Tuesday, February 3

How To Make Resin Jewelry - Supplies

Part One – Getting Started with Supplies

Resin is an amazing medium, affording near endless possibilities for created new designs. There does, however, seem to be a blatantly large void in the realms of Internet information on the subject. So I wanted to share some of what I have learned in a series of tutorials on the materials and techniques used in resin casting. I’ll start with the absolute basics…

This first installment is just about materials and supplies. What to use and where to get them.

1. Resin

I recommend starting with EasyCast clear casting epoxy resin. It is great for beginners because it has an easy 1:1 mix ratio. It cures slowly, which is good and bad. Bad because you have to wait a day or more for your piece to fully cure before you can pop it out of the mold. But good – very good, if you need time to fiddle around with colors or inclusions. You have at least a good half hour (depending on local temperature) before the resin starts to gel and thicken.

You can find EasyCast at most local craft stores, some hardware store, and of course online.

2. Plastic Mixing/Measuring Cups & Stir Sticks

You will need plastic cups with graduated lines for measuring. Don’t use wax coated paper cups, as the wax could flake off into your resin. The best part about plastic cups is that they are reusable without a big cleanup hassle. Just leave your mess of resin in the cup, let it cure, then peel the whole thing out.

You can also find wooden stir sticks, or craft sticks at your local craft store or supermarket (Popsicle sticks).

3. Ready made Molds

A variety of ready made jewelry molds are available online.

4. Wax Paper, Gloves, and Paper Towels

Resin is very gooey, sticky, and hard to clean up. You need to protect your work surface and yourself.

Disposable gloves will keep your hand sticky-free.

Waxed paper makes a great work surface – drips won’t soak through, and resin won’t stick to it, so you can just leave all your mess right there and clean it up later after it has dried and is no longer ooey-gooey.

Keep some paper towels on hand to quickly wipe up drips that land where you don’t want them.

5. Heat Tool

This is not necessary, but very useful in removing air bubbles in the resin. Not so critical if you are using glitter or something, but with clear resin the bubbles will show a lot more and you will want to get rid of them.

You can get an Embossing Heat Tool in the rubber stamp aisle of your craft store, or online.

What about a hair dryer? - You can use one, but you need to be very careful. A hair dryer blows more air than heat - if you get too close, it can blow the resin right out of your molds and completely ruin your project. If you really want to try this method, be slow and careful. Make sure your settings are on "LOW" and "HOT/WARM". Begin by holding the hair dryer high above your mold (like 2 feet or a little more above). Turn the dryer on and, pointing it straight down, very slowly bring it down closer to your mold, watching the resin carefully to make sure it is not being blown around. At some point the heat should be able to reach the resin and pop the bubbles.

Dyes & Pigments

Above are the bare minimum, basic items you will need. But what’s the fun in that? You need some color!

There are liquid dyes and pigments made especially for resin. In addition to these, there are a variety of other liquids you can use including oil and acrylic paints - since these are not specifically formulated for use with resin, finding the right types and proportions may be a matter of experimentation.
Dry pigments afford another opportunity for a wide range of color. Anything dry, and free of oils, can be added to resin. Consider some of the following:
Artists Pastels
Clothing Dye (powder form)
Tempura powders
And type of powder pigment
Artist pastels offer an endless array of colors. Use a craft knife or razor to gently shave the edges of the pastel.

I especially like Pearl Ex powdered pigments for their subtle shimmer and deep jewel tones.
These items can all be found at your art/craft store. While you are there, peruse the aisles for other fun things to mix in your resin: buttons, candy sprinkles, etc.

Well, now that you have all your materials, you’re ready to start casting! The next article in this series will discuss how to mix the resin and how to use your dyes and pigments…

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...

I was so excited to find this information. I have been searching the internet for something straight forward. I can't wait to read what you post next.

Anonymous said...

I use easy cast resin as well but have found that it doesn't cure rock hard. I can squeeze it in my fingers and feel it give. I have tried acrylic paint, oil paint, and even Colores resin pigment. They all turn out soft. Is this normal? I read that easy cast does not get as hard as other resins. Is it better to use dry pigments? Do have any other brands of resin you would suggest that do cure rock hard?

Anonymous said...

Your blogs are great. When is the next installment?

www.decotile.us said...

Very interesting! Looking forward to read more. This might be what I've been looking for. So many nice things to try and so little time to learn all about it. Thanks to you I now know a lot more! Thanks!!

Anonymous said...

