Wednesday, November 12, 2008

DIY casting a belt buckle: Fish, Trilobite and Turtle

Starting with a clay model of the final belt buckle. The clay surrounding it is intended to hold in the plaster that will be used to make the mold.

I made this fish using a pottery tool set like this one:

Next plaster is poured to make a mold for the zinc.

Once the plaster has set the clay is removed.

The plaster cast is heated in a woodfire or BBQ grill.
Zinc is heated in a metal can in a wood fire or coffee can furnace until it is molten.
The molten zinc is poured into the mold and then the back is compressed with a 2x4.
Finally the coat hanger is dipped in to the zinc and held until the zinc sets.
The metal is pulled out of the plaster.

The extra metal is cleaned off with a Dremel tool

Turtle belt buckle DIY trilobite belt buckle diy
Cartoon turtle and Trilobite. Some more of my belt buckles with the same method.

My cartoon turtle belt buckle.
Other online cast metal fishes!

Here is a book that I have really enjoyed about casting: Creative Casting Jewelry Silverware Sculpture
lots of good photos and descriptions of a number of casting processes.

My metal source. is or buy through amazon


  1. I came across your blog while looking for things to do with old wine bottles. :)

    why do you heat up the cast before pouring in the zinc?
    what do you heat it to?


  2. The goal of heating the mold is that plaster holds water bound to the plaster. the hot metal releases steam that boils through the metal and leaves holes. if you heat it you have less bubbles. To do it right you need it like 1200 deg. I have no idea how hot I get them in the BBQ but I don't get all the moisture out.

  3. I was wondering where you are able to get your Zinc. Are there any stores you can get it from or do you have to order it online?

    And thank you so much! I'm trying to make a semi regular belt buckle but I can't find any close to the size I want. This will help SO MUCH!!

  4. At the end of the post there is a link to rotometals that you can use to purchase zinc. you can also try pewter if you are looking for more detail.

  5. Hi, is it easy to remove the clay from the set plaster mould? Does it not matter if theres a few very small pieces still stuck there?


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