Bismuth Crystals – A Summertime Project

I found this video and showed Connor. This will be our first project scheduled for this summer.

I ordered 3lbs of Bismuth from Roto Metals. What is amazing about this metal is it’s density. When the 3lbs arrived it was small. When you pick up a piece your eyes and brain fool you into thinking it will be light because of size instead it was heavier than expected.

First we will be using the above video just to play around and see what we can make. I’ll go pickup some cheap pots at an outlet store like Big Lots. I don’t want to ruin any of our good stuff.

We may even try to take this project a step further and try to make our own Bismuth Crystal Skull like the Bismuth Guy on Etsy. His items are cool but I do wonder about if it’s just a fun side venture for him or an actual business. My cost per lb of bismuth from RotoMetals was approx $20 per lb. His sculptures cost roughly $45 per lb plus shipping.


I see stuff people make and sell all the time and I always look at what their costs are and the potential profitability for their product.

His bismuth sculptures have some initial expenditure of costs/materials to create the molds. Then you also have to factor making multiple molds as I don’t know how long each mold lasts for how many pourings.

After molds are created he needs to just pour in molten bismuth and let it cool for a set amount of time. Then pour out remaining molten metal to get the effect.

His main costs are labor and knowledge not materials.

His knowledge reminds of the a pricing story referencing Pablo Picasso:

Legend has it that Pablo Picasso was sketching in the park when a bold woman approached him.

“It’s you — Picasso, the great artist! Oh, you must sketch my portrait! I insist.”

So Picasso agreed to sketch her. After studying her for a moment, he used a single pencil stroke to create her portrait. He handed the women his work of art.

“It’s perfect!” she gushed. “You managed to capture my essence with one stroke, in one moment. Thank you! How much do I owe you?”

“Five thousand dollars,” the artist replied.

“B-b-but, what?” the woman sputtered. “How could you want so much money for this picture? It only took you a second to draw it!”

To which Picasso responded, “Madame, it took me my entire life.”

Bismuth Guy needs to charge more money for his sculptures.

Is this easy to grow these crystals and make these sculptures?

Yes and no. Getting the metal and making the molds are fairly easy.

The difficulty in growing bismuth crystals is learning how to grow them. It’s not just melt, pour and then BOOM you have crystals.

Growing the large crystals takes patience and experience. It is easy to melt and pour the metal but the rate at which you let the metal cool is what determines the the size and color of these amazing crystals.

Look at this crystal from Element 83 on Etsy. This crystal he is selling for approx $1500.  IT’S HUGE

Element 83 - $1500

Element 83 – $1500

This type of crystal take experience and knowledge to get this result. I would guess by the picture that this crystal probably weighs approx 3lbs. The material cost is relatively cheap. But the experience, trial and error, and method to create this crystal is immense.

Connor wants to try making something with a mold.

First we need to make a mold of a skull and I’m looking at this idea using RTV silicone. How to make High Temp Silicone RTV Mold at Instructables. I’ll need to confirm the RTV silicone I use is high temp enough for Bismuth at approx 520 degrees.

After making the mold I will need to plan a way to hold the mold and be able to pour into it.

Then next steps will be trial and error until we can get a desired result. Or give up and leave it to the artists above.

I’ll make a follow up post if we do the castings and show our results.


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Loren Nason

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