My name is Violette Noble and I am an artist who loves to search far and wide for bits and baubles whose origins may not be fully known but are always antique, rare, eclectic or just plain odd.
I use these fantastic finds in all my jewelry designs and each piece is created by me and is entirely unique.
Working with resin can be sooo much fun! The resin magnifies the image underneath it for a cool effect! Because this post is fairly long I'll intersperse some photos between sections but will put more at the end so I don't interrupt the lesson! (:
I am FAR from being an expert BUT I have learned a few things about working with resin which I'll share in the hopes that others will share their tips too! If you've found an easier or better way to do any of this PLEASE let me know!
I'll share the basics today and then tomorrow some variations etc!
You will need:
bezel (ring base, brooch base, bottlecap etc.)
2 part resin
plastic cups w/ measurements on the side
FLAT pan or FLAT container
foil or plastic work area
fingernail polish remover or acetone
matches or small blow torch
Today we'll just deal with one paper image on the bottom of your bezel, filled with resin.
First cut out your paper image, dry fitting it to make sure it fits perfectly into your bezel. Then using mod podge or another collage medium coat the inside of the bezel and the back side of the image. Watered down Elmer's glue works fine!
Place the image inside the bezel smoothing it with your fingers or a small paintbrush until it's flat. With your paintbrush clean up any beads of glue and after that's dry give it at least 2 coats more to make sure the image is sealed. If you don't make sure all the sides are sealed, the resin will seep in ruining the image. If you're using ink jet images just give the first coat a quick swipe or you will blur the image. the 2nd coat won't matter as much. It will look white but will dry clear.
You can add other things on top of your image....charms, jewels, watch parts etc. but I'll talk more about that tomorrow!
When the paper image inside your bezel is completely dry prepare your resin.
Someone told me that Rio Grande's resin is the exact same thing but I don't know...never tried it. If you have another brand don't worry.....they are all basically the same....Ice Resin is a just a little clearer.
I've also used the next two products with good success.
I work under a light that gets pretty warm because it helps the bubbles dissipate. It also helps if the bottles have been slightly warmed under warm water for a few minutes. Sometimes I forget this step so it's optional.
Wearing rubber gloves and using a cup with measurements on it, pour the EXACT same amount of each of the 2 compounds together. (ie one ounce of the first compound, then another ounce of the second compound making exactly 2 oz) Stir it gently with a popsicle stick....as gently as you can....sort of folding it....not whipping it up. The harder you whip it the more bubbles there will be. Set your timer for 2 minutes and make sure you scrape the sides and bottom to incorporate it all together.
I think it's always best to have several pieces to fill because it goes sooo much further than you think it will!
After mixing it for 2 minutes pour it into another CLEAN container and with a CLEAN popsicle stick gently stir it again for another 2 min. I haven't always done the 2nd mixing BUT if you don't mix it properly and there's some of either compound that isn't mixed it will ruin the whole batch. (I've never ruined a batch that way though...knock on wood!)
After the 2nd mixing leave it in it's container under a light or somewhere warm and leave it alone for 5 minutes. This will help the bubbles to dissipate on their own. Be sure to set your timer!
MAKE sure you have your pieces on a flat surface that you KNOW will not be disturbed for 24 hours OR a flat moveable container WHEN you pour because you will NOT want to move the pieces separately after you've filled them! Sometimes I use a sturdy piece of cardboard that I cover with foil or plastic.
************NOTE BEFORE YOU START MAKE SURE THAT YOUR PIECE IS ALSO LAYING FLAT! Sometimes I used popsicle stick or toothpicks to prop pieces up so they will be laying flat. Sometimes I nestle it onto an old towel or cloth that I don't care about...whatever works to keep the piece completely flat.
Have a layer (or 2) of foil under your pieces, (in the flat pan or flat moveable surface) then CAREFULLY pour the resin into your bezel. Sometimes I even use the popsicle stick and sort of "spoon it in". Especially if it's a tiny area. Some people use clean ketchup containers. If the area to fill is especially tiny OR I need to just put a tiny bit more in I use my toothpick and just put a "toothpick full" in. You might need to guide it into the crevices with your toothpick. Continue filling each piece until you are done. The resin dries so slowly that you can come back and put a bit more in if you wish.
Here's an example of earrings that only needed a couple of toothpicks full!
Now you need to get rid of the bubbles. There are several way to get rid of bubbles.
1) Some people who do a lot of pieces at one time use a small blow torch (the small kind chefs use for creme' brule) and just whisk the flame quickly over their pieces and the bubbles should pop. If they don't you can try and pop them with a toothpick but be careful not to let it run over.
2) You can also (not recommended but of course I don't pay any attention to that!) Take a big deep breath making sure your face is AWAY from the resin and then EXHALE on the piece. Most of the bubbles should leave. The problem with this method is that I always forget and take a big deep breath with my mouth right next to the resin because you usually have to do this several times.....DERRRR!!! Anyway DON'T DO THAT!
3) If you don't want to use a blow torch and you don't want to use your breath to get the bubbles out you can also try and light a match and hold it quickly over the piece and the bubbles should pop. (Sometimes a small black piece of match will fall in...you have plenty of time...just dig it out with a toothpick.)
*****It seems like whatever you do...there's always a few microscopic bubbles. After you've done all you can...don't worry about it!**********
After your pieces are exactly the way you want them, cover them with something making sure to leave them somewhere where no one will disturb them for 24 hours. If you've placed them on a flat pan or sturdy piece of cardboard covered with foil, move them carefully to another safe place. I use a plastic cake dome that I only use for this purpose and cover them to keep the dust off as they dry. Let them dry for 24 hours at least!
I hate to waste the cups with the measurements on them. They're made to be disposable but I still would not rather buy them again and again. I clean them out as best I can with paper towels and then wipe it clean with a cotton ball and acetone. (fingernail polish remover)
OK that's the basics! We'll talk about a lot more tomorrow so come back!~ In the meantime enjoy a few more photos!