How are bronze sculptures made?

The creation of a bronze sculpture is a rather long but rewarding process. If you’d like to learn more, check out our bronze sculpture process page. First, the artist takes his or her idea for the sculpture and makes a model or maquette out of clay or wax. The model may take days, weeks or months of work to finish. The model is then taken to the art foundry. Using the artist model, skilled workers make a rubber mold of the model. This rubber mold is backed with fiber glass or plaster to make it rigid. The mold is often composed of many pieces depending on the complexity of the model. This mold will also take days or weeks to complete. Wax is sloshed into the mold and poured out several times. This will create a hollow wax model that is an exact match for the original clay model. A wax cup, runners and sprews are attached to the wax sculpture to form channels for the molten bronze to flow through. A multi-layered ceramic coating, or shell, is applied to the wax. The wax model, covered in a ceramic shell, is fired to 2000 degrees F. This sets the ceramic material and melts out the wax. Now the hollow ceramic shell is filled with molten bronze and left to cool. The shell is removed and the cup, runners and sprews are cut off. The bronze sculpture is ground, polished and sand blasted. A patina, or chemical color, is applied and the surface of the sculpture is waxed and polished. After weeks or months of careful painstaking work the sculpture is mounted on a base and ready to present to the customer.

Interested in how bronze sculptures were made in ancient times? Check out the video below!

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