All the gifts I made were resin photo jewelry bracelets. Working with resin is both complex and stupid simple. How is this the case? Well first, it’s easy because if you know the rules for success it’s not hard. You have to add equal parts of resin and hardener, stir it for a certain amount of time, and then pour and set.
As easy as it is, there are several things that can still go wrong working with this material, which makes it a sometimes difficult medium to work with. And despite working with resin many times before I somehow had most of these mistakes happen during this batch of gifts.
If you’re looking for resin jewelry making tips, I’ve included several in this pots. I’ve also detailed four common issues I’ve had while working with resin.
When I work with resin I typically use it over a picture or other mixed media element. That means I want to be sure it is clear when it cures so it doesn’t obstruct my main design element (all this being said, if you are intentionally dying your resin another color you may not care as much about the resin being clear). My resin of choice is ICE Resin, which is always clear and has never given me any problems.
So imagine my surprise a few weeks ago when I mixed up my resin and noticed that it looked milky and not-so-clear. The last thing I wanted to do was pour this over images and obstruct the view.
There’s not much you can do once the resin is poured, but I ultimately learned that I can avoid the milky resin phenomena by storing my resin in a place that does not experience temperature swings. So my garage studio is definitely not the place to keep my resin in the future. Resin also has a shelf life so be sure you’re checking that on your labels.
Air bubbles are probably one of the most common problems. If you’re not careful the air will get trapped in the resin when it’s liquid and then harden with a lovely bubble inside.
One of the first tricks I learned about resin was to place your bezels in the sun to help the air rise. Every time I make a jewelry design with resin I do this trick. If you don’t have the sunlight at your disposal a hairdryer can also help. Warming the resin allows the air to rise out of the liquid resin.
Sealing your Images
The first time I made a resin design I didn’t think about how the paper would react to liquid resin. I have some pretty sweet designs with transparent pieces of paper.
If you don’t want your paper to go transparent, Modge Podge is a great way to seal the paper before you pour the resin so it doesn’t go transparent.
Accidentally Curing Your Resin
The biggest lesson that I learned came a few weeks ago. Even after making resin jewelry for years I learned I still have a lot to learn. It was a cold and rainy day in Colorado, and I was trying to make a bracelet for a friend to give to his wife for Mother’s Day. Because it was cold, I wanted to raise the air bubbles without using the hair dryer method.
I had an idea that if I set the bezels under a halogen light that would warm the resin and help the air bubbles rise! In my defense, this strategy appeared to be working for about 15 minutes.
To my horror, when I went back to check after about 30 minutes I realized that the resin had completely set, with the air bubbles right on the surface. I was horrified. To make matters worse, my second attempt to recreate the bracelet also failed. I poured the resin the night before and despite my best hairdryer attempts still ended up with an air bubble in one bezel, and not set resin the next morning.
Ultimately, I learned that like many other materials you can’t cut corners when working with resin. Don’t try to rush the process and be sure to give yourself enough time to correctly.
What other tips do you have for making resin jewelry? What other mistakes have you made while making resin jewelry? Share them below in the comments!