Resin, One Step Further: 8 Special Effects in Resin Jewelry Design

If you’re one of those people who really likes to mix up your mixed-media designs, you know the more mediums you can use together successfully, the more fun you can have. I love working with resin, but there’s so much more to resin jewelry making than putting something in a bezel and pouring resin over it. There are a variety of fillers, bases, and surface treatments that can give your resin designs a whole new look. Some of them change the resin so much, it’s almost unrecognizable . . . but it’s still the same fun resin we love to use.

ABOVE: My resin and enamel birdbath ring (see number 7 below).

8 Ideas for Transforming Resin

tinted resin earrings

1. Transparent Tint

You can mix colored powders (such as Jacquard mica powders or fine shavings from Prismacolor chalks) in resin to create a transparent wash of color. A drop or two of liquid color, such as craft inks, would probably also work, though mixing another liquid with resin can affect the curing of the resin. Experiment with samples on scrap metal or plastic before adding liquid-tinted resin to your actual projects and bezels.

opaque colored resin jewelry from Nunn Design

2. Opaque Color

Adding paints to resin is a great way to transform the look of resin into that of an entirely different material, such as faux enamel. Adding paint to resin instead of simply painting your pieces creates a stronger bond and a harder surface. Becky Nunn of Nunn Design is really interested in colored resin lately and has had success using Castin’ Craft opaque pigments to color the resin, which is how this bracelet was made. Remember, as with the inks above, different liquids are bound to react differently with resin and could affect the resin’s curing, so experiment with your particular paint of choice before pouring colored resin onto your projects.

3. Glitter!

I love using glitter every chance I get, in any way I can. Mixing glitter in resin before pouring and curing it creates a fun, sparkly effect perfect for bling, like these earrings from Tom and Kay Benham. You can get a similar sparkly effect by embedding wire in resin.

sanded matte resin jewelry

4. Matte Sanded Surface

After your resin has cured, you can create an attractive matte finish by sanding the surface lightly. You could place a stencil over the surface and just sand in some areas or in a specific design or pattern. Sanding the surface is also a great way to hide imperfections, such as stubborn bubbles that didn’t dissipate. Sand with 600-grit and then 2000-grit wet/dry sandpaper until you get the look you love.

5. Floating Layers

I love creating resin jewelry in layers so that pieces inside the resin look as though they are floating. You can also put a clear dome over moveable pieces in a bezel and then add a layer of resin over it, creating a shaker or snow globe effect.

inked resin by Susan Lenart Kazmer

6. Rubber Stamped/Inked

If you have a steady hand and a good permanent ink like StazOn, you can put your rubber stamps to work as surface art on cured resin jewelry designs. Simply create the piece as you normally would, allow the resin to cure, and then stamp (or write or draw with a permanent marker, like Susan Lenart Kazmer did in this piece from Resin Alchemy) words or designs on the surface. If you don’t have permanent inks or markers, use whatever you have and seal it with another layer of resin for durability.

Bonus update: I was making cards all day yesterday and that gave me another idea. You can also use rub-ons on flat resin surfaces to add words, designs, and more. It takes a little extra care to keep a rub-on on a curved or domed surface, but if you have a good easy-to-transfer rub-on, it shouldn’t be too hard. If your resin piece is small enough, try using packing tape to hold the rub-on on the resin and the whole thing still on your work table, keeping it all secured while you do the rubbing-on work.

resin birdbath ring

7. Water/Glass Effects

Instead of putting paper or other ephemera behind resin in a bezel, simply add color and then let the crystal clear resin create the effect of water, like in my enameled and resin birdbath ring, inspired by a birdbath ring by Karen McGovern. I enameled the base of the bezel and used resin over it; alternately, you could use paint or colored resin on the base. You can use resin to create a glass-like effect, too. Check out #1 above and experiment with tinted transparent resin to get a stained-glass look inspired by KUKLA studio.

faux druzy gemstones using resin

8. Adhesive Base

We usually think of resin as the top layer in jewelry designs, but what if we take advantage of its super adhesive capabilities and use it to create the look of druzy or other gem crystals? Stephanie Gard Buss used resin as the base and as the adhesive in this faux druzy project, which doubles as a great way to use broken gems that you can’t bear to toss out.


Which Resin Is Right for You?

Bonus: Check out our free resin comparison chart to help you decide which resin is best for your projects.

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