Top 5 Resin Jewelry Making Tips from the Editor of Our Interactive eMag

Have you ever gotten so excited about something new that you couldn’t wait to share it with your friends, family, and just about anybody who would listen? Everyone at Interweave is feeling that way lately, thanks to our brand-new, first-ever multimedia digital eMag,

Handcrafted Jewelry Studio. It combines all the best features of our great magazines with the interactivity and convenience of the Internet and your computer.

Handcrafted Jewelry Studio interactive eMagImagine a magazine that’s vibrant and dynamic with videos and live links to sites where you can learn more or buy products and materials–that’s Handcrafted Jewelry Studio! You can download and print the mixed-media jewelry projects and take them with you to your jewelry-making supply or bead store. Plus, in this revolutionary format, you can watch video how-tos, interviews, and studio tours with leaders in handcrafted jewelry, see slide shows of inspiring handmade mixed-media jewelry projects from top-notch jewelry designers, and more.

Handcrafted Jewelry Studio is also full of tips and tricks for improving your handmade mixed-media jewelry, like the five resin jewelry making tips here, exclusively for you from Handcrafted Jewelry Studio Editor Danielle Fox. Enjoy! Tammy
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by Danielle Fox, the editor of Handcrafted Jewelry Studio, Handcrafted Jewelry, and Stringing.

resin-ring-projectThe suspense in Interweave’s jewelry-making office is palpable. We just released Handcrafted Jewelry Studio—a digital magazine or eMag that offers rich media related to mixed-media jewelry making—and we’re waiting to hear if readers love it as much as we do. We expect they will. After all, what’s not to like about a product that delves into do-it-yourself jewelry making via text PLUS zoomable photos, hyperlinks, videos, slide shows, and more? (Try Handcrafted Jewelry Studio yourself!)

free resin comparison chartOne of my favorite articles in Handcrafted Jewelry Studio is about the three main types of resin: two-part epoxy resin, UV resin, and resin glazes. Not only do we discuss the differences between all three (the FREE downloadable resin comparison chart is your preview!), but we show you how to use each in videos presented by experts in the field. Whether you’re new to resin in jewelry making or have used it for years, this article is sure to teach you something you didn’t know.

Now I have a confession to make. While I’ve known about resin for a long time, I didn’t actually use the two-part epoxy type until earlier this year when I volunteered to make a resin-filled ring for Handcrafted Jewelry magazine, our eMag’s older sister. In fact, the aforementioned resin article was my impetus—it calmed my fears (How do I tame this finicky material? Will I keel over from breathing it?) and gave me the confidence to give resin a go.

My first attempts at using two-part epoxy resin didn’t produce perfect results (that’s my ring, above), but I was surprised at how easy the material was to work with. Let me share the top five resin jewelry making tips I learned or came up with along the way!

use your bezel as a stamp1. Use your bezel as a stamp. Cutting out paper to fit inside a bezel isn’t easy. That’s why some bezel manufacturers have developed tools to cut out shapes to fit perfectly inside their bezels. I came up with my own solution: Ink up your bezel in a stamp pad just as you would a rubber stamp and then use it to stamp on your paper (or whatever material you’re putting inside your bezel). Wash and dry your bezel thoroughly to remove all the ink; then use scissors to cut along the inside the of stamp mark. Trim as necessary.

 

seal paper well before resin2. Seal, seal, and seal again. If you don’t want resin to seep into your paper, you must cover it with sealant, such as Mod Podge. Seal the top, bottom, and sides and apply several coats, allowing the sealant to dry between coats (this doesn’t take long at all). I didn’t seal my paper well enough the first time, and a bit of resin seeped into my paper, making that area look a little darker than the rest-a big bummer for a perfectionist like myself.

 

sanding resin to matte hides mistakes3. A matte finish hides mistakes. This tip relates to the previous one. Because I liked everything about my ring design except the small dark patch where resin seeped into the paper, I really wanted to salvage it. Cynthia Thornton’s amazing Enchanted Adornments book to the rescue! In it I had remembered reading about Cynthia’s technique for creating a satin finish on dried resin: You simply rub the resin surface with 600- then 2000-grit wet/dry sandpapers until you achieve the desired “matte-ness.” Surely Cynthia uses this technique for its visual effect, but it’s a great way to camouflage mistakes, too!

 

drink bottles make good ring holders while resin cures4. Soda bottles make great ring platforms. When it was time to pour the resin into my ring’s bezel, I realized I needed to find a way keep the ring steady and upright. A plastic soda bottle did the trick—the shank fit into the opening while the bezel rested perfectly on top. I filled the bottle with sand so it wouldn’t tip over. If I had channeled my dad, I might have thought of taping the ring to my work surface with duct tape. It held our family station wagon together, so I’m sure it could affix a ring to a table.

 

room-temperature-resin-jewelry-bubbles5. Room temperature does matter. I admit that I mentally rolled my eyes when I read in Susan Lenart Kazmer’s instructions for her two-part epoxy Ice Resin that an optimal room temperature for mixing resin is 72°F. My first resin projects turned out great. They were created in late summer when it was probably at least 80°F in my studio. However . . . when some coworkers and I were playing with resin in the “studio” (read: basement) here at work where it was maybe 40°F, the bubbles that formed in the resin didn’t dissipate. That’s because it’s the heat that pulls them to the surface, apparently. Okay, Susan, I guess you’re right! To fix this problem, I’ve learned I could have set the resin under a warm task light or popped any bubbles that remained with a toothpick or piece of wire within about a half hour after pouring. Back to Tip #3 I go!

For more resin information, check out our free Resin Comparison Chart, or better yet, download your copy of Handcrafted Jewelry Studio and learn more about resin and other mixed-media jewelry-making topics while enjoying a fun new interactive magazine experience. —Danielle

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