In this process, the wax and the textile are both replaced by the metal during the casting process, whereby the fabric reinforcement allows for a thinner model, and thus reduces the amount of metal expended in the mould.Evidence of this process is seen by the textile relief on the reverse side of objects and is sometimes referred to as "lost-wax, lost textile".The foam supports the sand, allowing shapes that would be impossible if the process had to rely on the sand alone.The metal is poured in, vaporizing the foam with its heat.
The lost-wax process can be used with any material that can burn, melt, or evaporate to leave a mould cavity.
Conservative estimates of age from carbon-14 dating date the items to c. Though the process today varies from foundry to foundry, the steps used in casting small bronze sculptures are fairly standardized.
(In modern industrial use, the process is called investment casting.) Variations of the process include: "lost mould", which recognizes that materials other than wax can be used (such as: tallow, resin, tar, and textile); Prior to silica-based casting moulds, these moulds were made of a variety of other fire-proof materials, the most common being plaster based, with added grout, and clay based. The methods used for small parts and jewellery vary somewhat from those used for sculpture.
The cremation graves (mainly 8th-7th centuries BC, but continuing until the beginning of the 4th century) from the necropolis of Paularo (Italian Oriental Alps) contained fibulae, pendants and other copper-based objects that were made by the lost-wax process.
Etruscan examples, such as the bronze anthropomorphic handle from the Bocchi collection (National Archaeological Museum of Adria), dating back to the 6th to 5th centuries BC, were made by cire perdue.