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My Resin Jewelry (Mis)Adventures!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I've wanted to make resin jewelry for years, and this past week I finally got down to trying.

After my first two batches of experiments, I can now proudly say I've had one or two successes, three flat-out failures, and a few not-too-horrible learning experiences.

Let's start with my one true success, so my ego can bear the rest.

I started with broken bits of jewelry:

 (The flowers came from a separate necklace, if you can believe it. I just clipped off the back loops & the top loop from the drop pendant.)

I super-glued these bits together quite precariously:

Dropped them in the mold with some mixed resin:


Waited 24 hours, flexed the tray, popped out the pendant, and squealed and jumped around like a little girl:

Then I trimmed off the edges with a pair of scissors. :)

How cool is this??

Resin is a dream to drill through - like buttah! - so I didn't really *need* to use my new Dremel drill press, but I've been waiting for just this excuse to give it a test spin:

(The poster board was to prevent the pendants from falling through the hole in the drill platform.)

Once the pin hole was drilled, I attached a silver bail, strung it on a spare chain, and rushed out into the 95 degree heat to take some photos in the sunlight:




I can't get over how pretty and sparkly this pendant looks. The resin catches the light beautifully, and I don't think the pics show just how much fire the gems have when you turn it this way and that.

Now to balance things out, let's take a look at my three failures, and what went wrong with each:


All three were ruined on two counts, the first of which being that I must have mixed my resin with just slightly off proportions, because all three never hardened completely. They're rubbery, and you can bend them almost in half with your fingers.  The annoying thing was this was my second batch of resin, and the first cured perfectly. I did everything exactly the same, so I'm not sure how I got my proportions off - but then, I was mixing such small amounts it'd only take a tiny discrepancy either way to get it wrong.

Even if the resin had cured correctly, though, each has additional fatal flaws. Here's what I learned:

This one was my experiment to see how small Swarovski-type crystals would react in resin. The answer? They disappear completely. At first I honestly thought they'd dissolved, since all you can see are the silver foil backs (those three circles). On closer examination, though, I think the resin just obscured the crystals' facets, making them, in essence, disappear. They were pale green, but even the color seemed to vanish. (The crinkly bits of iridescent foil, however, look pretty darn awesome. I bet if you added an opaque white backing, this could look like an opal.)

Considering how much I adore crystals and was looking forward to dumping them in every resin piece I make, this was a major bummer for me.

LESSON LEARNED: Loose crystals and resin do not mix. (Dang it.)

Btw, I think the crystals in my first pendant still sparkle because their backs and sides are in a metal setting, with only the fronts of the crystals exposed to the resin. But that's just a theory.




In a similar fashion, the plastic green crystal button also looks melted in the resin - but again, it's not; just obscured. You can still kind of see the large facets. The button also kept bobbing up and poking through the back of the resin, forcing me to push down one side or another every hour for several hours, but even after it started to harden it STILL managed to cure at a wonky angle. Grrr.

LESSON LEARNED: Light stuff floats in resin. A LOT.

My largest pendant was the closest to being a success, in that at least all the elements inside look great together in the resin:


The problem is that all the elements shifted and floated and bobbed around, and since I couldn't see past the bird charm from above, I had no idea my large gear had floated directly in front of its face.  Boops.

The bird charm is actually paper card stock, so it, too, wanted to bob to the surface and shift position constantly, forcing me to push it back down into the resin, causing all the other bits - my gears & wire coils - to shift as well. It also caused more bubbles each time I pushed it down, which was a pain.

You might recognize the bird charm from this Jolee's Boutique sticker set:

(Sorry for all the crappy night shots; as usual, I was crafting at 3AM. Hee.)

You can find them at Wal-Mart or your local craft store for just a few dollars, and the photo corners they're attached to pop off easily. The metallic finish is *gorgeous* in resin, so you can bet I'll be trying this one again.

LESSON LEARNED: To get a layered affect with several elements, do two separate pours: one for the front (in this case, my gears), and another for the back, once the front cures. So far as I know, this *should* work - and it's what I'll be trying next. Cross your fingers for me!

I have a few more resin experiments to share, but I want to get another batch under my belt before I show them to you.

In the meantime, I've really been enjoying the blog and tutorial videos over at Little Windows Photo Jewelry. There are tons of great ideas on the blog, and the videos are beautifully done.

