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Real Pressed Flower Resin Jewelry Making Using a Microwave Flower Press and Laminator


The flowers are starting to bloom with spring underway. Time to try making real pressed flower resin jewelry?  I mentioned using a laminator the last time I wrote about this technique.

Resin sometimes renders some, but not all, flowers translucent as you can see from my early tutorial on real pressed flower jewelry making. So in the past, I have had to protect dried flowers with some glue - either some Mod Podge with a brush or a spray sealant - before immersing them into the resin. Too much Mod Podge leaves a visible residue. The spray sealant tends to send light dried flowers flying!

Natural floral pigments vary so some fade very quickly while others are more durable.  I never use the traditional method of pressing flowers between paper and under some weight as it takes too long and allows the floral colors to fade even more.

Using a laminator will not only protect the flowers from the resin but also helps preserve their natural colors. I like to microwave press them and laminate the flowers not long after.

I purchased an Apache model of laminator because it was relatively inexpensive and came with trial packs of 5 mil and 3 mil thickness of laminating sheets.  I could then test which thickness I preferred - both worked.   I am sure other brands will be just as useful, not only for pressed flowers but for all sorts of laminating jobs like preserving documents etc.


My ceramic microwave flower press is from the Canadian Lee Valley company.  I have to be careful with it as I could break it if I drop it! This one is also pricey so you might want to check other makes like this one.


You do not need to buy a commercial microwave flower press.  Check my past tutorial on how to press flowers using a microwave for tips on making your own using common kitchenware and paper towels. 

I used pieces of cut up old cotton pillow case in place of pieces of paper. These are washable and reusable.  On my ceramic press, I typically zap at 100% power for 40 - 50 secs for small flowers.  You will have to experiment to find the optimal time and power if you use other presses and have different microwaves than mine (LG brand).   

Update :  I initially forgot to mention that these flowers were harvested last summer and sealed with the laminator to test if the flower colors remained vibrant over several months. 


Note that the laminating sheets are doubled with a fold at one end.  I recommend you cut strips to use rather than attempt to laminate a full page of flowers. There is a risk of flowers shifting if you try and do too much at once.


After pressing, I usually leave the flowers for a few hours.  I then opened up the laminating sheet strip, spacing out the flowers or floral and leaf compositions.


It only takes the laminator a few minutes to warm up. Then it is a matter of feeding the strip through.


Cut around each flower - do not cut right along the actual flower edge. You need the glued on sections around the cut outs to still hold the flowers in place. 

You can use a paper punch to get neat edges - the 3 mil thickness is easier than the thicker 5 mil. 


Or use a template.  Any marker pen marks can be removed later with some rubbing alcohol. 


You can just punch some holes with a 1.8 hole punch pliers, add jump rings and ear wires and call it done.  The 5 mil thickness will be more durable but even then, the plastic sheets will show wear and tear fairly quickly.


Another option at this stage is to add a layer of Little Window's Brilliant Resin on both sides of the laminated cut outs.  You can see a great demonstration by owner, Fran Valera, on how to do this in her latest video.  She is using photo paper as the base rather than laminated sheets.



I highly recommend their jewelry grade resin as it is a low bubble producer,  has a long shelf life
and is not toxic.  Note that all resins, no matter how good, will yellow with time. So always store the bottles and cured resin pieces away from extreme heat and light.

Readers get a 15% discount from Little Windows. Use this code : BG1516.


I am wearing gloves, not because of toxicity, but because working with resin is sticky business! I was making several pendants so I needed to keep my fingers clean.

I am demonstrating how to use Little Window's medium silicon mold.  I added enough mixed resin, prepared following their instructions, to cover the bottom of the mold.


Notice I place the mold on their silicon doming tray? This catches any drips which are easy to remove after they cure. A tip I learned from Fran is to put the doming tray on clipboard. You can then keep the tray level as you move it somewhere safe for curing.

Little Windows have templates which fit their molds. So I used these to help me prepare my floral cut outs.


The laminated cut outs can  easily slipped into the resin layer.  This is exactly the same way I did the Easy Photo Jewelry tutorial.  Having the flowers and leaves encased means they are not going to shift during the cure.


I used the stirring wand to push down the cut out to ensure there are no large air bubbles underneath.


