Wednesday, April 24, 2019

New Faux Opal Colors for Spring

So I have been creating various items with the new faux opal colors that I purchased from Shades of Clay.  They are quite stunning and even though they seem a bit bright in the jar, the finished items have a much softer appearance.

Here are some snaps I made for my interchangeable jewelry and accessories using these new colors and the Art Resin.

Clockwise:  Aquamarine, Citrine, Pink Topaz, Peridot

When working with resins, I use the stainless steel blank snaps that have a flat base inside and a simple  bezel frame.  They are available in two sizes and I used the regular 18mm size for these.

And here are the stud/post earrings in the same colors using the stainless steel blanks.

And a few larger pendant pieces using the large metal charms (available in my online store here).
And here are some snaps I made using the Cabezel Molds where I used polymer clay for the Bezel and then filled the center with the faux Citrine Opal.  The yellow and green backgrounds really make the yellow in the opal mix pop more.  These pieces are also snaps for adding to any items with a snap base for interchanging.

Interchangeable shawl/hair pins with snap base
One thing I didn't realize is when working with the faux opals and Art Resin, there is a quite a different in the finished appearance of the pieces when using either Method A or B I show in my previous blog post here.  Scroll down to the very bottom to see the update report that I posted.

Charm on the left I used Method B and the Charm on the right I used Method A

Sunday, March 17, 2019

Creating Your Own Faux Gemstones with Resin - Part 2

Working with resin can be a lot of fun once you get into it.  To make things go smoothly, it helps to be organized and everything laid out ready to go before you start mixing as you only have around 45 minutes to complete everything before it starts to thicken.  I like to set a timer for the first 30 minutes so I have a warning to speed up my process a bit if I haven't used it all up yet and have another 10-15 minutes before it starts to thicken.  I find at times I can underestimate how far my resin can go and rather than waste it, I like to have lots of items prepped and ready to fill just in case.

You can see in the above photo how I keep my small items such as snaps, earrings and buttons level while filling with the resin and during the curing process.  These are just pieces of pegboard.  I cover them in tin foil to protect them from spills and as a safety precaution when using the torch for blasting air bubbles.

So here are a few more tips I would like to share with you when working with the Art Resin and various inclusions.  There are so many more ideas than what I show here and experimenting can be so much fun.

Work Area
It is good to cover your work area with paper or something that can be discarded when you are finished.  Resin and inclusions tend to spill all over and is the easiest way to keep your work space or home from damage or messes as a result.

If working with the German Glass Glitter, keep in mind that it is glass and can result in slivers so you want to be sure to clean up after around you, especially the floor area.

Faux Opals
I love the effect of the faux opals but they are a little more challenging to work with.  The material is very light and so therefore while curing the resin, they tend to float to the top.  When you are working with an inclusion that has these properties it works best if you do them in two stages.  There are two methods for this:  (sorry I didn't get a chance to take photos but will add later when I get the chance)

Method A
Mix the inclusion in with the resin to create a thick slurry.  Scoop the mixture into your bezel but only half filling it or allowing enough space on top to add a clear coat of resin to finish later.
** Please see Update at bottom of this page.

Method B
Add a small amount of resin to fill just the bottom of your piece.  Scoop some opal inclusion into your bezel, tapping off any excess.  The resin on the bottom will help keep most of it on the bottom.  You can then add a bit more resin on top to allow the opal mixture to settle.  Leave enough space on top to add a clear coat of resin to finish later.

After following either Method A or B and allowing to cure for at least 3 or 4 hours, top up your piece with clear resin.  You can also wait until the pieces are totally cured to finish off with the second coat.

Faux Cobalt Blue Opal - Earrings and Interchangeable Snap

Glitter as an Inclusion
Regular glitter can be used as an inclusion but keep in mind that most are very buoyant and just like the faux opals, they will float to the top so will need to be done in two stages as well by using either method A or B above.

I do find the glitters rather messy and like to fill my pieces over a clean sheet of paper.  Any excess can then be dumped back into the container without wasting.  Some of my glitter on the paper tends to get mixed so I collect a random mixture in another container to use later on.

