Monday, May 03, 2010

Tips for using resin to make jewelry

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I've had a few followers email me with questions about my experiences with using resin in jewelry making. I thought I would share a few tips and what I've learned from my mistakes with readers.

Picture credit: "Pink and green epoxy resin, sterling silver french wire earrings"

  1. Everything you are using must be completely dry. If you're using a setting that you have made yourself, make sure it is "bone dry" before putting the resin in it. Resin does not like additional moisture and even the slightest amount of water in the corners of your piece may keep the resin from setting properly. If my sterling silver setting has just come out of the pickle pot, I will put a heat gun on it for a few seconds to evaporate any water before pouring.
  2. Follow the mixing directions exactly. This may seem like "duh", but I'm also the type that just kind of shakes off the excess flour in the measuring cup when I'm making a recipe. In order for it to cure properly, things must be exact. (And by the way, every resin is different in it's mixing instructions. I always reread the directions every time I mix a resin.)
  3. Measure the resin and catalyst in two separate cups before mixing. I know cups get expensive, but that way if you overpour one, you can put some back without messing up your ratios.
  4. Have everything ready to go before you mix and pour. Resins have what's called a "pot" time. This is the amount of time that the resin is fluid and you can work with it. The polyester resin I use has about an 8 minute pot time. I don't have any time to waste! I have my molds and inclusions (usually glass pieces) ready to go so that my resin doesn't set up in the mixing cup before it gets poured.
  5. If something goes wrong, call technical support of the company that made it. They know a lot about their product! I have done this for a couple of the resins I work with. Sometimes it was my fault, sometimes it was the Florida humidity. I would also suggest being "boy scout honest" with these people. If you're using a pigments and inclusions, let them know. They certainly can't give you the best pointers without knowing all the information.
  6. Plan on experimenting, then abusing the pieces before selling. I will experiment with different pigments, colors, inks, inclusions, found objects, etc., then let the "elements" take over. I leave them in the sun, close to heat, etc. I want to know that even though the piece looks good when it pops out of the mold, I want to make sure it doesn't get icky later. (Remember that resin doesn't like water? Some of the pigments I put it can attract water. I want to make sure the piece doesn't go haywire in a couple of weeks or so.)
Those are my basic tips. I know there are some discussion boards out there too with people's comments. Happy jewelry making!

Picture credit: "Gotcha candy heart, epoxy resin pendant"


  1. How do you keep the tiny silver circles from sinking into your resin?

    Love all of your creations!!!

  2. The circles are as tall as the bezels. I stick them to the tape too.


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