Control in shaping when working with wax?

I have been experiencing quite a bit of difficulty with the wax
carving of a current design of mine.The design is a shallow
rectangular box. What I have been doing so far is carving out the
base shape (rectangle) of green 16 wax sheeting. Next I cut an
identical shape from the same sheeting. From this second sheeting i
saw out the inside leaving a 4mm border left. I then attempt to use
a file to file this down to a 2mm border- hoping to glue the two
pieces together to create a shallow box.Here is where the trouble
starts- as I file the wax border starts to completely bend out of
the shape (maybe from the friction is warms up)? Also I have trouble
controlling the file to not make dips in the shape that have to be
evened out. I have tried may different tools, knives, dental
tools…nothing is quite right. This has proven very difficult
because it is such a geometric shape everything has to be consistent
and very clean.

Any tips for better control and consistency?Is there a better method
to use? Would it be easier to fabricate this from metal?Does anyone
know of any place that may sell findings that I could use for parts
instead? I appreciate the help!


Hello Nina, It sounds like you should make the piece directly in
metal, but there might be other factors that i don’t know about. In
wax, Make the second piece about three mm thick. When you have the
perfect shape, add it to the first piece you made and then slice it
off the excess. This way, you will never handle the thin shadow box
unsuppor ted.

Have fun
Tom Arnold

Nina- The sheet wax you are using has a very low melting
temperature. It’s also very soft. That makes it very difficult to get
a crisp line. I suggest that you use a harder carving wax or
fabricate the piece directly from metal.

Have fun and make lots of jewelry.
Jo Haemer

You should fabricate this from sheet. Eve if you plan ultimately to
cast multiples the orignal model ought to be made in metal.

Nina - I can tell you that fabricating this piece in metal will be
much more efficient. Wax sheets are too soft and pliable, not good
for hot hands or for making rectangular and square pieces. I’ve done
it with carving wax many times and the results are very good. If you
want to chat please call me and I’ll give you some great carving
tips!You’ll find my number on my website.

Margie Mersky

Nina, are you using hard carving wax (I like the green)? If not that
will help. Use a divider to mark your edges and file up to your lines
w/o removing them. If your lines are square then the model will be
square. This does sound like something that would be as easy to
fabricate and then mold.


Nina, I have burned out an invested plastic box with very good
results. It was a 2-part clear plastic box with a top that fit
straight down on to the bottom. I bought it at a craft store. Use
good ventilation when burning out!


Let me preface this with: I am not a jeweler.

Back in 1969 I used a green wax to make my wedding rings. It came in
a sheet. I am a craftsman that works in many mediums and if I were
to craft a box from wax I’d lay it out like I was making a fabric
covered box. I’d trim the wax to the exact height I wanted the box.
I’d leave attached the bottom (so if folds up). It could look like a
scrabble board with only two words written: the word “down” and off
of it the word “on”. I hope this paints a picture for you that you
can follow, and is not confusing. The bottom should be the exact
size to fit the sides. If it is a rectangle be sure to make the
corresponding sides of the bottom long, like the sides. THEN: I’d
warm the wax slightly with my hands or a gentle light and fold up
the sides. Then seal the sides with some melted wax and do the same
with the bottom. Sealing the outside would give me the ability to
work the box more easily. If you need more bulk then I’d carefully
measure what I’ve made, add a “skosh” (technical term for a little)
for ease in the folding and making sure to allow for the first
layer’s thickness and add another layer of wax to the first.

I’m not sure if this will work, as I said, “I’m not a jeweler.” But
I do make boxes from Davie board and cover with bookcloth or fabric.
Perhaps in jewelry there is a known or preferred way to do this, but
being new to this list and jewelry, I am unaware of techniques
outside my ken. Good luck and I hope this helps.


Hello Nina,

This is non of my business but do you have warm hands?

The reason I ask is because I do and I find it difficult to work
with wax for this reason, the wax tends to warp because of the heat

If you want to make your shallow box out of metal you might want to
consider using brass profile strip to build a model that you can
then makes a mold directly from. Try a hobby shop for the profile
strip, there is a company K&B which sells brass profile strip used by
model builders. I don’t know of a website that shows these profiles,
the K&B website only shows the displays they offer for wholesale.

You should have no problems finding 90 degree angled pieces that you
can use to build up your shallow box frame as well as strip and sheet
you can use to build up the second portion of the shallow box.

I am not sure where you are but places near me where I find K&B
products are, Industrial Metal Supply (the best!), OSH (mostly tube,
wire and sheet), Do it Center (almost as good as Industrial Metal
Supply, but more pricey).

May I ask, what are you making?

I hope I have been helpful