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.
- 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.
- 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.