Technique: Allure of Resin

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Resin beads and pendants are totally customizable and unique. The possibilities are really endless. You can play around with shape, with color, texture, size, design, embellishments and inclusions. It is virtually impossible to make two resin pendants alike.

To begin with, you need to choose what resin you want to work iwht. I anticipated numerous options, but as it turned out, my local Micahels didn't even sell resin and there are only a few jewelry supply sites that do. I have discovered these brands:

Ice Resin – a two part kit containing the resin and a hardener (think of this as like the developer in a hairdye kit – it's what makes it work)
Easy Cast – another 2 part kit
Resin De Solei – has aspecial compound that reacts with sunlight or ultraviolet light to cure more quickly
There's another resin out there (the brand escapes me) which you must purchase a separate catalyst for (kind of like the hardener in the Easy Cast and Ice Resin kits) I didn't want to fuss with the specific measurements.

I settled with an Ice Resin kit (with measuring cuts, stirrers etc from fusionbeads.com (Free shipping!)

The next step is to figure out what you're going to pour the resin into. You have two basic options: you can pour it into a mold (or some object that will act like a mold), or you can pour it into an object, which will become part of the pendant.

Molds: You already know I'm all into recycling, so, while you can purchase some great resin molds, or candy molds, you can also use some great every-day stuff to make your own molds. Hey, it's not only Green :) but FREE! Got a box of chocolates? Great! Use the tray to create fun small bead molds. Ate with some plastic spoons? - that's ok – wash and reuse them as molds. Once you start looking for objects, you'll find them everywhere.
An important note.... just like when baking, you're not going to get those chocolate-chip cookies off the sheet if you didn't grease it! Remember to spray the molds with either a release spray or cooking spray (I have ready that cooking spray works just as well, and is a whole lot cheaper).

Permanent Holders: These are the kinds of resin pendants most of us are used to seeing. They're often pretty shallow indentations, perfect for paper media embellishments.
Collage Frames: are fun and easy with a loop already on the top for stringing. All you have to do is add your fun stuff and pour the resin. The down side is (for me anyways) they're kind of pricey, at around $5 a pop. I found some plated ones at fusionbeads.com that were a bit more reasonable.
Bottle Capes: are recycled, generally deeper than collage frames and hey – you can probably get them for free! You can buy some fun vintage ones, or blank ones, or you can opt to just keep the beer or soda logo on the back of ones you've collected from friends etc. I suppose you may be able to also paint over it. You can epoxy on a bail to make it stringable, or, before you pour in your resin, you can make a wire loop, bend it into the cap, and when the resin has cured, it will be secured. It is also possible to buy bottle caps with tiny holes already drilled for jewelry making.
Bezels: are unique metal findings that are like empty cups of all different shapes and sizes. I found that although they are pretty... they can cost and arm and a leg too. (ok... they aren't really all that bad... if you like 'em, try 'em out and let me know if they're worth it). I found a suggestion for making your own bezel out of a circle copper blank (already with a loop on the top) like you'd use for metal stamping. You basically put the blank in a concave form and gently hammer the blank into into it, until the blank is also concave. It's an interesting idea, which I plan to try... some day.
Other found objects: as with the molds, once you start looking for recyclable things to incorporate into your resin pendants and beads, you will find them everywhere. One great idea is to use old spoons of various sizes. Talk about unique!

Alright, so, you have your resin, and you have your base (mold or other) now what do you want to do with it? The possibilities are literally endless, but I will list a few here:

Color:
inks ( like alcohol inks)
concentrated color resin, translucent or opaque
oil paints (I read some vague blurb about this... must do more research)
resin compatible dye
mica pigments

Texture and cool-ness
embossing powder
micro beads
micro glass chips (which is actually what vintage glitter is made from – be careful though)
glitter ( you can try various weights – chunky, fine, ultra-fine etc)

Embellishments
metal findings
stuff in miniature (check out minikitz.com)
candy or food items
photographs, paper scraps
fabric
dried or fresh flowers etc
insects (though... that can be a little gross http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5342282)
whatever odds and ends you find

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