Step 1: Gather cookie cutters
As odd as it may seem, metal is the best cookie cutter base for this technique. Cookie cutters with simple shapes are easier to use.
While you can use cookie cutters with small openings and other intricate shapes, they can be difficult to seal and demold.
Warning: If you use an item in resin casting, never use it for food later.
Step 2: Gather Texture Tiles or Stamps
A textured tile is basically a large rubber stamp. The texture tiles I have are grey rubber and made for working with polymer or precious metal clay. The best texture tile is one with deep impressions and wide openings.
Thin, delicate lines may not allow the resin to flow into all the cavities or may trap bubbles. This makes them less suitable for cookie cutter castings.
Tip: If you have a tile or stamp you want to try with this technique, to see if it will work with resin, pour a small amount of resin on the back, the unpatterned side, and let it cure. If you can peel the resin off easily, it should work with resin. But, if it doesn’t peel off easily, you can try it again with mold release. Should your trials show the tile or stamp won’t work with resin, you haven’t ruined it for other uses.
Step 3: Get Silly Putty
Yes, the kid’s toy, Silly Putty. Resin doesn’t stick to Silly Putty, making it a tough temporary molding material or a great way to seal a gap.
The colour of the Silly Putty isn’t vital. I have a couple of eggs of Silly Putty I bought at the grocery store. But, over time and use, it does get a little less pliable. Sometimes, bits of colour and glitter inclusions stick to it, making a batch less than ideal.
Step 4: Get resin
I’m using Resin Obsession Super Clear resin for these projects where I’m showing you how to use cookie cutters as resin molds. This resin for crafts works great in molds because it releases bubbles easily. The super clear resin is a 2-part epoxy resin with a 2:1 ratio. This means you need to combine two parts of part A and one part of part B. The super clear resin cures to a soft cure in approximately 6 hours when it can be removed from a mold and set aside to cure. It cures to fully hard in 12-24 hours.
Because mixed resin has a limited amount of ‘working’ or ‘pot’ time (the time before it starts curing), it is best to prepare the molds for casting before mixing the resin. The super clear resin has approximately 30 minutes of pot time.
Step 5: Prep with mold release
Because the cookie cutters are metal, resin will bond to them unless you use resin mold release. You can also use release on the texture tile or rubber stamp to help make unmolding easier.
Place the cookie cutters into a container to catch the excess release, then spray. You don’t need a thick coat. A light coat is enough.
Step 6: [OPTIONAL] Add powders to the texture sheets
You can add powders, paste, paint, and glitter to the area on the texture tile you will use for the mold before putting the cookie cutter in place. For example, you can use gilders paste on the high areas of the texture tile. On the finished piece, this will accent the recesses.
Step 7: Create the mold
Making the mold is as simple as placing the cookie cutter on the tile and sealing the gap at the bottom with Silly Putty.
Place the cookie cutter on the tile to frame the texture you want to see on your project. If the tile is narrow, ensure the cookie cutter is entirely on the tile and not hanging over the edge.
Make a Silly Putty snake and put it at the bottom of the cookie-cutter where it meets the tile.
Squish the Silly Putty around the bottom of the cookie cutter to make a seal with the tile and create a bezel-like opening.
If you’re using a more intricate cookie cutter, like this masque, make sure you seal each angle and inner cut area. Then, use the back of a paintbrush or a stir stick to squish the Silly Putty into those places.
For less complex shapes, you can either remove the cookie cutter before pouring the resin or leave it in place. Cured resin is easier to remove without the cookie cutter. If you choose to remove the cookie cutter, be sure you don’t lift the Silly Putty from the tile while taking the cookie cutter out. You want a complete seal around the area you want to pour. Also, be careful not to distort the shape.
If you’re wondering what part resin colors play in using cookie cutters as resin molds, they can play a big part! After creating the mold, you can add additional glitter, powders, or other embellishments.
Step 8: Mix the resin
Now that the molds are ready, it’s time to mix the resin.
Gather all your resin supplies before you start. Cover your work surface with a sheet of wax paper to protect your work surface from drips and spills and make clean-up easier. Use Nitrile gloves to protect your bare skin from the sticky resin. For accuracy, measuring each part in its own cup is always best.
When using cookie cutters as resin molds, each mold will only need a shallow amount of resin. I generally mix 1 1/2 ounces or less. To make this amount of resin using the super clear resin, pour 1 ounce of part A in the first cup and 1/2 ounce of part B (hardener) into the second cup. If you are making a different amount, part A needs to be twice as much as part B. If you have never mixed resin before, read this article on how to mix resin.
