Thursday, October 29, 2015

How to Make Real Flower Resin Jewelry

By on Thursday, October 29, 2015 31 Comments

Making real dandelion and flower resin jewelry is not technically difficult.  But as they say, one learns by doing. I was inspired to try by Shireen Nadir (The Blue Brick), a Canadian resin jewelry artist I featured before.   In the previous tutorial, I experimented with using silica gel - crystal cat litter - to dry dandelion clocks and flowers. The next stage is embedding the dandelion and flowers in resin and finally turning them into jewelry.


As I said before, the process is not technically difficult but it will require care and patience.  The resin is best applied in multi-stages. Working in batches also helps as once you have activated the resin, you need to use it all up.  So plan your work flow.


I used Little Windows' resin mix which I had received for review. It's a great resin but note that the proportion is different from other brands. It is 2 parts of A to 1 part of B.  Don't like squinting and trying to see the markings of the plastic cup?  Use small scales and measure out the parts by weight. For example, I used 10 g of A and 5 g of B.  I prefer to make up small batches as it is easier to anticipate needs and not waste any resin.

I also followed their instructions, stirring carefully for about 2.5 minutes until I don't see any swirls within the mixture. Try not to create bubbles.  Leaving the mix under a lamp for 5 minutes afterwards really helps. Any unavoidable bubbles rise to surface and can be moved to the side of the cup be "popped".

If you do a lot of resin work, make sure to work in a ventilated environment or at the very least have a fan blowing across the work area. I don't usually do so but you can also wear gloves (use nitrile ones).

I also used Little Window's round cabochon mold which came with the resin I received.  It has multiple sizes and replicates of sizes which are ideal for jewelry making. These yield half spheres.


Once the resin has been mixed and is ready for use, fill the mold about 2/3 up.  For the dandelion clock, I used the second largest size.  Gently and slowly push the clock into the resin until fully submerged.  Smaller flowers can be positioned using the stir stick or even a toothpick.  The latter is good for popping bubbles if there are any obvious ones.


Always let resin cure under cover. There is nothing more frustrating than dust!  You can certainly touch the resin after 12 hours without leaving fingerprints. But I would leave it a full 24 hours.



Another tip once you are done. Clean out resin cups and stirrers with dry paper towels and they will be good to go next time.


The real flower resin cabochons look like they have been encased in glass. There were tiny bubbles here and there but I thought they added to the pieces!






I had left part of the dandelion clock stem as a "handle". Next time I will not so in order to save effort.  This time I had to first trim off as much of the organic material as possible.


I then had to sand down the remains using 400 grit wet/dry sandpaper.  This was done underwater to avoid breathing in the dust.  This left a frosted look to the back of the dandelion cabochon.  I didn't bother returning to the clear glass look -  this required a dremel with a polishing wheel.  (Update : reader Linda says another application of clear resin or even nail polish will also do the trick!)


If you look closely, the resin cabochon are concave when set.  I think adding just a bit more resin to level out the back is worth the effort because it avoids the huge bubble issue as you will see further down.  This means a second round of resin making and pouring.  See what I mean about multi-stage and patience?


I usually like to add some color to the bottom of the metal bezels I use.  When the resin mix is almost gone, I colored it with some Jacquard Pearlex powder (see this post on how to color resin).


Before pouring a small amount of colored resin into the bottom of the bezel, make sure it is level. You can always lay completely flat bezels on a sheet of waxed paper to protect the surface.  But if the bail of a pendant makes the bezel uneven, put it on a box and let the bail part protrude as shown below.

I am using the wonderful silicon doming tray I bought from Little Windows - any accidental spills can be popped out after the resin cures.


The lovely earring bezels I bought from Nunn Design were trickier to lay flat. So I got two stacks of empty CD cases and positioned the earring so the bezel is flat.  As before cover and cure.


Once the colored resin in the bezels are cured, it's time to add the flower resin cabochons. Resin is a wonderful glue in itself. So prepare another batch of plain resin and add some to the bezels which should be flat positioned. I like to use the stirrer to add drops of resin. Carefully place the resin cabochons onto the fresh resin.  Let it cure.


As the resin cabochons were concave at the back, the clear resin "glue" was not sufficient to fill this gap. The lower earring bezel trapped a very large bubble. The other one wasn't too bad.  These were tiny white 4 petal clematis flowers.



I trimmed the salvageable one by trimming the ear wire and making a bail with the rest!


On one hand the glass like cabochons were great. On the other the reflections were hard to avoid in photography!


This pair of earring drops were not filled with any resin color. With smaller pieces, the trapped bubbles were more central and adds to the design.


This Nunn design earring pair had a gold colored resin background.


Both earrings above were made with the tiny flowers of my favorite perennial, the well behaved coral bells (Heuchera). They dried easily.


The New England Aster's petals shriveled up while drying leaving behind a very interesting fuzzy core.


And this is how it turned out.


The yellow potentilla flowers dried more or less okay.  I debated on whether to seal them with a few layers of acrylic spray before embedding in resin but didn't.  So you can see darker areas in the petals where they had become translucent.  But the white clematis and coral bell flowers were not affected.  To seal or not to seal will depend on the flowers. I'd say to seal as a precaution with bigger petaled flowers.


I still liked the cool flowers in the cabochons above so went ahead and mounted them on Nunn Design rings.


As I did not have large enough bezels for the dandelion clock resin cabochons, I used wire wrapping instead. The wire net bezel tutorial will be out tomorrow.

Disclosure

Photography
All final photos were taken with my iPhone 5, camera+ app and with the Modahaus TS400 light studio.  I used the native camera app for the outdoor shoot. The tutorial pictures were accomplished in my windowless basement studio with the aid of 2 100W daylight CFL lamps.

