Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Resin tips & links

Hey y'all!

A few days ago I posted a few pictures of some resin embellishments I've been working on over on my Instagram account, and have been getting a few requests for info on how I make them.

I hadn't posted about resin previously because there are so many excellent YouTube videos from much more experienced resin crafters. I've been playing with resin for a smidge over a year and would say 50% I what I know comes from watching videos and 50% just comes from experimenting and playing around.

Here's a round-up of some good Intro/How-to videos:
Resin Tutorials for Beginners
Ten Important Resin Hacks
Word Resin Pieces (this is really close to how I do my hearts)

And here's a list of YouTube channels I watch for tips, tricks and inspiration:
MistyPixel (her video of Resin Fails is especially helpful)
Tofu Puffs
NerdECrafter

There's also a ton of info over at Resin Obsession, check them out (especially the FAQ posts): https://www.resinobsession.com/

There are a lot of options for kits, I use Easy Cast. I am led to believe that there are better/higher-end kits, but for what I'm doing I'm happy with Easy Cast. You can buy Easy Cast at Michael's, but I usually buy from Amazon.

You have to remember that most of the YouTube resin crafters are making pieces to sell (sidebar - Etsy is full of cool resin stuff, and therefore great to comb for inspiration). For throws and Muses shoe embellishments, I'm totally ok with Easy Cast for my resin pieces (and I don't stress out over bubbles, flecks of stray glitter, etc. in my pieces). There are a lot of tips and tricks that I don't personally stress over (like warming the resin before mixing to minimize bubbles and using a lighter to take out bubbles), but if you're a perfectionist study lots of YouTube (after you've made it through some How To videos and are comfortable with the basics, try some Watch Me Resin videos). It's a rabbit hole - prepare to fall down...


A few tips:
- I use disposable medicine cups for measuring the resin and hardener. Look for the term "graduated" when buying your cups - it's important that you use precise amounts - eyeballing is not exact enough!
- Don't store or prepare your resin in a cold spot - keep it room temperature.
- Thorough mixing is important, set a timer and force yourself to mix a full 3 min if you're impatient like me. Try not to beat bubbles in - mix slowly but thoroughly

In terms of molds, I occasionally use plastic molds (like this one), but mostly I use silicone. I love that they come in such crazy (and geeky) shapes. I use a lot of novelty ice cube and chocolate molds. Just remember once you use a mold for resin you can never go back to using them for food (though you can use for both resin and polymer clay). If you're new to resin, I'd recommend this plastic mold and this heart silicone mold as a starting point. If you fall in love with it, you can start building your collection. (I may share some pictures of my collection and details on where I buy molds in a later post). If you're really bananas (like moi) you can make your own silicone molds.

The #1 tip I have for working with silicone molds is that glazing makes a huge difference. When you pop your pieces out of plastic molds designed for resin, they'll be nice and shiny and glassy. Typically, the silicon mold gives you a "matte" surface (I was disappointed by this the first couple of times until I learned to glaze). You'll sometimes hear the YouTube resin crafters refer to this as "doming." The next time I have a batch of resin mixed up, I take a small paintbrush and paint a thin layer of wet resin over the surface and let that cure. It takes a teeny amount to glaze, so I don't usually mix up a batch just for glazing.

Protect your surfaces really really well for this - it's very hard to clean up spilled resin (if you try, I'd recommend using baby wipes or rubbing alcohol - not water!) and darn near impossible to get rid of cured resin. Be extra careful!!!

I get my alphabet beads from Michael's. I don't use them much for shoes, but chunky glitters work really well for resin. Confetti (the shiny plastic kind, not the paper) is great too and I'm finding a little goes a very long way. For confetti I'm all about Chico Party - their selection is fabulous. Every time I visit that site, I find another dozen I have to talk myself out of ordering (why hellloooo there). I've also gotten foil confetti from Party City and Oriental Trading.

Here are a few pictures of some resin embellishments I've made:

Last year, for the "Sweet 16" theme I made a ton of fake candy for my shoes, including Gummy Bear letters. I used this mold (or something like it). I also made some resin hearts with real sprinkles in them. I got this idea from seeing sprinkle resin jewelry on Etsy - a little virtual window shopping of resin jewelry on Etsy is always a great source of inspiration




I've continued to make these (even though they aren't as thematically appropriate) because they're so cute and I love having alternatives to glettering on hand when I have a shoe that doesn't have a good spot for traditional glettering.

This year, I've been playing with different "fillers" (chunky glitter, confetti, tinsel) and having a lot of fun with that. Here are some rainbow tie dye hearts made using WOW brand chunky iridescent glitter:



Here's some of my latest batch of hearts and dachshunds:



So there you have it - play around and let me know how it goes!! Happy glittering!

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