Remember Jane Monteith?  She was the amazing resin artist I featured awhile ago.  I tried her alcohol ink and resin art coaster idea but sucked at didn't have much luck with the alcohol ink part.  It is harder than it looks! You can see some amazing art coaster designs on Etsy.

But I still wanted to make some resin coasters regardless.  Using my jewelry making supplies for home decor is a good way to use them up!  I had a lot of left over glass chips from some Tree of Life classes.  You could also use inexpensive gemstone chips or small sea glass fragments. Even bead soup mixes ?

I also used fine and coarse glitter as well as some micro-beads which I got from the dollar store.

I followed Jane's advice and got the 6 cavity square silicon mold from the baking section at Michaels  - on discount, naturally!  The round ones were too small for mugs.  The square ones measured 8 cm at the top and tapered down to 7 cm at the bottom.  Perfect as coasters. But you can certainly use all kinds of smaller molds (typically used for chocolate, baking or soap making) to make fridge magnets!  These molds, once used for resin,will be dedicated for resin work and not used for baking.

I also used my favorite resin - Little Windows' Brilliant Resin.  It is a low bubble producer, has long shelf life and is utterly colorless before and after mixing. (You can get a special reader 15% discount :  use this code : BG1516)  Another excellent resin is Art Resin which is popular with artists.  This comes in much larger quantities.  But the catalytic reaction for this formula produces a lot of bubbles so you must use a torch to remove them.

This project requires 3 layers of resin.  I used white for the bottom layer for a consistent as many of the glass chips I used were translucent

This particular resin is a 2:1 ratio. Instead of using my scales, I have used a black marker pen to indicate the volumes I wanted.  If you do not make these marks, you won't be able to easily see the measurements.  Trust me on this one!

I made up 60 ml Part A and 30 mL Part B for the bottom layer.  Once mixed, this only covered 3 cavities. So I repeated it. If you rather do this first layer all in one go, then use bigger measuring cups  and measure out 120 mL Part A and 60 mL Part B.

One very important tip I learned from Fran Valera of Little Windows - always microwave Part A for 6-7 seconds on high. This reduces bubble formation even further.  Mix the two parts together as per instructions.

I added several drops of Little Windows' white resin colorant. This mixes into the resin easily. I have used white oil paint before - takes way longer to mix it in.

I left the resin to cure overnight, covered as a dust preventative.

Now comes the fun part.  I did dry runs, mixing in 3-5 colors of glass chips.  These glass mixtures were then set aside.  Why didn't I pour the resin over the glass mixtures?  I wanted a thin layer of clear resin to be entirely in contact with the white layer. If I didn't, there is a chance some of the chips will not allow the clear resin to flow below them.

I made up an 80 mL Part A and 40 mL Part B mixture for second layer of clear resin.  I used measured volumes of water and poured them into larger plastic cups and then mark the levels.  Since this is a larger volume, I microwaved Part A for 10 (correction : 8 seconds) seconds on high.

I am not very happy with the use of plastic cups so I shall be investing in silicone measuring cups like these. 

Once the thin second layer is poured, I added in the glass chips and moved them around to suit my liking.

I think several sprinklings of different glitters and micro- beads adds a lot of visual interest to the coasters.

My favorite though were the coarser glitters simply because they were more visible.  I also stirred the glittery stuff and small beads to even them out.

I let the second layer cure overnight.  I did add a bit more glitter to the "bald spots" before pouring in the final clear layer of resin.

As before cover and let it cure.  As these coasters have considerable depth, I recommend you let these cure for several days before putting any heavy mugs of tea or coffee on them!

Unmolding was super easy with silicone molds!  Don't these remind you of mahjong tiles?

The top edges of the coasters were slightly uneven.  So sanding is required.  I used wet/dry sand paper in some water and carefully smoothed out the edges. I worked progressively from 400 up to 1500 G wet/dry sandpaper.  You can also get these sandpapers from your local hardware store. 

If impatience is your middle name, then consider using split mandrels with your Dremel - see this tutorial. Dust masks are necessary then.

Jane Monteith cut out cork squares to glue onto the bottoms of her coasters.  I found an easier solution!  Use small felt adhesive pads - the kind used for furniture and other household goods. If you are making smaller fridge magnets using this idea, then naturally you should be gluing strong magnets at the bottoms.

Remember that these are not made of glass although the coasters look like glass!  So with time, the rough bottoms of some ceramic mugs might scratch them. You can polish them up again with wax polishes like those for cars. I tested out Flitz against carnuba wax and found the Flitz to be better.

There you have it!  Sparkly resin and glass coasters. Great gift idea!

I used my iPhone 6S with the Camera+  app. I used  the Orangemonkie studio which comes equipped with LED lights - for artificial light photography in my windowless basement studio. The Foldio2 is particularly affordable. I use the Foldio3 because I need the room for tutorial photography.

My online class Easy Guide to Smartphone Jewelry Photography is now available. Read more about it here.  

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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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