Salt dough aornaments are fun to make but they are unfortunately not that durable. So this rustic Christmas tree resin clay pendant tutorial of mine is reminiscent of those types of ornaments, only much, much stronger. They are hard to break!  These crystal embellished trees can also be used as ornaments. Best of all, unlike polymer clay, you do not have to bake them!

This tutorial uses texture plates. My friend and polymer clay artist, Helen Breil, has designed some gorgeous texture plates.  She let me have a couple for review. I was eager to try them out for resin clay.

There are many brands of 2 part epoxy resin clay out there. I used Apoxie Epoxy Clay.  I have used other kinds but this one is my favorite. It is less expensive than some of the other brands.  You can also get them in colors but I bought the bulk white! So I would be adding color on top. Resin clay is an adhesive so any pigments or surface embellishments will stick!

Like the liquid type of epoxy clay, the two equal parts have to be mixed together. Most people just make two balls of the same size.  I prefer to just weigh the parts out! Much faster.

Resin clay is not toxic but note, there are always individuals who might be sensitive to it. So wear gloves. I find it is easier to mix the sticky clay with gloves.

I also used waxed paper to protect the surface. A little additional grease like olive oil or Burt's Bees Hand Salve on the surface and tools help too.

I used the clay world's graduated slat set to help me roll out to an even thickness.  If you don't have this, use playing cards.  The first roll out is the equivalent of 17 cards high.

I also applied some of the salve on the texture plate to prevent the resin clay from sticking to it.

I reduced the height of the slats to the equivalent of 14 cards high. Just one forward and firm roll is needed.  Do not roll back and forth at this point as the impression will be blurred.

A little quick dunk in the salve...

...before cutting out the Christmas tree shape. Resin clay does not quite have the consistency of polymer clay. It is softer in the working stage. So I avoid using the polymer clay trick of adding clingfilm when cutting to get rounded edges. Otherwise I would lose the pattern around the edges.

Resin clay has a working time of about 2 hours before it self-hardens. So there was plenty of time to color three trees in different ways.  I used the "Pesto" color from this 3 pack set of Ranger Adirondack Alcohol Inks . I made sure to spread the ink on the back and sides too.

I also tried chalk pastel applied with a makeup sponge.

And this lovely shade of Gilders Paste "Patina".

I also used fine glitter in gold, silver and bronze. Just sprinkle a little and rub in here and there.

Then it was a question of where to add the little bits of chain and flatback crystals to adorn the trees. It is not enough to just press these embellishments into the clay. You have to really sink these in so that the clay has a better chance of sticking to them. I used the same center punch (or the back end of a wooden skewer) to create holes for the jump rings.

Let the pendants harden for 24 hours.  Test the crystals and chains. Add little drops of Super New Glue if they are loose.  This is a clear and very strong glue.  Usually the resin clay adhesiveness is good. However, I did add pigments to the surface prior to adding the embellishments so its adhesiveness has been compromised.

Spray 2-3 coats of spray varnish on both sides.  You can see I have a makeshift spray box made by removing one side of an open cardboard box. I do this usually in the bathroom where I can turn on the extractor fan. The pendants are resting on little balls of blue putty to hold them during the spraying process.

Wash the texture plates after use with warm soapy water.

Even with thorough cleaning, some bits of resin clay may be left behind. I just wait till the plate is dry. Bending the rubbery texture plate is easy. I use a stiffish brush to remove as much residual clay as possible.

No star to top the tree?  No problem!  I used 4 holed Swarovksi montees to simulate stars.  I've done this before - see this post Resin Gemstone Wire Wrapped Earrings Tutorial.  

I did not have the right jump rings to fit the Swarovski montees I had (they come in many different colors and sizes). So I quickly made my own jump rings using 16G Parawire.  I also used Parawire's 18G pre- twisted wire for the silver version.  I twisted 2 lengths of 20G Parawire in antique copper for the third.  

You also need 24 -26 G wire to wire wrap the montees onto the jump rings.  All wire was courtesy of Parawire.

Then use smaller jump rings to attach the "star" to the tree. Add your preferred chain or necklace cord and you're done!  ( Or use ribbon loops if you are using these as ornaments).

I do receive a small fee for any products purchased through affiliate links. This goes towards the support of this blog and to provide resource information to readers. The opinions expressed are solely my own. They would be the same whether or not I receive any compensation.

I used natural light, my iPhone 6S with the camera+ app and the Modahaus TS320/400 tabletop studio for the final project photographs.  I used the grey Modahaus background as well as a ceramic tile.  The tutorial photographs were taken with artificial lights in my windowless basement studio. Check out my How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar  (will resume in the new year).

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