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Monday, October 14, 2013

Resin in the sun

The first time I ever saw epoxy was when I was a little girl and my dad was fixing the bathroom.  He had used epoxy to bond something, and he gave me a little cross he molded with extra epoxy.  When I took it from him, it was physically hot!  But it still looked like fun-tac, it even had an imprint of my dad's fingertip.  I was fascinated by this substance!

A few years ago while looking for new jewelry techniques I came across clear casting epoxy.  It brought me back to the little crooked cross my dad made for me and I knew I had to try to the stuff.  Clear casting epoxy (or resin, as it's commonly called) is a two part liquid mixture, and when they are combined it creates a hard plastic-like form.  It can be used in molds, or anything really.  I do recommend that you use it outside on some newspaper, because it can get smelly and messy. 

Being that the weather outside is so beautiful, I figured that today would be a perfect resin casting day!  I had a few half-finished projects and pendants that were waiting casting, so I decided to finish them up.

Back in February, I visited my sister in Puerto Rico.  We stayed at her house near Seaglass Beach, and we walked there almost every day with her puppies. During my trip I collected almost a full  ziplock bag's worth of seaglass.  The larger pieces I plan on experimenting with using wire-wrapping at some point.  I had collected waaaay more teeny smaller pieces than larger pieces.  Some too small to wrap with wire.  So I figured that could make a pendant with resin and the really small pieces, kind of like a mosaic piece.  First I separated the larger pieces from the small and medium sized ones.  Then I separated by color, and similar shape.

Please ignore the Vieques sand on the page
Now that I had the pieces mostly picked out, I needed a vessel in which to place them. Dan and I love soda with real sugar in glass bottles.  They just taste so much better than regular soda!  Anyway, we recently drank Virgil's Cream Soda (I definitely recommend it, was very tasty) and had a few bottle caps ready to be thrown away.  I've seen other crafters use bottle caps with resin and make some cool pendants.  But I have to say, I am not a fan of the fanned ripple around the cap.  So I used my needle nose pliers to flatten them out.  It's not exactly round, but I didn't mind.  It gives it more of a handmade look that way!  Then I peeled out the little plastic seal inside the cap.  Here's what it looked like when I was finished.   I couldn't decide if I wanted to paint the inside or not, in the end I decided against it.  Next time I may paint the inside.
I didn't flatten it out too much, the epoxy needs a cavity to fill
All filled in with pretty seaglass!

If you don't have any trinkets to put inside of a resin caste, I suggest looking at the vast scrapbook paper collection at your local craft store.  I found a really cool scrap book page of vintage stamps a few months back, and I have made three (and counting) bracelets from it!  The heart pendant has a snippet from a birthday card I liked a lot.  It's true what they say - Inspiration CAN come from anywhere!
Stamp bracelets, before the resin pour
Heart birthday card pendant

I wanted to make an old fashioned brass looking tag for a soap pump in my downstairs bathroom.  It's an opaque soap pump, and I think some people shy away from using it because it might be lotion.  Now with the tag, it will not be a mystery!   I hand wrote the "SOAP" and now I'm second thinking that... Oh well, this one will just be a first draft.

Now that we have the projects picked out, we're ready to mix and pour!  When mixing the resin with the epoxy hardener, it will not be clear.  As it cures, the color will dissipate, leaving a clear coating.  It's smart if you mix in a paper cup and use a toothpick to mix.  Do not use a paper cup with wax coating, the wax may break off into your mixture.  Mix slowly to avoid making too many bubbles.
Not clear...yet.

When pouring the solution into the pendant (or bracelet, or bottlecap), pour slow and spread it with your toothpick before pouring more.  Pour until you see a slight bulge of the liquid.

Try to avoid over-pouring.

You can poke away the bubbles that are near the top using your toothpick.  If you can't puncture all the bubbles, wait for a bit.  The bubbles will rise as the resin cures. The more you 'mess' with it, the more bubbles will appear. If you place paper in the pendant to be resin-ed, coat it with two coats of a clear glue, like Elmers or mod-podge.  I didn't do that on my soap marker, and the scrapbook paper underneath is already starting to decolor.  Good thing it's a first draft piece!
See the bubbles?  These can be poked away using a toothpick. 

The resin will take a full day to fully cure, to be safe I usually leave the newly cast pieces alone for a few days. I'll update in a few days when they're all set and completed.  Until then, if you'd like to go to sunny Puerto Rico and collect some awesome seaglass for your own projects, I suggest checking out my sister's rental properties for a nice place to stay.  You can check out her listings on HomeAway, the links are below.  Tell her the craftmeister sent ya!

1 comment:

  1. Really enjoy your page. Its just so special.