The market is flooded with a variety of artificial pieces of jewelry- silver, oxidized, metallic, and resin. Out of so many available options out there, it is resin jewelry has attracted many. Resin jewelry is trending for the last few years. They are the perfect replacement for heavy metallic jewelry for today’s generation.
The subtle and sober features make resin jewelry unique. Moreover, it is a stylish, beautiful, and versatile jewelry option. Resin is a great art medium. The crystal clear surface makes it ideal for making beautiful jewelry and accessories.
Nowadays, it has become a great choice for hobbyists to make beautiful pieces of jewelry for commercial purposes. You can DIY your own unique resin pieces of jewelry in your own place as well. All you need to know the basic knowledge about resin materials, casting methods, and the things to avoid while performing the task. Well, if you are ready to DIY cast your own unique resin jewelry, this article will surely minimum your doubts.
What Is A Resin
A resin can be a solid or semi-solid shapeless fusible flammable natural organic substance. It consists of an amorphous mixture of carboxylic acids. Usually, it is transparent or translucent and the color ranges from yellowish to brown. Natural resins occur in trees and plants which are soluble in organic solvents. The synthetic resins are made by polymerization of simple molecules and are commonly used in medical, plastic, varnish industries.
Resin is a liquid compound that gets harder if exposed to certain conditions. For jewelry making, additional chemical along with the resin is necessary or just you have to put it in the sunlight to mold completely. This will lead to a molecular reaction chain and bind the resins firmly. Jewelry made from resin is much less expensive to make and purchase when compared to jewelry made from precious metals.
History Of Resin
Resin is a liquid organic compound of different natural elements.
For ages, people are extracting resin from nature for beverages to smoking them. The Greeks thought that amber was sunlight captured in a solid form!
Trees and plants also secrete resin to protect themselves from pest attacks.
We like it to do other things like protect our floors, countertops, or even be worn as jewelry for our purposes. Apart from the naturally occurring resins, we can also produce synthetic resins for various purposes like jewelry, art, crafts, and commercial use.
Different Types Of Resins For Making Resin Jewelry
Base resin and hardener are two parts of the resin compound. By themselves, they are inert compounds, but when mixed, a chemical reaction occurs where they cure. The synthetic resins are made by the polymerization of simple molecules. This will lead to a molecular reaction chain and bind the resins firmly. So, instead of wondering about the perfect resin for your project, you must know some commonly used resins for such purposes.
Epoxy resin is very common for resin jewelry molds. It is easily available in the market and has a huge demand due to its shorter duration of processing. You can make jewelry with epoxy easily because it takes minutes to the pot and shorter duration while demolding it. Price ranges from medium to higher as per the quality and finishing process.
While working with epoxy resins, be careful while mixing the material. Always wear hand gloves. They are safe to process. So, you will not need an additional respirator or fume extractor if the working space has good ventilation. Epoxy resin has its own limitations like you cannot polish it. Instead, you must use an additional layer of resin or a resin sealer spray to get a glossy finish.
Another popular resin on the list is polyurethane resins. They are easily available and relatively cheap like the epoxy resins. The resin and hardener can mix easily within minutes. It also takes lesser cure time than the rest. Price ranges from medium to higher prices. It gets expensive with an increase in clarity and for water clear versions.
You need respirators and good ventilation for processing polyurethane resins because of toxicity in fumes. So, it is not too user-friendly. Moreover, it will not bind efficiently in a moist climate. This also put limitations on some color additives that are not specifically made for such resins. Despite such disadvantages, polyurethane resins boast of shorter curing time up to one hour only!
Fiberglass resins or polyester are very popular for making glossy, shiny, and clear surfaces. The prices are much lower than the rest available resins and also take minutes to blend perfectly. It also has lesser curing time and cures to a very hard finish. This makes it easy to polish the jewelry for luster. If the surface becomes scratched, that same surface can be polished once again.
The better part of this resin is that you can add more fiberglass resins to the model to make it larger. However, it has a very bad smell and is toxic to the environment. While working with it, do not forget to use a respirator and work with a hood in a well-ventilated area. The hard structural formation of it is a plus point but it can also break easily if it falls from the height.
The UV resins are synthetic resins that give clear texture. They are popular because UV resin cures completely within a few minutes with the help of a special UV lamp. And the best part is that you do not need to mix any additional hardener. To cure this resin, you have to process it through UV lamps. So, you can use it for a longer duration because it will not cure otherwise!
It takes a very short time to cure but the shelf life is only for 6 months. Also, you need to cast thin layers while making jewelry. The cast layers should not exceed 3 to 4 mm. The UV resins are much expensive than conventional resins. They are a perfect choice for small castings and sealing small areas.
The silicone resins are good for weather resistance. It takes minutes to blend but hours in curing time. The price varies from mid to upper ranges. You can use it for making molds instead of complete jewelry because it gives a rubbery finish which is not suitable for jewelry. Silicone resin is primarily used to manufacture heat-resistant paint, coil coatings, and hybrid resin systems due to its elasticity and heat-resistant properties.
How To Cast Resin For Jewelry-Making
One of the popular ways to make resin jewelry is to seal the resin fillers in the resin cast by adding adhesives in the molders or bezels. It is a great way to preserve and convert beautiful objects like buttons, pieces of fabric, watch parts, shells, feathers, coins into long-lasting jewelry mementos that you can wear.
