The Studio – Jewelry Blog by Rio Grande

Tech Tidbits: Tips for Working with Resin and Three Step-by-Step Resin Projects

Oct 23, 2013
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Sometimes the very place where a gemstone would go is the place where a jeweler puts another kind of gem instead: a resin medium that holds mementos, art, and keepsakes. In these resin projects, available free on the jewelry making project page of Rio's website, our own Shelby Chant shows us how much fun it can be to create elegant and one-of-a-kind resin jewelry. Each of her projects involve pouring resin into bezel cup-style settings, all available from Rio Grande.

"Lune Bleu" Sterling Silver and Resin Bracelet Project

Shelby Chant’s "Lune Bleu" Sterling Silver and Resin Bracelet Project. Click on the image to find step-by-step project instructions on our website.

With expert advice from Yvonne M. Padilla, I've compiled a few helpful tips on working with resin:

  1. When you pour resin, any surface or object that is porous may change in appearance.
    Paper or fabric may blotch or stain, and paint or ink may relocate to a position you did not expect. This can affect copies of photos, or small paintings or drawings, and your original design may lose its intense colors or those shapes you once loved. Because of this, you should be sure to seal those porous elements in your design with crafter’s glue—one that dries clear (check its label). And be sure to give it time to fully dry, otherwise your treasures might be obscured by a cloudy layer of sealant.
  2. When you pour resin, finesse it with a noodle.
    Or a wooden craft stick, or some other small stick-like object that will allow you to guide the resin as it comes out of the cup and enters your setting (or resin mold, if you are using one). Breaking the fall of the resin lessens its turbulence and diminishes the chances of it splashing into your setting, which keeps air pockets and tiny bubbles at bay. As for the noodle suggestion, that gem came from Mark Nelson. You can see Mark's approach to pouring resin in the video How To Make Resin Art Pendants.

    "Rock On Water" Brass Silver-Plated Cuff Bracelet with Resin Project

    Shelby’s "Rock On Water" Brass Silver-Plated Cuff Bracelet with Resin Project. Click on the image for step-by-step project instructions.

  3. If and when you pour resin into a mold, don’t forget to use mold release. Nuff said.
  4. When you are creating your resin jewelry design, don’t forget that you can break the surface! 
    Not every part of your design must be contained within the glassy depths of the resin you pour. Consider what you’d like to see above and below the surface, as well as the practicality of what objects will work well as jewelry elements. A typewriter gear might look great below the surface of the resin, but it might snag your sweater if it’s protruding.

    carnelian

    Shelby’s "Carnelian Mandala" Sterling Silver and Resin Ring Project. Click on the image to find step-by-step project instructions on our website.

  5. Keep the dirt out. 
    You’ve made your design, glued it, sealed it, and poured resin over it. The last step is to keep out dust and dirt by covering it with some sort of lid. Anything to keep your piece pristine while the resin is curing.
  6. Walk away.
    We’ve all been there. We can’t resist poking something that is only half cured, to see if it might be cured completely. Go grocery shopping, take a walk, clean your closet, but don’t touch your wonderful but unsettled piece of jewelry for about 24 hours, or whatever amount of time is specified in the instructions that came with your resin.

Do you have experience working with resin? If so, share your tips, tricks, experiences, and project photos right here in the comments. We know the possibilities are endless!

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Amy Cliser

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