Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Workshop Wednesday - Resin

In my Etsy shop you can find a wide variety of hand-painted resin pendant necklaces. Once I began creating and selling these unique pieces of wearable art, people began asking me about the process and how to work with resin. Resin is actually quite simple to work with, but it can be troublesome and messy if you don't know what you are doing. I'm sure that different people have different methods of working with resin, but here's my process.

All of my pendant necklaces start out with a wooden tile. After I create the miniature painting on the tile and seal it, I then mix up the resin and add the resin finish to the surface of the tile.

Here are the materials that you will want to have on hand to create the resin finish:
  • two-part resin mix
  • 3 oz. plastic bathroom drinking cups
  • 1 oz. measuring cup/spoon
  • tongue depressors
  • toothpicks
  • paper towels
  • a timer or clock that counts seconds
  • a flat surface to work on that you don't mind getting messy
  • lots of light
To begin with, make sure that you are working in a well-ventilated area. Set up your workspace on a flat surface that you don't mind getting messy. Feel free to lay down any paper or board to catch any drips or mess that you make. Lay out your tiles face up. Check to make sure that they are dust and lint-free. To the left is an image of some of my tiles that have been painted and sealed, and are ready for the resin finish.

Next you will want to mix the resin. Using the 1 0z. measuring device, measure out 1 oz. of water and pour it into a 3 oz. plastic cup. Mark on the side of the cup where the top of the water is. Add another 1 oz. of water and make a second mark. Pour out the water and dry the cup. Pour 1 oz. of the resin into the cup up to the first mark you made. Add 1 oz. of the hardener up to the second mark you made.

Make a note of the time. Using a tongue depressor mix the two parts. After two minutes the resin should be mixed. There will be bubbles in the resin. This means that you have mixed the resin properly. In the image to the left you can see the bubbles that remain in the resin after mixing. Click on the image to make it larger.

Next, use the tongue depressor to drip resin onto the surface of the tile. Some people pour the resin on, but I find that using the tongue depressor gives me more control. I suggest putting less resin on the tile than you think you need. If after a minute or two the resin hasn't reached the edges of the tile(like in the image to the left), add a little more. Resin is self-leveling, which means it will spread until it reaches an edge to "cling" to.

You will notice that there may be bubbles in the resin on the pendant. You can see this in the image below.

After a few minutes, you should be able to use a toothpick to pop and or pull out the bubbles. Some people use a small blow torch to get rid of the bubbles, but I do not have one and have found that a simple toothpick works just fine.
After you have removed any bubbles, closely examine the resin for any lint or dust that may have fallen into it. Make sure you have several different light sources at different angles so that you can see reflections on the surface of the resin. Once you are finished, cover it with one of the 3 oz. plastic cups.
This will keep the tile and resin protected and keep dust from falling into the resin while it dries. Follow the timetable for drying time in the instructions included with the resin. For my tiles I allow three days total drying time before I turn them into pendant necklaces.

Good luck and happy resin-ing! :)


TheClayMuse said...

Lovely little spot on working with resin!
I just started to use resin in a few projects (coasters mostly!) and it's been a fun learning process! I use a straw and exhale gently(not blowing) on my bubbles, the CO2 in your breath makes them just *poof* dissapear!

Becky @ Farmgirl Paints said...

Very cool instructional! I'm so excited. I'm an artist too and I'm always looking for new ways to display my gift whether it be canvas, fabric, glass or wood. The little resin project is something I will definitely try. Thanks so much!!