You can also prepare a colored base resin layer.  Little Windows has a white resin dye.  I have used it before with great results as the white is a good contrast for the flowers.  This time, I experimented with a drop or two of transparent blue resin colorant. I let a thin base layer of this to cure. The next step is to add a little clear resin and secure the laminated cut out in this second layer.  Let this cure before topping up with more resin.

If you try and hurry and add a thicker clear resin layer, you risk the cut out floating up as shown here :


I also tried adding separate dried elements layered with the cut outs.


Always use a cover when curing the resin overnight (12+ hours). This prevents dust particles from settling down on the resin. 


Silicone molds make removal very easy as you just have to peel the cured pieces out.


Once you remove the pieces, the tops have to be sanded smooth. I do this with 400 Grit wet/dry sandpaper in shallow water which contains the dust. 



There is a slight concave to the resin pieces. I rather like the resulting "frame" effect as shown with the square and the rectangle pendants below. This is because the bases of the pendants are slightly smaller than the tops.

But you can always top up with a final layer of resin if you prefer a more rounded effect as shown with the oval pendants above. 


Fran uses the spiral ratchet drill or spring drill as she calls it. She supplies it as well as several drill bit sizes in Little Windows.  Her video above shows how it is used.  If you don't have the patience, I suggest you use the spring drill first to bore the hole at least half way down and follow through with a power drill.


Using a power drill all the way does disrupt the layers of resin. Notice the shadowy area at the top of the pansy flower on the left piece below?  That is what I mean. The pendant on the right was drilled completely by hand.

If you chose to use a solid color as the base, then you can use glue on bails or even wire bails. See Fran's video above for some nifty tips and tricks.


Hate the thought of drilling holes?  Consider another type of silicone mold which has silicone pegs integrated like the one I used below.  You can purchase it from some Etsy stores like this one.


This mold has very crisp edges (below right) which must be sanded to be smooth.  Little Windows molds (the piece below left) are rounded at the lower edge - makes sense as that is the part which is in contact with the wearer.

I suggest you also prepare a template for these molds to make your cut outs work. As you can see, I didn't and was forced to cut off the top of the leaf below to fit in the flower part :


Also fill these molds with your layers of resin. Do not attempt to add more resin after you remove your pieces.  I did this for this leaf piece with gold flake backs and some resin dripped into the hole. This meant I will have to sand the offending resin protrusion and then drill out the closed hole.


It's trickier to use laminated cut outs with my wood frames due to the shallow depth.  The bigger frames like the round ones will work better than shapes with narrow parts like the tear drop ones below.  You can see a large bubble at the back of the right one below where I failed to eliminate the air bubble when I placed the cut out straight down instead of sliding it in from an angle. 

The bleeding heart flowers below did not retain their lovely pink colors even with quick microwave drying and lamination.  So please test the flowers you use. Some will work better than others,  


Here are some of my favorites! Hope you will have fun with your garden or patio flowers this season!



I added a bit of glitter in the resin for this pendant


Transparent blue resin back with metallic gold flakes

Before You Go:


Photography
I used  my iPhone 8+ for final product photography in natural light. I used the Orangemonkie studio which comes equipped with LED lights - for artificial light photography in my windowless basement studio. The Foldio2 Plus is excellent . I use the Foldio3  because I need the room for tutorial photography.  Check out my How to Photograph Jewelry Webinar .sign up for the notification so I can let you know when my ebook is ready.

Disclosure

This blog may contain affiliate links. 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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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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4 comments:

  1. This looks like fun except I do not have access to flowers right now. Pretty much none in my yard other than weeds (which are usually too small) and not really wanting to go out collecting them elsewhere as COVID-19 infections are on the rise in my state right now. Have seen some dried flowers for sale on Etsy, which would eliminate the first step, I suppose. Or I could always try with clover, which we seem to have more of than grass.

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  2. Those are so sweet! But flowers already? We got snow last night!

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  3. These are beautiful! i'm itching to try some resin projects.

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  4. I have updated my post! I initially forgot to mention that these flowers I used were harvested last summer and sealed with the laminator to test if the flower colors remained vibrant over several months.

    I do have some lovely spring flowers and pretty early leaves from perennial plants coming up now in my garden.

    ReplyDelete

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