For rock hard resin use envirotex this can be found at art supply stores. Just ask the store clerk how long the product has been sitting on the shelf. Follow the manufacturers instructions carefully. Use a painters face mask not a dust mask to protect your lungs, rubber gloves a must, and a heat tool for removing bubbles blowing the bubbles out does not work that well and you will get bubbles. It sets up in 4 hours and a hard set in 24 hours. High gloss and a a + finish.

Hope this helps
Resin Artist

Anonymous said...

This is an awesome find. I'm starting a small business in Atlanta GA and I would love to add resin hairpins and combs to the mix. Do you have any advice on how to make it work on hairpins. I've purchased some from the local craft store and would love to put the resin on the flat part of the of a silver metal hair pin . Will it work and how can I get it to stay in the right places?

Anonymous said...

I make alot of beaded jewlery already. Than I went to a craft fair and saw bottle caps with picures underneith and covered with what was probably resin, then there were others where the resin had coffee beans and cany sprinkles in it(the were key chains)...so i was wondering how to so something like that...put something under and in the resin

Camille said...

I came upon this post recently while looking for how to's. Your directions are simple to follow, and greatly appreciated.

I used a small, 25 cabachon circles mold last night around 8:30. I had heard that if you let them cure for a bit to where they will be able to hold the shape of the mold, you can pop them out and they will be glossier. I tried this, but could not get them out.

I let them sit overnight and this morning, 12 hours later, they were much more solid, just a tad tacky, but I still could not pop them out. Just now, at 11:30, I tried again. I was able to get ONE out, but I dented it in the process.

What are the rules on letting them stay in the molds? Was I wrong? I know I measured the resin and hardener perfectly, and I also added mold release even though I was told it was not totally necessary.


One Creative Queen said...

This is an excellent post! Then again, I kind of approached your blog in a backwards fashion - so I've read several posts before this one. Yes - I'm also the kind of person who never reads a magazine in order, either - I'm all over the place. :)

You are exactly right - there is a void of good resin info online. Your posts help to fill a good bit of that void - your instructions are clear, your materials list is complete without being complicated, you lay things out so instructions are well-organized, and your sense of humor peeks through. I don't know what else anyone could want from a tutorial - yours are just fantastic!

I really appreciate your willingness to share your information, tips and tricks.

If you wouldn't mind emailing me, I would really like to discuss some specific resin issues with you. I'm very interested in hearing what you think may - or may not - have happened. You're a great resource and it's a pleasure to read your blog!


Jewelry Making Supplies said...

I loved the article! These types of resources are extremely valuable to anyone interested in making jewelry. I can't wait to read some more of your articles!

Unknown said...

Great blog! Like Sherri, I had trouble finding something like this as well. Can't wait to see what info you have up next.

Bad Habit Beauty said...

Thanks so much for this! It helped me out a lot. It was straight to the point and you gave great information on everything!!


Anonymous said...

@Anonymous (resin not hardening):

Make sure you have the proper ratio of the two liquids. It should be -exactly- (or as humanly close to exact) 1:1.

Also be sure to leave the resin alone for at LEAST 24 hours. It may not be hard before then.

Be sure you're not using silicone molds. This type of resin will NOT harden in silicone.

Also, if all else fails, try adding a LITTLE more hardener in than the resin itself.

Anonymous said...

This post is great.
I would really like to find an eco friendly resin to make some pendants . I havent got much experience, so a suggestion for the most basic eco resin to use at home would be great.
Thank you

skinner studio said...

Regarding an eco friendly resin...I don't think any resin is really eco friendly. It is a chemical, not natural, and in it's liquid form is toxic (you need to dispose of un-used resin with the same protocols as oil and paint, etc...)

If you're asking more about the fumes or harm to humans, then epoxy resins are the safer way to go.

I hope that helps...

Karen said...

I have just purchased your download and can't wait to get started.


Baby Bird Built said...

I like that this was to the point, simple, easy to follow, included pictures, and seemed friendly and inspiring. Great work!!

Anonymous said...

Hmm thats called the descriptive guide. I really enjoyed and understood a lot.

fashion jewelry

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this straight forward, no fuss intro to resin! Exactly what I was looking for and really helpful with out boring or over whelming!

Vaibhav said...

Thanks for the ideas. There's always something new to learn and improve on in this mad internet world. Uptiming is surely something to keep an eye on. epoxy resin

BeadsByCelleste said...

Great post!! Very informative!! Might I ask where you found that jewelry pieces mold?? I would LOVE to make those shaped pieces, but can't find that mold!
Love your blog!! :D