Community Collaboration/ Hot Metal Pour

Community Hot Metal Pour Sand Mold Carving Instructions:

When your sculpture is poured with metal and taken out of the sand mold, it will be the reverse of what you carve.

  • You will be provided with a bonded-sand block that has a ½ deep recessed area of either a 6, 8, or 10 inches, size determined by price.

  • Lightly draw on the sand mold with a pencil or a sharpie. The marks will not appear on the final sculpture.

  • Select a carving tool that you feel would be best suited for the texture and design of your sculpture. The most popular carving tool to create raised lines is a nail, however other tools such as chisels, dental tools, screwdrivers, rasps, and grinding balls or discs can be used as well.

  • You must leave 1 inch at the bottom of the sand block uncarved. Carving too deep into the form could cause a leak or break in your mold. (If you accidentally carve too deep, please tell one of the Franconia artists assisting with the sand molds and they will do what they can to repair it.)

  • What you carve into the mold will come forward in relief in the final metal form. The final image will be the reverse of what you carve.

  • The area you do not carve will remain recessed.

  • If you want lettering, it must be drawn in reverse as if looking into a mirror. An easy method for creating letters is to first draw with sharpie on a paper, then flip the paper over and transfer the design to the sand block.

Safety equipment will be provided.

Safety concerns:

Silica dust is harmful to lungs. Dust masks and safety goggles are available on each table.

To clear your mold from sand, tip it over and use a paintbrush to dust it out or bring it to the vacuum area that the artists have set up near the mold queue.

  • Do not blow on the mold to remove excess sand.

  • Be mindful of others working around you.

The sand blocks are made with silbond, which is a two part non-toxic resin that breaks down with water.

  • Do not have any liquid near or on molds while carving.

After your mold has been poured and after the metal cools, Franconia artists clean and grind any sharp bits of iron from the work, so you can take your sculpture home.

If you need to leave before your sculpture is completed, please leave your contact information at the info table, (including a small sketch of the tile) Also indicate when you expect to return to pick up the tile.

Artist Process for creating cast metal sculpture:

  1. Create a three-dimensional (positive) sculpture pattern to make a sand mold from. That sculpture pattern can be any combination of materials because it will not be permanent.

  2. The artist then makes a sand mold (to pour hot molten metal into) of that sculpture pattern. Sometimes these molds have as many as twenty parts, and can weigh up to 2000 pounds. The original (temporary) sculpture is then removed from the mold, thus making the space (void) for the hot iron to be poured into.

  3. The iron cupola (furnace) is then fired up to 2500° F using coke, a derivative of coal, to fuel the furnace. Iron is then slowly loaded into the top of the cupola to create a reservoir of iron that is ready to pour.

  4. Then all of the workshop residents’ sculptures are filled with molten iron from the preheated ladle. The artists also pour liquid iron into all of the sculpture molds made by community members.

It is an exciting and Hot, Hot, Hot event!

Stop by the Park anytime during the last week of July through the first week of August to visit with the artists involved and learn more about their work.

For a complete list of our Supporters, please click here.

For a complete list of our Individual Patrons, please click here.

For a complete list of In Kind Support, please click here.

Click here to view 2009 event calendar
Click here to view 2008 event calendar



















29836 St. Croix Trail - Franconia, MN 55074 - 651.257.6668