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 technique 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.  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 greaseproof 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 or from the plastic cup.

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 left mine to rest for 90 minutes*.  This way it had time to become a lot more viscous, so when I came to pipe it, it spread out and flattened much less than it would if I was to pour it out straight away.

*Update:  Resin will harden much more quickly at a higher temperature.  I think it was a particularly cold day when I made these.  With later experiments, I found that my resin had hardened a little too much after 90 minutes.  I would suggest checking your resin with a cocktail stick after 20 minutes to see if it has thickened significantly.  If it is the consistency of runny syrup, then it is ready.

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.

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...

Related Posts:


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, subscribe to my YouTube channel, like my Facebook page for regular updates or follow me on Pinterest,  Bloglovin' or Instagram



Lauren Nguyen said...

Hi! Thanks for all this info! I just tried to use a similar technique but using a squeeze bottle instead of piping bag. But after only half an hour I found the resin in the bottle had already totally hardened! I was expecting to be able to leave it for at least an hour like you had since I was using Ice Resin just like you. Have you ever had it harden that quickly?

Kathryn - Craftmehappy said...

I'm sorry Lauren, I've just updated my post now. Resin hardens faster at higher temperatures. I'm guessing when I made my resin shapes, my room was much cooler than yours. In the future I'm going to check my resin mix regularly to see that it has thickened up, possibly after 20 minutes. Good luck!