Resin jewelry making is simple and easy if you know the exact mixing ratios of the resins and adhesives. This is very crucial because any mistake will cost you a failure. Fortunately, there are two kinds of resins available in the market. Either you can go for resin and the adhesives separately or a pre-mixed variety that you simply pour straight from the bottle. Still, you need to take care of the ratio while mixing them!
Things To Consider While Making Resin Jewelry
There are some fundamental rules for any production. While you DIY cast the resin jewelry, you must consider some of the common measures to get perfection in your work. Otherwise, this will interrupt the whole process and you end up with mess everywhere!
Always try to know about the characteristics of different resins and their limitations. This will save you a lot of effort, time, and money. It will help you to choose the right resin for your project. Here are few characteristic tips ready for you-
- All resins have different curing times or binding times. This varies from jewelry to jewelry. So, you must decide on you want it to cure fast or slow.
- Another thing to consider is the transparency factor of the resins. Some resins give a translucent effect instead of a clear and transparent texture.
- The binding capability of resin and hardener and bubble formations during the process is also a crucial thing to check before using such resins for jewelry purposes.
4. Some resins do not give lustrous and perfect shape if you dry them on hard surfaces. Thus, check for their curing temperature and places. Otherwise, you will end up with tacky resins all over the working area.
5. To check that the resins need to process through heat or fume is a must. Most of the available resins available in the market are entirely fume-free and non-toxic. So, it is best to go for them if you want to save yourself from toxic fumes. These types of resins are environment-friendly and good for children’s jewelry.
How To Make Resin Jewelry
Making resin jewelry is much easier and relatively cheaper than the best kind of jewelry. Plus, you don’t need a ton of expensive or fancy tools to get started learning how to do resin jewelry. All you need is resin molds, resin fillers like studs, jewelry, dried flowers, feathers, glitters, adhesives, and measuring cups to get started.
Steps Involved In The Process
- You need to grab your resin and hardener to make jewelry. Put the bottles in a hot water bowl. This hack will help you to mix them properly. It will also save from bubble formation also. Before starting the jewelry-making process, put newspapers or covers on the working space. This will reduce the mess.
2. You can use flowers, twigs, sparkles, shells, or glitters to fill inside the jewelry. Even print photos or messages that you want to use in it. After collecting all the materials, you have to mix the resins. Use measuring cups to mix one part resin with one part hardener. Leave them to blend.
3. Pour the first layer of resin into the jewelry mold and place the decorative items. Then, pour the second layer and add some glitters.
4. Use a blowdryer to gently get rid of air bubbles. Let harden overnight so that it can cure completely. Do not forget to cover the molds to save them from dust.
5. After drying it completely, take out the mold and do the post-processing.
6. If you are making earrings or necklaces, you need to add metal loops to each piece. Make tiny holes by using heated pins. For rings and pins, simply glue them on with a quick hold contact adhesive.
The above-mentioned process is common in most resin jewelry-making. Apart from them, the process might add more steps as per variations in the resins and designs.
Advantages Of Resin Jewelry
The resin jewelry is affordable than the expensive metallic heavy pieces of jewelry in the market. You can also make a lot of unique resin pieces of jewelry without exhausting a lot of money in the process.
These pieces of jewelry are durable, stylish, and elegant- a perfect combination. Resin pieces of jewelry are strong and lighter. The ability to water resistance and can bear hard impacts without shattering.
You can create an endless amount of colors and shapes using resin.
One of the unique features that make resin jewelry stand apart from the crowd is its ability to impersonate the texture and color flawlessly. It can be colored to look like almost anything – rocks, gemstones, and colored glass. Not only hobbyists but also entrepreneurs are making these trendy gems for a living.
Limitation Of Resins
Like all other artificial jewelry, resin jewelry also demand care if you want them to use for a long-lasting time. Though these accessories do not wear easily but by taking some of the following precautions will save your favorite resin ornaments.
One of the most common mistakes you should avoid is to wear them while sleeping. This may scratch the resin pieces or break them. Also, avoid scratching them for any reason. It will damage the layers and fillings permanently.
Resin pieces of jewelry are not prone to water damage but you should avoid submerging them in water for longer durations. One of the common reasons behind it is that resin is not waterproof, only water-resistant. So, do not forget to remove them before taking showers, swimming, or washing up dishes!
Avoid direct contact with sunlight with the resin jewelry for a longer time period. The sunlight heat will soften the resin material and it might also affect the color of ornaments. Instead, store the jewelry at room temperature. Too much heat from any source will affect the texture and color of resin jewelry.
Apart from the heat, smoke is also a factor in damaging them. If your place has an abundance of smoke, it might discolor the jewelry. Thus, wrap them carefully in plastic bags and clean them in short intervals.
For cleaning purposes, do not use harsh chemicals or cleaning products. They will react with the jewelry and damage it permanently. Some of the solvents you should avoid using are perfume, hair spray, cleaning solutions, nail polish remover, and antibacterial hand sanitizer. They will discolor or damage the outer layers. Always use the recommended cleaning products specially made for cleaning resin jewelry. Home-made hacks might damage them.