Monday, July 21, 2008

Bubble Trouble in Resin Jewelry Making

By on Monday, July 21, 2008 4 Comments

Making resin jewelry appeals to many people. There are lots of resources on the internet to help you get started such as this excellent tutorial from Ganoskin.com called 3 Ways with 2-part epoxy.

More recently, John W. Golden shared his free video tutorials (below) on how he makes his resin jewelry (rings and pendants). The first shows him preparing his artwork which is the basis of his designs. The second shows him making up the epoxy solution and working outside for ventilation. In the third, he deals with bubbles, the bane of resin jewelry making. The trick is to pour slowly and in layers. To remove the stragglers, he prefers to blow with a straw. But he actually cautions "Do not do this at home" as fumes can be accidentally inhaled! Not a good thing when you are working with epoxy resin in its liquid state.

Hair dryers held at a distance are his suggested alternatives but I wonder if resin jewelry artisans have tried what bartenders and laboratory staff do when they are carefully pouring liquids. Bartenders who make layered drinks use a teaspoon held with the scoop part in the hand and the stem pointing into the glass. Lab people use a glass rod as shown in the picture on the left. This really helps slows down the pouring even more and shouldn't form bubbles as the liquid doesn't trap bubbles as it is being dispensed..

On the other hand, the Arty Crafter who wrote a great article on the Tips and Techniques has something else to say about bubbles, " There are always going to be some bubbles somewhere no matter how hard you try and get rid of them. I recommend that you just get over it and enjoy them as part of the hand made nature of your work!" Sage advice indeed.

Resin Jewelry Tutorial Part 1

  Resin Jewelry Tutorial Part 2

  Resin Jewelry Tutorial Part 3
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 Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips 

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4 comments:

  1. I just had a recent batch of resin jewelry turn bubbly on me! (Luckily the photos were abstract, and the bubbled didn't detract from the images) The cause-- the photos I was coating weren't sealed and as the resin cured the air that was trapped in the paper floated up and got trapped in the resin. The main thing is to mix resin slowly, not vigorously, then when it comes time to coat, drip it on and don't pour. I usually apply resin with a toothpick or Popsicle stick. And if you do end up with bubbles... it's a feature not a flaw. But always make sure to seal any inclusions that could contain air first before coating with resin.

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  2. Thanks so much for your great comments! They are spot on coming from a resin jewelry artisan like yourself!

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  3. My comment got wiped out when I went to another tab, so will make this one briefer!

    Thanks for the link to John Golden's lessons.

    The 2-part resins used by crafters are genreally either epoxy resins (Envirotex, Ultra-Glo, Easy Cast, etc) or polyeser resins (Cast 'N Craft, etc.). They're definitely different in various ways (epoxies are "safer" and usually used for coatings or to cover things whereas polyesters are usually cast in deep molds, and epoxies are mixed one to one whereas polyesters are mixed a little of one to a lot of the other, etc.)

    Bubbles are normal (and most will break by themselves as the resin heats up during the initial curing stage) but carbon dioxide can also break them (if not physically popped first)--not heat, or air moving near them per se. So the CO2 from one's gently exhaled breath works well (exhaling only, not inhaling), and passing a match over and near the bubbles works for the CO2 same reason.

    Bubbles can also be caused by no sealing or insufficient sealing of porous items (like paper)... John may have had even fewer bubbles if he'd also sealed the very edges of his cutout paper images which I don't think he did. A hair dryer, etc. can work for the same reason but it's also likely to scatter dust onto the liquid resin too.
    Bubbles can also be caused by adding powders or other things to the resin that can trap minute bits of air.

    Anything with the least bit of residual moisture can cause clouding as well.

    He does mention that epoxy resins should be applied only in layers of 1/8" at a time and that 1/2" is the maximum for epoxies. Polyester resins though can be poured much more deeply at one go but any part of them that's next to the air can stay sticky so they're usually poured into molds rather than brushed or poured over something.

    There's more info on both kinds of resins if you want to check it out on this page at my site:
    http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/other_materials.htm

    Have fun!

    Diane B.

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  4. Super tips, Diane B!! Many thanks for taking the time to share.

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