Carve, Cast, Color and Embellish Resin Bangles and Cuffs with Cynthia Thornton

There seems to be no end in sight for the popularity of bangle and cuff bracelets–and the more, the merrier! Bangles and cuffs provide armfuls of opportunities for stylish expression, whether metal, leather, vintage plastic, or something else. So how about creating your own bangles and cuffs with resin?

In the past few years, I've watched with interest as clever jewelry designers (like you!) have cast resin in bangle molds, filling them with fun stuff like flowers, beads, even colorful paper clips and sprinkles. I thought I knew how to make them myself–I know how to mix and pour resin, after all–but I realized how much more there is to successfully casting resin bangles when I saw a new video by one of the most prolific jewelry artists I know, Cynthia Thornton (Green Girl Studios founder and author of one of my favorite jewelry-making books, Enchanted Adornments) is taking molded resin bracelets to a whole new level in her new DVD, Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs.

cast resin bangles by Cynthia Thornton from Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs DVD

Within four minutes of watching, when Cynthia was just reviewing the products she demonstrates in the casting portion of the DVD, I was envisioning my first craft show tent set up with stacks and stacks of resin bangles and cuffs. Using resin and molds to create cast bangles enhanced with a limitless variety of fun and artistic supplies is appealing to the jewelry maker and the crosscrafter in me, and because the large containers of resin that Cynthia uses are affordable, I'll be free to play and experiment in a way that I don't really feel I can with silver.

using gilder's foils in cast resin bangles by Cynthia Thornton

But even before the casting, I fell in love with the mold carving lesson in Cynthia's DVD. The carving of the wax, using metal tools heated in a small flame to help mold and melt the wax onto and off of the work in progress–it's all so fun and hands-on, I can't wait to try it. I especially love the effects she creates using wax drips and the resulting design in the final cast pieces. And did you know you can cut and carve the resin bangles after unmolding them? The suppressed sculptor in me is itching to try this.

cast resin bangles from opaque white resin by Cynthia Thornton

I already knew how to make silicone molds for resin casting, but I learned from Cynthia that there are many nuances to address when you're creating a mold of a lumpy, irregular, hand-built wax model of something as large as a bangle.

using foil and iridescent powders in cast resin bangles by Cynthia Thornton

My favorite part of Cynthia's workshop, though, was the casting, coloring, and embellishing. The pieces she ended up with look like everything you can imagine using to make cuffs–clay, bone, jet, glass, metal, stone, and a translucent, misty, iridescent material that I can't quite pinpoint or describe without using words like "ethereal" and "mysterious."

how to get glass-like or matte finishes on cast resin bangles by Cynthia Thornton

You'll learn all kinds of tips and techniques from Cynthia, from carving to casting, coloring, embedding, embellishing and more, such as:

  • how to create matte or glass-like surfaces on your pieces
  • finishing techniques for how and when to remove excess resin ("flash") after casting
  • a brilliant way to cut down on dust and mess when finishing cast resin pieces with a power tool
  • different effects you can create using clear transparent resin as well as white opaque resin
  • how to determine the amount of resin you need for your mold
  • artistic alternatives to mold release
  • how to create your own artistic transparencies to embed in your bangles
  • how much filler each kind of resin can handle and still cure properly
  • a clever way to keep resin in an optimum state before mixing and to reduce bubbles
  • how to achieve the clearest clear resin casts
painted cast resin cuff by Cynthia Thornton

Join Cynthia to see how to use foils, gilder's paste, iridescent powders, porcelain powder, paint, beads, and other embellishments and fillers to create ethereal, organic resin bracelet designs to suit your own personality. Cynthia's resin bangle and cuff projects are fresh and artistic, and after you watch and learn, you'll be creating your own unique designs for an armful of stylish resin bracelets.

The four main lessons in Cynthia's DVD are also available as individual downloads. You can start at the beginning and learn to carve and build your own one-of-a-kind wax master bangles and cuffs with Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs: Carving a Master. Then learn to make molds of your own unique designs with Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs: Creating a Mold. You'll see how fun it is to cast, color, and embellish the resulting resin bangles in Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs: Casting Techniques and Embellishments, and then you can embellish even more with gems, sequins, crystals, etc. in Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs: Beaded Embellishments. Save a bunch of money (to spend on resin!) when you get all four video lessons at nearly half the price on Cynthia's DVD, Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs, if you want to learn the whole fun resin casting process from start to finish!

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