Carve, Color, and Embellish Cast 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 acrylic, wood, or something else. So how about creating your own resin cast bangles and cuffs?
In the past few years, I’ve watched with interest as clever jewelry designers (like you!) have cast resin in bangle molds, filling and embellishing 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 the video by one of the most talented jewelry artists I know, Cynthia Thornton.
Cynthia is the Green Girl Studios founder and author of one of my favorite jewelry-making books, Enchanted Adornments. And she’s taking molded resin bracelets to a whole new level in her DVD, Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs.
Not interested in making bangles? The techniques in Cynthia’s video can be applied to any type of resin casting you’re interested in.
Within four minutes of watching, when Cynthia was just reviewing the products she demonstrates in the casting portion of the video, I was envisioning my first craft show tent set up with stacks and stacks of resin bangles and cuffs. Using resin and molds to cast bangles enhanced with a limitless variety of artistic supplies appeals to the jewelry maker and the crosscrafter in me. 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.
But even before the casting, I fell in love with the mold carving lesson in Cynthia’s video. 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.
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.
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.”
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 (above) 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
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 (or convenient digital download) are also available as four individual video downloads:
- start at the beginning by learning to carve and build your own one-of-a-kind wax master bangles and cuffs (or anything you want to cast!) in Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs: Carving a Master
- learn to make molds of those unique designs with Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs: Creating a Mold
- see how fun it is to cast, embed, color, and embellish the resulting resin bangles in Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs: Casting Techniques and Embellishments (if you have your own molds, you can start with this one)
- 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 an amazing deal in Cynthia’s DVD, Custom Cast Bangles & Cuffs. It’s the perfect choice if you want to learn the whole fun resin casting process from start to finish!
Originally published May 25 ,2015. Updated September 20, 2018.