Left over glitter mixture

German Glass Glitter
German Glass Glitter is real glass and doesn't react the same way as regular types of glitter.  Because it is less buoyant, it can be covered in resin all in one step as it will naturally settle to the bottom of your piece.  I like to follow method B (above) when filling my pieces with this inclusion.  When covering with more resin you can then fill it so it is nicely domed.

Crackle Effect
Crackled effects are popular among the polymer clay community and there are various techniques in creating it.  Whatever technique you like to use, it too can also be covered in resin to create a unique glass-like finish.  If using alcohol inks, you might not realize that they can fade over time if exposed to light (particular UV rays).  It is good to know that unlike most resins, Art Resin contains a UV resistant stabilizer which can prevent, or at least slow down the fading process.  I have more experimenting to do yet with this but is good to know if you like to use the inks to create your crackle effect.

To make the snaps shown below, I filled them first with a very thin layer of crackled clay.  They were then baked and cooled before covering with the Art Resin.

Faux Stained Glass
While stained glass isn't a gemstone, I felt this idea was suitable to share here.  The butterfly shown below was more a result from some experimenting I was doing with my left over resin.  Because this metal piece has no backing, I added packing tape to the back making sure it was stuck on really good so resin would not seep underneath.

To fill the piece, I mixed in some yellow glitter and a drop of yellow alcohol ink (be careful not to add too much or it will prevent the resin from curing.  I then filled some of the areas I wanted in yellow.  I then added some dark orange glitter to the mixture I still had left and then filled in the remaining spaces.

After the piece has cured the packing tape can be removed.  You can clean up the back after with "Goo Gone" to get rid of any sticky residue.  I have a link for it but found it for a much lower price in my local grocery store.

Faux Enamel
A faux enamel effect can be created by adding inclusions that are more opaque.  I have tried various inclusions such as mica pigment powders.  Just be careful not to add too much or it will prevent the resin from curing.  I usually add the tiniest amount and then see how it mixes up and then add a tiny bit more if necessary.  For these pieces I covered the back with packing tape as shown above.  I mixed up several colors in disposable cups and then played around filling in the various spaces.

For the large circles pendant, I hand drilled a hole in after the piece was cured.  I didn't want it to crack so I started with a small drill bit and then worked up to a larger size.  The drill vise shown here I found at Shades of Clay.  It fits various drill be sizes and is so handy.

Combining Inclusions
I sometimes like mixing different inclusions for a whole new effect.  These snaps were creating using the Silver German Glass Glitter and then sprinkling on some regular glitter on top to add a touch of color.

Or here are some other color combinations created using the German Glass Glitter.

German Glass Glitter - Left to Right:  Sky, Sky & Chartreuse, Chartreuse
And of course, don't forget about the various molds you can use with resin to create faux gemstones.  I haven't experimented to much with this yet but intend to in future.  I found these molds and was testing them out to see how they worked and love how clean they came out after curing.  These were made using the last bit of resin after filling the butterfly.  I am not quite sure how I will use or finish off these pieces yet but will share it with you when I do.

And if you are looking for some of the metal pieces I have been using on my blog, I have them available in my online store in the supplies section.  I recently added some new ones and have a limited supply only.

**Update on Working with the Faux Opals:
I have only used method B for the faux opals until now and I did not realize that the finished appearance between the two methods can be quite different.  Here is an example to show you.  The snap on the left was created using Method A and the one on the right Method B.

And the same here with these two pendants.  The one on the left I used Method B and the one on the right Method A.

You can see that with method A (mixing the faux opal in with the resin and then filling, creates a more "cloudy" appearance but is also "softer" than method B.  This isn't necessarily bad but important to know for the finished look you are aiming for.

Friday, March 1, 2019

Creating Your Own Faux Gemstones With Resin - Part 1

I've been working with resin for some time now and even though it is quite different than polymer clay, I am finding it has it's uses and the two combined make an awesome pair!