As for materials, the resin I used is called EasyCast clear casting epoxy. I don't know yet if I can recommend it, since one out of my two batches never cured - though I realize that was probably my own fault somehow. It does dry crystal clear, though, and I didn't find bubbles to be much of a problem; breathing on the surface and some careful swipes with a toothpick seemed to take care of almost all of them. It's also super cheap on Amazon right now; less than $12 for 16 oz, which I paid $22 for at Hobby Lobby. (And yes, I feel like a dolt now.)(Oh, but shipping is an extra $7, so that makes me feel better.)

I've heard a lot about ICE Resin, but with a single ounce costing nearly $25, I'm just too cheap to try it.



Little Windows also sells her own, home-bottled epoxy, which is unusual in that it has a 2:1 ratio, unlike the others which are 1:1. Her 12 oz kit, which includes mixing cups & stir sticks, is $36. I may end up buying some of her molds, if nothing else, since she has some nice simple shapes in multiples, which allows you to make from 3 to 8 of the same shape at a time:

 This set of molds with a template for cutting inserts is $15, plus $2.55 shipping.

You can also use candy molds for resin, so check your local bakery goods supply for options. (Just make sure you never use them for anything edible again!)

When I mentioned all these different epoxy options to John, he pointed out (with all due incredulity) that an entire *gallon* of bar-top epoxy (which dries crystal clear) is only about $65. I have to wonder what, if any, difference there is between that and these "jewelry-grade" epoxies. Anyone know? Or is this just some giant re-packaging scam?

I'd love suggestions and advice from you resin crafters, so if you know of other brands or resin resources, please, tell me in the comments! And if you've used any of the ones I've mentioned, I hope you'll share your reviews, too. This is one of those crafts that can get expensive fast, so I'm counting on you guys to steer me in the right direction!

Posted by Jen at 5:42 PM Labels: , , ,

81 comments:

  1. EasyCast will never dry rock solid, it will always feel slightly soft. If you want a rock hard resin finish, use the ICE Resin.
    EasyCast is good for pendants, but if you want to move into making bangles and rings, you will need a harder setting resin.
    I use syringes to measure out small batches of resin, as it is a lot more accurate than using measuring cups. If you're going to use measuring cups, you will need three - one for the hardener, one for the resin and one to mix them into, otherwise the measurements will always be slightly off due to the resin/hardener not pouring out completely.
    I prefer to to use a 3:1 ratio epoxy resin called Solid Cast 606. It does make it harder to measure, but the results are worth it.

    Something else to note: if you're using paper in resin, you will want to seal it to stop the resin "bleeding" into the paper and causing "blooms" or turning the paper transparent. Cardstock should be safe from this, but always do a test beforehand so you don't get disappointed when you do everything else right ;)

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    1. Can anyone here tell me what tool would be best to use for making my polished rock jewelry I cannot figure out what the best way to get holes in my rocks thanks

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  2. I haven't done much with resin, so I don't have a GOOD opinion. I used stuff I bought at Hobby Lobby, but don't recall the brand. I DID find this however (http://www.amazon.com/AeroMarine-Clear-Epoxy-Resin-Counter/dp/B0047R0J44) which talks about the various uses in the description. More info at their website, too (http://www.aeromarineproducts.com/). Hope this is useful! (Love your spearmints!)

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  3. Definitely try multiple pours, just follow the instructions carefully for how long to let each layer dry. I just did a very "unusual" resin project with my mom, when I post about it I might send you the link. ;)

    Also, if you aren't doing jewelry pieces, you can use silicon molds to cast resin. They make the mold SO easy to pop out and give the finished piece a slightly hazy, icy effect: http://www.madincrafts.com/2011/06/envirotex-lite-glittery-snowflake.html

    PS My word verification is "slimetart."

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  4. Not sure if you know or not, but Hobby Lobby has a mobile coupon that you can use! Think they may have one you can print too but the mobile one is more handy. Just use your phone, go to their website, find the coupon, and show it to the lady at the register. Can't remember how much off it is, possibly 20%...

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  5. So I know nothing about expoxy, but the jewelry based vs. bar top sounds like a scam. Mostly because I don't trust the companies lol. I have a 16 month old and a lot of the so called special bath soaks and lotions are practicall the same as the regular, but a higher price. Someone with more epoxytise (i make up words sometimes) will probably tell me that I'm an idiot and there is a difference, but that's ok. Just my two cents (not encased in resin... but you may like some penny paperweights to accent that lovely desk of yours!)

