How to make a resin paperweight
This post is kind of a tutorial, but also an opportunity to experiment. I’m a huge fan of Carmi and the Resin Crafts blog. Recently, Carmi shared a tutorial where she used a bangle bracelet mold to make a resin paperweight. I LOVED what she came up with and was struck by the comment she made about the difficulty she had demolding the paperweights. I wondered if our newest mold release (which I have found has made demolding bangle bracelets so much easier) would be good for this project as well.
While I was photographing this experiment, it hit me that it was a good review of some very important resin techniques. I will highlight them too as I go over the results.
I applied 3 coats of the Petrolease mold release. I wouldn’t have ordinarily done this, but since I knew that Carmi had problems with her mold, I wanted to do what I could to prevent demolding problems.
Since Carmi used Castin’ Craft Easy Cast resin for her paperweights, I made sure to use it as well.
In my opinion, seventy-five percent of ensuring resin success is making sure your resin is measured accurately and mixed thoroughly. In measuring the amount of liquid the center of the bangle mold could take, I found it could hold 2 ounces (8 drams) total. I knew I needed to leave a little space for the buttons, so I decided to mix 6 drams each of resin and hardener. After getting accurate measurements with 1 ounce mixing cups, I poured both in a larger 10 ounce mixing cup.
Part of making sure resin cures properly is also making sure you get a good mix. I like to use the Resin Obsession stir stix to blend the resin. While stirring, be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the cup. Stop and scrape the stir stix along the side of the cup as well from time to time. Stir for approximately 2 1/2 minutes. Note: Notice I said stir the resin. I didn’t say whip, puree, scramble, frappe, or anything else. You want to combine both parts deliberately and thoroughly without creating a frothy mix.
Once the resin was mixed, I poured it into the mold. I like to pour it in a thin stream. This helps to pop any large bubbles before they get to the mold.
After filling the cavity about a third of the way full, I added in some buttons. Whenever I use inclusions, I like to coat them with resin first. In this case, I threw some in the resin mixing cup, then scooped them into the mold. I do this to break the surface tension. By doing this, it will reduce the number of bubbles trapped in the resin.
Once you have all your buttons (or other inclusions in), don’t forget to check for bubbles. I have a heat gun that I run over the top several times to remove the bubbles. Note: If you have never done this before, be careful. Heat guns can get hot enough to melt molds!
Let your resin cure for the necessary time. With the Easy Cast resin, it was 24 hours.
To demold the casting, twist and pull at the sides of the mold. The plastic is fairly flexible, but if you pull to much, you will change the shape of mold so that you may not be able to use it again.
Once you have twisted the resin a few times, push it from the back as well. (Note where my thumbs are — I will make a mention about this again later.) Keep twisting and pushing from both sides until the casting comes out.
You will know if you’re making progress when demolding if you see an ‘air line’. This is when air has moved in between your cured casting and the mold.
Once the resin has been pushed out a bit, you can grab the edge of the casting to help pull it out the rest of the way.
So how did my resin mold fare? I did leave a few dents when demolding the paperweight. In all honesty though, I think it had to do more with my fingernails rather than the demolding process. I would definitely try it again but would make sure I had shorter nails next time. I don’t know that the dents would leave noticeable marks on the castings. If that side ends up being the down side, it wouldn’t be a big deal at all.
I was also happy to see that the ring for casting bracelets was perfectly intact. I could definitely use it to cast another bracelet.
I love my new paperweight! Thanks Carmi for inspiring me to try something different.
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