As at-home activities go, we can safely say we’ve peaked with the CAST jewellery making experience. The humble diy flower crown is cancelled, guys.
CAST, a company based in Sheffield and owned by brothers James and Luke Cottingham, offers bespoke jewellery making experiences across the UK, from public events to private hen dos, team building sessions and wedding ring workshops for couples.
The second element of CAST is the bespoke jewellery making kits, designed for all those people who prefer to get creative in their own time and in the comfort of their own home. It’s genius.
The bespoke jewellery making kit is £29 and contains everything you need to design and create your very own jewellery at home, including shaping tools, sandpaper, wax moulds and a tin and freepost envelope so your design can reach the team safely, ready for casting.
You don’t need any experience but if you find yourself stuck for ideas, you can always check out the Makers Table section on CAST’s Instagram or website for tips and design inspo.
Whether you want to make a signet ring, a hammered coin pendant, earrings or cufflinks, the possibilities are endless. The more unique and special to you, the better!
Once you’re happy with your piece, you simply fill out the online form and send your piece off to the CAST experts. There’s also an opportunity to add in your ring size, metal and choice of finish.
Every piece then goes through a strict ancient process of lost wax casting by the silversmithing team and is finished by hand in solid silver, platinum or gold. Prices for casting the jewellery start from £60 for a single wax jewellery piece weighing upto 1.5g in wax. You can also select optional extras such as engraving, gold plating and stone setting.
Not only do you get the opportunity to switch off and make some magic, you also get a piece of jewellery designed and carved by you, for you. Buzzing!
And because we couldn’t resist having a go at it ourselves, you can see the team’s CAST creations below!
I bloody love getting crafty and I would go as far as to say this is my favourite activity so far. The whole experience was just great. The guys who run its were so friendly and it was just like friends hanging out. I sometimes worry that zoom calls and classes will be awkward but this wasn’t awkward at all. We were on the call for over 2 hours and it absolutely flew by.
I decided to make a ring because I want to have some that I like and want to wear every day. I engraved all my families names in to it so it means something too. I can’t say I was great at it but I really enjoyed it.
I have giant sausage fingers and got a bit carried away when I was trying to make the ring bigger and made it too big. The guys were so helpful and made it a tiny bit smaller so it wouldn’t slip of, I would have cried if I’d lost it after 700 hours making it.
I couldn’t stop, I kept adding to it afterwards so it actually took me about a month to sign up in the end. I opted for a gold finish in a kind of worn style, if that’s what you call it? And actually love how it came out. I genuinely think this would make a great gift for someone and love the idea of making wedding bands for each other.
For someone who writes and takes photos for a living, you’d think I’d have creative bones but for whatever reason, crafting and me have never hit it off, so I had to manage my expectations of my jewellery making abilities. I wasn’t exactly confident I’d be up to the task of creating something I could realistically ya know, wear with pride. I have a hard time drawing a star (true story) let alone chiselling something from wax with my own barely functioning hands. Luckily for me Luke and James were pretty pro imperfection when it comes to making unique pieces of jewellery, which bodes well for this clumsy girl.
The bespoke kit is beautifully presented with all kinds of fancy utensils – the jewel blade slightly terrified me at first but if I can use it without hacking a finger off, you’ll be fine. For £29 I think it’s a pretty good deal for the quality tools you’re getting. Plus, you can carry on making jewellery time and time again, just order some more wax refills for 50p and job’s a good’un.
I found the process of sanding away at the wax and seeing the design take shape really calming. I was in the zen zone! In terms of the making side of things, it was much easier than I thought it would be, which speaks volumes because, did I mention, I’m outrageously bad at crafts. Now I’m not saying my creation is Hatton Garden worthy or anything but that’s kind of the point. I wanted to create something a bit battered and irregular (like its mother) and I think it’s going to come into its own when it’s been through the casting process.
