You’ve gone down the rabbit hole of resin jewelry making, and you ended up here. (Sounds like you’ve got good karma.) You’re ready to give this a try, but it looks hard. And now you’re not sure you want to give this a try.
Let me go ahead and confirm your suspicions.
Resin is hard — but only if you go into this unprepared.
Hi, I’m Katherine. Consider me your Janet of the ‘The Resin Good Place’ as you start your time making resin jewelry.
What kind of questions does Resin Good Place Janet 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. But this is a train wreck ready 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.
But here’s how I really know that starting your resin jewelry making time like this is a problem…
Because 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 on my ambition. I wish she had smacked me in the head and demanded I make a simple project first. (I don’t condone violence, but I can be like a dog with a rawhide when I’ve got an idea.)
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.
Then 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 a hot minute.
If you’re a 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.
I’ve got FOUR goals and FOUR projects to get you to resin jewelry making wizard.
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 seventeen years as a resin artist. You can trust me on this. They are the most forgiving of mistakes, and the pot time is long enough to use it before it starts to gel.
Extra credit for a test that won’t be given: Learn the resin vocabulary terms and what they mean.
✅ 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 epoxy resin you’re using.
Resins don’t all behave the same way.
If you’re still thinking, ‘resin doesn’t work’, I’m betting you aren’t one who likes reading directions. Which, in all honesty, describes me too sometimes. But let’s just say that in all my years of helping artists worldwide with making resin jewelry, when things go sideways, it’s operator error 95% of the time.
Project #1: Mix resin
Make something where the resin is the only variable for your first project.
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 your resin and pour it into the reservoir. You don’t have to worry about demolding, and you’ll know how you did the next day.
And the perfect project to try this with is using resin as a glue to make a ring.
Goal #2: Understand what happens when you add things to your resin
Resin is begging you to add things like resin pigment, papers, glitters, and more. But, you must seal anything porous first before adding it 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 it.
And because there are a few different ways you can do that, I’ve written an article devoted to how to seal paper for resin.
Project #2: Make a pendant
Once you’re good at project #1, tempt your resin with a chance to go wrong. Yep. If you don’t push yourself to fail, you’ll 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 something else to push yourself through. Try this project: Recycle greeting cards into resin pendants
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 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 #4: Paper earrings
Choose your favorite scrapbook paper, and add it to a wood jewelry base. Seal the paper and finish with a dome of epoxy resin.
We’ve got a great tutorial on making resin earrings that shows you exactly how.
Oh goodness, Katherine. Now what? Are these the answers to everything in the jewelry making resin cosmos?
No dear padawan. (Whoops. 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.
That last part is pretty important. Because there is no one resin that will beautifully make everything YOU want to make.
Then how are you supposed to know what’s the best epoxy for what you want to make?
✅ 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 the BEST resin supplies in addition to sharing tons of practical advice. (And don’t worry, if it’s something I won’t use, we don’t sell it.)
✅ 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’ll 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 17 years ago. Buy now and get an email download link in minutes.
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