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Resin Jewelry Designs Using Alcohol Inks and Upcycled Aluminum Cans | Tips and Tricks


Anyone who creates tutorials to share knows it takes a long, long time.  This one though, is the longest I have ever spent in the creation and preparation. Off and on for two months! Not everything worked out as you will soon see. 

The first idea I had was to embed cut out motifs from aluminum cans.  I covered how to safely do the cutting in my past tutorial - How to Make Upcycled Flower Earrings from Aluminum Soda Cans. It's best to flatten the can as much as possible. 



I used a round paper puncher to cut out the grapefruit motif.  Cutting this way blunts the edges of the cut can.  


I hand trimmed the circle so it would fit into a bezel I had.  


I made up some epoxy resin - I use Little Windows' Brilliant Resin (Use discount code BG1516 for 15% off). I've already mentioned how much I liked this resin - it is a low bubble producer, longer shelf life than some other brands and great for jewelry application. It is also made in California which has good environment standards.  It is low toxicity - just make sure your room is well ventilated.  Wear gloves if sensitivities are an issue. 

I added some resin mix into the bezel and slipped in the grapefruit cut out. The result was okay - kind of meh.  I could have done the resin mix in two steps - first a thin layer of colored resin and let it cure. Then add more clear resin before inserting the metal piece.  


I then tried larger cut outs like these round ones from Pepsi cans. The first issue I faced was how to secure the rounds onto the cured resin background so they stayed central. I couldn't stick them very well because the metal pieces were not flat enough.  I ended up using double sided tape.


Only then could I add the second layer of clear resin. 


Embedding large metal pieces such as soft aluminum presented new problems - the slight indentations in the metal were obvious. So scratch that idea. 


I also tried adding resin to smaller cut-outs. The resin application was inconsistent as the rounds were not flat.  Where is a rolling mill when you need one?


This project definitely needed more oomph.  I needed to do something to enhance the resin and the aluminum cut outs. Fran over at Little Windows saved the day. She had previously sent me their new alcohol inks to try. There are two sets - one with rainbow colors and the other with metallic sparkles. See more of her alcohol project ideas here. 

I have used other brands of alcohol inks before. I really like how push pins are provided with LW sets.  I keep those pins in when storing the inks.  I am less likely to get ink all over my fingers if I grasp the lid and pull out the pin for use. The problem with other brands is you have to hold the bottle itself in order to remove the lid. That slight pressure could force the ink out and onto your hand, desk and floor. Been there and done that.  



The silicone molds I used were the round ones from this set -  I cut up the sets into more manageable pieces.  Then I had fun adding the different colors.  White is a useful one to have as it helps separate the different colors. 


I also used yellow which begat green here and there when combined with blue.


The spontaneity of alcohol inks is fun! Although I noticed the colors became less intense overnight because I did not add a lot of alcohol inks for this project. I let this cure overnight, under a cover. 


I cut out leaf shapes from a 7-Up can.


As the leaves were too small for double sided tape, I used Starbond Craft Medium glue - my favorite cyanoacrylate glue (different formulation to Super Glue).  Get 15% off with this discount code :BGSB15.  Great value for the money.  However, it doesn't work as well for some plastic products - and resin is a kind of plastic.  See this past post which reviews different glues for stud earrings.  I have found more time is needed for this glue to work on resin.  


I left the leaves for 30 minutes before pouring a fresh layer of clear resin.  Usually the glue sets in minutes so I thought 30 minutes was sufficient. 


Turns out 30 minutes is not long enough as one of the leaves (the left one) shifted during the second curing session.  


The edge is not quite smooth. So I sanded it underwater with wet-dry sandpaper (400 grit). And then added the final clear layer of resin to dome it up. 


I did not want to use a glue on bail as the resin piece was translucent. The bail would show. I also didn't want to drill at the top because that would obscure the leaf. So I drilled two holes at the side and inserted two ball headpins.  I also considered making a wrapped loop in this position :


But in the end, I went with two individual wrapped loops for the chain lengths :


I then wondered if I could have better control of the alcohol ink process if I had a shallower depth of resin.  The white teardrop shapes below were cured resin colored with Ranger Perfect Pearls Confetti White - the level was about half way up. I added fresh clear resin to the teardrops.  I then filled the round molds to the top with resin tinted blue with alcohol ink. 


