epoxy resin jewellery

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I’ve been experimenting with resin the last few months and finally at a point where what I’m making is good enough to wear and sell. I’d like to share some of the process with you.

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I watched a lot of tutorial videos and read some blogs while I waited for all the supplies to arrive. It seemed there were lots of things to be aware of:

  • mixing needs to be done very carefully so as not to introduce bubbles
  • but mixing also needs to be very thorough so that it cures correctly
  • proportions of the two epoxy parts need to be measured carefully also to ensure correct curing
  • whatever you mix in to the resin to colour it could also effect curing
  • maybe I need release spray so the resin doesn’t stick to the moulds?

This was my set up for the first attempt. I had my A and B epoxy parts, silicone moulds, mixing sticks and pots, oil, a paint brush, toothpicks and grease-proof paper:

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plus some metallic leaf (silver, copper and gold) to embed in the resin.

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I brushed oil into the molds so that the resin wouldn’t stick and measured out 10ml of part B followed by 20ml of part A. Then I started mixing. very slowly and very carefully for ages and ages :)

For my first few attempts I tried various different substances to colour the resin – the results were not always predictable:

acrylic and oil paint did not work well at all. It just wouldn’t mix into the resin but stayed as small solid lumps:

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nail varnish mixed in well but whatever colour it was in the bottle the resin always turned a yellowy beige colour – ok if that’s the colour you want I guess…

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colourant for soap worked ok but was really tough to mix in – I guess it’s water-based and just didn’t want to integrate.

I saw a few tutorials using eye shadow – this was great but only gave slight tints of translucent colour. I wanted to experiment with a more opaque finish – acrylic ink was quite successful.

I now have some ‘official’ epoxy colourant but it’s good to keep experimenting I think.

everything I tried cured perfectly but sometimes it took a very long time. The time on the box says 24 hours, the reviews said more like 48 and I would agree with that. It’s winter here and the temperature makes a big difference to setting time. It’s more like 24 – 48 hours in the airing cupboard or 3 to 4 days in a regular room.

I got a bunch more moulds and realised that the oil (or any other release substance) was not needed. You need to be careful and ease the rings out gently but I’ve never snapped a ring trying to get it out of the mould. I have squashed them though because it’s too soon and they’re still soft! Even the thin rings are very strong once fully set – there’s no way I could break one with my hands – probably if you purposefully propped one up and then stood on it in solid shoes you could do it.

after a few rounds of this and seeing that everything turned out ok in general I started to experiment. Since the setting takes such a long time I might as well use that to my advantage. Monitoring the moulds over time I started to take the pieces out when they were not yet completely solid. soft enough to cut and shape but solid enough to hold their shape and not pick up finger prints on the surface. By cutting with a scalpel and then applying more metallic leaf I could achieve some great effects looking like raw stone, carved stone, or some kind of metallic ore.

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then I left them to set for a few more days and brushed on a fresh layer of clear resin to seal the metal leaf. A few more days for that to set and then we’re done.

final touches for all the rings included sanding down any rough or uneven edges with increasingly fine sandpaper and then a quick polish.

 

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