Today, I am showing you how to cut resin paper with a die cutter. I wrote an article on this a little bit ago about making resin flowers using die cuts. You may want to take a peek at it to get a background look on how much fun that was! My goal today is to create a good background resin paper, then die cut it with a steel rule die to make a journal book cover. A steel rule die is a bigger, thicker die that will cut stronger materials like mat board, card board, etc. For more information on this, you can go to Sizzix 101 for some great information.
This is my finished project, which you will see how to make after reading both parts of this tutorial. It is a journal that has room for four signatures.
Some things I want to accomplish in this project are:
Play with some color. I have bottles of Resin Obsession Pigment that I want to add because I love color.
I may also add glitter. Woohoo!
I love the look of a translucent cover and resin is one of the only ways I know to achieve this.
Here are some challenges you should be aware of when you cut resin paper with a die cutter:
1. Resin paper can be brittle and will crack under the strain of die cutting.
2. I do not want to damage my dies, so the resin needs to be spread thinner then when casting in a mold.
3. I want the resin paper to be flexible enough that it will bend using Eileen Hull’s newest Wrap Journal die, yet it has to be strong enough to withstand opening, closing and holding the journal signatures.
Preparing the paper
I decided to make a journal using Eileen Hull’s new Wrap Journal die. One of the challenges with this die it is almost 13” long, making it longer than standard scrap book paper. To accommodate this, I cut the tissue paper 14” long by 6” wide. That is the total size of the die and will allow for shrinkage. You can also use wrapping paper to make this project but it may not end up translucent. A paper napkin would work great and would be translucent, especially if you took out the white tissue layers.
I used a watercolor paper pad that is bigger than what I need to set my project on. This will allow me to easily move it while keeping it on a stable flat surface while it sets. It also allows me to set up a resin station with everything I need and work on multiple parts of the project. Next, I put down a layer of parchment paper. This is my favorite surface to work on to make resin paper. After laying the paper, I mixed the resin according to directions. I use Easy Cast when making resin paper.
While wearing gloves, I used a piece of kitchen sponge to pour some resin on the surface and smooth it out. I made a thin layer only on the top of my tissue paper. Remember, I need to be able to cut this with my die so I want it to be fairly thin. Because I want to add some color, I chose a piece of tissue paper that is a neutral color.
I put my mixed resin in smaller cups and added a drop of color into each, mixing with the stir stick. I did this using four different Resin Obsession colors — Bright Yellow, Opaque Green, Opaque Teal and Transparent Teal. I used a stir stick to spread the color onto the tissue. You can also try spreading using a sponge to see which you prefer. I kept the layer of resin thin and set it aside overnight to dry.
The next day, my paper cured but is a bit thinner than I wanted. I decided to add another layer. The resin paper as it stands now is too floppy and I worry the die won’t be able to cut it. I also decided to add more color to the tissue on the back side. It is transparent and will allow the color to show through.
For the next layer, I used the colors Bright Magenta and Bright Pink with some star sequins mixed in. I should have started with a clear coat but forgot so I did the clear coat second, using my gloved fingers to add resin but not move the color too much.
Next, I let everything cure overnight.
Time to die cut the resin! The resin paper has set up well and is not too thick. Basically, it feels about as thick as a plastic folder you would buy for school supplies, only more pliable.
Using my Big Shot Sizzix machine and Eileen’s die, I placed the resin paper on it and added washi tape to hold it in place. I added a die cutting plate on top and underneath the paper. Run it through the machine and – voila – a journal is cut. It is that simple.
The resin paper had no problem going through the die, but it is still a bit thin for my liking. This resin paper has to hold up to a lot of handling but needs to be flexible enough to bend back and forth without breaking.
There was also a bit of a cut on the spine that is only supposed to score lines. Adding resin will seal the cut.
“We don’t make mistakes, just happy little accidents,” said Bob Ross. I find this so true in art. Some of my best techniques come from trying to fix something. This time was no exception. I decided while I was busy pouring another layer, I might as well add some more color. I mixed up my resin and applied another layer of clear using the sponge. Then with the left over resin, I added a drop of Resin Obsession Transparent Purple. Using my finger to add the purple the color accidentally splattered. It looked so cool that I had to add more!
At this point, I did add some glass glitter and mica flakes. Simply take your glove off and sprinkle randomly over the resin paper cover. Set the piece aside overnight to cure.
Time to assemble my book. First, I decided to add multiple colored eyelets. I colored silver eyelets with an alcohol pen and used a few different colored ones as well. Using elastics to hold my signatures (group of papers that make up a book), will allow me to easily remove the papers. I wanted to add eyelets to make the book strong enough to hold the elastics.
Next, I made the holes in the spine larger using the larger hole punch part of a Cropodile. You could use whatever eye setting system you prefer but this is my favorite.
Not shown: add eyelets using the Cropodile to set them.
I used a teal colored elastic that is 1 mm thick to string my journal. Simply cut the elastic long enough to thread through one set of eyelets from the top to bottom and tie a knot in the middle. Thread from the outside of the book to the inside, adding beads along the way if desired. The knot will end up on the inside of the spine. Do that for the two outside sets of eyelets too.
For the inside middle (two) sets, I decided to string an owl charm. This time I started on the inside of my book, (leave a tail of elastic about 3 inches long), threading through one of the middle top eyelets to the outside, down through the top of the owl charm and back up into the last top eyelet. Next, thread down the inside/middle of the spine and straight out the bottom corresponding eyelet. Lastly, thread up through the bottom of the owls legs on the charm and down, threading the elastic through the last eyelet and back into the book. Tie this end to the tail piece making a knot.
You should end up with 4 strings of elastic on the inside to add your books. I leave my tails long until I am ready to insert my books, then I trim them. Simply slip your book into through the elastic. As far as the insert books go you have many options.
Small composition books from the dollar store fit this journal perfectly. I also make signatures out of different types of paper. Papers cut 7” long by 5”tall will fit the book as well. For the signatures, I use card stock, kraft paper, canvas, and mixed media paper just to name a few. If you want the cover to be a bit bigger than the books, cut the paper smaller. The mini composition books measure 6.5”x 4.5” and can work too.
I like having books of different sizes. These books are a great way to use up junk papers, scrap book paper…
Here are a few things I learned during this project to cut resin paper with a die cutter
Does resin shrink tissue? It doesn’t seem to. My piece fit fine after adding the resin. If it does, it is minuscule.
How thick a piece of resin can the steel rule die cut? I think using the idea of a plastic folder as a guide line is a good one. By that, I mean just one layer of the plastic. Anything thicker may damage your die.
To make a journal you need a thicker base then what a die will cut. Cutting the paper form with the die, then adding more resin is a great way to do this. Using Easy Cast, which is a doming resin, keeps the shape of the wrap journal as you work. Laying the project on parchment paper as it sets even keeps the holes intact.
Next time, I would save steps and days of curing by spreading the initial layer of clear resin and the color spots using a stir stick. I think I could do it in two steps; laying the resin on one side the first day and the other side on the second day. This will also prevent the big air holes that happen when you have the resin side down on the parchment. Resin side up tends to cure well. I could also add the glitter and mica flakes at this time.
This post is part 1 of a 2 step tutorial. Join me next time as we finish the book, adding the colored resin wings and a closure. I will also answer the question whether or not you should use glue or resin to adhere your ephemera. If you like what you saw today about how to cut resin paper with a die cutter, here is another post where I made resin paper bookmarks.
I hope you start making resin papers! For more tutorials you can always find me at Karen Bearse Designs. All of my social media is on the right-hand side.
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