You’ve spent all afternoon going down the rabbit hole of resin crafts and you’ve ended up here. You’re ready to try resin jewelry making but it looks hard. And now you’re not sure that you want to give this a try.
Let me go ahead and confirm your suspicions.
Resin is hard — but only if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Hi, I’m Katherine. Consider me your Janet of the ‘The Resin Good Place’ as you start your time resin jewelry making.
What kind of questions do I get asked?
I’ve got this idea for a resin ring I was hoping you could help me with. I want to do it in many colors. I’m not sure exactly what the ring will look like, but how do I make a mold for it? And what kind of resin should I use for the ring? Oh, and by the way, I have never made anything with resin before. Do you have any tips you can share? Thanks in advance for your help.
My Janet brain is on overload now and asking for a reboot.
I love the ambition and big picture ideas here. I do. But, this is a train wreck looking to plow into your creative time. Resin can be such a fussy beast for even the most experienced jewelry-making artist. This project would take several days to develop and several more days to finish. (and that’s assuming everything goes perfectly)
Put another way…
Imagine your cousin has announced she’s cooking Thanksgiving dinner. And she has never so much as boiled water for an egg.
I think you get my concern here.
Oh by the way. I did the SAME THING when I learned lost wax casting. On the first day of class, I showed a picture to the teacher of what I wanted to make. She smiled and remarked at my ambition. What I wish she had done was smack me in the head and demanded I make a simple project first. (I don’t condone violence, but I can be stubborn.)
How did that first project turn out? I struggled and failed. If I hadn’t seen what you could do with lost wax casting, I would have convinced myself it was stupid and didn’t work.
Which is what I hear from those who’ve tried resin and it ‘didn’t work’.
Yeah, those free youtube videos aren’t as good at teaching you as you might think.
What’s the key to getting good at making resin jewelry?
Start with simple projects to gain skills before trying something Instagram makes look easy. Becoming a gifted resin jewelry maker is possible, but it’s not going to happen in an afternoon.
If you’re novice or have tried it only to think ‘this was a waste of a good afternoon’, let’s try again. The difference this time is that I’m your resin jewelry making guide. And I’ve got a roadmap just for you.
Goal #1. Get good with resin first
You must be able to mix resin and know it will cure hard, clear and unsticky — every time. For this step, we’re simply going to focus on the resin.
✅ Start with an epoxy resin.
Why? Epoxies are the easiest to work with. I’ve tried them all with my fifteen years as a resin artist. You can trust me on this. They are the most forgiving of mistakes (like you didn’t mix it completely). And pot time is long enough that you can use it before it starts to gel.
Extra credit: Learn the resin vocabulary terms what they mean. Don’t worry — there’s not a test.
✅ Get the right resin tools and supplies.
I can’t stress how important it is to ACCURATELY measure your resin kit liquids. It’s why I use resin mixing cups EVERY TIME I use resin.
✅ Understand the resin you’re using.
Not all resins are the same. If you’re saying ‘resin doesn’t work’, I’m betting you aren’t one who likes reading directions. Which, in all honesty, describes me too. But let’s just say that in all my years of helping artists worldwide with making resin jewelry, 99% of the time when things go sideways, it’s operator error.
Project #1: Mix resin
For your first project, make something where the resin is the only variable. Why? If something goes wrong, there’s only one place to look for the reason. To do this, make something that you pour the resin into that doesn’t need demolding. Jewelry bezels are perfect for this. Mix the epoxy resin kit, pour it into the reservoir. You don’t have to worry about demolding and will have results within 24 hours.
Goal #2: Understand what happens when you add things to your resin
Resin is begging for you to add things like resin colors, papers, glitters and more to it. But, you must seal anything porous first before adding to the resin. Otherwise, you’ll end up with something that looks like the paper at the bottom of a buffalo wings basket.
How do you know if it’s porous? Ask yourself whether getting the item wet will stain it. If the answer is yes, then you will need to seal. And here’s how you do that:
Project #2: Make a ring
Try the same project as in #1, but add some fun stuff. Start with non-porous items like glitter, beads, or other metal findings you don’t have to seal. Watch for pitfalls such as trapping bubbles and placing things without making a mess. Here’s a project idea: Indian princess-inspired resin rings
Project #3: Make a pendant
Once you’re good at projects #1 and #2, tempt your resin with a chance to go wrong. Yep. If you don’t push yourself to fail, you will never get good at making resin jewelry.
Resin hates moisture, so learn what it’s like to add moisture, like colors or items that need sealing. It’s another variable that can cause problems, but see my logic here? If you’ve done great until this part, then you’ll know exactly what to improve next time. Try this project: Dr. Seuss jewelry
Goal #3: Let’s get a little moldy
When I was jewelry making beginner, I remember the first time I poured resin into a mold. Whoa. Now it can stay a permanent shape? Pouring it into an epoxy mold is the way to make this happen, but it also adds in an extra level of skill. You need to be sure you’re using a resin mold release and resin for molds.
Goal #4: Go for the dome
Certain resins have the property of being thick enough to dome onto a surface. This means you don’t need sides to keep the resin in a raised finish. I’ve saved this goal for last because it’s important that you have a feel for how much resin you can pour into a space. It can be a bit of a Jenga game to do this step. You drip on enough resin to create the dome, but not so much that it runs over the side of the bezel. It takes practice and patience to get good at this.
Project #5: Domino pendant
Make your own domed resin pendant. We’ve got a great domino resin pendant tutorial showing how to do that.
Oh goodness, Katherine. Now what? Is the answer to everything to the jewelry making resin universe?
No dear padawan. (Whoops sorry. That was a blip from another universe.)
No dear resin jewelry making novice soon to be amazing resin artist. No.
In fact, there’s ONE BIG THING that I didn’t cover.
Your success also depends on using the best epoxy resin for what you want to make.
How are you supposed to know that?
✅ You can get a free copy of my resin buying guide. It details all the resins we sell and what you should use them for. (Yes, we sell resin supplies in addition to sharing tons of useful advice).
✅ I’ve got another article that details the best jewelry epoxy so you can dial it in even further to make some amazing resin bling.
✅ But, if you’re like me and want something to print out (yes, I’m old school that way, then you will want my PDF ebook, Resin Fundamentals. I share all the essentials beginners need to know about making resin jewelry in a book you can read in a couple of hours. It’s the book I WISH I had when I started making resin jewelry 15 years ago. Buy now and get an email download link in minutes.
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