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  6. easycast....the horror......I hate that stuff, so does a friend of mine. Neither of us have ever been able to get it to work,we've tried all kinds of techniques, when it works, it's great, but when it doesn't....*shudder*. I make props for costumes, and she does gems and such so resin is a thing that we've learned to love. Your best bet would be to just throw out the easycast, it's the humidity that's messing it up. I use alumilite for most of my stuff, it's cheap and lets me test molds because it cures in about 10 minutes (the 10 minute cure time is for an alumilite that is not clear though). BUT- they do make a clear cast called "Amazing Clear Cast" that's 1:1 ratio. We have had great success with that, you can fudge the ratios a bit and it will still cure. Follow the directions carefully or it will bubble, but it's pretty easy to work with and the bubbles we had were tiny and looked like little sparkles. Also, it's cheap. From the website 16oz is $20. We just buy it at the local hobby lobby.
    here's a link to the website for ya though.
    http://www.alumilite.com/ProdDetail.cfm?Category=Casting%20Resins&Name=Amazing%20Clear%20Cast

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  7. I haven't used jewelry resin, but I have done quite a few table-top decoupage projects that we've sealed with the bar top resin.

    It always stays just the slightest little bit tacky, especially if it gets warm it seems. I have my nightstand as one of the projects, and if I move something that has sat in the same place for awhile there's tell-tale tackiness noises. I don't know whether it would be too sticky hanging against a chest or around a wrist all day or not or if that's a property the jewelry stuff retains, too. I don't have any resin jewelry.

    It's also in giant bottles and very difficult to pour into smaller amounts, and I know doing two separate pours would likely result in a visible line. I ended up needing to pour a little extra on my nightstand project while the top was still wet but setting and there are visible slosh-lines. Again, no idea if that's how the jewelry resin behaves.

    But now you do have me hankerin' to try it!

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    1. I have just started using resin for making jewellery and I use the stuff in bulk from eBay DIY composite supplies and unless I mix it wrong the jewellery is always hard and keeps form if you leave it 8-24 hours to set. I love it as it only costs a fraction of the price.

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  8. Thanks for showing your successes and failures! It helps when I see that other people end up with disasters, too. :-) I love resin jewelery, but have been scared to try it. I'm not very neat or patient, so resin can be a formidable partner. Perhaps I should give it a shot.

    Oh, and I'll be anxious to hear what other people say about the "jewelery quality" resin....

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  9. I don't know, even with the gear in front, the bird one is quite pretty! I wouldn't be too disappointed with it! :) Those birds are lovely though. I'm probably going to have to go buy some now! I really liked your pendant as well. It turned out beautifully! I've been wanting to try resin jewelry for a long time. you just might inspire me to do that. :)

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  10. Jen! You totally have to get these molds:

    Han Solo in Carbonite

    They have lots of other options as well.

    I'm glad you had a success - this is too ambitious for me!

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  11. Your successful pendant is gorgeous! And your bird and gears one has potential! Thanks for sharing these, I'm not crafty but I do like to admire the work of those that are!

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  12. Awesome Jen! sooo pretty. My hubby has used resin by a company called Smooth-On to make buildings and landscapes for wargaming. It's very easy to use, I'm just not sure if you can buy it in smaller quanities. They make one of the resins hollywood uses to make fake glass for breaking bottles and stuff. www.smooth-on.com

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  13. Jen! They have geeky ice cube trays over at www.thinkgeek.com - there's a Han Solo in Carbonite, R2-D2, Millennium Falcon and a bunch of other Star Wars ones, as well as the Bat symbol, gummy bears and a couple of others. They would be perfect for this!

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  14. Cool Jen!! Check out www.smooth-on.com. My husband has used their resins for wargaming terrain and buildings.

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  15. The only difference I can think of between bar top resin and jewelry-grade resin is perhaps the yellowing factor. Some types of resin tend to change color after exposure to the elements. And PS, Check your local thrift store for those silicone shaped ice-cube trays; the resin pops out with a matte finish which you can leave, or paint a thin layer of resin over it to get that spiffy shine back!

