Even though I have not posted a resin update in quite some time, I still get asked all the time what supplies I used for a certain piece or what supplies do I need to achieve this effect. Most people getting started go to a local craft store and purchase what is available – the basic resin, Popsicle sticks, and a bunch of glitter and stickers. What do you purchase though when you want to advance to the next level, make your life easier, or go past the glittery sticker pieces. Don’t get me wrong, they are fun to make but you are limited to what is available and they can get very monotonous.
I thought I would start a series of posts sharing some of my suggestions on more advanced or alternative supplies available for use with resin. For this post, I thought I would focus on colorants and embeds.
Alternative colorants: I know a lot of resin artists color with acrylic paints. I personally do not recommend them for various reasons which I will save for a later post. My go to for solid colors are Alumilite colorant dyes. I really like the black colorant as it creates a very opaque black. They can be purchased in small 1 ounce sizes or in bulk in very large bottles. The 1 ounce size is perfect for the average crafter and lasts for a very long time. The bottles can be purchased directly on the Alumilite website or on Amazon.com here. Castin’ Craft also makes liquid colorants but I prefer the consistency and applicator bottles that Alumilite offers.
If your looking for something more sparkly and opalescent, try out Jacquard Pearl Ex mica powders. The large sets include everything from metallic silvers and golds to bright opal pinks and purples. About five years ago or so, I purchased a 32 pc complete set and have not run out of any of the mica powders yet. A little go a very long way especially when you are working with jewelry sized pieces. The 32 pc set runs about $35-40. They are also available in smaller sets and individual colors. There are many sets available on Amazon.
In addition to Pearl Ex mica powders, an alternative would be to use make-up powders. You can recycle old make-up palettes by pulverizing panned make-up into powders or you can shave off what you need as necessary. I also purchased an off brand large set of loose eye make-up powders to use with my resin. I do find they are a bit more finicky than using the Pearl Ex powders. I have had a few of the make-up pigments accelerate the resin working time but do like using them especially when you are looking for color without the opalescence. To achieve just color without the shimmery effect, choose a more matte, non-shimmer powder.
Embeds: Of course when most people think of resin jewelry, they go directly to the photo type Scrabble or bezel pendants. Customizing a pendant with photos is always fun but who likes to coat images in Mod Podge multiple times or seal the images in packing tape to use them without the resin staining the image. It works but it adds a lot of time and steps. I recommend upgrading to a better photo paper. Thin, inexpensive photo papers have paper backers which allow the resin to infiltrate the photo paper and creates what looks like a stain. I personally use Canon Glossy II inkjet photo paper. Make sure it has the II in the name. This paper has a polymer plastic-like backing and requires no sealing. Of course there are other brands that make higher grade papers similar to Canon’s Glossy II but I have always matched my photo paper to my printer brand.
Resin is also widely used with dried flowers but everyone that has pressed flowers know that they get discolored and of course flat on pressing which is great if your going for that look but I prefer the microwave method for drying flowers. It keeps the flowers shape and keeps the colors more vibrant. Of course, it is also super quick especially with smaller flowers. There is a really old but good YouTube video that shows the process here. You don’t need any elaborate drying kits, you can just purchase the silica gel on its own here. Just add a plastic container, microwave, and flowers.
