Cold Casting is the term used to describe the process of mixing metal powders in a resin to create decorative features, which look as though they have been cast in metal. The castings give the appearance of solid metal, but are cheaper to produce, and are popular for use in sculptures, decorative paneling and furniture fittings, to name a few. Cold casting is also a popular technique for restoring antiques, or older furniture/household items. For example, if have something with brass fittings and you are missing one, cold casting could reproduce the part without the cost and time of doing it properly.
Different metal powders can be used in the process of cold casting, including bronze, brass, copper, silver, aluminium, tin and nickel – which powder is used will depend upon the desired finish. Bronze, copper and tin are amongst the popular metals to be used, although other powders such as porcelain and marble may be used instead of metal in some cases.
In order to make a cold casting, the resin and metal powder must be mixed together to form a thick mixture. There is no set amount of powder that should be mixed with the resin, however, good results can be achieved by carefully mixing until you have a thick paste, that is still pourable. This is then brushed into the mold to be used, making sure every surface is thoroughly coated, and once filled it is left to cure.
Once the mixture is dried, it can be removed from the mold and shaped as needed. Some casting may need to be sanded down and polished afterwards in order to get the desired effect.
The benefits of cold casting are lower cost and ease of the process. Its suitability depends on what the finished product should look like. Something that needs to have a highly polished surface, for example, may need to be further treated with a coating but a brushed finish is very easily attainable. Cold casting parts also have the benefit of not being susceptible to rust, making them far easier to maintain than if they were made of metal. Interestingly, it is also possible to create a ‘rusty’ cold cast if needed, by artificially aging it (for decorative purposes of course!).