Casting is very well known type of sculpture. Some other types of sculpting, like making Bronzes, rely on
types of casting but casting is a method of sculpting in its own right. The earliest known example of a cast
sculpture is a frog sculpture that has been dated to 3200 BCE.
The process of casting involves making a detailed mold in the shape of the sculpture and then pouring
material into the mold. Once it hardens the sculpture is pressed or broken out of the mold and finished. There are
several different types of casting that you can use to make sculpture. One, lost wax casting, was discussed earlier
because it is typically used when a sculptor is working with bronze. Here are the other types.
This is usually done in the process of making a bronze. It’s an early stage casting where the artist will
typically use plaster to make an early version of the final sculpture that the artist wants to create. These
plaster casts will not crack or break the way that clay molds can so most artists that work with bronzes prefer to
do their first drafts using waste molding instead of clay.
Sand casting is the most popular method that artists use to create sculptures. Usually these are just the
preliminary models of a later work but sometimes artists do the complete sculpture in sand casting. Sculptors love
using sand casting because sand is cheap, it’s recyclable, it’s great for small jobs and can be easily mixed in
small quantities, and it’s easy to find. Sand casting is the process of mixing sand either with green clay or with
a liquid like motor oil or other chemical binders to make it easier to shape into a mold.
Plaster casting is similar to sand casting and it’s also very popular for many of the same reasons. But,
plaster casting is not without disadvantages. One of the problems with plaster casting is that there is no room for
error. Sand cast items can be broken down and re-used but once a plaster cast is hardened there is no way to fix
Resin casting is a relatively new type of casting for the art world. High strength man made resins like
epoxy or polyester can create sculptures that have a lot of strength and durability but aren’t also very pretty to
look at. For that reason resin cast sculptures almost always need to be painted after the initial casting work is
done. Because resin casts are so durable many people that make home decorating sculptures or garden and patio
sculptures use resin casting to make their sculptures.