How to make resin jewelry

Making Resin Jewelry

Not only is resin jewelry fun to make, it can be an inexpensive way to be creative!  You can incorporate colors and findings along with molding your resin into exciting shapes.  The possibilities are endless!!  This article gives basic information on how you can make your own resin jewelry.

Before you get started:

When it comes to working and pouring resin, you need to know two things before you get started.  Pot time and cure time.  Pot time refers to the amount of time you can work with the resin after it is mixed until it starts to cure.  Every resin is different; some have only minutes, whereas some may be up to an hour.  Don’t mix any more resin that you can comfortably use in the pot time stated.  The cure time is the TOTAL amount of time needed for the resin to completely cure.  Sometimes resins may state a demold time (period after which you can remove the resin product from its mold), but may have a longer cure time.  This lets you demold a resin project after a period of time to let you use the mold again, but you may need to let it completely cure another couple of days to avoid fingerprints and smudges.

Choose an area to work with resin where you can cover the area with wax paper, as the resin won’t stick to wax paper and can be thrown away.  Have a clear dome (plastic storage containers work well) to cover your resin pieces while they are curing.  There’s nothing like a little dust or cat hair to ruin your piece!

If you’re in a humid climate (like Florida), you may want to consider a dehumidifier or at least having the air conditioning on while you are working the resin and during the cure time.  While the outside temperature may not feel too bad, the humidity may be enough to keep your pieces tacky and not fully harden.  You will also want to wear gloves to protect your hands.  While the resin may be not be caustic, it can be difficult to get it off your hands with soap and water.sealing papers for resin jewelry

If you are planning on casting resin casting with something inside your resin jewelry, you should prepare the embedment before mixing your resin. Completely seal your image or finding with glue (Elmer’s, Mod Podge, Nunn Design glue or Ultra Seal).  If you’re piece is solid and non-porous, this step is probably unnecessary, but if it has a lot of holes or cavities, I would suggest dipping it in resin first and allowing to cure.  This will trap air in (or out).  If you don’t seal first, trapped air may show up as a bubble in your resin piece later or may show water stains.  Allow your embedments to dry for 24 hours before adding them to resin.

Mold me!

If you’re going to use a mold for your project, you will need to prepare it as well.  If it’s a polyethylene deep flex mold, spray it first with Castin’ Craft mold release and conditioner and allow to dry.  This will allow your casting to pop out easily.  We also have the Ultra 4 parafilm and Petrolease mold release.  If you’re casting silicone resin into silicone resin, you will definitely need the rubber to rubber mold release to keep the silicone from sticking to itself.

Mix it up!

Measuring resin for jewelry

Whatever resin you use, follow the label directions!  You will need to mix a specific amount of the resin with a specific amount of the catalyst or activator.  Don’t go a little more or a little less!  I also recommend graduated mixing cups so that you can be exactly sure of the amount you’re pouring.  Also, use two separate cups to pour into; one for your resin and the other for catalyst.  Don’t pour resin into one cup, and then pour catalyst on top (or vice versa).  At least if you over pour one or the other into separate cups, you can return it to its original container without contaminating your entire stock.

 

mixing epoxy resin for jewelry

Once you have poured your resin and catalyst, you can pour catalyst into resin, if it’s a small amount.  If it’s a large amount of resin (2 to 3 ounces or more), pour them both into a third cup.  Why?  If you don’t get a good mix on the resin (like some is still stuck to the side of the cup), you’re resin won’t cure properly.  Stir the resin with a toothpick or a stir stix, (stir stix work especially well if you’re mixing a large volume).  While a few air bubbles are to be expected, do not mix too roughly or you will end up with tons of air bubbles. Stir the cup for a minute or two, making sure you scrape the sides of the cup with your mixing stick.

If you would like to see some resin mixing in action, please be sure to view our youtube video on How to mix resin for jewelry making

 

 

It’s color time!

If you want to add color pigments, now is the time to do it.  If you’re adding liquid colors, add a drop (yes, just ONE) at a time and mix.  A little goes a long way.  If you’re adding dry pigment colors, liquefy some with a bit of resin first to make a ‘stock solution’.  Add a bit of this solution to your larger resin mixture.

Want to experiment?  Alcohol inks also work well.  You can try some paint pigments too, but I would suggest experimenting before making a piece that you want to try to sell or give to someone.  Sometimes the pigments attract moisture which will keep your resin jewelry from curing properly.

 

Ready, Set, Pour!

REsin curing in a silicone mold

If you want to add something (such as a bead or picture) pour a tiny bit of resin in first, then place your addition in, otherwise, you may end up with an air bubble.  Be careful when you pour.  If you have mixed a large amount of resin, you may want to pour a little bit into a smaller cup to pour from.  Resin can pour quickly and there’s nothing worse than having a big glob of resin cover you mold and work area.  Talk about mess!
Know too that your resin will shrink just a smidge when it cures, so you want to fill your resin mold or jewelry finding as close as you want it without over pouring.

