Resin Jewelry Techniques: Resin Casting, Resin Paper, and More
During Bead Fest Philadelphia, resin jewelry techniques, ideas, and classes seemed to be everywhere and the attendees couldn’t get enough! Ranger Industries hosted several resin classes, all to sold-out crowds. Susan Lenart Kazmer taught several classes on resin casting and metalworking. Pam Hawkins also brought her resin prowess to the forefront with this design made using resin paper.
We also hosted resin demonstrations in the Interweave booth. I had fun covering how to create image transfers then set them in resin as well as sharing a technique I learned from Becky Nunn of Nunn Design. It was wonderful to later see attendees leaving with resin supplies of their own, along with Susan’s book Resin Alchemy.
No matter how many classes are held, there are always so many other things that can be learned. Resin casting came up in a trends presentation recently, and I’m happy to share an excerpt from Susan’s book Resin Alchemy on the subject. This is just one of many resin jewelry techniques covered in this book.
Resin: A Perfect Casting Medium
As with any medium I use, I wanted to push the envelope with resin. I found I could incorporate many different inclusions and colors–liquid or powder, hot or cold. Exploring what I liked and didn’t like, I experimented with both interior work and exterior surface applications. I discovered that I could cast resin in an open mold, creating a hollowed form into which I could place decorative ingredients, such as paper and tiny objects, exactly where I wanted them to be. By creating a matching open mold, I could make a sealed hollow form, using resin to glue the two cast pieces together seamlessly.
The point at which you pull your cast resin from its mold is just the beginning of the process. The real artwork begins as you transform this piece into a beautiful, lightweight jewelry component. The surface treatments and shaping you apply to a resin casting, together with color and found objects, will make each piece uniquely yours.
Resin Casting: How to Create a Negative Open Mold
Materials & Tools
two-part resin, mixing cups and stir sticks
two-part silicone molding putty
bronze or silver mica powder
vintage-looking lock or similar metal object
rhinestone chain (1-1/2”)
large white plastic trash bag
nitrile gloves (or similar that suit you)
1. Place the plastic bag on your work surface. Using two-part silicone molding putty (you want to use a good one that picks up fine details), mix and knead equal parts together in your hands quickly.
2. Form your silicone putty into a ball, place it on your work surface, and shape it into roughly the same shape as the metal object you are encasing. Fig.1
3. Gently and firmly press the lock into the putty. Next, build up the sides of your putty to make sure that you have good walls that will prevent the resin from leaking out. Fig.2
4. Dry the putty mold for 5 minutes. Now, gently separate the lock from the mold and push it out.
Resin Casting Steps
5. Fill an empty resin mixing cup three-quarters full with mica powder. Stir well to blend thoroughly and pour carefully into your hardware mold. Fig 4. Dry for 6 hours.
6. Carefully peel the mold away from the resin lock. Fig 5.
7. Smooth the rough outer edges of the resin lock with a needle file. You can also use metal shears to trim excess resin, as needed. Fig. 6
8. Use a small paintbrush to apply acrylic color to the recessed keyhole in the lock. Fig 7.
9. Cut the rhinestone chain to fit the length of the lock handle. Apply the chain to the lock using resin.
This technique is only one facet of mold making and resin casting Susan shares in Resin Alchemy, not to mention all the other tips, techniques, and projects that are included. If you love resin as much as I do, you too will be turning to this book time and time again.
More Resin Casting and Other Resin Jewelry Techniques
But don’t stop there! Be sure to continue your knowledge gathering, exploring others who delve deeply into mixed media.
Jen Cushman has a way with any material in front of her. Her work with resin is recognizable but still, always surprising. For more on Jen and her work, read this wonderful Q&A Mixed Media Jewelry: Jen Cushman and the Secrets of Her Artistic Style.
Cynthia Thornton might be better known as Green Girl Studios’ founder and artist to you. Read Carve, Color, and Embellish Cast Resin Bangles and Cuffs with Cynthia Thornton to learn all the ins and outs of Cynthia’s resin casting techniques. This collection will have you making bangles, cuffs, and so many other items in no time!
No matter which way you want to take your resin and mixed media exploration, these ladies share their extensive knowledge and experience. Tap into their published works for your own inside look, then go have some fun!
Editor, Beadwork magazine