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  16. Ooh, as if I need more projects to add to my long list of things to make/try but alas, I am already forming ideas to use with this. That jeweled pendant is gorgeous :)

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  17. Layering should work. http://www.iceresin.com/articles/how-to-pour-ice-resin/

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  18. Learning from mistakes is the best way to get things right. Though one does hate to waste materials...especially if they are expensive. Now I really want to try resin jewelry. Can't wait to see the rest of what you have done!

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  19. I wish I had time to try out all of these fun projects. (BTW have you seen the photos of the kitchen with epoxied penny floor? Holy cow, how much work was that?)

    I think I can answer your question about why the button and crystals disappeared in the epoxy. I has to do with the Index of Refraction of each of your substances. It's what makes diamonds sparkle and prisms . As light passes from other material to another it can be bent. The bigger the difference in the Index value between two substances, the more the light is bent. The index is also different for different wavelengths of light, which is why prisms split light into a rainbow and why many different colors can be seen in a diamond.

    The Index value of the epoxy is very close to the index value of other clear plastic items so the light is no longer bent at the surface of the crystal, it's bent at the surface of the epoxy instead. I'm guessing that the crystals on your first piece of jewelry are glass or another material with a high Index value.

    So the lesson here is to use glass crystals or semi precious stones in the epoxy and skip the plastic crystals. Of course, you might be able to make some cool effects by placing colored plastic pieces in the epoxy in layers with something else.

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  20. I like Rio Grande's doming resin and have never had trouble curing it. If cured quickly in a toaster oven, it will bring up some bubbles though. My early attempts were with some of the cheaper, more industrial grade epoxies, and they looked good initially but did yellow eventually.

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  21. I have been reading forever, but you finally posted something I can talk about! I have done a bunch of resin casting for cosplaying anime characters (who have a tendency to have great big improbable gems on their costumes!), and I always use casting resin from TAP Plastics. This might be the same as your pennies resin, I'm not sure. It comes out beautifully clear and smooth. You do have to buy the curing agent separate, but I've never had a batch not set up on me.

    Anything smooth and plastic makes great casting molds! I do suggest those $1 mini paint trays from Jo-anns or wherever, with 8 domed circles about 1" in diameter in a circle around a 3" diameter flat area - both make really pretty casts.

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  22. Darn you, Janel, you stole my physics thunder! She's correct about the index of refraction being the cause of your disappearing crystals. When I taught physics I used to do an experiment with vegetable oil and pyrex, which have the same index of refraction. If you fill a pyrex test-tube with vegetable oil and then put it in a beaker also filled with vegetable oil, the beaker disappears! The light doesn't get bent when it passes from one medium to the next, so your eyes can't tell that anything happened, thus you can't see it!

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  23. You should try UV resin instead of this mix stuff! It would be perfect for you because the layers cure in about ten minutes under a uv lamp or in direct sunlight, allowing you to perfectly place things using multiple layers all in one night! Instant gratification for curing and no mixing! I use Lisa Pavelka's uv resin and lamp. I love it! What I've found about the uv resin and the crystals is that, yes, they turn kind of invisible at first, but after a long time (a few weeks?) the facets are visible again. The down side to the uv resin is that any other chemical substance will keep it from curing. Paper must be sealed and all elements must be colorfast. I recently tried the ice resin, but I'm spoiled to the uv kind now. 1 oz is about $10, but you can sometimes find the larger size online for a price that's more for your money. I would suggest starting with the 1 oz though, until you know you're in love. Look for it with the clay in craft stores.
    Here's one I did of a dinosaur
    And here's my awesome watch part stuff

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  24. I am in LOVE LOVE LOVE with your successful necklace. WOW. So beautiful!! I don't have the patience or aptitude to make something like that, so I will just seethe with jealousy and covet that beautiful necklace from afar. Red is one of my favourite colours. Would you consider selling it?! ;)

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  25. If you are playing with layered resin, try painting it. Some of the coolest art I've seen is painted resin. Check out http://www.art-spire.com/illustration/breathtaking-3d-paintings-by-riusuke-fukahori/ There is a cool video, Goldfish Salvation, of the artist painting life like 3-d fish. Amazing!!!!

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  26. I used to work for Swarovski and I can tell you their crystals are manufactured to have an index of refraction nearly equal to that of diamond, however, faceting also plays a big role in the light play. I am not sure why your particular crystals disappeared but Swarovski has many jewelry pieces in their line that are crystal in resin, so don't give up because it is possible. I'll have to go through my old training materials to see if I can give you any more info on their technique.

