Casting leaves

My son wants to make some castings of Venus Flytrap leaves in his
jewelry class at school and was hoping for some pointers. The leaves
will have to be fresh not dried so they should not need to be built
up. Any pointers as to how to do this will be appreciated.

It has been years since I have cast using plant mater as a model. A
Venus Flytrap leaves should work great. Your son will have fun with
this project. All he needs to do is attach the sprue. Invest ASAP to
avoid shrinkage of the plant. Be sure and do an 8 hour burn out, as
plant matter does not burn out as fast as wax.

Timothy A. Hansen
TAH Handcrafted Jewelry
P.M.B. 131, 305 N. Second Ave.
Upland, California 91786-6028

E-Mail: @Timothy_A_Hansen

What kind of metal does he want to cast the leaves in and what kind
of caster is going to be used? A couple of hints in burn out, (25
years ago I used to burn out and cast 200 small mountain alder cones a
day) which is really an important part of casting natural objects.
First, burn out as usual, except for the last hour of the burn out
turn the flask over, so that the button is pointing up. I found that
by doing this I got a more thorough burn out of the wooden “pine
cones”. I just cast a black widow spider, actually two. One I did not
turn over the flask for the last hour and did not get a good burn out,
the second casting was turned over for the last hour, and cast

I also recommend that the metal and crucible be preheated in the
kiln, then taken out of the kiln, melted, and kept melted as the flask
is taken out of the kiln and cast as hot as possible. I would cast 20
to 30 alder cones in a 2 1/2 inch diameter by 3 1/2 tall flask, and
would cast each flask very hot. Nearly glowing coming out of the kiln,
and a dull red as they were being cast. The only way to do that was
have the metal already melted before taking the flask out of the

Don Norris
Silversmithing tips, information
and Online Silversmithing and Casting Classes

Ok this is what I think, or wait, what I know. I’m an art metals and
art education student the the University of Wisconsin. I didn’t cast
organic material untill October of 99, but listening to my
professors directions, I diped my organic, peice in very hot micro
crystalin wax. It seals the material and also fills in any open
spaces which organic materials often have on the inside. Once the
item is sealed it will last in the original form for months, there
isn’t any need to rush to get the item in the investment. I
personally think this would be the best bet. I do it my self and
it’s great!

What grade is your son in? I’m sure his art teacher will know what
to do.

Sealing the organic material with wax is something a young student
should not do alone. Make sure there is an adult supervising. Hot
wax can be very dangerous.

You can do this kind of casting with plant material and even things
like bugs and, spiders…(I cast a bumble bee) they all must be
dipped in very hot wax. Mabey he’ll change his mind and want to make
a creepy crawly thing out of metal. or even better the venus fly trap
and the fly!

Thanks Amanda

Amanda, Could you explain the difference between “micro-crystaline
wax” and, say, standard injection or carving waxes? Thanks!

This is a perfect application for Art Clay Silver!! In one form, it
comes in a paste that can be simply brushed onto the leaf, on one
side only, using about 6 coats, allowing each coat to dry in between.
Then you fire it in a kiln to 1600 for 10 min. and you have an
instant, fine silver (.999%) exact replica of the leaf! You can make
it thicker for more durability if you want! For more on
this great product, go to or e-mail me at