 

Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble

heatgun

Even if you are really, really careful with mixing your resin, you will have a few bubbles in your piece.  Many will rise to the surface and pop on their own, but if it’s close to the end of the pot time and they are still there, I recommend ‘going in after them’.  Sometimes you can be lucky enough to draw them to the top of your resin with a toothpick.  If you can’t scoop them out with the toothpick, you can lightly blow over the bubble with a straw (the carbon dioxide in your breath gets them to pop) or you can go over the top of the resin with a heat gun or hair dryer.  Be careful with a blow gun since the force behind the air may cause your resin to spill over or may even melt your mold.  Check a time or two over the next hour to make sure no more bubbles have shown up.

If you’re thinking about adding the Resin Obsession toobies, embed them in your project before your first pour.  If you are doing two pours and want to add toobies to your project (like in the Steampunk bracelet tutorial), add your toobies while the resin is still tacky.  When finished, cover your resin pourings with the dome I talked about earlier.

 

Finishing your resin pieces

After your piece has completely cured, they should pop out of most molds very easily. If not (and you are sure it is dry!), try flipping the mold over and tapping with the butt of a screw driver or a rubber mallet.

You can trim excess resin with scissors (if it’s thick), or sand your edges with sandpaper.  Start with a coarser grit sandpaper (400 or 600), then work down to a very fine grit sandpaper (1500 to 2000) to get a super smooth edge.  (You can find the very fine grit sandpaper at auto supply stores).  A nail file can come in handy to get hard to reach places.  If you’re going to do a lot of sanding on your piece, do it underwater so you don’t breathe the dust and so the dust won’t melt back into your piece from the heat produced by the sanding friction.

Applying wax to resin jewelry

If you want an extra final gloss to your project, you can coat with a thin layer or carnauba wax, or use the Easy Cast Clear gloss resin sealer spray.

53 Comments

Philip

The mold shown in this article,silicone multi-cell, is not shown in your catalog-can you provide info?

Reply
Karen

I would love to purchase one when they become available. Could you send out an email or something to let us know they are for sale? Thanks!

Reply
Katherine Swift

The square mold shown in the article is from my own collection of molds, but I hope to have some available for sale within a couple of weeks.

Reply
Katherine Swift

The square mold shown in the article is from my own collection of molds, but I hope to have some available for sale within a couple of weeks.

Reply
amanda

May I be informed when the mould shown on this page (the blue one in ready set pour) becomes available too?
Many thanks

Reply
amanda

May I be informed when the mould shown on this page (the blue one in ready set pour) becomes available too?
Many thanks

Reply
pam

I’d also like to know when the mold on this page will become available for sale. Thx!

Reply
kathy

If I’m using a real flower do I put it in the mold first before I pour any resin and what if I want an open back bezel how would I do that.

Reply
amy

I have noticed on ack of resin peices alot look like a solid color alost like a back was put on im not sure how to explain it?? almost like if someone used posterboard or soething? or some like whitle or clear like plasticy look to the back what is eing used to get to look so comercial or “neat”

Reply
Katherine

@San,

Each catalyst is specific to the resin it is being used with. I would suggest contacting the manufacturer of the resin you are interested in and asking for the MSDS information.

Reply
Kaylyn

i am buying Clear Round Epoxy Domes Resin Stickers, and want to add pictures to them? how? lol im a beginner

Reply
Courtney

Hi! I have never worked with resin before, but I would like to cast organic material in powder form in resin and I plan to use a flexible silicon mold. Do you have any tips for casting powder? My main concern is that the powder may sink to the bottom of the mold (which will end up being the front/face of the pendant I’m making. I don’t want any of the powder to be exposed – I’d like it to be fully encased, yet visually fill the entire mold… Does that make sense? I appreciate any tips you can pass along! Also – which kind of clear resin is best for preserving organic matter? Thanks!

Reply
Katherine Swift

@Courtney,

The weight and density of your powder will determine if it will sink or not. I would suggest doing a couple of practice pieces first before attempting your final project. The Castin’ Craft Easy Cast epoxy resin or the Resin Obsession super clear resin should work well for your project.

Reply
senthil

hi
i am doing my ph.d in manufacturing engineering at tamilnadu. i need of air-set resin for sand casting, it is available with you? if not available means tell me the other manufacturer or suppliers information.
thanking you

Reply
Katherine Swift

@Senthil, unfortunately, I don’t have any information or experience to help you with your project.

Reply
Connie

I have some expensive soap molds made of poly plastic.. Really flexible stuff…If I use a mold for resin can I use the same mold after using it for resin to make soap..

