You will need the following materials:
- Your prepared image (from Part One of this tutorial)
- 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.
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.