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  27. as for the bottle sizes, yes, i think its a bit of a scam, but i'm sure its also because of the aging factor. I had some (i think it might have been easy cast) that was in my stash of stuff for quite a while before i got around to playing with it again... everything came out orange. And you know this from your penny desk where you used the somewhat older resin. So I suspect its not ONLY for added cost reasons, but that most crafters are NOT gonna go through a gallon of the stuff in any quick enough amount of time for it to not age and turn orange...

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  28. My Dad used to work with resin quite alot years ago. He used to use some kind of liquid rubber stuff to make his own molds from all kinds of items. I remember a set of knives he made with resin handles made from molds of chess pieces. And I seem to remember that when using objects that tended to float he would do it in two pours. I also remember something about the humidity in the air would effect the drying and hardening.

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  29. You have probably seen this already but if you haven't enjoy. Watching this guy paint with resin really makes me want to try it out!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVJOQG_bpQM

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  30. Wasn't there another dance video posted on here or was that a dream?

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  31. I haven't worked with resin yet, so I have no ideas on that, but I just discovered Tim Holtz's line Idea-ology which is totally steampunk/antique inspired that has a pocket watch with no watch that the bird-with-a-gear-face would look pretty cool in.

    But I add my voice to the Love, Love, Love your red jewel pendant!

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  32. I actually thought the gear over the bird's face looked like his eye was popping out and surveying the land around him. It was very cool! :)

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  33. I use Famowood for all my resin charms. You can find it in Lowes and it is way cheaper than the craft stuff but it's the exact same thing.

    Also to prevent your stickers or whatever from moving wait about an hour and a half after you pour to put your stuff in. The resin will get slightly tacky and will hold down your light items better.

    Also, someone said that resin stays tacky. Not true. It should be hard as a rock when it is done. There should be no stickyness to it at all.
    When mixing make sure you mix for a long time and scrap down the sides of your cup. If you have little white swirls in your resin it isn't mixed right.

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    1. captainaction1958@yahoo.comOctober 8, 2013 at 1:09 AM

      Where in Lowes do you find the Famowood?

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    2. I just bought Famowood at Lowe's in the paint department. The salesman said they didn't carry it in-store but I continued to search anyway and turns out they did have it. Unfortunately it turned yellow instead of staying clear. Maybe I'll try doing the layers

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  34. Darn you, Janel and Amber, for stealing MY physics thunder! And here I was researching a (possibly apocryphal) story of a chemist who hid diamonds from invading Nazis by dropping them into beakers of glycerine, rendering them invisible!

    But now you know...and knowing is half the battle! (G.I. JOOOOOOOEEEE...)

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  35. @ Sharon - Aw, I'm flattered, but I don't think I could part with my first (and so far ONLY) resin success! :D

    @ Granny K - You're not dreaming; I just added the video as an update to this older post.

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  36. S is right, there is a shelf life for bar-top resin. The Enviro-Tex brand we sold at the craft store I worked at would cure with a strange oily sheen when it got old.
    Ice resin is great, but I would splurge for the larger container that you mix yourself as the syringe style does not always yield an accurate mix. Ice resin also domes nicely in bezels or on tiles and dominos.

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  37. Unless you enjoy giving your money to a bunch of rabid Christians who then in turn use that money to circumvent and/or prevent gay people from having civil rights, you should REALLY try another store besides Hobby Lobby. Look into it; you'll be appalled (I hope).

    Having said that (let's see if it stays up), I really enjoyed this tutorial, and plan on trying it out soon, with supplies from another source, so thank you.

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    1. Just had to get a trolling jab in there didn't you.

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    2. Actually, I'm a different person and was totally looking for info on resin and thought the exact same thing :)
      I'm waiting for my first batch of ice resin to dry and was wondering if anyone had experienced resin peeling off of surfaces. I haven't but I'm concerned that it might happen as I'm coating metal with it, not filling molds. Love that first piece you did!

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  38. I use bar top resin in my jewelry, I love it. You can pick up a box of it from home depot. works pretty much the same and is cheaper. I would defiantly.try it out and see if you like it!

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  39. I actually really like the bird one as is. Like it's flying threw a steam punk mine field. :D

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  40. I have only used ICE Resin. When mixed correctly, it hardens perfectly! Check out ObjectsandElements.com. They have 4oz kit for $28!

