A lovely friend recently sent me a wonderful package of original keys, to use them as the springboard to create faux antique copies. I was so excited to see them, and to see if I could replicate the originals. They're very special, and unique. Distinctive!
Here's just one of them, a large fancy one, with a sort of brass mixed metal on the bottom and a scroll in white metal on the top. I mixed up the mold compound, and set to trying to duplicate the key. I didn't want it three-dimensional, I like to keep them flat on the reverse to keep the bulk down, and to make them rest smoothly on a flat back.
After the mold set and finished up, I prepared it for casting and took a first prototype cast from it. The pewter is very shiny and bright when first cast. It doesn't have a lot of shadows or patina on it, it's just bright white metal until I set to work on it. It also has a lot of excess metal from the casting that has to be removed.
After I cleaned up the excess metal and polished the edges, I drilled a hole in the bottom to use for a dangle or to attach a jump ring and chain. I don't mind drilling the duplicates, but I wouldn't ever want to drill the originals!
I put a dark patina on the metal. Where the original scrolls are open, I left them closed on the duplicate and allowed the dark patina to settle in the loops, to make them interesting and showy.
I polished and buffed it, and applied a special finishing compound on it so the patina is protected. The pewter sometimes gets little pinholes while it's casting, and for these old keys I like that look on the shaft of the key. I think it makes it look more authentic and old, not manufactured.
Here is the original and the replica side by side. The original is on the right side. The duplicate is on the left.
I'm pleased with the amount of detail and finish on the replica. I'll be sending it to the original's owner, to compare!
I think with a key this large, I might try drilling holes along the shaft, so dangles could hang down when the key is hung on a chain horizontally, maybe three holes along the shaft and one at the end for attaching the chain.
I love preserving and reproducing these old things, so they can have another, new life as jewelry, collage or mixed media art emblems!