There are different types of resins on the market:  UV resin that is cured with a UV light and the two part that require mixing.  Art Resin is the 2 part epoxy type and I like to use it for two very good reasons:  It gives a crystal clear finish and is also safe to use as it is non-toxic.
Most people think of only using resin on polymer clay as a finish, but resin can be used in so many ways than just a glass like coating.  You can add various inclusions to create your own faux gemstones.  Here are some samples of inclusions I used with the Art Resin:

Right:  Crystal Opal

Earrings and Decorative Snap in Cobalt Opal

The snaps shown below were filled with German Glass Glitter and Art Resin.  The snap on the left is in the color Sky and on the far right is Chartreuse.  For the snap in the center I used a combination of both colors.

These are the same snaps added to a bracelet and ring with a snap base for interchanging.

And here are some samples of this technique applied to polymer clay.  Adding crystals or stones to polymer clay will not stay in on their own so require some sort of glue (as in the hot fix type) and also embedding deep enough so they will be secure.   The nice thing about resin is it will stick to most things including polymer clay (which is porous) and metal.

The piece below was created using the bezel part of the Blocks & Dots CaBezel mold.  I used a dark navy colored clay and mounted it on a snap base for interchanging (see how this is done here).  After baking, I filled the center with Art Resin and Cobalt Opal.

Here I added some of the German Glass Glitter into the centers of the pieces I made using the small Holy CaBezel molds.  On some of them I left the resin inclusions slightly raised on top so it gave more of a druzy quartz stone appearance.

The heart pendant shown below was created from a mold I made using the same metal heart charm shown above.  I added mica powder to the raised areas to highlight the pattern.  After finishing and baking the piece first (important), I then added resin with the Silver German Glass Glitter and a touch of red glitter to the center bezel section to create a sort of faux gemstone look.

Tips On Working With Resin
Working with the Art Resin is quite easy and fun.  I do not want to get into all the details on how to work with it as there are already plenty of videos and other info available to you which you will find on the Shades of Clay site here and also the Art Resin site itself.  There is also instructions and tips on the brochure included with the product.

I will share a few basic tips, however, that I have learned on working with smaller and more intricate designs and shapes.  In my next blog post (part 2) I will share a little more in depth on the "how to".

How Much to Use?
If you are working only with smaller pieces to create faux gems or fill the snaps, you will find a little resin will go a long way.  I would purchase the smallest size bottles (8oz) to start and when mixing, use a small measurement to start such as 1/2 oz each of the resin and hardener as when the two combined will make a full 1 oz.  If you mix up too much, you might not be able to use it all up before it starts to harden but you can always mix up more later.


Here are the main items I like to use but you may come up with your own later.  Shown in the above photo clockwise:  (I have included links on some of the items listed).

-- Mine is the kitchen type for cooking -- be sure it has an on/off safety button.  This is used to get out any air bubbles.  Be careful if using it on polymer clay as it could burn your clay.  You only need to flash it very quickly and the bubbles will disappear instantly.  Shades of Clay also has a small pencil style available which is very handy.

-- I buy mine at Shades of Clay but available other places as well.

Syringe or "Pipettes"
-- Used for filling your resin into small areas.  These work best when the resin is freshly mixed and still runny.  After it starts to thicken, I switch to "scooping" with my stir stick.

Small Spoon & Tweezers
I use a small spoon for measuring and scooping out my inclusions.  Tweezers come in handy for holding small items, etc.

Coffee Stir Sticks
I use the wooden type for mixing my resin and also as a "scoop" to pour small amounts into my bezel settings.  They are quite long so I break them in half which also makes them easier to work with.

Small Disposable Cups
I like to use these for pouring in small amounts of mixed resin and adding inclusions to create my faux enamels or gemstones.  I will show you more on this in my next post.

These can be used for measuring and mixing your resin.  When measuring, I use a small measuring cup where I can add both the resin and hardener together rather than measuring separately.  You get a more accurate measurement this way and is less messy.  A silicone cup for measuring resin will also work.  I have one on order and will let you know how I like it after it arrives.

