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.
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.
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.
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.
Before You Go:
- How to Make a Gold Leaf Resin Bangle Tutorial
- How to Make Butterfly Resin Earrings
- Exquisite Wire and Resin Kanzashi Flower Hair Jewelry
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips