Wax carving and stuff

Here is my problem–I do not have any real artistic training. I
have ideas, but I do not know how to translate these ideas to wax
or metal. I have the basic jewelry skills (soldering, etc.), but
I am hitting an impasse when it comes to design. How can I teach
myself to express these ideas in a concrete way?? For instance,
I may have a shape that I want to carve into wax. The only
problem is, I cannot represent it 2-demensionally (with any
modicum of success) and when it comes to doing it 3D, I usually
give up because I get so frustrated. Can anybody give me some
pointers/resources/talent (tee-hee). Thanks

M. Jones

Get to the nearest library and check out a book called “Drawing
On the Right side of the Mind” and work throughit.


Checkout the book “Drawing on the Right Side of the Mind” from
your local library and work through it step by step. You’ll
probably end up a lot better in 2d than you are now and will be
looking at the world a little differently. Don’t give up and
practice, practice, etc.

Chunk Kiesling

In my opinion, talent just comes from doing something often
enough. There was a time when I was not satisfied with my 2D or
3D representations either. But I kept at it, and eventually I
got better. School and classes help a lot. You get your
practice, and guidence from someone more experienced. But the
biggest thing is don’t give up!

Also, when you are trying to work out your ideas on paper, it
may help to draw side views, top views, ect. of the piece. I
find this helps me immensely to figure out the shapes I want to
do, even though I am a lousy drawer.


Marshal- Have you tried working first from a picture, or a
rendering, and trying to bring it to the wax (carve it)? If you
can do this, you are O.K. Not everyone can draw/render an object
straight from their head, because often whilst the idea is still
an idea, it is in a fluid state of sorts- constantly changing,
becoming more and more elaborate in detail. When putting your
design on paper think more in terms of highlights versus shadow,
rather than actual 3-dimensional aspects. This will make YOUR
job a whole lot easier when you go to grind. Most of the time
this technique won’t work well if you’re trying to convey your
design to someone else, but it’s a start.

Good luck.

Tim Goodwin

Besides drawing from all angles…sometimes using paper cut outs
taped together, or modeling clay can help work out the design for
3d pieces…


You might try using children’s plasticine clay and making things
that are not jewelry related. Think of it as play. It may be
that you’re trying too hard. Some people are more 3 dimensional
than others but practice will help. Some of the books that are
in the woodworking shops for the people that carve little wooden
curios like cowboy boots, chain links, etc. Even though they are
talking about patterns etc. it might “loosen” you up.

Marilyn Smith

I’ve been very frustrated at seeing something in my head but not
being able to draw or transfer it to wax, nor describe it
adequately to someone else, so here are a few of the tricks which
I’ve used. Hope they help. Try using clay, like potters use or
modelling to get 3d to copy from; soft wax or parrafin first,
then wax to be cast from; also, this is kinda weird I guess, but
heavy duty aluminum foil - you can cut and fold, have lots to
work with and it stays in place fairly good, can create
different surfaces and crumple it for “setting stones”. Happy
modelling, Kat

I forget where this thread started but here are a couple of
hints for wax carving and drawing patterns. 1. start with a
pattern drawn with templates and other mechanical means, i.e.
very simple outlines from a single perspective. do 2 to 4
drawings one front, one side, one top, one bottom. 2. make xerox
copies and cut and paste them to a block of wax. the wax should
be cut square (use a model makers square or protactor) and
center lines should be marked so you can center each
drawing.rubber cement or cantact cement work for adhesive. 3.after
you glue the copies on the wax transfer the image to the wax by
piercing the lines with a neddle point or cutting them with a
exacto knife. 4.remove the paper and you have a pattern transfered
to the wax. cut and carve add and subtract as needed.


1.I use and exacto knife that the blade has been ground long and
thin with a seperating disk. Keep it sharp!

2.basic set of small files

3.set of drafting deviders. very sharp points that touch at full
close. i use these to mark center lines. make circles etc.

4.hot tool . can be soldering iron, dentist tools heated over a
alcohol lamp to the very expensive wax tools. (cheapest i have
seen is soldering tool attached to an electric fan speed control,
just add very small tips)

  1. sand paper for finishing, moisten with wax clean or mineral
    spirits to keep from filling paper. silk cloth with wax clean or
    mineral spirits for polish. ( you can also flame polish, but you
    better practice a lot before you try it on and important piece.

I know some of this is not all the you need so if you have
specific questions e-mail me at frankgo@earthling.net
luck Frank

I’m not sure if these books have been mentioned yet (my email
system has been iffy lately):

  1. Creative Wax Carving – Ruth Pierce
    A spiral bound book with a good intro to wax work, plus 8
    detailed, well photographed carving projects. The projects tackle
    3 dimensional carving of things like heads and and bodies.

  2. Modelling in Wax…-- Lawrence Kallenberg
    Classic book on wax work. Describes all types of wax work in
    detail including carving.

These are the 2 books I purchased when I was trying to learn how
to work with wax.

Dear M. Jones:

I strongly suggest that you take some basic drawing classes and
learn how to draw (Yes drawing is a skill that can be learned!!!)
Most colleges offer basic drawing classes (it is the most popular
continueing education class at most schools). Once you get the
drawing basics down pat, your creative juices will be following!!
Once you learn how to “see” as an artist, drawing, carving and
designing will follow