My shop!

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Let me give you some background about how I started and what I do.  First of all, I'm a college professor.  I teach Geology at a community college.  Which means I have my summer free (yipee!).  But it also means that come mid summer I start to get bored.  Turns out I need to keep busy.  So in order to keep myself busy I started to craft.  My crafting has taken various forms, but this past spring I landed on making resin jewelry.

I found myself buying a lot of pendants (mostly resin) and got to wondering...."I'm crafty...I had to embed a lot of rocks in epoxy in grad school so this is not new to me...I bet I could do this!"  And off I ran with it!  I started with a non-toxic-have-to-measure-very-carefully-to-get-it-to-set-right epoxy....this was not for me.  So I bought the stinky toxic stuff...much easier to work with (for me, although I've chatted with others who have had great success with the first kind).  And spent a bunch of money (and by bunch, I mean <50$) on fancy molds...of which I only use 2 still.  And made a bunch of crappy pendants that didn't turn out and looked terrible...but I suppose it is a learning process.  And my learning took a turn for the better when I finally did some research into how to make resin pendants (see my grad school training was useful for something!).  And realized I didn't need fancy molds...plain old ice cube trays work beautifully!!! So this is what I mainly use now.

So in case you are wondering here is what I do:
  • mix up a batch of resin - I use the castin' craft clear polyester casting resin with hardener
  • pour a small amount in the bottom of the mold (each ice cube cup) - only a couple mm thick.
  • let it set - 20min to an hour.  It will set faster if it is hot out. This layer will be the top of your pendant.
  • cut your image to size - I draw all my images on the computer (in adobe illustrator) then print them on glossy photo paper on an inkjet printer - I don't seal them with anything and I have never had problems with colors bleeding.  Although I imagine that probably depends on your printer/ink combination.
  • mix a second batch of resin - put about the same amount to a little less than the you did the first time in your mold.  
  • Add your  image face down!  this has to be done fairly quickly so you get the image in the resin before it starts to set...this can be a challenge if you are working in big I suggest you start small at first until you get your speed down!
  • Tap down on the image to remove any trapped air bubbles and make sure the back of the image is covered in resin so everything is sealed.
  • At this point I like to add some glitter to the back...mostly to cover up the back of the paper so you aren't just looking at blank paper...but also because the shape of the molds is such that it creates a little frame that peeks around the image when you are done.  The glitter has to be added before the resin starts to set.  Again...start with small batches until you get the hang of it!
  • Then the waiting begins...and I'm impatient so this is the hardest part for me...
  • Once everything is good and hard...wait at least a couple hours to a day...crack your pendants out...just like cracking out ice!
  • sand the rough edges on the back (resin loses volume as it hardens so there tend to be a bit of a ridge where the resin was touching the edge of the mold) and drill a hole (I use a dremel for this)
  • The last step is putting a ring of some sort through the hole so you can put it on a necklace! 
Alright, well there was my long winded explanation of how I make my jewelry!

ttfn...I must go teach!

1 comment:

  1. I love it. Especially the ice cube trays. I'm always trying to outsmart Michael's and find a way to make the same tool with something from the dollar store.