For more information on my how to photograph jewelry webinar, click here.

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31 comments:

  1. What that is a lot of work but the results turned out beautifully. I especially love that Dandelion! I would love to try this someday - wonder if I have the patience :)

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    Replies
    1. It is time consuming overall and it requires planning in order to be efficient. But as you say, the results are worth it!

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  2. Incredible tutorial Pearl. And Why? Because you showed us your 'oopsies' as well and told us what to do about them. I appreciate that!

    I think your results were gorgeous! I particularly liked the coloured resin in the bottom to show off the flowers.

    AND - something else I noticed! NO BALL CHAIN!!

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    Replies
    1. This set of tutorials was probably the most time consuming I have ever done. Still I learned a great deal from the experiment and could share.

      Everyone should also know why dried flower jewelry artisans charge what they charge for their work. It takes time, planning and allowances for the failures.

      LOL! I still have ball chain and may yet use them another time!

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  3. Those are beautiful and unique, Pearl. I'm going to have to try that some day. There are so many different flowers to use.

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    Replies
    1. I hope you do! I can see how dried flower resin jewelry focals can look wonderful teamed up with gemstones like yours!

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  4. The dandelion clock wire bezel is simply gorgeous. I am looking forward to the tutorial. I have a couple of tips for gluing cabs in bezels with resin. Use a flat square brush to apply a coat of resin to the bezel and glue the cab to it- no smudges or bubbles. For concave cabs, apply resin only on the edges that come in contact with the bezel. for convex objects pour resin into a mound and set object in it (its very unpredictable as you need to apply pressure to the object for 3-6 hours or it will tip off)

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  5. Interesting comments, Divya. Note that in most of the bezels, I am not attaching directly to the bezel but onto a layer of colored resin. Either way, if I apply only at the edges of the concave cabs, there is not enough contact surface area to ensure the cab will stay on. But yes, convex objects (at the bottom at least) will be as with any embed resin project.

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  6. Pearl, to get a shiny surface after sanding, just paint a thin layer of resin where you sanded. Or, if you aren't going to sell it, and don't feel like mixing up more resin (since there is a minimum amount you must mix for it to set), use clear nail polish. Works like a charm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent tip, Linda. I will update the post with it. I thought that might be the case but I was avoiding having to make up another batch of resin!

      Delete
  7. Hi Pearl, oh my goodness thank you for the tutorial. I've always wanted to try resin, perhaps some day. I do have one question. When you were drying the dandelion clock, how did you get it to stay together without losing any seeds? I really love the dandelion clock and the New England aster! I would love to try that with a bachelor button too! Again, thanks for sharing. Love ya' Patricia B

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    Replies
    1. I picked clocks which were still "fresh" ie not about to easily lose their seeds. I just gently handled them. No problem. Oooh, bachelor buttons is an excellent idea! I will have to try that too next year.

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  8. How did you get the dandelion clocks to not have a matted look when you put them in the resin? I'm thinking about doing a few individual seeds for wish pendants, but don't want them to turn out looking like a wet, bedraggled seed. Yours seem to look very nice and fluffy just as they were in the grass.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The clocks are dry and the trick is to put it into the resin very,very gently. Try it and you will see.

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  9. Fantastic Thankyou I love all your work

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  10. How did you get the dandelion to not stick together when putting it in the resin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nothing. It doesn't stick together as this is resin not water

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  11. Hi Pearl! I love your flower resin jewelry and this is a great tutorial too! I just had to share it on Facebook!

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  12. Do the colors of the flowers fade over time? Beautiful work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes they do with time but how fast will depend on how much sun they are exposed to.

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  13. Really great tutorial! Thanks so much! Anxious to give it a try.

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  14. Hey, just curious what the cost of materials was approximately? Thanks :)

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    Replies
    1. I can't give a cost because it will depend on what you want to buy. You will certainly need resin, bezels or molds, jewelry findings (costs will be different for rings, earrings, necklaces). Maybe check on Fire Mountain Gems, or on Amazon to see prices.

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  15. Hi Pearl~ I am so happy that I found your blog! I have an Amazing Orchid Plant (has 19 Flowers and has been going strong for something like 2 months... I wish I could post a picture!!), and I really wanted to capture the beauty of each flower in resin. So, does the flower need to be dried? I'm afraid that dried Orchid flowers will lose their beauty... they're white with a purple~ish and yellow center. I guess I could take one off and dry it to see... but I'd also like to know your answer on the drying question. Thank you so much! Great Health & Happiness to You~ Purrs, Kat

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Welcome to my blog and community, Kat! We are all passionate about jewelry making. I love orchids too! Yes, the flowers (and leaves) have to be dried otherwise they will rot inside the resin. I have seen orchids in resin before. You must dry them - the best way is burying them carefully in silica gel. (Check out my post with crystal cat litter which is silica too). Then painting many layers of resin on them. Or encase them in a large mold (won't be jewelry then!). Have a go!

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  16. Hi Pearl, I have a question for you. I have tried to make resin jewelry with flowers and found that the flower always floats to the top (which is actually the back) of the mold. How do you avoid this?

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    Replies
    1. There are two possible solutions. One is to work in layers. So when you do the flower layer, make it thin. Let this layer cure before adding the next layer. The other solution is to add a transparent glue - I use Mod Podge or a small drop of resin to hold the flower down. Let this set before pouring the next batch of resin. Hope this helps.

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  17. Can you use fresh flowers as opposed to dry for this?

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    Replies
    1. Alas, no. You must dry them otherwise the flowers will rot inside the resin.

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