journal, and Sculpture. She exhibits her work nationally and internationally, including a solo exhibition at the Austin Museum of Art and SIERAAD International Art Jewelry Fair in Amsterdam.

Materials & Tools

The following supplies will be used for course demonstrations and objectives. A suggested item and/or vendor has been provided below for reference. Click the vendor name to be redirected to a page where you can view the item. The quantities needed for each item are listed first. If ordering, please be aware that some items may come in larger quantities than needed for this class. We recommend not opening an item's packaging until the day of the workshop. Student participation during or in-between class sessions is not required - observers are welcome.


Metal/raw materials:


Hand tools:


Torch setup:


Other/miscellaneous materials:

  • hard work surface

  • fan and open window or ventilation system

  • safety glasses

  • pencil, Sharpie, notebook

Below is everything needed for an at home casting studio.


Casting machine - https://www.riogrande.com/product/dura-bull-tabletop-vacuum-investing-and-casting-machine-system/704303GP/?code=704303

Casting  torch - https://www.riogrande.com/product/smith-acetylene-casting-torch-system-for-gold-and-silver/500148350GP/?code=500148350,

Would need acetylene & oxygen tanks, as well as regulators

Crucible - https://www.riogrande.com/product/claysilica-melting-crucible-and-handle-11-ozt/704119GP/?code=704119

Silver casting grain - https://www.riogrande.com/product/.925-sterling-silver-casting-grain/100800GP/?code=100800

Investment - https://www.riogrande.com/product/fov-casters-blend-investment-10.5-lbs/701510GP/?code=701510

Investment scale - https://www.riogrande.com/product/spring-driven-analog-investment-scale-11-lb.-5kg/702110GP/?code=702110

Rubber bowl - https://www.riogrande.com/product/rubber-mixing-bowls/702131GP/?code=702131

Gloves - https://www.riogrande.com/product/radnor-heat-resistant-gloves/350050GP/?code=350050

Carbon stir rods - https://www.riogrande.com/product/carbon-graphite-stirring-rods/705120GP/?code=705120

Casting flux - https://www.riogrande.com/product/matts-casting-fluxes/704099GP/?code=704115

Kiln - https://www.riogrande.com/product/rio-large-kiln-with-nine-program-controller/703120GP/?code=703120

5 gallon bucket - https://www.lowes.com/pd/United-Solutions-5-Gallon-General-Bucket/1000462835

Face shield - https://www.riogrande.com/product/lightweight-face-shield/201746GP/?code=201746

Tinted safety goggles, shade 5 - https://www.riogrande.com/product/protective-safety-glasses-shade-5/201100GP/?code=201100


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