Not too long ago, I had a wonderful lunch date with my friend Helen Breil.  She is a  polymer clay artist best known for her gorgeous contemporary style pieces.  She also designs her own silk screens and textures plates which are sold through various retailers. She told me she had recently updated her silkscreen demonstration.  A must see!  She shared a lot creative ideas and got my creative juices going!

What I wanted to do was something that hasn't been done before.  As far as I know I am the first to consider screen printed resin jewelry. So you saw it here first!

Helen kindly gave me two of her silk screens for review.  Her beautiful designs are based on her Zentangle style doodling. I'm not saying this because she is my friend - but her range of silk screen designs are some of the best I have ever come across.

The secret behind screen printed resin jewelry is the use of shrink plastic.  I used the Shrinky Dinks brand's frosted sheets. This is the base on which the screen printing is done.  You could do it on stiff paper or card but this non-porous material provides a firm base for screen printing. You also do not have to seal the shrink plastic first unlike paper.  It also gives the project a translucent quality.  I chose the frosted ones because one side is sanded which will help paints to adhere.

For my first project design, I added a spray tint to the shrink plastic sheet.

I then taped down the silk screen with some painter's tape.  Helen used a smaller spreader. As I wanted to use the entire silk screen, I used an inexpensive plastic putty knife from my local hardware store.  It covers a bigger area quickly.

You can use acrylic paints.  I just happened to have this gold colored glass paint so it got pressed into use. Helen says that you must NOT use watery paints otherwise these will not work well.

The reveal was exciting!

As Helen recommended, I did have a plastic dish of water ready to receive the silk screen and putty knife. These were then whisked immediately to the sink for a thorough clean before the paint dried.

Once the paint dried, I punched out various shapes using paper punches.

You are probably expecting me to shrink the cut outs down in a toaster oven, right?  Nope.  Screen printing requires a lot of paint.  Shrinking condenses all that paint!  As you can see below - the before and after if you do so.  That is why lighter applications of pigment are used on shrink plastic in expectation of a concentration effect.

I also screen printed on just the frosted sheet as is.

Once the paint dried, I used water color pencils to add some color accents. When done, I applied a bit of water to distribute the pigment lightly.

I also cut out shrink plastic shapes and colored them black with acrylic marker pens. I then added a little Super New Glue (not the same as super glue which gets brittle after a while) to affix overlapping shapes.

The next step is to add resin to all the pieces. There are different kinds of resin out there. The most appropriate are the doming kinds.  I recommend you get either Little Windows Brilliant Resin or ICE Resin. They are low bubble producers if you work carefully.  I've used both (as well as several other brands of non-doming resins) and prefer Little Window's resin.  It is absolutely colorless because it starts off without any tints. I've also noticed it has a longer shelf life than other resins.  If you aren't a heavy resin user, then it is better to use their 2:1 resin as you can replace just part B if it goes off.  You are out of luck with other brands as you will have to ditch both parts if B yellows badly or if the old resin does not cure at all.

And that's what I used here - Brilliant resin- courtesy of Little Windows.  Mix a batch of resin following instructions.  Then dome the pieces, one side at a time.  Remember to cover the curing resin to prevent dust from settling.  The resin pieces are okay to touch after 12 hours and will fully cure in a day or two.

Do you remember what happened to the sea glass when I created the see through pendants?  The frostiness disappeared. That's what happens to the frosted shrink plastic sheets - the uncolored parts turned clear. So the pieces now have a translucent look!

I pushed the envelope so to speak by attempting to add a doming resin to larger pieces.  What I found is the surface tension is greater. This really pulled in the resin from the edge (see below). This then necessitated having to add additional layers of resin.  (Note that I added a gold edge with a gold metallic pen)

One the pieces are cured, the edges were sanded smooth with wet-dry sandpaper.  Use 400 or 600 grit.  I just use one grade but you can go finer in stages to get really super smooth edges.

A spiral ratchet drill is a good manual tool to make holes in resin pieces. (See my review here).  But as I had so many holes to drill, I used the hand drill to make pilot holes and finished the drilling quickly with my rotary Dremel tool with an appropriately sized diamond bit.

While the Dremel was a real time saver,  there is a risk of delaminating the resin layers as you can see from the back of the purple piece :

Overall though, screen printed resin work like this produces cool translucent jewelry.  You can also use the technique to create fun backgrounds for all sorts of other resin designs.

Shown here are some of the ways I finished the pieces.  I used Parawire's fine silver plated silver wire (which I previously received for review) for the wire wrapped ones.

The rich colors of  the gold and purple pendant looks very different depending on how it is photographed!

You can see some shimmery streaks in the left black and white earrings below. Resin spray would have removed that quickly but I didn't have any. So the cautionary note is this : streaks are more obvious on dark colors.

My first attempt at the black and white bib necklace was way too wide and not curved enough.  So I created a bookmark with it!

I used natural light, my iPhone 6S with the camera+ app and the Modahaus TS320 tabletop studio and the Steady Stand (medium).  To get the graduated grey backgrounds , I put the black sheet behind the white. The necklaces were suspended from a Modahaus Steady Stand and their new rostrum.   Check out my How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar  - these will resume in late August /September.

I receive books and products for review.  I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links.   The opinions expressed are solely my own.  They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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