Sculpture skills – rubber mould making for lost wax casting with Stephen Coles

Ref: SLW33616

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About this course

Learn the processes involved to produce a high-quality professional silicon rubber mould for use in the l o st wax process . In addition to this , you will also use your mould to produce a wax copy of your original work.

Course Description

Before the invention of silicon rubber in the 19th century, artists and founders relied upon materials such as plaster, wood, stone and even gelatine to create copies of sculptures and other three-dimensional forms. The invention of silicon rubber revolutionised the casting process, making it possible to produce highly accurate copies using this durable, detailed tool.

During this course, you will learn the processes involved in making a silicon rubber mould with rigid jacket. This will include establishing parting lines, registration, dealing with undercuts and other technical considerations. While this is an introductory course, some hand skills and attention to detail is helpful.

Your tutor will aim to answer all your questions about types of moulds, methods, material considerations, types of rubber, shore hardness, release agents and curing times. The course will also cover how to use your mould to create wax copies of your original piece, the best ways to prolong the life of your mould and how to store it so it can be used for years to come.

Due to the time constraints of the course, please contact the tutor by emailing [email protected] to discuss your ideas for your piece ahead of time.


Evening welcome

Introduction to rubber mould making including brief history, process overview, health and safety and housekeeping. Please bring your piece or object for discussion.

Day 1


Establishing parting lines and discussion about mould design, undercuts, surface texture and technical considerations. Layer first section of rubber.


Finish layering rubber and establish keys, wax working demo whilst curing. Produce first rigid jacket.

Aim: All pieces shall have their first section of rubber applied and jacketed.

Day 2


Prepare and clean mould ready for second rubber section. Layer first coat of rubber.


Finish layering rubber and establish keys. Produce second rigid jacket.

Aim: All pieces shall be jacketed ready for divesting the following day.

Day 3


Open moulds, clean and prepare for use.

Wax working demonstration

Pour waxes


Open moulds and trim and prepare waxes

By the end of the course you will have completed a rubber mother mould with rigid jacket to a professional standard and learnt to use the mould to produce a wax copy of your piece.

This workshop feeds into the Sculpture skills: Wax working for metal casting workshop.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops until 9pm, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials


  • On this course the College will supply all of the materials including silicon rubber, wax and Jesmonite.

What students need to bring

  • Stout boots and clothes you do not mind getting dirty. A pair of overalls or apron is also advised if not.
  • Due to the time constraints of the course, students should contact the tutor by emailing [email protected] to discuss their ideas for their piece ahead of time.

Available to buy

  • Available from shop:
  • A good variety of art and craft materials are available to buy.

Additional information

Please wear appropriate clothing/aprons for the workshop or studio, this includes stout covered footwear (no sandals or open toes).


Stephen Coles

Stephen Coles studied at Carmarthen School of the Arts, before completing a master’s degree in sculpture at Alfred University, New York. After teaching there, he returned to the UK to begin his own foundry practice. In addition to teaching at institutions throughout the UK and Europe, Stephen works with artists, museums and conservationists creating bespoke works in metal.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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Further study options

Take the next step in your creative practice, with foundation level to Masters in Fine Art study. 

Depending on your experience, start with an Online Foundation Certificate in Art and Design (one year, part-time), a Foundation Diploma in Art and Design made up of 10 short courses taken over two years (part-time) or advance your learning with our BA (Hons) Art and Contemporary Craft: Materials, Making, and Place (six years part-time). All will help you develop core skills, find direction in your practice and build an impressive portfolio in preparation for artist opportunities or higher-level study. See all degree and diploma courses.