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  41. Heya Jen,

    I think the bird and small oval ones turned out very nice. You could get small mirrors at craft stores to attach on the backs of each to solidify them and give a nice background to them. I believe you can get the mirrors in various colours too, but I could be wrong. I keep seeing all your resin crafts and would love to get into it and give it a try. I have made jewelery out of so many other things, yet never resin or metal.

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  42. I'm a resin novice, but I've had great success with the ICE Resin! I just got mine at Hobby Lobby using one of their 40% off coupons. I even had one bezel that wasn't level, so the next time I was making a pendent I added more resin to the old project and it looks great now! Good luck!

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  43. I used the ICE resin for my valentines hearts bracelet inspired by your candy corn jewelry. It does dry very hard and the tube makes mixing it idiot proof, but it was really expensive for very little epoxy. If I were doing it again I'd find another brand.

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  44. My friend makes bottle cap jewelry and had disasterous results at first when using resin intended for large surfaces. Even thought she was mixing the resin exactly as indicated, it was never fully curing, it was tacky and would take on finger prints. She called the company and they told her that for such small pieces, a different type of resin was required and refered her to a different product in their line. She has had no problem since...

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  45. I use easycast for making resin jewellery too and had all the same problems you did.

    Some tips I found useful when learning how to use the stuff:
    [x] Warm up your resin bottle before pouring in very warm tap water
    [x] Use syringes to measure out your resin (as someone else mentioned)
    [x] make up about 1/2 oz at a time. You need quite a bit of resin and hardener for the chemical reactions to actually work

    And you can save the pieces that didn't cure properly. The next time you make up a batch of resin just use a paintbrush to paint a coat of resin over them and when it cures it should go nice and hard (I've saved quite a few pieces that way)

    There's also a really good blog called Resin Crafts that I learnt so much from.

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    1. ooh, thanks for the tip on the extra coat!!!

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  46. Hi Jen, thanks for the mention! Thought I could add a bit of info: different resins are made for different techniques and applications. The one you pick should meet your needs in terms of batch size (for many to combine and harden correctly, you need to mix large batches), qualities (does it need to be crystal clear, resist yellowing, be low-bubbling), will it work well for your project (if just thin layer UV would work, if casting or creating free-form,waterproof pieces 2-part epoxies are best), and safety for you, your materials, and the environment. Here's my plug - Little Windows brilliant resin is safe and easy to use, can layer indefinitely, and can be mixed in really small batches. It cures clear, and you can put anything in it, as it's gentle and won't get too hot as it cures. This is a formula we've worked hard to create, to top what I've found on the markets - consumer and industrial. If you're looking for something you can play with at your kitchen table, that won't give off harmful, stinky fumes, give Little Windows a try. We have discounts on larger "designer" sizes too, if you're interested :) Thanks again!

    Oh, one more thing - on molds, great tips from everyone, but steer clear of the candy molds made of clear, brittle plastic - resins can bond to them and never come out. Look for flexibility, sort of a Tupperware-ish feel, or silicone. Whatever the finish of the mold will be picked up by your cast piece and finishes range from mirror-finish, to frosted. If you want to try making your own molds, the silicone putties are lots of fun, but get one that gives you a bit of working time before it hardens. Hope that helps.

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  47. Not a comment on this post, but just in general. I really enjoy your blog and the little slice of your life you share with us. As a 50 year old woman, I never really got to get my geek on. The horrors of no internet. Hell, the horrors of no cable, no VCRs, watching only what people chose to show us.

    You brighten my day, and I just wanted to let you know.

    Jean

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  48. My mom and I have used ICE resin for coating abalone pendants and it works marvelously. Dries nice and hard and makes everything shiny and nice. You can get a 4oz kit from Fire Mountain Beads. They also have a bunch of steampunk type stuff. :)

    (Here's a link to the ICE resin: http://www.firemountaingems.com/details.asp?pn=H203428TL )

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  49. So cool! Can't wait to see more. I may have to give this a try. Don't tell my husband I said that though, lol.

