How to Make Resin Jewelry in 5 Steps
Whether you want to learn how to make epoxy resin jewelry or are interested in paper-based resin jewelry, you’ll get all the resources you need here at Interweave! To learn the most popular techniques, including how to make rings out of resin, simply follow our in-depth guide below and take advantage of our great collection of resources and publications on resin jewelry making for more inspiration and information.
What Can You Make with Resin?
Resin can be used for resin casting, but a more popular form of resin jewelry making is to seal images and/or found objects in bezels to create handmade resin jewelry. Mixed-media jewelry artists enjoy creating small collages in bezels and preserving them under resin. Making resin jewelry is a great way to turn beloved paper ephemera (ticket stubs, bits of love letters, small newspaper clippings) or meaningful found objects (buttons, pieces of fabric, watch parts, shells, feathers, coins, acorns) into long-lasting jewelry mementoes that you can wear.
Making resin jewelry is very simple: First, choose the right resin for your project, and second, follow five simple resin jewelry-making steps.
Choosing a Resin
There are two types of resin for jewelry making: two-part (resin plus hardener) epoxy resin that you mix as you need it or a pre-mixed variety that you simply pour straight from the bottle. Take care when mixing resin, because if the ratios are off, your resin might not cure properly.
There are a few characteristics to consider when choosing and working with resin:
- Cure times: How quickly does your resin cure? Do you want it to cure fast or slow? You can get it either way.
- Clarity: How clear will your resin be when it’s cured? Or will it yellow?
- Doming: Will it dome well? Is it self-leveling?
- Bubbling: Is it more prone to bubble than other resins?
- Surface: Does this resin cure hard and shiny on the surface? Or will it remain tacky?
- Fumes: Most resins are practically or entirely fume-free and non-toxic. Do your research, especially if children or children’s jewelry is involved.
Quick Resin Jewelry Tutorial
You can learn how to make resin jewelry in just five basic steps:
- Seal: Before embedding paper, fabric, or other porous ephemera in resin, you must seal it with a sealant (such as Mod Podge). Paint the top, bottom, and sides with several thin coats, allowing it to dry between coats. Pieces that aren’t sealed properly can blur or darken strangely when the resin permeates them or cause dreaded resin bubbles.
- Layer: Build your tiny collages in layers to create interesting dimension. Create even more dimension by building multiple resin layers, because embedded objects will likely sink to the bottom of the bezel otherwise. Add a layer of resin over your first ephemera layer and repeat, putting items in place one layer at a time and allowing layers to set almost completely in between.
- Pour: Add resin into bezels slowly to avoid spillover (it’s usually self-leveling) but more importantly to prevent trapping air inside, which causes bubbles.
- Pop: Use a pin or sharp toothpick to pierce bubbles as quickly as possible, before the resin begins to set. You can also pass a torch flame near the surface of the resin very quickly (don’t use a heat gun or hair dryer, which can blow dust etc. into the resin). The heat helps the bubbles rise to the surface and pop.
- Cure: After application, all resins need to cure (dry and harden). Many resins cure in about 24 hours in normal settings, but some resins can cure faster. UV resin cures in minutes when placed under a UV light (or a little slower when placed in sunlight). Even hardware-store resins come in quick-dry options (used more for securing pieces that need to hold together quickly, almost like glue) or slower-curing options that allow you to have more time to work on your resin jewelry projects or remove bubbles, etc.
After you have these basic resin jewelry-making steps down, you can get a little more creative with your resin jewelry ideas. You can sand the surface of your resin to create a matte finish (and to hide imperfections or bubbles). You can also paint or draw (with paint markers) on top of the resin. I’ve recently become intrigued with adding sparkly or embellishments (such as glitter or rhinestone chain) to the outside of resin jewelry too, to create an even more dimensional look. You can make see-through resin jewelry by securing a backing of clear packing tape on the back of a backless bezel. Create your resin masterpiece as usual in the bezel, and remove the tape after the resin has cured.