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.
Tips On Working With ResinWorking 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 & TweezersI use a small spoon for measuring and scooping out my inclusions. Tweezers come in handy for holding small items, etc.
Coffee Stir SticksI 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.
Metal Tray and Tin FoilI 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 ResinAnd 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.
|Cool Key Chains|
|Bezel Jewelry Frames|
In my next post I will go into a little more detail on creating the various faux gemstones shown here with more inspiration.