Reply
Katherine Swift

@Connie, after using them for resin, I would not advise using them for soap again.

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Reply
Jennifer

Kathy,
I would like to create a resin replica of my beloved toy poodle “Peanut”. He is 5 lbs and apricot in color. Can you please advise what resin materials and molds will work best for me? Thank you!!!
P.S. Just kidding lol….some of the other comments/requests are funny!

Reply
Bexx

Hi there, I am hoping that you can help me. I’ve been casting resin for a few weeks now, and progressively getting much better. Though i’ve notice whenever I clear cast something.. I have a very hard time with bubbles.. not big bubbles that naturally rise, or even smaller ones that come to the top.. but a persistent “haze” of super small bubbles (tiny, but enough of them to scrap my project). I’ve tried blowing them out of course.. tried applying the hair dryer when possible.. tried drawing them up with toothpicks (some are too small to even work with really).. but to no avail. I’m using EasyCast epoxy resin. Please… help!?

Reply
Katherine

@Bexx, I would suggest more careful mixing to avoid creating the bubbles, or trying a different resin. The Resin Obsession super clear resin hardly ever has a problem with bubbles, but is only suitable for molds. If you need a doming resin, the Envirotex jewelry resin is a better choice. It’s meant to be poured in thin layers and almost never has a problem with bubbles either.

Reply
Jeanne

I have never used resin before, but would like to create a resin form in which to secure a tree, as an art project. Do you have any information on line or for purchase that would help me get started ?

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rohit

Hi Katherine,
I want to encapsulate flowers in their natural form, inside the resin in such a way that the flower do not losses its 3D form. How can this be done ?

Reply
Angela

I’ve done two batches of pours. First one, all my pendants came out bubbly and not cloudy at all. Some of the pendants in second batch were all cloudy. Some pendants were partially cloudy. Some pendants came out clear. It’s really white, not just a little cloudy. I can’t see through it. (As in, polishing wouldn’t help, it’s cloudy inside) I’m consistent with mixing, use a plastic resin mold and coconut oil for mold release. Any ideas of what’s going on?

Reply
sue

KATHERINE
Thank you so much i tried the acetone but a more gentle one (for taking off fake nails) worked quite well
Thanks

Reply
sue

HI
i was wondering if there is any way to retrieve something that you put into resin that hardened some what but the surface remained tacky after five days of letting it cure .
this is something very personal and important to me and i followed the directions to a T read everything
before i attempted this .
obviously i should have done a practice piece but was assured if i followed all directions that it would be fine
so now i need to take it out if possible
thank you for you time
SUE

Reply
Katherine

@Sue, if the resin has cured, but the surface is sticky, I’m afraid it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to get the piece out. You can try to recoat with another layer of resin. If your piece is still goopy, you can try a strong solvent like alcohol or acetone to get the finding out. Be sure to wear gloves and work in a well ventilated area if trying this.

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emily

Hi i have a few questions i hope someone can give me advice.I am fairly new to resin making but have made some lovely pieces with real flowers etc.How do i make a whole dandilion seed head cast in a round resin mold,do i spray it first or something?(so im prepared when they do come out!)couldn’t find it online anywhere! i’ve just used my mold for leaves-looks good except cracks around the edge on one side,possibly not dry enough? Also i thought a little fluffy white feather would look nice in a mold but it came out invisible! I want it to look natural so don’t want to color it,any ideas?Thanks x

Reply
Katherine Swift

@Emily, I’m not clear — are the cracks in the leaves or in the resin?

Reply
emily

Ok thanks will try that.I attempted it again with something i knew was totally dry (in the sphere mold like before)but the cracks appeared again,seems to be the top half.I think it shrinks but i fill it as high as possible.i’ve had trouble sanding items too,it just goes cloudy looking and ruins it,even when i spray it after :(

Reply
emily

just wanted to add its only the sphere mold i get cracks as it sets,i make other bits at the same time in smaller molds which come out fine

Reply
Nur

Is there a specific way to tell if the resin is ready? Like by the colour of it looks or if I had poured too much of one portion? Help please ><

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Laurie

Hello, I would like to cast some small pieces of broken pottery in resin. I have no experience with this. How should I proceed?
Thank you!

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Lori

Fabulous site Katherine!! Loads of information! I am a newbie and want to make real leaf earrings. Do you have a tutorial on something similar to this? I have questions like does the leaf have to be dried out or dehydrated? Does the leaf have to be dipped in the resin or brushed?

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Nicole

Hi Katherine thanks for all your awesome work!

I was just having some trouble with my embedments sinking when I wanted them to be suspended in the middle of the resin (and at interesting angles). They are made of all different materials – some metal, some plastic, even glitter sinks as well. Have you got any advice for me?? Thanks for any help!

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