If It’s Empty, Fill It With Resin

The more I play with resin, the more I love it! Lately, I've been experimenting with all kinds of things like adding color to my resin, using fabrics and papers under my resin, and now, I'm starting to use molds to create resin shapes for pendants, bangle bracelets, and cabochons for mixed media jewelry

As I was filling my plastic molds with resin and found objects, I started to wonder what else I could fill with resin. Lucky me — Tammy Jones over at Jewelry Making Daily had some great ideas for unique ways to create mixed media jewelry with resin! Enjoy!

After I learned how easy it is to create unique effects and resin jewelry designs, preserving all the pretty or precious little things that I tend to collect, I was so hooked. Now I find myself browsing my front sidewalk, the beach, antiques stores, and my craft room with a new eye, searching for things that not only would be great for jewelry but that would also be great imbedded in resin, perhaps in a bezel–or, perhaps as the bezel. . . .

Everyone has probably seen bottle caps used as bezels–that's a fun and easy one. On a sunny Sunday top-down drive with my Mama over the weekend, I was thinking about resin (that's not weird, is it?) and had the idea to use a seashell as my resin "bezel" and fill it with sand, smaller shells, maybe some bits of seaweed or coral, all put in layers of resin. I'll mount it on a ring when it's done, or maybe I'll knot a cord through a hole in the shell before I fill it and make a necklace out of it.

I'm in love with old pocket watches, and since they aren't something I can use practically, I like to turn them into pendants–which brings me to another unique resin bezel idea I've been kicking around in my mind for awhile: old pocket-watch cases. It could work much like the shell would–layered smaller shells, sand, etc.–but it could work in so many other ways, too. Pocket-watch cases make great resin photo frame pendants, or I could put a tiny collage inside the case, or even a teeny painting. I'm also trying to match up an old pocket-watch case with a slightly smaller pocket-watch crystal (or a domed plastic version) so that I can put something moveable behind the crystal and then layer resin and embedded things over that, allowing the bits behind the crystal to move around (like a snow globe) while the items in the foreground remain in place.

Old coins domed in a dapping block would make great bezels to fill with some tiny pretties and resin, and acorn caps, though small, have such unique textures and symmetry to them, they'd be good for resin bezels too. Tiny individual saltcellars would make darling bezels to fill with resin and whatnots, as would the bowl of a pretty spoon (curve some or all of the spoon handle into a bail and voila! a pendant).

No matter what you use for a bezel in your resin jewelry-making projects, the basics of working with resin are the same–and always, always avoid the bubbles! Here are some reminders and resin tips to keep in mind for successful resin bezel (say that fast three times) jewelry projects.

1. Seal, seal, and seal again. You must cover paper and fabric with a sealant (such as Mod Podge) before embedding it in resin. Just paint the top, bottom, and sides of your item(s) with several coats, allowing the sealant to dry between coats. It doesn't take long to do and you can do a batch of pieces all at once, assembly-line style. If you don't seal pieces properly, the resin will permeate them and can cause inks to blur, colors to darken in some places, or create dreaded bubbles.

2. Pour resin into your bezel slowly to avoid spillover as it levels out and to prevent trapping air around your treasures, which causes bubbles.

3. Work in layers to create the look of floating in deep bezels or layered designs. Items will likely sink to the bottom and appear all on one layer if you don't work in steps, adding a base layer of resin and putting items in place one layer at a time, allowing layers to almost completely set in between.

4. Pop bubbles in wet resin with a pin or fine toothpick as soon as possible, before the resin starts to set.

5. Do-overs: If your resin doesn't set up in the bezel, even after allowing a couple of days to be sure, you can use Attack! to remove the resin from the bezel. Anything you put in the resin is most likely ruined, though, so use this a last resort.

So, now I'm totally inspired and excited to play with my resin! I'm imagining all the possibilities for using these new resin jewelry-making components: resin cabochons for bead-weaving, resin pendants for mixed media jewelry, resin components for beaded earrings and maybe even some wire wrapped bracelets! My brain just won't stop coming up with new ideas for mixed media jewelry — even bead-weaving! Are you ready for some great new beading resources to kick-start your jewelry-making projects?

It's no secret that I'm wild about Kelly Angeley's new book, Explorations in Beadweaving. Kelly has an incredible talent for taking found objects and creating stunning mixed media jewelry out of them, all with bead-weaving and bead embroidery techniques!
Now, if you're really into playing with your resin, Susan Lenart Kazmer's Resin Alchemy is the perfect book for you. Play with just a couple of the techniques and projects in here, and you'll see why this is such a popular technique for making mixed media jewelry.
And of course, another favorite reference of mine, The Wireworker's Companion is never far from my desk. As I take my wire jewelry-making skills to new levels, I love having this handy guide around while I make wire jewelry. Written by the editors of Step By Step Wire Jewelry magazine, it's perfect for both beginners and more experienced wireworkers.

If you've never tried mixed media jewelry making techniques, now is the time to get started! What kinds of new techniques have you been learning? Have you discovered something that you absolutely love? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share with us!

Bead Happy,


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