I love that you can create anything you set your mind to with CAST – from wedding rings to sentimental keepsakes or even a blooming croissant ring if you so wished – I did wish very much so but without exhausting this self-deprecating memoir I’m writing here, I think that would have been a little bit ambitious. You don’t need to be an expert, you just have to have fun with it.
I can’t wait to see the finished result and wear a piece of jewellery I designed and made myself, all in the comfort of my own pad. I’ll definitely be making another piece in the future. Thank you to the lovely CAST team for making it happen!
I would consider myself a relatively creative person but for some reason my brain really struggles with tactile things like this, as I learnt the hard way during my art GCSEs in which my vision rarely translates IRL, haha! I absolutely love jewellery though, and especially rings, so I was so excited at the prospect of this lovely evening activity with the team, and it certainly did not disappoint!
I was definitely a little intimidated when I first opened up the box as the different tools and materials looked v professional for an extreme newbie, but the CAST guys were so wonderful and knowledgeable that it definitely helped me feel at ease. The team shared one of their Pinterest boards at the beginning of the session which was really helpful as it is quite easy to feel a bit overwhelmed with just how many possibilities there are in terms of the direction you want to take your design in. I decided on a simple band design for my ring (managing expectations of my abilities early on) and shaping, adjusting and fitting the ring was really therapeutic actually! It’s the perfect mindful activity to be focused on and feel very ‘in the moment’ whilst also allowing for a glass of wine (optional!) and chat with the group too.
I decided to melt some wax too and give that a go, adding some small bead-like textures to the front of the ring which looks super simple but I think once CAST will be quite chic (hopefully) and classic. I’m opting for a gold finish as I’m definitely a gold lover through and through and I can’t wait to see how this more personal, unique
Normally when we do crafty things as a team I have grand illusions of how it will turn out, try-hard for about 10 minutes, then mess it up and just decide to have fun and make a mess instead. But because I love jewellery – specifically rings – so much, I put my all into this one so I could create something I can wear and wouldn’t leave in a box for years to come!
The box came beautifully packaged with some really high-end tools, I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. To kick things off we had to sand the inside of our rings to fit our fingers, I wanted one for my index finger as this is my chunkiest finger and always harder to find rings for. Sanding down the hole was time-consuming but super easy and I realised what a good opportunity it is to get a perfectly sized ring.
I started chipping away at the ring to get it a bit thinner and realised I loved the hammered effect so I kept on chipping and sanded down the edges so it wasn’t as sharp. I wanted to keep my band quite long like a cigarette band as apposed to something thin and dainty. I haven’t received my ring back yet but I’m super excited to see how it turns out.
I’d highly recommend using CAST if you’re looking to get into jewellery making, and it would also make a great activity for an event or party. I’ve done so many hen do activities in the past that cost so much money, doing something like this where people can go away with something they will actually want to keep is perfect!
I don’t usually get crafty and actually I do really enjoy it once I get stuck in but I’m bad at finding time to just sit and make something or get creative. So when I found out we were going to be making our own jewellery I was so excited! It’s also so nice to spend some time away from your phone and just enjoy the moment creating something cool.
I had such a fun experience with the CAST guys and the kit is so lovely with all the bits and bobs you need to make your own bespoke jewellery! Their Instagram and Pinterest are also full of great inspo if you find yourself a bit stuck on the design (which I absolutely was at first).
I decided to create a ring, which let me tell you took a while as I have rather large fingers, so carving out the size of my ring took me ages but it was so worth it for the accomplishment. For my design I decided to go with a textured metal effect by heating up one of the tools with a candle and then melting the wax to create a bumpy, textured effect. I hope once it’s cast to metal it should look pretty cool! I’ve gone with a silver finish as I think that looks best with the style ring I’ve designed.
I’m really excited to see the finished result and wear a piece of jewellery I designed myself! I would absolutely recommend this to anyone who is looking for something crafty to do, it would also be a fabulous gift!
This article was part of an AD – Gifted experience.