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.

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