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  50. resin is the devil; i can almost never have it set correctly on me anymore :( maybe my mix is getting old? what you can also do next time is once you get a gem with a good fill color set, you can use some extra wet resin to 'glue' paper items (like the bird!) to the front? the same with the swarovski crystals :)

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  51. I've used the easy cast clear casting resin twice & it's come out hard as a rock both times; but of course it's not humid where I live. I have used the ice resin quite a bit & have had alot of luck with the small syringes & bought bigger bottles of it. You can find it cheaper than 25 if you look. Hobby Lobby as 40% off mobile coupon you can use ever day. I'm an artist & our town sucks & has no supplies so that's the only place I can go besides online. I started my experimenting with resin over the summer and fell in love with it; yes, you learn by experimentation and googling and youtubing the heck out of it for answers lol
    E

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  52. I use mod podge dimensional magic and I also use alot of paper and card stock with cogs and metal pieces. I have found that it will remain clear if you do a layer with your paper/cogs and then add another layer atop the first with paper or card stock. I have even filled gaps or holes days later and you can't even tell. It makes it a lot easier to control where your items are placed. It goes a long ways and is premixed. It may not be cost effective, but it is very convenient and reliable.

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  53. Awesome pendants and blog!!! I'm wondering if all the resins are just about the same. I have had great successes and even worse failures using Ice (the most expensive?) resin...

    ... and I have narrowed it down to :

    Temperature (the most important factor, i think) I wouldn't mess with it unless everything (work + room) is 78' or higher!!! I use space heaters in the winter.
    Higher temps. shorten workable life though, so be careful not to mix too much.

    Mixing. I've see some "Ice" instructions that say a minute or so. That is not sufficient.

    Finally, age of product. Make sure you are buying fresh product... and I am thinking it should be taken to the hazardous waste people after a year or so (?)...

    Thanks again for this valuable page!!!

    ~Greg
    MantaWave.com

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  54. Hi Jen! Thank you so much for sharing your adventures (and misadventures!) with resin! I have a resin jewelry making supply shop and stress to resin crafters that sometimes you can learn just as much from your mistakes as you can your successes.

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  55. re. the Swarovski crystals disappearing, I just found the same thing. First time experimenting with them, I tried to embed them in wood and then cover the entire cutout in epoxy resin (glue type, sucks) / superglue / lacuqer. Exactly the same thing happen in each case, all the sparkle disappears and I'm left with just a silver foil-like coloured spot (the colour survives with mine as the glass of those crystals is coloured). I had to completely rethink my project :).

    As was mentioned, the issue seems to be that the refractive index of the crystal is too similar to the resin, and so the facets (which give the sparkle) essentially disappear in it and you're just left with the inner reflection of the backing foil.

    Looking at the shots of your good pendant, the same thing happened - the reflections from the front facets have disappeared. The difference is that those stones also have facets at the back (which are reflected by the metal), so they still sparkle and look 'cut' from there. But you have lost the direct reflections, ie. the bright white highlights you would normally get on the outside facets.

    Still looks real nice though.

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  56. i have never used resin but i would guess you could use a pin to hold items down that want to float and some how anchor the pin, maybe through a piece of tape across the top of the mold. Once dry you could pull out the pin and leave it how it is or fill with a drop of resin when doing your next project

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  57. I love Easy Cast and use it EXCLUSIVELY as I know what to expect. It always hardens for me. On occasions where I have a bit of tackiness, I just let it cure longer. Always in the end, it cures. I heat mine to ensure minimal bubbles (I work almost exclusively in clear so bubbles are very important), but that also limits it's work time. The ONLY way to keep floating issues at bay is to pour in layers. I never pour any piece in less than two layers, sometimes as many as four or five, plus I dip mine when complete to get an extra glass-like finish. Resin is fun and very rewarding when you get everything right. But, it takes a while to learn the ins and outs and a little cash to burn while you learn.

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  58. OH, and sometimes you can also get lucky using glass rhinestones, but they, too, will "disappear" sometimes.

