Sunday, December 27, 2015

Freeform Resin Jewellery Part 2


Recently I posted about a new method I've been working on for making lots of little beads, pendants and nuggets out of Ice Resin and glitter without using a mould.

I managed to make over 40 little glittery resin jewellery elements out of 20ml of Ice Resin. Do please take a look at my technique - if you've ever despaired at how long it takes for resin to set in a single mould you will be intrigued by this method of making dozens of resin beads at a time.

As it doesn't use moulds, you don't have nearly as much control over the beads that you end up with, but part of the joy is trying to decide what each piece wants to become.

I've been looking over my glittery resin nuggets and trying to decide what to turn them all into.

These two would make good ring cabochons...

... while these two small rounder ones would make pretty studs.

As I didn't use any moulds it is almost impossible to get two stones that are identical in size and shape, but I think that adds to the hand made charm of the pieces.

Theoretically, the more glittery resin nuggets you make at a time, the greater chance you have of finding two stones that are similar in size and shape. These two, for example, are similar enough to become a pair of earrings.

Both of these jewels would work glued onto necklace bails as they have slightly flatter ends.

Turning Glitter Resin Gems Into Jewellery

Some of the materials I used to turn my gems into jewellery are:-
Silver plated adjustable rings
Florist Foam
Cocktail sticks
Sterling silver glue on flat pad ear studs
Sterling silver French drop earrings
Fishhook earrings
Leaf necklace bails
Drill and 1mm drill bit
4mm and 5mm jump rings
Round nosed and flat nosed pliers
8mm silver plated wire

Before attaching the stones to your adjustable ring bases and flat pad earring posts, insert them into some flower foam so that the stones will stay level while the glue dries.

Then you just need to apply a small amount of glue with a cocktail stick onto the flat area of the ring and earring posts and quickly apply the stone, adjusting it so that it sits centrally and flat.  I like to use E6000 glue but a two part epoxy glue would work just as well.

To attach the glitter resin stones to the leaf necklace bails, just put a little glue on the textured part of the bail with a cocktail stick and then secure the stone in place.

Leave all of the glued pieces overnight to set completely.

To make the drop earrings I just drilled a hole from the back to the front using a variable speed power drill.  You can use a hand drill or a ratchet Archimedes drill, but after quite a bit of experimentation I found that I got a better finish with an electric drill.

The hole needs to be about 3mm from the edge - too close to the edge and the resin will be weaker - too far and and you will need a very big jump ring to attach it to the earring. I like to draw a dot on where I want my drill hole with a Sharpie pen.

To open jump rings use two pairs of pliers and always slide it open to the side rather than stretching the two ends apart.
I use a 5mm jump ring to go through the actual resin bead and a 3 or 4mm jump ring to attach it to my French drop earring finding.

Open the loop on the base of the fishhook ear wire to the side with a pair of pliers and then slip the smaller jump ring onto the ear wire loop. And your beautiful glittery resin earrings are finished!

To make a bracelet I simply took lots of similar sized nuggets and drilled a hole on either side.  Using this same principle of inserting larger jump rings through the drilled beads and then connecting them with smaller jump rings you can make bracelets or necklaces in any length.

The resin doughnut looks great just looped onto some thong and worn as a long necklace.

To turn this larger resin pendant piece into something I could use on a necklace I simply wrapped it with some 8mm silver plated wire. I formed the coil shape first with some pliers.  I then held the spiral of wire at the front while wrapping the rest of the wire around the top and then the bottom, finishing by forming a hanging loop at the top with some round nosed pliers.

It then just needs a jump ring to attach it to a long chain and you have a one of a kind necklace.

I'm so pleased with how my freeform resin beads turned out and there's always something much more satisfying about making jewellery out of elements I've made myself and are completely unique rather than mass produced beads that I've purchased along with countless other jewellery makers.

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Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Freeform Resin Jewellery Part 1

I've been experimenting a lot with resin recently and finding ways of making resin elements without the use of moulds, settings or bezels.  Recently I posted about making resin glitter dots for card making and scrapbooking elements and I'm going to show you an exciting new techniques for making stones and beads for jewellery.

It relies on the fact that resin doesn't stick to waxed parchment paper and also that resin thickens while it sets.  Using this method you can make tens or even hundreds of little beads or nuggets at a time without the need for hundreds of moulds - and each piece is completely unique in size and shape.

The materials I used were:

An ICE Resin Kit which includes disposable plastic measuring cups and wooden stirrers
Baking Parchment or waxed grease-proof paper. A silicone sheet would also work too.
Tape for attaching the baking parchment to your surface
Food clips
Wooden board for working on (optional)
Double sided sticky tape
Cocktail sticks
When working with any resin you need to take a few simple precautions.  Thankfully Ice Resin hasn't get a very strong odour, but you still need to ensure that your room is well ventilated and try not to breathe in the fumes.  Resin sticks to most surfaces and can be extremely difficult to remove so always ensure that you protect your surfaces by covering them with parchment paper or waxed grease proof paper.  A silicone sheet would work well too.  I have a large wooden board that I wrap with grease-proof paper and it means that I can move it out of the way if I need to.

