Hello, creatives! Karen Bearse here, ready to have a play with epoxy resin. I will show you how to use it to make a notebook cover. I have many fun things to experiment with, so let’s start.
Resin supply list:
The base of my journal is an inexpensive traveler’s notebook. The cover of the book is made of kraft cardstock.
Notebook cover layer 1
I created my first layer by gluing down various painted papers. Then, to attach the papers to the notebook cover, tear, cut, and glue. I used a collage medium as my adhesive. It will be interesting to see how that works. The papers shown here are painted with acrylic paint, book paper, and a printed page from a Dyan Reaveley Dyalog book.
I covered the top of the papers with collage glue to ensure everything was properly sealed. Once that layer dried, it was time to strategize the next layer.
Notebook cover layer 2
I knew I wanted the base of my book to be colorful with accent pieces and have ephemera with more of a vintage vibe. I played around with the tissue paper arrangement before mixing the resin to ensure I liked the layout. Of course, once you mix resin, you have to use it.
Note: Work gently during this step, as the paper will easily tear.
It is also a good idea to adhere the washi tape at this step. The tape I used is very sticky, but if you have some that isn’t, you can use a layer of collage medium underneath to help it stay put.
In the next step, you will prepare the resin. Before you do that, put a piece of parchment paper underneath your project. That will protect the pages beneath it.
Before I mixed the resin, have your extras close by. You don’t want to look for it after mixing your resin. It is also a good idea to keep a mold close by if you combine more resin than you need. You can use the leftover resin in a silicone mold.
The Resin Obsession crystal doming resin is a resin type that’s good for coating surfaces. I like working with this resin because it mixes thick. It isn’t going to run off the notebook cover when I apply it. I also love the way it works with paper. It creates a softer set, which makes it more flexible. It’s less likely to crack if the notebook cover gets bent.
First resin pour
I followed the directions, pouring equal amounts of parts A and B into a mixing cup and stirring for two minutes. Next, I poured it into a second clean cup. Then, with a new stir stick, I continued to mix it together for another minute.
Once the resin was mixed, I poured a bit of it onto my sheet. Then, using a piece of a kitchen sponge, I applied the resin to make my notebook cover. If you use tissue paper, simply wipe the resin over the desired area and place the paper down. The resin will soak through, so use your gloved finger to push the pieces into the wet resin and position it.
Continue adding in the tissue. Next, you can add in the heavier paper and cardstock ephemera. Once you are happy with how your art looks, thoroughly cover it with a resin layer. Then, allow it to sit for at least twelve hours. Here is a picture of how my notebook cover is looking so far.
As you can see, after sitting for twelve hours, the resin is nicely set. It has a smooth, plastic feel to it. I did find that some of the heavier elements didn’t completely submerge in the epoxy. They are, however, firmly attached. When adding the next resin layer, I can embed them further.
Second resin pour
For the second layer, start by placing the ephemera where you want it. I decided to experiment and add some color. You can see in the left-hand corners that the paper is stark white. I used an alcohol marker to add some interesting detail.
I also experimented with using distress crayons to create highlights, as well as using markers to distress the edges. You can see how the corners now have a bit of color. So don’t be afraid to get creative.
After mixing a fresh batch of resin, I added my remaining elements: the metal token, butterfly, clock, hand, and the stamped image. I did this by carefully wiping a layer of resin on the back of the items, then placing them onto the journal cover. I then added more resin to seal them. The pieces may move around a bit, so ensure everything is in place to your liking before leaving it to cure. You may even want to come back and check on your notebook cover in 20 to 30 minutes to make sure nothing has shifted.
Pour more resin on any areas that seem thin. The great thing about coating resins is that they will naturally flatten out evenly. I opted to add more resin to the token than other spots. It sealed in nicely.
I also went over the cover with a pin and heat tool to pop the large bubbles. I did not mind leaving the tiny bubbles as they added character to this notebook cover.
Let it sit for twenty-four hours.
I am thrilled with how it turned out, especially since some of this was an experiment, and I wasn’t sure how it would work. My cover set up beautifully. I can’t believe how well everything came together.
I was surprised that the areas where I added alcohol marker or distress crayon came out great. There was no smearing at all! Adding a layer of collage medium over the washi tape avoided any beading issues, and the resin went on top without a problem.
Using collage medium to glue down the first layer of paper worked well. It created a good solid base to work with. Since the papers were heavier, I think doing this with resin would have created raised areas, which could be fun.
Adding collage medium on top of the washi also worked well. This means that any glossy ephemera could be covered first, and the resin would sit on top.
A word of advice — don’t test to see if your resin is dry before the specified time is up. I left my fingerprints on my project by not being patient. Next time, I will wait.
The resin went over my stamped title without issue. I used an archival ink stamp and colored it with a distress marker. Because I stamped the numbers on copy paper, they were a bit translucent. The title was on card stock. Since it’s solid, it stands out more.
The heavier card stock images did not lie flat in the resin without two pours. I realized I had to glue them down if I wanted them to stay flat.
This was fun to make this notebook cover tutorial. I will do it again. Next time I think I will add color to the resin.
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originally written by Karen Bearse
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2022 Resin Obsession, LLC