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  59. Great post, as I love anything resin. I've tried larger UV quantities from Epoxies.com and love love love them for doming and use a black-light to cure, although it can also be done on a hot summer day (pacific north west). I use the 60-7170RCL. It's slightly thicker than the 60-7155RCL but it also works well. The Lisa Pavelka Magic Glos someone mentioned is fine, but you can't really cast it and its quite expensive. Also to note with UV...you cannot layer things at the same time as light has to go through to cure, but you can do it in steps of curing, then add, cure, then add. My other favorite resin is the Little-Windows resin for photo jewelry. The website doesn't mention this, but it's important to spray all media with a UV protectant as I found out the hard way the resin doesn't include this and all my photo jewelry faded in a mere 2 hours in the sun! VERY disappointing since there was a lot of time and effort put into it and now is trash! Apparently Mod Podge has UV protectant as does PYMII spray (Preserve your Memories II) and a spray by Krylon. As for stones...I love using a fantastic glitter that glimmers like diamonds by www.artglitter.com. Layering works really well with this resin. I tried Envirotex and never had much success with it and the quantities are really finicky, but with Little-Windows you can easily measure both parts in one cup. After using the cup, I wipe them out and reuse a couple more times also.

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  60. I just purchased some Easy Cast and the hardener is yellowed. Is it supposed to be clear? Because if it is, this is going right back to the store! I have never used it before, but I am trying to make little "beach in a bottle" charms. Tried using clear glue and it just doesn't dry, so after searching the internet, I've decided to try resin. Your blog is very informative. Also, can you use food coloring to color resin? Thanks for your help!

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  61. Ours yellowed a bit, too, but it still worked, and was pretty clear, too. (The yellowish tint barely showed at all - you wouldn't notice it unless compared with glass.

    Resin has to be tinted with powder tints - food coloring is water-based, so the water would ruin it. I haven't tried the tints myself, tho, so you'll have to do a little more research on it!

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  62. Thanks for the info, Jen! You saved me from ruining my first attempt by using the food color. Now I just have to get some powder tint, which I assume you can purchase at any craft store (can you tell I am a crafting newbie)?! I must admit, when I asked for help at the local AC Moore and Michaels, the people working there were less than helpful. Is powder tint just dry paint, or is it specifically for use with resin? And since I am asking so many questions, here's one more......can you recommend a brand? Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. I just did a quick google, and this site says you can use oil paints to tint ICE resin, which I *think* is basically the same thing as EasyCast. Do a test batch, tho, just to be sure! Otherwise google "resin tints" and you'll find several sites that sell the powder tints; most of your average craft stores won't carry them, since they're too specialized.

      Good luck!

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    2. I just read some info on this...the site said almost anything can be used to color/tint resin...it listed RIT dye, acrylic paint (the little bottles from craft stores), eye shadow, fingernail polish, and on and on...I think I would do some more research on this before purchasing powder tints...they sound expensive!!!!

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  63. captainaction1958@yahoo.comOctober 8, 2013 at 1:12 AM

    What do y'all mean by sealing something? Like with a spray sealant for prints and drawings?

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    Replies
    1. Any kind of clear coat should work; you're basically looking to make the paper or object waterproof, so the liquid of the epoxy doesn't saturate your item and make it darker. (That means you need to do both sides and the edges, too.)

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  64. Hello, I have a question. Does your resin pieces turn yellowish in time?

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    1. I believe the brand I used does turn yellow eventually, although it hasn't changed as yet. There are brands like Ice Resin, though, that promise to stay crystal clear forever.

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  65. Oh how nice to hear everyone's trials and tribulations with resin! I am "experimenting" with Ice Resin and have yet to make anything but a gooey mess! Granted, I live in Oregon so the humidity is high...But thanks for sharing your efforts! And, by the way, your necklace pendant is very pretty!

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  66. I have used the ice resin and the easy cast. I have had wonderful results with the ice resin. I taught a class this weekend and used the easy cast. All my poursed bezels cured with the exception of 1. Same batch of resin so it still remains a mystery. I like the ice resin in the premeasured syringe because it makes mixing it relatively fail proof. You can buy it at Hobby Lobby or JoAnn Fabrics with a coupon that makes it cost effective if you are pouring small projects. I am checking to see if it can be purchased from a wholesale standpoint which would make it cheaper. Thanks for sharing your projects. I love resin projects! :)

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  67. Hi there, I just came across your blog and had a question. What would you suggest for preserving real butterfly wings to create earrings? I don't find the idea of laminating them in plastic too appealing, and I want them to have some weight to hang from my ears.

    (P.S. I didn't kill the butterflies, they were already dead).

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    Replies
    1. I think any resin will do the trick nicely, since it has a good weight to it. I've seen feathers in resin before (bent into a bracelet mold) and they looked fantastic. You may get a few bubbles, but I think that just adds character. :)

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