The Ice Resin kit comes with lots of these little disposable measuring cups. You get quite a few little nuggets from just a small amount of resin, so the little bottles go a very long way.  Following the instructions, measure out 5ml from bottle A and 5ml from bottle B, pouring slowly and pausing regularly to allow it to level out.

With a wooden stick, stir the resin slowly for over 2 minutes until there are no striations in the mixture.

Add quite a good sprinkle of glitter and stir it in thoroughly.  You want quite a dense texture of glitter.

I wanted to work out a way of applying the resin to the grease-proof paper more accurately so I've been experimenting with using disposable piping bags. I find that it gives me a lot more control and I'm able to apply very small amounts of resin to the parchment paper much more quickly and accurately than pouring or dropping from the end of a stick.

Attach a clip to the end of the disposable piping bag. This is simply to stop the resin from travelling all the way down to the bottom of the bag and will save your scissors later.

Put the clip and piping bag inside a mug and open up the piping bag by wrapping the edge over the rim of the cup.  Carefully pour the resin and glitter mix into the piping bag.

Now this is where you need to completely ignore the instructions that came with the Ice Resin. The instructions tell you to leave the resin to sit for 5 minutes, however I leave mine to rest for 90 minutes.  This way it has time to become a lot more viscous, so when you come to pipe it, it will spread out and flatten much less than it would if you were to pour it out straight away.

Once you've left it for an hour and a half, cut the end off your piping bag, leaving a hole of about 3mm. Now move to your prepared surface, remove the clip and gently squeeze the resin towards the end of the piping bag.

Now all you need to do is pipe your thick, glittery resin onto your grease-proof waxed paper. Squeeze gently downwards until you've got a little nugget of resin on your paper and then pull upwards to prevent trails of resin between your shapes. Experiment with rounds, ovals or drop shapes in varying sizes. You won't be able to control the exact final shape that you achieve, but part of the excitement of this method is the surprise of not knowing exactly what you will get at the end.

I tried a doughnut shape for the first time to see if it would work. I knew that if I'd used freshly made resin that hadn't been left for 90 minutes the centre would certainly have filled up and my shape would be much flatter and smaller.

Once you've used up all the resin in the piping bag, leave it to set overnight, or for at least 12 hours.

After about 12 hours has passed, Ice Resin has lost its stickiness and you are able to touch it and peel it off your sheet of baking parchment.  (I'm sorry, glittery resin is really difficult to photograph as my camera does not know what to focus on!)

Here's how my doughnut shape turned out.  As you can see, I still couldn't have complete control of the neatness and symmetry of my shapes, but I was able to cheat a little with this one and file the irregular outline a little with my Dremel.  The 12 hour old resin is still quite soft, so it wasn't at all difficult to remove some of the unevenness from the outline for a more uniform, but still organic shape. (The second picture shows the filed piece.)

Here is the reverse of some of my little resin shapes.  You can see how the baking parchment has given the backs a matte finish.

For a much more solid piece I've been experimenting with applying a second layer of glitter resin to the reverse and this is the technique that I've worked out after a couple of trials.

Apply several long strips of strong double sided sticky tape to your non stick work surface. Then stick each glittery resin stone, flat side up, to the double sided sticky tape, leaving a good cm between each one. I find that some brands of double sided sticky tape don't stick to the grease proof paper covered board at all, while others leave a sticky residue, so you may need to experiment.  I found that the brand with a red removable strip worked best for me.

Now mix up some more resin and glitter in the same way as earlier. This time I made the same amount of resin, but I split it in two, adding bronze glitter to one half and sky blue to the other half.

Put your resin in a piping bag and leave it for 90 minutes in exactly the same way as earlier. Then pipe it onto the reverse of your upturned glitter resin nuggets. The best technique I found was to pipe it onto my resin pieces leaving the outer 80% uncovered. The Ice Resin is great as it's self leveling, self doming and it has surface tension. If you put the right amount of resin on it will slowly spread out to all of the edges without flowing over.

Some of the larger pieces may need a little encouragement to make sure that all of the resin spreads completely to the edge. Using a cocktail stick, gently push the resin towards the edge to form a neat nugget of glitter resin.

Now just leave your resin pieces to set again overnight, or for at least 12 hours...

... and then the next day you can peel all of your little resin glittery shapes off the double sided sticky tape and get majorly excited at what you've just made!

My favourite part is picking each one up and deciding what kind of jewellery piece I can turn it into...

... this will make a lovely long hanging necklace pendant.

While this one will look great just glued to a necklace bail.

Eek, I'm so pleased with how these turned out! I'm really looking forward to searching through all of my little resin bead nuggets and working out what they want to become.

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This post contains Amazon Affiliate links, if you click through and purchase from them, I will receive a small percentage of the sale. This goes a very small way towards funding further craft projects.


Please be sweet and share the love. Leave a comment, like my Facebook page for regular updates or follow me on Pinterest.
Follow me on PinterestLike me on FacebookFollow me on TwitterContact me