How to make a diorama ornament with resin
Who says ornaments should only be for the holidays? Here’s a diorama ornaments DIY project for some fun, bubble aquarium ornaments that are great, year-round decorations.
Mix your resin together, making sure to protect your hands with gloves. After the resin is thoroughly mixed, split it into multiple containers. You will need colors for the water and the fish. For the water, I mixed several shades of blue, one of green, and one white.
After mixing the colors, pour several layers of each color into the ornament. I try to use only a bit of white as an accent color. Once all the resin is in the ornament, you can use a pipette or craft stick to move the resin around a bit to create a more realistic effect to the water.
Once you have adequately swirled your resin colors around in the ornament, use a heat gun to get rid of any bubbles. Make sure to be very careful when using the heat gun and keep it constantly moving; do not leave it in any one spot. If you heat the ornament too much, it can melt. Once done, set the ornament aside to cure. I put the ornament in a plastic cup to keep it from tipping over, then covered it with foil to prevent dust and other debris from getting in the resin.
Time to make the fish. They can be done several different ways:
1. Mix some colored resin together to get a unique-looking fish
2. Use Jacquard Pearl Ex powders to create an incandescent effect
3. Cast with clear resin and hand paint it with acrylic paint.
I personally prefer the last method. If you want to paint your fish by hand, I recommend using a primer spray on the cured resin piece in order to get the paint to stick better. I also prefer to use pearlescent colors, since they look a little more like scales to me. You can also mix some of these techniques together. For example, you can get a base color using Pearl Ex powders, then add on some accents and details using acrylic paint.
Give the water and fish 24 hours to cure (or however long your resin instructs). If you’re adding any details to the fish, make sure they are completely dry before the next step.
Position your fish in the ornament. I usually glue mine in place with E6000 to make sure nothing happens while the next layer of resin is curing. Once the glue is dry, you can begin to add some accessories to the ornament. I like the look of dried moss with this ornament since it creates a little more depth to the project. You may want to use a little glue to secure your accessories in place when adding them to the piece (though I wouldn’t recommend this for the dried moss, as it doesn’t work well).
Once the glue is dry, mix a new batch of clear resin. I add this layer of resin directly to the parts of the piece showing the blue background, and on top of the fish. I try to avoid adding it to the visible parts of the shells, just because it affects the look of the shells. If you use dried moss, I would recommend against adding the resin on top, as it makes the moss look more clumped together. You can use this additional resin in order to better seal your accessories to the piece, though. You may also want to add some bubbles from the fish; you can use pearl beads, stickers, etc. to create this effect.
Once you’ve added this final layer of resin, put your piece aside to cure for as long as you’re instructed for your brand of resin. Again, I recommend using a cup to make sure the piece stays level and covering the top with foil.
Once the final layer of resin is dry, you can then decide how you want to show off your piece! You can make it look like it’s in its own little bubble by putting the other half of the ornament on, or you can leave it off, creating more of a diorama look!
Which of my diorama ornaments DIY projects do you like better? What would you put in your ornament?
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