Intro to Wax Carving


A friend wants to try a little wax carving, naturally I said I’d find some good resources online. And, naturally, I’ll post them here.

If you enjoy online video, here’s one, part of a series by Courtney Gray at Expert Village.

Here are a number of articles on

Cut Loose – Wax Carving Basics: Part 1 by Kate Wolf

A photo essay by Mark Mann showing the carving process of jeweler Bill Holman: Custom Designed Drusy Pendant.

A more technical article called Finding Flaws, by J. Tyler Teague.

Background info. on ring sizing, if your project is a ring: Determination of Ring Sizes from Brynmorgen Press.

A number of articles and tutorials at Kate Wolf’s site.

What wax and tools do I recommend?

I really like the Kate Wolf line of tools and waxes. See the wax products here: Her gold and silver colored waxes are extremely helpful if you, or your clients, have trouble visualizing purple or green wax as a finished piece of jewelry.

Micro set shown.

Tools here: (these are way too sharp for use with metal clay, in case you were curious!) and they’re sold by many of the major jewelry supply houses.

Kate’s teaching schedule is here:

Now, whenever I want to break into a new skill area, I like to read the catalogs and study their kits. What’s their opinion on “everything I need to get started?” Here’s a link to the Otto Frei Professional Wax Carving Kit.

It is true that you need special saw blades for wax (regular ones get clogged), special wax files, and you’ll probably want a way to work with wax and heat. You can use a classic alcohol lamp, heating your steel tools and then working the wax, but if you get into wax carving at all, you’ll want an electric wax “pen.” Rio sells a mini, battery operated wax pen that would probably do for occasional use. Otherwise, you’ll want a plug in unit. Having the consistent heat is really nice to work with.

Recommended book:

Update: I tried my hand at some wax carving today and wow, are those Wolf Carving tools nice. They’re so very well designed for the purpose. You can tell they were designed by someone who’d been carving wax for 25 years. They come with a handy booklet that explains how to use them and what the various shapes are for.

Related posts:

Why Not Wax?

Lost Wax Casting for Metal Clay

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About the Author

ElaineI'm an artist and writer. I blog about metal clay and jewelry making and the business of crafts at All Things Metal Clay.View all posts by Elaine →

2 comments on “Intro to Wax Carving

  1. Vickie Hallmark on said:

    How timely! I bought some wax to carve, since I’ve so enjoyed carving metal clay. I’ve done it long ago in a jewelry class, but this is a great resource. Thanks!

  2. Stevie B. on said:

    Used dental tools are pretty nice to work with as well. Ask your dentist (or better the real power-the Hygienists) if (s)he can keep old ones for you :)


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