Create some unique and interesting jewelry pieces with resin. Anything from candy wrappers to stones can be captured inside of clear or translucent resin to produce some stylish and interesting results. Resin jewelry can be fashioned into necklaces, earrings, bracelets, or rings once you’ve finished casting to give you some truly remarkable finished pieces.
What Is Resin Jewelry
The term resin jewelry refers to any jewelry piece that features a decorative resin object as the focus. These objects are usually made out of epoxy that has been poured into a mold with an object inside of it. When the epoxy cures, it becomes a hard, slightly flexible piece you can use as the center of jewelry or other decorative objects.
The finished resin pieces may be used as beads, pendants, ring toppers, belt buckles, pins, or hair barrettes that are affixed to wires, jump rings, and other jewelry implements. You create the resin pieces using a mold and any found objects you want to trap inside the resin. Once you’ve learned the basics of making the resin pieces, you’ll want to begin branching out into other jewelry making techniques by taking courses in wire wrapping or jewelry designing. The final result is beautifully unique pieces that you can use anywhere.
How to Make Resin Jewelry
The process of making the resin pieces you will transform into jewelry remains the same regardless of size, shape, or what you trap inside the resin.
Before you begin, you may want to experiment with gathering a large number of found objects to try trapping in the resin. The resin itself is clear and has no color, but what you place inside it can give it a lot of color, pattern, or texture. As you learn to design jewelry, you’ll begin to pay attention to how the height or depth of an object will work with the size of your molds. Things you may want to try capturing inside the resin include:
- Guitar picks
- Candy wrappers
- Bottle caps
- Drawings or other artwork
- Pasta noodles
- Rocks both polished and natural
- Fabric scraps
- Rubber bands
- Paper clips
- Dried beans
- Pieces of broken crayons
- Metal chains
- Nuts and bolts
- Plastic ring toppers, such as glow in the dark spiders
- Old fashioned brooch or ring toppers
Anything that you choose to trap in the resin that is porous or that could absorb liquid needs to be sealed in Modge Podge prior to dropping it in the resin. Plastic, glass, and metal objects do not need to be sealed – give anything else a quick coating of Modge Podge before you begin to ensure it holds its integrity inside the resin as you work.
Once you have your test objects that you intend to trap in the resin, gather the rest of your supplies. Most of these materials are easily found in craft stores or in shops like Amazon. You may want to experiment with a variety of different molds and mold shapes, combining them with your test objects until you find a color and size that is appealing to you.
- Clear casting epoxy
- Resin mold or molds
- Wax paper
- Latex gloves
- Small plastic cups
- Squeeze bottle
- Blow dryer
- Craft sticks
- Plastic bin large enough to hold your molds as they harden
- Bowl large enough to hold the epoxy bottles
- Warm water
It takes just a few minutes to mix and pour your epoxy, then about a day for the molds to harden enough to handle. Keep in mind that if you want to affix wires or jump rings to your finished pieces that you only have a short window to do so once the epoxy hardens. If it cures for more than a day, it will be too hard to pierce. Make sure you give yourself enough time over the course of two consecutive days to work with the resin to get your finished jewelry.
- Fill a bowl with warm water and set the two epoxy bottles – the resin and the hardener – inside it. This will help the chemicals combine more easily, while eliminating air bubbles that could get trapped inside your finished piece.
- Cover your entire work area with wax paper to protect it from any drips. Epoxy will bond to any surface and does not wash off, so be sure to protect all nearby areas. Put on a pair of latex gloves to protect your hands as well.
- Figure out which objects you plan to cast by placing them in the empty molds. Get creative and fill some molds completely, while placing a single small object inside others. Mark their positions, or take a digital photo to refer back to, then empty the mold out again. Determining what goes into the molds at this stage helps you save valuable time later on when they are half filled with epoxy. Set your pieces aside where you can easily get them again when it’s time to fill up the mold.
- Pour equal parts of the epoxy and hardener into a plastic cup and stir it with a craft stick continuously for about two minutes. Take the time to scrape down the sides of the cup often as you mix to ensure you get an even mixture of the two chemicals.
- Transfer the mixture to a squeeze bottle to make it easier to apply to the molds.
- Squeeze enough of the epoxy mixture into the molds to cover the bottoms of them approximately half way.
- Place your test objects into the epoxy in the molds using the same pattern you determined earlier.
- If necessary, cover the tops of the objects with more epoxy filling up the rest of the molds completely.
- If you plan to add glitter to any of your molds, sprinkle it on top of them at this time.
- If you notice any air bubbles trapped inside the molds, point a hair dryer set to low at them to help release the bubbles. You may also want to try picking up the molds and tapping them back down on your work surface firmly a few times to bring the bubbles up to the surface where they can pop.
- Carefully transfer the molds to a plastic container and cover it loosely so they can cure undisturbed for about 24 hours.
- After 24 hours have passed, release the resin jewelry pieces from the molds. If the pieces are not coming right out of the molds or appear to be stuck to the sides, place the mold in the freezer for about 10 minutes. After this the pieces should pop straight out of the mold easily.
- If you intend to insert any wires into the resin to make a pendant or to make a hole in the resin for a bead, heat the end of the wire over a flame for a minute, and then push it quickly into the resin. Once it cools, the wire will be trapped, allowing you to twist the end over and attach a jump ring. If you want to make a bead, pull the wire out again as soon as it goes through to prevent it from becoming part of the piece. To help make this process easier, cut your wire down to the correct size first, hold it close to the end you intend to poke into the resin with a pair of jewelry pliers and move very quickly once you take the piece away from the flame and plunge it into the resin. Keep in mind that if you intend to push the wire all the way through a thick piece that you may need to heat the wire up for more than a couple of minutes, or take a couple of passes, pushing it in and out a few times, heating the wire in between each pass until you can get it go all the way through.
- If you plan on wire wrapping the pieces, or attaching pin or ring backs, give the resin another day or so to cure and harden before you do so. This will ensure the resin won’t bend or reposition itself as you work with it. Once you have a wire embedded inside of it, you may also want to set it aside for another day before you begin manipulating it any further.
- To attach something to the back of a piece, such as a ring or a pin back, use a quick-hold contact adhesive to bond it to the resin.
Create Some Unique Resin Jewelry Pieces
Resin jewelry is a fun and unique addition to any jewelry maker’s repertoire. Once you get the hang of making some pieces, you may want to take the time to learn how to market them for sale as well. Resin jewelry is a fast growing field due to both how easy it is to make, and how unique and beautiful the finished pieces can be. Take the time to try out this fun and easy method of making jewelry for yourself, and see what kind of things you can create on your own.