Got a book lover on your list?  Consider making real flower resin bookmarks!  Bookmarks are ideal projects for leftover resin mixes.  I always have a few additional small projects in addition to the main one when I make up a batch of resin. Nothing is wasted!

I also used the pressed flowers I prepared using the flowers in my garden.  See this tutorial on how to microwave press and then laminate them ready for resin inclusions. The microwave method speeds up the drying and pressing process tremendously. The lamination protects the flowers from the resin (some flowers react with resin) as well as hold compositions together.  You can also use two pieces of heavy duty clear packing tape if you do not have a laminator. 

I used Brilliant Resin from Little Windows for this project (Readers get a 15% discount - Use this code :BG1516) It is an excellent jewelry grade resin, a low bubble producer and is not toxic. It is manufactured in California which has stringent environmental regulations. 

I made it up following the instructions especially the tip on microwaving Part A for about 6-7 seconds which greatly reduces bubbles. This is a 2 : 1 ratio resin which can be measured using the marked cups or weighed.  Using scales is more accurate as you will see my boo-boo at the end. 

You can easily purchase silicone molds for bookmarks from many vendors.  They come in several different rectangular sizes and shapes.  I used one of the smaller ones because I wanted the appropriate size for using up leftover resin mixes!

The first thing I did was to measure the internal dimension of my mold and drew it out on a piece of paper. 

I then separated out the two halves of the laminator sheet (this was cut down from the full page size). I laid the bottom part on top of the template I drew.  I then laid my previously pressed flowers and leaves mostly in the demarcated space.  As my laminator sheet was a bit wider I also added a few more pressed flowers for other projects. I then replaced the other half of the laminator sheet over this. 

Do NOT get confused with the orientation of the sheets as the glue side must be on the inside when you run them through the hot laminator!

It helps to place a heavy book on the newly laminated flowers so the thing stays flat as it cools.  Then draw out the measurements of the mold onto the lamination and cut out the bookmark. 

I used a one hole puncher to punch out a bit of the bookmark to allow for the tabbed silicone part which creates the hole in the resin. 

Remove any remaining marker pen marks with rubbing alcohol (isopropanol) which you can purchase either from Amazon (if you are mostly staying home) or from your local drugstore.

Check that the laminated flowers fits inside your mold before you go any further. Now is the time to trim any excess. 

Pour the prepared resin mixture into the mold until it just covers the bottom. Do not fill it to the brim. Next,  insert the lamination at an angle. I find it easiest to start at the bottom. Go slow and let the resin gently overflow onto the top of the lamination. Use the stirrer or a toothpick to press down slowly so the lamination goes to the bottom. 

I did not want a thick bookmark so this was all the resin I used.  Alternatively, you can add more after the first cure, before you remove the bookmark from the mold. 

Always cover resin projects as the resin cures overnight otherwise dust might land on it. As you can see, I like to use Little Windows' silicone doming tray to catch accidental drips. The spills easily peel off after curing. One tip I learned from Fran of Little Windows is to place the tray on a clipboard to give it extra rigidity and to allow the whole thing to be easily and safely moved if necessary. 

You can trim with a pair of scissors  any wispy bits of resin on the edges after curing. I also recommend you sand the edges smooth. I use 600 grit wet-dry sandpaper under water to contain the dust. 

I also had some pressed flowers where the petals got accidentally folded during pressing. So they were used in this project because those bits were cut away.  I used two laminated portions for this one.  You can see the edges of the lamination if you look closely.  One way to make them less obvious is to add a little sprinkling of glitter as I did. 

I found it easier to work with smaller laminated portions. See the bottom bookmark below?  I did not press the full length lamination right down at the hole end. I also did not make sure I got resin around the hole either. So the bottom bookmark is thinner at that end.  Things to look out for, eh? 

You can buy all sorts of ready made tassels these days. In some cases, you can just attach the tassel to the bookmark with a jump ring and you are done!

 But I opted to make my own using the palomar knot which is far more secure than the Larks Head knot.  See my palomar knot tutorial here.  Note that the palomar knot does require a longer cord because the knot process includes going over the length of the bookmark. So you might want to use another tassel method if your bookmark is a long one. 

I used a length of soft rat tail cord (approximately 2 ft) for this bookmark. Rat tail cord is slippery so it works well for palomar knots. A short piece of wire helped me pull the doubled up cord through the hole before proceeding with the palomar knot.  

For the other bookmark, I used a double length of embroidery floss and then combed out the individual strands. 

The rightmost bookmark in the next picture below is a cautionary tale of incorrect resin mixing and a botched experiment!  I must have not poured the resin parts correctly the first time which is why I went back to using my scale as a precaution. Using an incorrect ratio is the most likely cause of resin taking much longer or forever to cure.

I attempted to speed up the curing of that ratio mistake by placing the miscreant bookmark between layers of paper towels and zapped it in the microwave for 30 seconds. It became very hot so I laid a heavy dish over the paper towel covered bookmark to cool and ensured it was flat.  

While the heating did cure the resin, it also browned most of the botanical bits! So now you know what not to do!

BTW, if you are an avid reader, I recommend Victoria Finlay's Jewels : A Secret History. A highly readable, adventure filled real stories about our favorite gemstones.

Bonus tip from reader Cally Ross. She used a longer bookmark mold to make bangles! 

This is because  you can bend resin projects without leaving fingerprints about 5-6 hours into the curing process. Just bend it around something suitable like say a tin can. Use cling film to keep the project there until the resin fully cures. 

Cally clearly had a blast making these fun bangles using coffee beans, printed paper, charms etc.  My favorite is her It's Good to Be Queen one!  Note that some paper will go translucent in resin so  I recommend you first protect it with a spray sealer.

The hole that is created can either be ignored, used for a dangle of some sort or eliminated. You can seal up one side with some clear packing tape and fill the hole with fresh resin.  Prop up the bent bangle such that the resin can properly fill the hole evenly. Remove the packing tape after this second cure. This may well turn out to be an imperfect fill so you may have to sand and buff that former hole.  Personally, I would just use the hole for a dangle!

Thanks Cally for sharing!

Photography I used  my iPhone 8+ for final product photography in natural light . I used  the Orangemonkie studio - 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. An editing app was used. 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