You can tell I am having a lot of fun pressing flowers and using them in resin jewelry. I found pressing with a microwave was a lot quicker than the traditional method. Now comes the part where I work on getting these dried floral bits encased in protective coats of resin.
What you need :
- 2 part epoxy resin* (We used Little Windows' resin)
- resin molds* (and mold release if they are not silicon or coated with mold release)
- small plastic cups and stir sticks
- scales (optional)
- bezels (all but the round ones with the solid bails were from Nunn Design)
- packing tape or sticky kitchen shelf liner (optional - for open bezels)
- coloring dyes or backgrounds (see below for links)
- pressed dried flowers and leaves
- sealant/adhesive (I used Mod Podge satin sealant)
- drill (I used a spiral ratchet drill* - see tool review) and odd cut of wood
First mix up the two parts of resin according to manufacturer's instructions. With Little Window's resin, the proportion for Part A: Part B was 2 : 1 . So I used scales for measuring by weight. Saved having to squint to see marks on small measuring cups!
A crucial tip from Fran of Little Windows is to microwave Part A for 5-7 seconds before mixing with Part B. This step greatly reduces bubble formation. Do NOT microwave final mixtures. If you do that, the polymerization reaction is hastened and you will have almost no working time!! I actually tested this out and it was less than 1-2 minutes before the resin set.
I also mixed slowly and let the mixture rest for a couple of minutes under a lamp. Bubbles rise and can be moved to the side of the cup and "popped". I am aware some people use a flame from a lighter to disperse the bubbles - not sure if that is such a good idea! I sometimes blow through a straw across the surface which works as well.
Carefully pour into the molds to get a thinnish layer. Pop any bubbles with a toothpick. Note, bubbles are harder to get rid of when using doming resin.
If you like to work with open bezels stick them on a piece of packing tape or sticky shelf liner before pouring the first thin layer of resin.
There are many ways to color resin or add a colored background. I covered some in this past post. Also check out Little Windows' post for even more ways. You can also add glitter to the resin if you like.
Cover and let the resin cure for 24 hours. Then it is time for the fun bit. Place your pressed flowers and leaves onto the first layer of resin. Seal and glue down the flowers with sealant. Do not overdo the sealant.
Cover and let the glue dry overnight. Then it is time to make up another batch of resin and add the second layer covering the flowers etc. Again cover the project to prevent dust from settling on the work during the curing. Full cure is about 24- 48 hours.
Then it is time to drill a hole for the bail! Add bails, jump rings and chain necklace to complete the project.
Just so you don't think that all this is super easy, let's have a look at pieces which failed were learning mistakes. I keep saying this but experimentation is very important. Much will depend on the types of flowers you use. For example, the yellow flowers on the square pendant below were not sealed so parts of them became translucent. The yellow flower on the round pendant was sealed.
I glued this pale pink African violet flower on a circle of shrink plastic hoping to make it into a simple pendant. A little too much sealant as it seeped everywhere (opaque area) !! I also didn't add an even coat of sealant on the flower.
The pale cream flower below left became translucent with the Mod Podge. The flower below right wasn't glued on properly so it floated to the side with the second coat of resin!
And then there were the composition errors with wrong background choices etc!
Here are the ones which were much better but not perfect. If I didn't say so, you wouldn't know this butterfly sticker was hiding a large bubble on the clover flower below!
Photographing the resin pieces was sometimes tricky because of their highly reflective surfaces. I took to propping this one up.
Despite all my precautions, I still have tiny bubbles happening. Makes me want to get a vacuum pump and chamber! That will truly take care of them.
If there is one thing I realized with my resin adventures is how much I really admire artisans who make real flower jewelry to sell. They do it so well. Their work is well worth paying for! This is truly a good example of how it seems easy enough until you try it yourself.
I used natural light my iPhone 6S with the camera+ app and the Modahaus TS320 tabletop studio and the Steady Stand (medium) for the final project pictures. The necklace is suspended from a Modahaus Steady Stand. The tutorial photos were taken in my windowless basement studio with artificial lights.