Wednesday, July 22, 2015

How to Color Resin for Making Pendants and other Jewelry

By on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 11 Comments

My first attempt at coloring resin was a dismal failure. I had bought some art chalk pastels and shaved off some little pieces.  But it didn`t color the resin - the little bits just sat there.  I realised I had to really grind those up if it were to work.  So I needed a better solution.


I didn`t want to risk liquid paint as too much might alter the resin reaction. (But you can try a single drop of acrylic or oil paint).  My local Michaels stocked some great alternatives.  So I had fun experimenting with them.  Jacquards`PearlEx powder is by far my favorite as the result is a metallic with a pearlescent effect.  Simply gorgeous. I had to buy a whole set of these little pots so I made sure I waited for a good discount day! If there is no Micheals near you, try Amazon for the set of Jacquard Pearl EX Set (Series 3) for about $23.  They also sell single pots over there.


As you can see from my resin supply below ( I use different makes), Part B was getting old.  (All resin and resin clay, irrespective of make, do not have a long shelf life.  It is usually the Part B which yellow and eventually becomes useless.) So coloring resin is a great way of using aging resin supplies.

Follow the manufacturer`s instructions and mix a batch of resin.  Working with resin requires one to be organized. So I tend to use up the clear batch first for other designs. I only color the remaining bits - dividing it if I needed to work with different colors.


I used this small long bezel from Nunn Design. It didn`t take much to fill the the bezel.  Don`t overfill if you are going to add things to this. A toothpick helps to level out the resin.

Many things can be added to a design.  For this one, I added 3 Swarovski montees.


As this particular Nunn Design pendant with a raised cross design had a predrilled hole, I pressed it firmly onto some contact paper - the kind used to line shelves. If the resin were to flow into the hole, the contact paper will keep it contained. The contact paper can be removed after the resin has set. Any resin in the hole can be removed with a small drill after it has set.  (See this post Tool Review - Hand Drills for Resin and Polymer Clay).


After coloring the resin, add small drops of it on the lower areas of the pendant. Use a toothpick to gently move the resin to different areas. As the resin was starting to thicken at this point, I was able to avoid getting resin into the hole.


Always put a cover of some sort over curing resin otherwise dust might land on it. It takes 48 hours to fully cure resin but you can handle it after a day. Add or make a bail and add a chain with a clasp and you are done!


I also like Ranger`s Perfect Pearls metallic set of 3 (silver, gold and bronze).  I also got them from Michaels.  Amazon also carries them for about $10 a set.  They don`t have much of a pearlescent effect but still very pretty as you can see from this large dragon pendant I made with the gold color.  Some care is needed with this pigment. Make sure to add enough of it and distribute it carefully - as you can see I did not manage to do that around the bottom edge).


There are also liquid dyes especially designed for resin by Castin. They come in opaque or transparent dyes.  These don't sparkle unless you add their resin pearlizing powder - an extra step! Some Michaels stores carry these or you could try art supply shops in your area. I got mine from Currys, a local art store. I find these more expensive than the Pearl Ex or the Ranger Perfect Pearls  to use because they don`t come in sets. A 1 oz bottle like the Castin Craft transparent blue dye from Amazon costs about $7. Using it is easy - just add a drop or two to the mixed resin.


Have fun coloring your projects!

Disclosure
I received the Nunn Design components for review. I am also an Amazon affiliate which means I get a small commission should any purchase be made through the links.

Photography
I used my iPhone 5, camera+ app and the Modahaus TS 320 tabletop studio. Notice the difference in the red resin tone in the photos?  The tutorial picture was taken under artificial lights in my basement studio, the final shots were done in natural light.  Best to stick to natural light whenever possible. Info on my How to Photograph Jewelry webinar here.

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11 comments:

  1. Hi Pearl
    Your timing is perfect. Would this technique work on copper? It is a cuff I am planning. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ball Chain! Say it isn't so Pearl!! :0)

    Okay - back to this great tutorial. So you are saying that we can use the yellowed part if we want by adding colour.

    I have 2 sets of resin that have sat in my cupboard for over a year because of the need for warm weather to cure it. I have a huge studio and keeping one place warm is not possible so have been waiting for consistent warm weather to help with that. Out here in central Alberta - that doesn't happen all that often - and I'm usually not prepared for it.

    I'm not going to be really surprised to find it has yellowed after some of your previous posts. I had thought I was totally out of luck with my supplies and would have to throw them away. But you are saying they are still useful if they are coloured. (just wanting to make sure I don't waste a whole lot of time only to find out they are no good - yes - Ice Resin)

    I wait with baited breath my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes you can try using your aging resin supplies if not too far gone. As you can see from my photograph above, my part B is quite yellow. Yet, this is not obvious after I colored it. I really do not know at which point really old resin becomes useless. So best not to use very old resin.

    Ah well. Have to use up my remaining ball chain.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Most people won't know why the discussion on ball chain.....

    Ball chain looks best as a pull on lights or for fishing or on a keychain. It really cheapens the look of something we've put a lot of work into.

    Going to have a look at my part B now Pearl.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hope your part B isn't too yellowed.

      I still think some people like ball chain. I have seen it on people!!

      Delete
    2. I have as well. But what changed my mind about using ball chain was when my brother first said to me 'Why would you put that gorgeous pendant on something intended for a lamp? It really cheapens the whole look. A simple chain would look so much better'. After that I started asking my men friends what they thought of a necklace using ball chain. One man said 'well if you were wearing dog tags it would be okay, but that pendant doesn't look like something you would wear in the army'.

      After querying a number of people I changed mind about using it. When I changed those pieces to a regular link chain they sold immediately.

      I have to admit that I still use it on inexpensive pieces that I make for little girls and as dangles for my sun catchers. Otherwise I never consider it an option.

      Whew! All for ball chain. I'm sure this discussion will continue... :0)

      Delete
  5. Very interesting post. I have dabble a tiny bit with 2 part resin epoxies, but basically just bonding things together. I've not tried some of the mounding resins such as ICE, nor have I experimented with colorants - which I must admit really intrigues me. I do know, from experience, that resins do have a limited shelf life and some brands are rather short lived. One brand I purchased only lasted 6 months before I found I had to use a lot more of the catalyst to the resin in order for it to cure and harden. The ratio was no longer 50-50 but more like 60-40, eventually it became 70-30 and not long afterwards I gave up and had to throw it out.
    I see what you mean about the lighting affecting the color, the difference between the color in those two photos is certainly striking. Guess it is hard to beat Mother Nature's own light source. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, resin shelf life can be frustratingly short. So the moral of the story is to use it up as quickly as possible.

      Delete
  6. Hi Pearl,

    I loved this post!!! Thank you so much for it. I have been investigating these same items to find out more about them for use with my resin work.

    So what is your personal favorite?

    I also color my resin with glitter. But obviously that does not "color" it per say. But when I use a super fine glitter it does tend to color the resin more so than using bigger flakes or cuts of glitter.

    Thanks again for the extremely wonderful and useful information as always.

    Have a great day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad this was helpful! I have used glitter as well but as you say, they don't really color resin.

      My absolute favorite is the first one - Jacquard's Pearl Ex. The pearlized colors are so scrumptious. Another benefit is the set has so many colors so it is far more economical in the long run.

      Delete

 

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