Thursday, September 4

How To Embed Paper Into Resin - Part Two

Okay, now we get to the actual embedding part!

You will need the following materials:

  • Your prepared image (from Part One of this tutorial)
  • Resin
  • Mixing Cups
  • Mixing Tool (wooden craft stick, popsical stick, plastic stick, etc.)
  • Resin Mold
  • Heat tool/gun (usually called an embossing heat tool)

1. Set out all your materials so they are within ready reach. Mix your resin according to the manufacturers instructions. In this demo I am using EasyCast, which has a simple one-to-one mix ratio.

2. Pour a thin layer of clear resin into your selected mold. You will need to decide how deeply embedded you would like your image to be, and what kind of look you want for your final piece. If you pour a very thin layer, the image will appear to be right 'on top' of the finished piece. If you pour a thicker layer, the image will be further back in the piece and may even have a magnified appearance.

3. Use your heat tool to remove any air bubbles. In a continuous motion, make several passes about 1-2" above your mold until the bubbles have dissappeared.

4. Allow the first layer of resin to "set up" or cure for the desired amount of time. At this point, you have three choices of when to embed your image.

  • Stage 1 -You can embed it immediately, while the first layer is still in liquid form. Since you will need to press your image down to release air bubbles, this may result in pressing your image all the way to the bottom of the mold. If this is the look you want, then go for it...

  • Stage 2 - You can wait until the resin is firm and gooey but not yet fully hardened. If you poke it with your stir stick it will have a texture like chewed gum or tree sap. (And yes, if you touch it with your bare finger it will stick like tree sap, so be careful!) This is the option I like best since the the stickiness will keep your image in place and it is easy to squeeze out any air bubbles. With Easy Cast resin, it will take several hours to reach this stage. The exact time frame depends on the temperature and humidity, so just keep checking until it's at the right level of gooey firmness. If you are using a resin that requires a catalyst, this stage will happen much sooner (within a half an hour or so) so don't leave to whip up a batch of your favorite chocolate chip cookies, you may miss your window and have to go to stage 3...

  • Stage 3 - This is when first layer has hardened and is no longer sticky. You can choose this stage by choice or because you just plain forgot and now the resin is fully cured (yes, even overnight is ok, so don't worry!) The only problem I find with this stage is that it is harder to press out air bubbles, since the paper keeps lifting and sucking them back underneath. Your image may also slide around in the mold, so you may need to keep repositioning it until the resin firms up enough to stop moving.

5. Traditional instruction provides you must first dip and coat objects in resin before adding them to the resin already in your mold. This is to avoid or lessen the chance of causing air bubbles. When embedding paper, I've found that I can generally skip this step when working during stage 1 or stage 2. But you will have to experiment and see if this works for you. So for now...coat your prepared image in a new batch of resin.

I usually work in small batches, hence the small mixing cup. I just smash the image (gently) into the cup and work it around to fully coat it. Lift it with your stir stick and lay it face down into your mold. Press it gently to make good contact with your first resin layer and to push out any air bubbles. Then double-check your work. Lift the mold above eye level to check for air bubbles.

Be very, very careful. Take care not to tilt the mold and dump resin on yourself (yep, I've done it!) It's always a good idea to wear safety glasses when working with resin anyway, but if you've been living dangerously, I'd recommend using them now. If you accidentally got resin in your eyes it could cause blindness.

If there are any bubbles, set your mold down and press the image with your stir stick. Slide the stick from the center out - you should see any bubbles pop out to the surface.

I generally use my heat tool again to remove these bubbles.

6. Let this new small layer of resin gel or harden (stage 2 or 3) before applying your final layer. (If you filled the mold immediately, your image could possibly float to the top.)

7. Mix your final layer of resin and pour into your mold. I love using black as a final layer, so these picture show black resin. But you could use any color. Clear is great too. Allow to fully cure.

Remove from mold and admire!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it easy to understand and informative. I have complied all my tutorials, refined them, added new information and pictures, and added 2 complete step-by-step project instructions in this 32-page digital booklet, "Getting Started With Resin Jewelry". For more information, click here.


Anonymous said...

Jenny, this tutorial is really, really good! It's thorough, easy to understand, and it sounds so fun. I want to try working with resin now... You know what, there's this popular blog called that lots of people post their work to, you might want to try submitting your tutorial, even if it doesn't fit with the month's "theme" ;) Linky:

Anonymous said...