Metal Tray and Tin Foil
I have several large baking pans (cookie sheets) for baking my clay in the oven and found they also make a great tray for working with resin.  I cover them with tin foil to protect the surface and the metal pan and foil create a safe surface when using a torch for blasting any air bubbles.  I can then pick up my entire tray after if I have to move it to another area to harden.

And the last thing not shown is a large box or plastic container to cover your resin while it is curing.  This will prevent any dust settling during that process.

Items for Filling with Resin
And of course you will need all the various items you want to put your resin into.  You can use your own polymer clay designs to add your faux resin gemstones.  I also have other items shown here available in my online store:  Click on the photos for more information:

Blank Snaps for Interchanging Designs

Stainless Steel Post Earrings with Bezel

Stainless Steel Bezel Charms

Stainless Steel Buttons

Large Metal Charms with Bezels

And these are some fun items I found at Shades of Clay that you could use as well.  I will share some samples of what I created with you soon.

Mirror Compact

Cool Key Chains
Bezel Jewelry Frames
And of course there are all the CaBezel Molds that are so cool.  The Bezel (frame) part can be made out of polymer clay and then after baking, filled with resin and various inclusions.

In my next post I will go into a little more detail on creating the various faux gemstones shown here with more inspiration.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

From Metal to Clay

In my last blog post, I shared with you my metal charm pendants that I use in my jewelry making but also samples of so much more that can be done with them.  Today I thought I would show you how they can be used to make your own molds or textures to be used with your polymer clay to create other designs.

There are many types of materials on the market, you can use to make a mold or texture sheet or you can even use polymer clay.  Helen Breil recently published a new lesson on textures which is full of tips and inspiration for making your own textures which can also be applied here.  I highly recommend her lesson if you want to explore this more.

To make a mold from my metal charm shown here, I am using scrap Premo brand clay that I had on hand and wanted to use up.

Roll out a sheet of clay that is thicker than the item you want to make an impression from.  Place it on a ceramic tile that has a smooth finish and you can put directly into the oven.  Roll the clay flat so it sticks to the tile and there are no air pockets trapped underneath.

Apply a generous amount of cornstarch to the clay as a release.  You can brush any excess back into your container after.  Firmly press the metal piece into the clay.  If the piece is not totally flat, you may have to tip or rock it back and forth or around to get a good impression.

Clay might raise up a little higher in some of the open areas.  You want it to be flush so either push it back down with your finger or scrape off some of the excess clay from those areas and then smooth out with your finger.

If the piece you are making a mold from is metal, you can always leave it in for the baking process and remove it after.  Trim your mold but leave it stuck to your tile and then bake according to temperature of the clay you are using.

 After your mold is baked you can use it to create your own designs from polymer clay.  Remember you will have to use a mold release each time to prevent your clay from sticking.

Here are some samples of pieces I created from my own molds using various metal charms.

The last two pieces I made were mounted on a snap for interchanging.  I really prefer this method for several reasons.  Before it was always a struggle as to how to finish off each piece.  Placing a snap on the back allows the piece to be worn more than just one way.

For instance, these larger size pieces can be added to a snap base on a necklace or worn on a scarf.  I use to have so many finished jewelry pieces in stock waiting for that right person who is in love with just that one piece.  With snaps, however, I can "Create the Art" and the wearer can "Choose how to Wear it".


I have several options for adding a snap design to a scarf.  My "It's a Cinch Scarf Clip" is my original design and will work with almost any scarf type or thickness.  I have also come across these traditional scarf slide type rings that have a snap base.  They are available in my online store under the Snap Scarf Slide section but also in the DIY section.

I am having a flash sale!

I am having a sale in my online store on all of my DIY supplies -- including buffing pads and tutorials!  Take 25% off all items in these sections only until Friday, March 1st, midnight.

Use the coupon code:     DIY25OFF     at the checkout.

So that means 25% off all snap supplies, accessories (metal charms shown here), tutorials and even buffing pads!

And we offer free shipping on minimum orders (after any discounts applied) to the US and Canada (discounted to other countries).