How Tough is a Cold Cast?

Making a decorative metal piece does not have to be pricey and cumbersome. Cold casting makes it easy, but artists should keep in mind that the reproduction will definitely be more brittle than metal.

Cold casting is a popular method of making faux metal casts. It involves mixing metal powder with a resin to create castings that give the appearance of solid metal. Rather than the hot casting method using molten metal in a foundry that is both expensive and time-consuming, cold casting turns out to be a quick and affordable option for recreating the look of metal casts. There is no risk of burns and other dangers either.

Recreating a figurine, prototype, hardware pieces, small run production pieces and other parts with cold casting is relatively easy. The requisite bronze, brass, copper, steel or aluminum powder is usually brushed, dusted or sprayed on the inside of the mold to form a thin and even coating. Then the resin is mixed and poured into the mold. (For smaller pieces, the powder can even be mixed in the resin itself.)

Once the resin is cured, it is demolded and burnished or abraded with steel wool to remove the binder and reveal the beauty of the metal filler on the surface of the cast. Keep in mind that when the metal powder is mixed with resin, it may take a bit longer to cure.

The same technique can be used to recreate the look of ceramic, wood or even stones like granite, marble and limestone. Tin powder can work well for achieving a pewter, iron or nickel silver finish.

Points to ponder

While a cold cast sculpture will replicate the exact look of the original metal, stone or wood piece, it will obviously not weigh the same. It is much lighter and some artists retain the light feature as it makes the ‘sculpture’ easier to handle. Otherwise the mold can be backfilled with fiberglass, iron or steel shots, sand or calcium carbonate to achieve the desired weight. Alternatively, the cold cast can be lightened by adding hollow glass beads.

Coming to the durability of the cold cast reproduction, it will definitely be hard and durable. The actual toughness will depend on the casting resin used to make the piece. All resins cure hard and epoxy resin is considered exceptionally sturdy. However, the strength and durability of a molten-crafted metal construction cannot be replicated. Therefore, care is required not to bang or drop the cold cast figurine.

The best choice

EnvironMolds offers a variety of fine grade cold casting powders that are 325 mesh grade - the correct fineness for cold casting - and can recreate a beautiful finish. Even the resin options are of top quality and will turn out strong and sturdy castings that can last long as long as they are handled properly.

In sum, cold casting with casting powders is the way to go to get the desired effect without spending a bomb or even bearing the risks of a foundry casting.

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