You've got a wonderful tutorial. I was wondering where you got your rectangular molds from. :)

Kirsty @ Bonjour Quilts said...

Hi Jenny,

I loved these tutorials - I actually printed them out and had them at my side as I conducted my first pour! I was wondering if you might continue on a bit further and give some hints on sanding and finishing.

Some of my pieces have a funny transparent film on the surface in some places, a bit like a watermark. I used mold release in a non-jewellery specific mold (a paint holding tray) and I'm wondering if it was that. If I sand the surface though, surely the wax won't be able to repair that?

I'd be grateful for any tips you could give. I've been scouring the blogs/websites/Sherri Haab's book but they don't go into the specifics of finishing things off. Do you ever re-dip to finish?

Thanks (sorry for asking so many questions).

Nyki said...

You make such amazing things! And you make it look so easy... :)

Pixie said...

So you laid the first layer and let it get gelish, then you embed whichever item (in my case a sticker) but I also want to add glitter. Do I close off the sticker first let that set then add glitter let that sit then add resin?

Now after this time which I timed was 3 hours till it tree sapped on me. Do I need to mix up MORE resin from scratch? Sorry to ask on your blog but I didn't get your email address from last time asking for tips and advice. Thanks.

markhed said...


Mik said...

That is pretty sweet, something I'd like to try. Dang, my list of projects to try is getting longer and longer.

Unknown said...

Thank you
Thank you
Thank you!!!!!!
Great tutorial!

Unknown said...

Thank you, wonderful tutorial, and you have great stuff in you shop!

Adeana said...

wow! so helpful and informative--you didnt leave out any details! im so stoked about trying this for myself now =) thank you thank you thank you!

Mel P said...

Thank you for the wonderful tutorials! I had thought about trying out resin before, but didn't know where to start. Now I'm newly inspired!

Mel P

(BTW, the link to Where to Buy Supplies goes to Embedding Paper Into Resin - Part Two.)

runu said...

I am hoping to start some resin pendants etc ( sooo excited!. So this is all new to me. Can I use acryle medium for sealing the paper...or PVA glue as I'm not sure we can get the stuff you used. I am in New Zealand Thanks

skinner studio said...

Hi Runu -

Yes - Mod Podge is just a really common brand here in the states, but any glue or sealant will work - just make sure it dries clear (so it doesn't alter your image) and let it dry completely dry before embedding in the resin.

Unknown said...

I am hoping for some suggestions on which casting resin brands to use that wont turn yellow over time as some of my pieces have yellowed within 3 months or so!

thanks in advance!

Unknown said...

I am hoping for any suggestions you may have as to the brand of casting resin you use that will not turn yellow over time? Some of my pieces have yellowed as early as 3 months!

Thanks in advance!

skinner studio said...

Cyndi - Since they are essentially a plastic, all resins can yellow over time. If you can keep them out of direct sunlight, that will make a huge difference. If you're up for it, the polyester casting resins (like Castin' Craft Clear) will be clear. Just be sure to follow all the safety instructions and use a respirator. For epoxy resin, I really like Colores brand - it is still a 2-part, low-odor resin. The hardener does still have a slight yellowish tint to it, but the proportion used is smaller. When poured it is nearly perfectly clear, and I haven't noticed any yellowing yet in any of my pieces.

Unknown said...

Thank you so much for a great tutorial! I keep coming back to your site for inspiration and tips. Would love, like a few others I see, to hear any pearls of wisdom you have on sanding and finishing off pieces. Also wondering if you have any experience with embedding large paper pieces into bangles? Have seem some bangles done with patterned paper inside but am not sure how to go about getting a loop to stay in place while pouring (kind of tall, skinny mould too...). Any ideas? Thanks again

Rona said...

Jenny -thank you for a well-thought-out and very clear (excuse the pun!) tutorial. People like yourself, willing to share your experiences and observations, give crafters the confidence to try something new, so I thank you for your generosity and humour.

Anonymous said...

Hi ! very interesting tutorials, thank you for so much detailed information.
Can you please tell me if the dried flowers must be sealed before embedding in the resin ?
I tried once without sealing a dried flower petal and its color changed a lot.
Thanks !