Freeform Wire and Resin Jewelry: Make Angel Wings, Fairy Wings, Leaves, Flowers and More
Once I finally got over my fear of possibly “wasting” supplies with resin gone wrong, I was hooked! I’ve been resin-ing all kinds of things–bezels, old pocket-watch cases, even backless shapes (thanks to that little trick of backing them with packing tape and then removing it when the resin has cured). Hooked, I tell ya!
I finally decided that I didn’t really care if there might be mistakes or bubbles in the resin. Yes, I said it! The same way a few scratches and dings on my beloved car Violet don’t make her any less adorable, a few little mistakes in resin probably won’t ruin my resin jewelry designs. After that little revelation, I was free to create with resin. And oh my, I sure did. My favorite project so far is resin wings.
Fairy Wings, Angel Wings, Seashell Wings…
I’ve had a fascination with wings as long as I can remember. I own costume fairy wings, and numerous sets of feathery angel wings hang on my Christmas tree each year. I pick up seashells that look like wings on every beach I visit, and recently I was inspired to make wire and resin wings by Cynthia Thornton’s Woodland Wings necklace in Enchanted Adornments. She used tissue paper as a base in the wire to make hers (it literally disappears in the resin–brilliant!). But I had to experiment a bit.
The wire, lace, papers, tulle, and organza I used were all scraps and project leftovers. Some of my resin wings were made with tissue in the middle, some with tulle, some with lace, and some with nothing at all. Next I’m going to try iridescent cellophane and maybe some of that vellum that has glitter in it. Scrap drawer, here I come! Here’s how I made them.
Make Wire and Resin Fairy Wings (or Angel Wings?)
various types and gauges of wire
wire cutters and pliers
old wire cutters or scissors
resin supplies of your choice
toothpick or pin
optional inclusions: tissue paper, vellum, or iridescent cellophane; feathers, tulle or organza and lace scraps, glitter, seed beads, dried flowers, etc.
Steps for Making Resin Wings
1. Bend wing shapes with wire. Leave tails long enough to create loops or bails for hanging or make those shapes first and then form wing shapes. Be creative, making some that are pointed, some rounded, some with curvy or scalloped edges. No two wings are alike, so don’t worry about that. Play with shapes and sizes to create interest.
|2. Use thinner gauge wire to add details to the wings, like veins in a leaf. Add swirls, zigzags, curlicues, or just wrap wire back and forth to resemble feathers. These added wire designs give support to the middle of the wings and also provide a base for attaching tissue paper, lace, etc., later.|
|3. When your wire wing shapes are finished, press them as flat as possible onto a piece of sticky-side-up packing tape, which is taped down onto a plate or piece of card stock so you can move it around easily. If you’re going to add lace, tissue paper, or ribbon, press it onto the tape inside the wire wing shape, too.|
|4. Fill the wire wing outline with a thin layer of resin. Be sure to pierce any bubbles with a toothpick or pin immediately, before the resin begins to set. Allow the resin to cure according to package instructions. My UV resin cured under the UV light in about 10 minutes.|
Embellishing the Resin Wings
5. When that layer has partially cured, add glitter or other sparkly inclusions if you choose, then add another layer of resin. Repeat this process until the wings are to your liking. I flipped mine over after they were cured and did an extra, thin layer of resin on the back, just to balance their thickness and to create a shiny, smooth, domed surface on the back, so they’d be pretty from both sides when they dangle in jewelry.
|6. File or cut away any excess resin with heavy-duty scissors or old wire cutters. Wear goggles or glasses when you do this–the shards can fly off and they’re sharp! You might also want to sand a bit after you cut to remove sharp edges.|
Voila! You have resin fairy wings. Use jump rings to attach them to a necklace or ear wires, or you could wire or solder them onto the back of a mixed-media fairy pendant.
Resin Wing (or Petal, or Leaf, or. . .) Variations
I also made a wing (or petal?) shape out of an inch-long scrap of silver WireLace, simply by pulling the middle “open” and leaving the ends relatively “closed” and then coating it with resin. It worked beautifully, though I should have put a jump ring through the lace before I added the resin.
You could tint the resin green (or add greenish inclusions) and make leaves instead of wings. I made some smaller wire petal shapes and am combining them into a flower.
Also, you could use some real feathers in and/or on top of the resin to make angel wings instead of fairy wings (angel wings need feathers, right?).
More Resin Jewelry Ideas
For more inspiring resin jewelry projects, along with other fun techniques like metal clay, coloring on metal, and wirework, Enchanted Adornments is a beautiful book. It’s a reader’s book, too, because the projects are shared as part of an entertaining story with Cynthia’s fanciful illustrations. It’s like getting two books in one–and it’s a jewelry-making book that doesn’t have to live on the how-to section of your bookshelf! The print book is sold out, but it’s still available in digital form.
Lisa Pavelka Magic-Glos UV resin and UV lamp
Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin
Martha Stewart Crafts glitter
Alacarte Clasps silver WireLace
Updated April 25, 2019.