In each bi-monthly episode of DiResta (every other Wednesday at 2pm PT), artist and master builder Jimmy DiResta (Dirty Money, Hammered, Against the Grain, Trash for Cash) lets us into his workshop, to look over his shoulder while he builds whatever strikes his fancy. On this episode of DiResta, Jimmy casts a skull buckle from delft clay and a tin alloy to make any metal head swoon. – Stett Holbrook 

Diresta Skull


  • Carving chisel
  • Propane torch
  • Crucible
  • Steel wool
  • Shop tools

Jimmy’s Notes:

A few years ago I was introduced to a great material: delft clay. Using this casting material with a low-melt tin alloy, it is possible to make your own metal jewelry at home. In this video I make a belt buckle. I always like the look of wood grain in metal castings. Here I carve a “form” from a piece of Paduk (same piece I used for the Hatchet vid. It has a nice grain that shows through the carving. In the video I make two castings. One will be used as a badge for my truck. For the other you  can see how I make the “mechanics” of the buckle out of one piece of 3/16″ rod. I simply dropped it into the melted tin alloy. I drilled a few small holes into the bent wire to help it adhere to the casting. I chose a skull because I am metal head … in more ways than one.

Stett Holbrook

Stett Holbrook

Stett Holbrook is editor of the Bohemian, an alternative weekly in Santa Rosa, California. He is a former senior editor at Maker Media.

He is also the co-creator of Food Forward, a documentary TV series for PBS about the innovators and pioneers changing our food system.

  • asciimation

    Thanks, another nice film and I learned about something new, the delft clay. I’ve been teaching myself normal green sand casting but that looks good for smaller, more delicate items.

    Is that wire really 1/8th? Looks heavier than that in the film.


    • Stett Holbrook

      Good eye. I asked Jimmy to double-check and he said it was 3/16″.

  • Brandon Stokes

    Could i purchase the mold itself or a belt buckle?? I am super interested!!!

    • Stett Holbrook

      Contact Jimmy directly at

      • Brandon Stokes

        Okay thanks!