Combine the two parts into one cup and thoroughly stir them together. Mix slowly to avoid adding bubbles. Be sure to scrape the bottom and sides often and the stir stick as well.
Mix the resin for at least 2 minutes to be sure the parts are well combined. Then, you can pour the mixed resin into another cup and stir for another minute to ensure a thorough combination.
Step 9: Fill the molds
Learning how to use cookie cutters as resin molds means understanding that you can only pour in a little bit of resin. Otherwise, you may not be able to demold it.
You want approximately 1/8 inch (or about 3 mm) of resin in your molds. If you remove the cookie cutter from the Silly Putty, only pour to the depth of the Silly Putty wall. Then, leave the resin to cure in a level location, preferably with a cover. The super clear resin works great even when it is poured into a thin layer.
I use wax paper-covered, low-walled rigid plastic pans under my tiles while making the molds and pouring the resin. This allows me to move the resin-filled molds to a curing location. There, I can cover them, so I can have my desk available for doing other things while they cure. If you move the uncured resin in molds, be careful not to spill it.
Step 10: Let the resin cure
For my curing location, I use a pair of cheap plastic letter trays lined with wax paper as shelves for curing projects. Resin generally doesn’t stick to wax paper. So if you have a spill, your resin project won’t become a permanent part of your curing location. I also use plant trays as covers for resin items because they’re cheap but keep dust and cat hair out of the curing resin. In colder months, I cover the whole area with a see-through plastic bin.
Resin cures best when the temperature is around 74 F (23 C). If your curing location is a bit warmer, the curing time may be decreased. If it’s a lot colder, the resin may not cure correctly at all.
Under my curing shelves, I have a heating pad and tin foil pan to add a bit of warmth to the curing location. Before I even pour the resin, put on the cover, and turn the heating pad on to high to warm up the air where the resin will be curing.
Step 11: Demold
When learning how to use cookie cutters as resin molds, you need to be mindful of the resin soft cure time. The super clear resin cures to a soft cure that you can unmold in 6-8 hours. I like to unmold cookie-cutter castings at the soft cure stage and let them cure hard out of the molds. This allows more flexible options to remove extraneous bits from the casting.
Unmolding a piece without the cookie cutter is easy. Just bend back the flexible tile and pop the resin piece off the tile. Then, remove the Silly Putty. I always put the Silly Putty back into its egg so I can use it again later.
Unmolding an item cast with the cookie-cutter still in place takes a bit more effort. First, peel the tile off of the resin. Next, remove the Silly Putty from the tile and put it in the egg.
Next, pop the resin out of the cookie cutter. It can be hard to remove the cured item from the cookie cutter with some shapes. If you unmold when the resin is in a soft cure, you can carefully slip a craft knife around the edges to release the resin. Otherwise, if the resin is cured to a hard cure and is stubborn coming out, putting it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes can help. Applying a good coating of mold release at the beginning of the project makes this stage so much easier.
When you unmold items with colourant and glitter, the Silly Putty will often pick up some of the embellishments from the tile. You can generally pick these off before you use your Silly Putty again. For this piece, the Silly Putty didn’t have a tight seal on the tile all the way around. So, a bit of resin seeped underneath. You can also remove this from the Silly Putty.
Step 12: Clean up the edges
When learning how to use cookie cutters as resin molds, you must be ready to trim up any resin that may have seeped underneath the cookie-cutter edge. If you remove your items from the molds when they’re soft cured, you can trim away some of the edges with scissors.
Place your items on a flat surface and allow them to cure too hard, usually 12-24 hours. Once the things are cured hard, the edges can be sanded and finished.
To sand the edges of small molded items, I use a nail Emory board as my sanding tool. Go over all the edges of the piece to smooth off any sharp bits.
If you have an item with voids or holes in the surface, you can use a rolled-up piece of sandpaper for sanding them. A grit of 400 or higher is recommended.
Use a wet wipe to remove stray particles from your sanding before adding any additional finishing.
Step 13: Highlight details
Once your pieces are sanded, you can add paint or Gilder’s Paste if you want additional highlights for the texture.
Adding colourant as a finish may have a slightly different colour than that put in the mold at the beginning.
NOTE: Colourant added after the item is cast won’t be as permanently melded with the resin and can rub off with wear.
Every unmolding is like uncovering a unique treasure. Some items look great on both sides without any additional finishing touches.
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Originally written by Kate Ledum
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2020 Resin Obsession, LLC