Another of my favorite items to embed are transparencies. There are a lot of molds that are not glossy and create a satin or frosted like appearance on casted pieces. For example, many of Wilton’s molds have a velvet type surface which when molded create that frost-like appearance which I love to use as a backdrop for a transparency. You can do this by working backwards than normal. Instead of placing your images face down, you would place them in face up. I couldn’t seem to find any photos of pieces I did like this but in one of my resin updates on YouTube, I show quite a few of them. Also using them for completely see-through jewelry pieces is lovely too. The person’s skin becomes the background. They are a bit less bright but create a cool effect. Here are some I have been working on for quite a while using recycled square tubing. So sorry it’s not the greatest photo as I just snapped it with my phone. The pieces still need to be domed and I am thinking of having my husband grind a groove around the belly of the tubing so I can securely wire wrap a bail around it. I use inkjet transparency paper. The paper has a special coating on it to accept the ink. They also have a laser printer version. Before you print your images, I recommend increasing the saturation of your images. It might not look correct on the screen but you will get a much more vibrant print on the transparency. There are a lot of brands of inkjet transparency paper but currently I use the Apollo brand version. It dries quickly and have had good luck with the film. The printer version of transparency film is not cheap but 50 sheets should last a very long time. It is available for purchase on Amazon here.
Another thing that can be used as an embed or on its own and domed with resin is shrink plastic. I absolutely love shrink plastic, probably due to a lot experimenting with it as a child. Everyone remembers playing with Shrinky Dinks at one time or another. People are doing amazing things with it. I have multiple types of the plastic from the standard clear and white to an inkjet version of both. I prefer the Grafix brand as they have it available in bulk 50 sheet packs which can be purchased on Amazon.
Don’t have the money for shrink film? Try using #6 plastic. Look for it on the bottom of plastic containers – the types you get cut fruit in from the produce section or take home type containers. It will have the triangle recycle symbol with the #6 in the middle. You aren’t able to use it with your printer but you can definitely use sharpies and try it out.
Lastly, don’t forget about embedding things like sequins, scrapbook embellishments, found objects, micro marbles, beads, seashells, resin cabochons, polymer clay pieces, hardware, old watch parts, or even hair, baby teeth, or cremains for memory jewelry. Don’t limit yourself to what is on the craft store shelves, why not take your pieces to the next level? Especially if your selling your pieces, wouldn’t you rather command $40 or more for one jewelry piece than making multiple cheaper pieces. Anyway, that’s just my take. Next in the series, products to make resin crafting easier.
Wow! I did not realize it has been over two years since my last blog post. Time sure does get away from you fast. I know I owe explanations as I have gotten many emails regarding new molds and restocking of out of stock molds. To make a long story short, around the time of my last post I had just lost my transcription job to voice recognition software, had some medical issues, started a new business, and was in college full-time. Time just slipped away. So many times I have tried to get things going again but life would get in the way from the selling of our rental house to being back in school but most notably a little over a year ago in April 2014 my father was diagnosed with an aggressive form of kidney cancer. He unfortunately lost his battle in October 2014. I miss him every single day. The fog is clearing a bit, so to speak, and I have some time off from classes till January. I am hoping now is a great time to get organized and get back into molds, resin, jewelry, and crafting – the things I love.
I have so much planned but don’t want to promise anything as far as dates and times but look out first for restocks of the tie, mustache, and frame bow molds. They are the first thing on my list. I need to create new master mold pieces as the originals were broken. If you aren’t already and have been looking for those molds, please follow my Facebook page as that will be the first place I post about them. Looking forward to reconnecting with all my previous TJL customers.
Because of my other etsy store (RockinResin.Etsy.com), in a short period of time I have amassed a decent collection of resin cabochons and lately I have been in a Decoden kind of mood. So far I have done some glasses, memory sticks, cellphone cases and chargers, jars, and a few other cute things with flat surfaces. A few weeks ago on a Facebook group I posted some pictures of my cellphone cases and received quite a few private messages asking about the cases and how to do them, mostly a lot about adhesive.
I thought I would take this chance to do a semi-tutorial on Decoden phone cases focusing mainly on techniques and products used in the particular cases I made. All cases are standard Iphone 4g plastic cases that cover the back and sides of the phone and all cabochons, rhinestones, and pearls came from my etsy store (RockinResin.Etsy.com). Links to all other items used will be at the end of the post.
Beginning with case #1 (Betty Boop phone case):
- I started by lightly sanding the case using some fine grit sandpaper which gives the items a bit more grip as the cases were very smooth and shiny.