Working quickly, I added different colored inks.  I dropped dark pink and one of the sparkly alcohol inks into the tear drops. I added blue and green colors to the round molds. 


You do not get identical earrings but the mingling of colors is just gorgeous. Some of these earrings are available on my CraftaGems



This pair below has a cured resin layer in black. Looks like the cosmos, eh?


My first tutorial back in 2011 using recycled soda cans featured folded over flowers.  I made the pair for myself. The flower though can easily be squashed flat. But embedding these folded flowers in resin might just work!


I punched out several flowers in two sizes.  I then made holes in the centre using my 2 mm punch pliers. A beading awl can be used to enlarge the holes slightly if necessary.  My favorite compression rivets are the 4 mm ones from TierraCast. They come in different metal colors.  Just fit the bottom stem part through 3 large flower petals from the back and add the cap on the top. I use Tierracast's 4 mm rivet tool to preserve the shape of the rounded cap when hammering the rivet halves together.


I folded the tips of each petal with my round nose pliers. 




I used Little Windows cabochon mold to make little round pendants.  I placed two of the rosettes upside down in some clear resin. I added a bit of clear resin in another two molds and colored them with alcohol inks including the sparkly ones.  I then place two more rosettes facing up - only the bottom of these were in contact with the colored resin. I let the resin cure overnight, under cover. 


I added a touch more resin on the upside flowers after the first resin layer cured. Using alcohol inks - both the colored and sparkly ones, camouflaged the rivet back. The face up flowers already had a colorful and rounded back.


The upside down flowers look like pinwheels encased in resin!

But my favorites were the face-up flowers. You can still feel the curled up petals on the front as the flowers were not fully embedded in the resin. 



I used the spring drill from Little Windows - they have a variety of bit sizes suited for resin work.  The pumping up and down action makes quick work of making holes in resin. If you're skittish about using power drills, this tool is for you!


I generally drill from the front. But sometimes, it's useful not to obscure the design so I opted to drill from the top for some designs.  (The old table top vise I used was inherited from my late uncle who did a lot of wood birds which he painted!)


It is easy to get totally carried away with the drilling - you can see the evidence at the back of these earrings where the drilled parts were unnecessarily longer than the tiny screw eye pins! A little bit of Starbond Medium glue on the threads of the screw will ensure the security. 


I made sure to screw in the eye pin to the hilt and orientate it the right way before leaving the glue to fully set. 


Anyone making resin jewelry will encounter bubbles especially if you forget to check for them before you leave everything to cure overnight.  One such bubble had resulted in an uneven edge.  This can be remedied. 

I happen to use resin tape (leaves no residue) but regular scotch tape will work too. You can use rubbing alcohol from the drugstore to remove any residue and marker pen spots.


Once the tape is on and the resin piece carefully clamped, I added just a little clear resin and let that cure. 


Once the tape is removed, the excess resin can be cut off and the new edge sanded down. What bubble?


Hope this helps you with more resin ideas!  Enjoy!

Before You Go:

Photography
I used  my iPhone 8+ for final product and some tutorial photography in natural light. I also 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. I also used some apps including the watermarking one. My online class Easy Guide to Smartphone Jewelry Photography is now available. Read more about it here.  

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. 
 ______________________________ 
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM 



12 comments:

  1. Lots of great ideas, thanks. I love the look of the aluminum can flowers and leaf punches. Little Windows is the best!

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  2. Love the ideas! I also love finding new ways to combine craft projects, the aluminum flowers and resin look beautiful. thanks for sharing!

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  3. I'm with the comments above - the little pinwheel flowers are adorable Pearl!

    The alcohol ink earrings are really gorgeous. Alcohol ink sure has endless possibilities!

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  4. Oh Pearl, these are great! No wonder it took a while to make this tutorial, there are sooooo many ideas here. Love the 3D flowers and the swirly alcohol ink patterns - the greeny blue ones look like little Earths. Keep creating :)

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