I've dabbled with some photo resin jewelry making before but not entirely successfully. So when Fran Valera of Little Windows sent me some of her photo paper to try, I was most excited!  Little Windows was thus named after the beautiful window-like effect created by putting sharp images of photos into resin molds. These are specially designed to reflect the light and yet let it pass through in just the right spots. This easy photo resin jewelry tutorial is for pendants and earrings.

Little Windows has both one sided and double sided photo papers available.  I just happen to have two inkjet printers available - a HP Envy 4500 and a Canon Pixma MG3520 for this review.  Many modern printers can print photo paper although the HP Envy I have could not handle the thicker double sided paper so I had to use the Canon for that.

I also had on hand Canon Pixma photo paper to compare.  Glossy is always recommended as matte finishes do look dull. I know because I also have the matte version.

I also tested out Little Window's cropping software - the medium square and diamond shapes are free to use. It is very easy to use.

I uploaded my own photos of flowers taken at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario. You could also do landscape photos, pictures of your family and pets - these are some of the ideas!

The software automatically placed 8 images (they can be either the same or different photos) in two columns.

After saving the design template, printing is next.  Every printer is different. This is what the HP Envy printer set up I chose looked like.  If you have a gloss photo paper choice which I didn't have, then pick that. 

The newer printers have an automatic sizing paper loader too.

I printed out on the test paper that came with Little Windows paper as well as on the single sided photo paper and my Canon photo paper - all on the HP Envy printer.  It's clear from the results (see below) that you should not use ordinary paper - the images looked washed out and yellow.

I couldn't tell much difference between Little Windows paper and Canon paper when I first looked at them. But after I took the photo below, I could see that the dark pink rose in particular at the top looked more vibrant on the Little Windows paper as did the next flower below.  The difference is very subtle though.

Cutting out the shapes is easy with the square shape. I prefer paper punches for round ones as it is more difficult to cut neatly around.

I also used one of Little Windows' small square punches (they have a great selection) to cut out small square shapes for earrings. An alternative to the cropping software which will save paper is to prepare your own template and size the shapes to slightly larger than what you want and use punches.

If you don't have the right size paper punch, use  the small mold set 's cutting template to crop a smaller image out of the medium square one.

I had to use my Canon printer to generate the double sided photo collection. It seems to print out slightly larger than my HP printer.  But that slight difference did not seem to matter.

I simply printed the same flower collection on both sides of Little Windows' double sided photo paper. I found photo register or printing precision on the other side was not quite right.  A quick trim with the scissors soon fixed that. Again the slightly adjusted size did not matter once it was time to drop it into the mold.

I've bought many brands of resin over the years. Little Windows' clear Brilliant Resin is superb for jewelry making. It is a low bubble producer and has a longer shelf life than other makes which already look yellow when you see them in the store.  I also like the clear  Art Resin brand which artists used for covering paintings. Some effort has been made to remove as much impurities from the clear resin brands. But I found Art Resin does general a lot more bubbles especially in a mold application than Little Windows' resin.

My eyes don't do well squinting at the markings of plastic cups so I just weigh out the resin in the 2: 1 ratio for the Little Windows brand. One of Fran's tip is to microwave Part A for 5-7 seconds before mixing. This does indeed get rid of more bubbles.

After mixing according to the directions, I poured the resin into the medium size square mold which I bought quite a while ago. There is no need for mold release as the inside of the mold already has it.  I recommend their economical new medium silicone mold set which has all the shapes.

Then slip in the cut photos. Make sure to move the photo about to release any trapped photos underneath it.

Remove bubbles by lifting them up and out with a toothpick or pin. Remember to turn the mold around so you catch the bubbles that may be out of your sight.

I suspect there is some slight reaction with the photo pigments and resin so fine bubbles do still form. So check a few times in the first hour of curing to turf out any that appear. Inevitably there will be some remaining. So embrace them as part of the designs!  The tiny ones look a little like glitter! Check out the wood and resin rings of Secret Wood and see what I mean.

I used the butane lighter approach to try and get rid of the tiny bubbles but it failed probably because I did not heat up the resin enough. I think the only way to really remove them is to use a vacuum pump and chamber.

I used the small square mold set for the earrings - they also have the new small silicone set for all the shapes in one. See what happened when I did not check properly :

The resin takes about 24 hours to cure. Always cover your resin work in progress to keep out the dust. I prefer my Ferrero Rocher chocolate box because the tray and cover is bigger than the clear box the molds come in. Besides, I need more chocolate!

Here is what the test 3 looked like - test paper, Little Windows paper and Canon paper. Again, when seen in a photo, the Little Windows paper looked the best. If you are planning to make jewelry to sell online and have to photograph your work, then Little Windows' photo paper makes sense.  Otherwise, other good photo paper (which don't bleed) will be fine.

The cured resin pieces are easier to remove from the silicone trays as you just peel them out. The plastic ones I used needed a twist or two before tapping them out. 

Sand the edges.  You can use various grades of wet-dry sandpaper in a tray of water which will contain the dust.  Or you could use a power tool (see how to use the split mandrel for power sanding).

The window effect is brilliant!

Use E6000 to glue a pendant bail.  Or a good 2 part epoxy adhesive.  I've found Super New Glue does not work well with resin.

The back of a double sided photo pendant will have part of the image covered with a bail. So think about a good background photo to use.

I used two types of small glue on bails for the earrings. I really like the pair on the left below uses these silver plated bails which are orientated such that you don't need jump rings. Just attach directly to the ear wires. This makes for shorter dangles.

You can also dome up the double sided photos on both sides. This is a two step process as you need to let the first side cure before you do the second side. Then you can drill a hole for the jump ring for necklaces and earrings.  I highly recommend Little Windows' silicone doming mat. Any accidental spills can later be peeled off.  I didn't proceed with this method because I am saving it for an idea which popped into my head.  Will share in the future.

Fran demonstrates how to quickly make resin photo bracelets using molds as well as the doming method in this tutorial.  You can also link up using her headpin wire wrap method.

Little Windows also offers a special discount code for readers of this blog : Use BG1516 for 15% off!

I had a lot of fun with making photo resin jewelry and plan to do more!  So many ideas.  I also enjoyed photographing the final project pictures. There are more pictures on my Etsy as four of them are now available for sale.

I used natural light, my iPhone 6S with the ProCamera app and the Modahaus TS400 tabletop studio and the Steady Stand (overhead) for final product photography. The tutorial pictures were taken with the same equipment but with artificial lights in my windowless basement studio. Check out my How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar .

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.

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