- Next, I planned placement and attached the major resin cabochons, i.e. the large Betty Boop, rose, gem, and lips using E6000 glue. Along with the E6000, I used a bit of hot glue from a hot glue gun to give it that initial bond to hold it in place while the E6000 adhesive dried which takes about 24 hours.
- I then attached the smaller cabochons using just E6000, so they would have a bit of give in placement as I placed the half pearls.
- Now it’s time for the more tedious work of placing the half pearls. I used 6 mm and 4 mm half pearls and also used a rhinestone pick up tool and rhinestone trays I also offer. I personally own a more expensive pick up tool by Silhouette which I love for larger pieces but I find that it has too much stickiness for placing delicate items. My glue of choice is Gemtac by Beacon Industries. When I first started, I tried many different gem glues and by far Gemtac worked the best when adhering to plastic, in my opinion. E6000 would probably work better but I am just too messy with it working with tiny things. The key to using Gemtac is to not push your gem flat to the surface of the case – squeezing all the glue from underneath. You will not get a good adhesion doing that. You just kind of lay it onto the glue and let the glue dry and evaporate from under the gem. Try not to get the glue too thick. Place your gems to your personal preference.
- Allow your piece to dry thoroughly. I leave my cases for about a week to ensure that they are completely dry and everything is stuck properly.
Case #2 (Bear) and #3 (Bat Cameo):
- These two cases feature a very different technique – siliconized latex caulk. You do not want to use 100% silicone caulk as it will not work as an adhesive and is hard to colorize. Here is the type I use – Kwik Seal Plus by DAP.
- First gather a disposable cup, your silicone, and I tinted my silicone using mica powder by Pearl-Ex using flamingo pink. I used a Dixie cup and tongue depressors and filled half the cup with silicone and tinted to personal taste.
- Once thoroughly mixed, gather a disposable cake decorating bag, a coupler, and the cake decorating tip of your choice. I used a #14 open star tip. Here is a good video showing you how to assemble and load your bag and the method I use. Once loaded, twist the end to keep the air from inside your bag and even flow of silicone out the tip.
- It is your personal choice on how to apply your silicone to the surface of the cases. I have very bad carpal tunnel and find that I shake too much to be too detailed, so I use the dollop method to add the caulk on the bear case and used the caulk first like icing a cake and then dollops to finish the edges on the bat case.
- You have about an hour or less to work with the caulk before it starts setting up. The caulk is an adhesive, so no other adhesive is needed. For larger pieces like the cameo setting, I added an extra dollop to the back for extra adhesion. This is an extremely durable method for Decoden.
- Allow again a week to thoroughly cure. Thicker areas of caulk may appear completely cured, but the inner portion may still be curing and may deform if handled to early.
Lastly, I wanted to do a simple case.
- I had received some faux rhinestone bling in a RAK from a friend. It was a bit too stiff to try to cover the entire case (sides and all), so I cut the rhinestone bling to fit just the back. It cuts easy with scissors but a bit difficult to cut for the camera hole. I used multiple passes with an X-ACTO blade to get a nice clean cut.
- Next, I applied a generous amount of E6000 glue to the case surface, positioned the bling, and used some clamps to keep it in place and secure while it dried. You could also use a Teflon or silicone type work surface with a heavy book on top to keep it in place while it dries. I let it thoroughly dry before I continued work on it.
- The edges were not pretty, so I used my left over silicone mix caulk to pipe ribbons of silicone on the edge and finished with some dollops.
- Instead of using glue for the cabochons, I decided to use the remaining caulk to use as the glue for both the Hello Kitty words cabochon and the black glitter bow mostly because they were going to span across the already done edges and I thought it would look much nicer than glue.
- Lastly, I used glue to glue on the HK head.
I am by no means an expert in Decoden but thought this might help others just starting out trying to figure out what products to use and where to begin.