It's dandelion season!  Only die hard real flower resin jewelry makers rejoice at this time.  My northern garden is also blooming away. So it is time to make some real flower resin cabochons. 

I've covered the basics before - see this past post on How to Make Real Flower Resin Jewelry. But there is always more to learn and I was up to do a few more experiments which I will share with you. The goal for this tutorial is to show how to encase the kind of flowers which suit round and deeper cabochon molds.

First thing is to collect flowers and leaves.  Late morning is a good time as any dew would have dissipated and the flowers have yet to wilt with the day's heat. You do not have to have a large garden - container gardens work. Or collect some specimens on walks - just don't pick protected species!

These are moss pinks or creeping phlox, a reliable spring flower:

Dandelions are free!  There are lots of them and no one wants them!  You can try and choose similar sized flowers.  (I didn't notice the little white flowers underneath this specimen until I reviewed the photo!)

You can choose the right dandelion clock too - not to sparse and not too "furry". This is a perfect specimen  I found growing next to a road in my neighborhood. 

There are two ways to dry botanicals.  You can swiftly microwave press or you can go with the no heat method using silica gel.  I am using silica gel for this tutorial because I am trying to preserve unflattened blossoms. 

I had previously used inexpensive cat litter silica for drying. But this time round, I wanted to compare the finer granular kind used specifically for drying flowers like this one.

I was careful to wear a dust mask when working with the silica as it is a potential respiratory tract irritant. I was also not tempted to try and break up cat litter silica myself for the same reason. You can actually see the silica dust cloud when I poured the silica in my Youtube video (also shown at the end). 

I had trouble with bleeding heart flowers before where I lost the pink color after microwave pressing them. I tried adding hand painted color back to them. But an easier solution was to lessen the time when microwave pressing them. The buried in professional grade silica gel also works well.  I've found pink flowers basically turn lavender or purple when dried.

Dandelion flowers look terrible when microwave pressed. However, they look better in 3D.  I found the cat litter silica was on the strong side (left below) shrivelling the flowers more than I liked.  The pro silica gel, being lighter and finer, performed better. 

Dandelion clocks, though, are very delicate so they should never be buried in silica. Just lay them on top of a bed of cat litter silica. 

How "furry" dandelions look depends on the stage of their development. I prefer to use the fuller ones because if the individual seeds drop off during handling, it won't look as bad!

Get freshly picked flowers and leaves into silica as soon as possible after picking.  Cut off excess flower stalks - but leave a section to make them easier to pick up with a pair of tweezers. Leaves can be separated if they are leaflets.  Dried flowers are extremely fragile so the tweezers are handy.

As pro silica gel is more gentle, I used it for preserving flowers and leaves without flattening them. Using a shallow container makes more sense. Just fill the bottom with some silica gel and then lay the botanicals on it. I like to put the flowers upside down with the stalks pointing upwards. Sometimes, I lay them on the side too.

Then pour more silica over and around the specimens. I closed the lid and left the container for a few days. Small flowers and leaves do not need much time. 

I use Little Windows' Brilliant Resin (readers get a 15% discount with this code BG1516) because it is an excellent jewelry grade resin. Low bubble producer and good shelf life. 

I mixed up some following the instructions. The tip about briefly microwaving Part A is an excellent one as it reduces bubble formation. 

Some of the cabochons I made were completely clear. But I backed the others with colored resin. While Little Windows has black, white and film resin colorants, I prefer to use a pearlized mica powder (this one is from Ranger)  because it looks more luxurious.   

Test the cavities with the dried flower to decide which size you want to use. The round cabochon mold shown here is from Little Windows.  Never put the dried flowers into empty cavities and then attempt to pour resin over them. The flower may not be fully encased in the resin if you do this.  You must first partially fill the mold cavity with some resin mixture.  Then slowly dip the dried material into the resin.

Dandelion clocks are tricky. You must be gentle and patient during immersion otherwise the individual seed parts might detach.  A reader once asked me if everything clumped together like if you immersed the dandelion clock in water. The answer is no. Resin has different surface tension properties compared to water.

I gently dip the flower into some resin first to "coat" it with resin a few times before a final immersion. Use the mixing spatula to push down the flowers if necessary. The flatter flowers like the purple ones below can be pushed so the flower "bells". Do not put too much resin for the first layer otherwise the flower will float and go off center.

I only add enough resin to cover most of the flower. The dandelion clock will stick out.  Cover and let the whole thing cure overnight.  I cut off the protruding flower stalks. Make sure everything is below the top of the cabochon edge. You can make smaller dandelion clocks by keeping the level of the resin lower and then trimming off all the access. 

A second round of resin is used to finish off the cabochons. Shown below is the pearlized resin mixture which I used as a backing for some of the cabochons. 

Or you can go all clear!

A second overnight cure and then the unmolding begins!

Big bits of resin sticking out can be trimmed off with scissors. 

 like to sand the edges smooth with wet-dry sandpaper. I do this with the cabochon underwater to contain the resin dust. 

Here are the final cabochons. You can try wire or bead bezels, use glue on bails or  simply attach screw eye pins to make them into charms or pendants. 

My favorites were the dandelion flowers - such a happy color!

The variety of purple spring star flowers in my garden also turned out well with both the clear and pearlized background. But as you can see, I was less than gentle and one of the petals broke. 

Dandelion clocks tend to be big so they are best suited for pendants. You can also make them into fridge magnets or paper weights if you glue the cabochons to something suitable. 

Sometimes resin creates darker spots on the flower - you can see it on the moss pink flowers in the picture below (top left) or in my video.  I have tried to overcome this problem for flat composite designs using a laminator.  The occurrence is not very obvious in more complex designs - the subject of the next tutorial!

Here is the video version of this tutorial.  Please do share it!  

My incorrigible, food-obsessed ginger cat makes his first cameo appearance. My hubby asked if I had Waltz's informed and signed consent.  I told him Waltz did indeed consent with a head rub and was paid with his dinner!  He is a cat with priorities. 😂😆


I used  my iPhone 8+ for video capture as well as final product photography in natural light and photo apps for editing. 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. My online class Easy Guide to Smartphone Jewelry Photography is now available. Read more about it here.  

Before You Go :

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. 
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM