Supplies needed to complete this project:
• Popsicle sticks-small and jumbo
• Timer (cheap digital one from Walmart)
• latex gloves (from Walmart in paint section)
• small paint brush
• measuring cups-(from Rio Grande)
• Colores epoxy resin (from Rio Grande)- here's the link, kit includes measuring cups, sticks, and resin
• waxed paper or freezer paper to protect table
• artwork printed on high quality matte paper (I use Epson Premium Presentation Paper found at Staples)
• bezel cups (those metal holders your artwork gets glued into-I get mine at paperstudio.com)
• Mod Podge-matte- ( Michaels and Walmart)
• Bone folder to burnish image to bezel cup (Michaels)
• Toaster oven (Walmart)
• a mind ready to learn!
Okey-dokey, I've learned almost every way you can mess up doing this little project so you get to benefit from my many mistakes. J First of all when working with resin, make sure you wear gloves, a mask, and work in a well-ventilated room. Also wear an old apron to protect your clothes. Create and print out images on high quality matte paper. Make sure you check your image for any “sparkles” for lack of a better word. My images sometimes have these tiny little specks that look like glitter( it may be coming from my ink), and I simply swish them off with a coarse brush. If you don’t, the resin will magnify them on your finished piece.
Punch out or cut out your images. I use circle bezels, and used Photoshop to layer a circle on the image I cut out. Or you can draw a template of your own for whatever size or shape bezel you are using. Cut it out of sturdy paper, and place it over your image, then trace lightly with a pencil. I also use a 1" circle punch I got at Michaels for the 1 inch bezels, that way I don't need to cut with scissors, I just punch them out.
Here is the cut out image before being glued inside the bezel.
Cover your work surface with freezer paper or waxed paper, take a paint brush and start coating each cut out image with a 1 thin layer of matte Mod Podge; coat front, back and the edges. Let dry and do 2 more coats of matte Mod Podge to make sure it’s sealed. If not properly sealed, the resin will soak into the paper. With a paint brush, put a layer of Matte Mod Podge directly into the bezel cup, then place your image inside. Burnish down with a bone folder, paying careful attention to the corners, then coat the top with more Mod Podge. You want the image to fit tightly, so no air pockets trap resin and cause bubbles. Let dry overnight.
After everything’s good and dry, I put my bezels on jumbo popsicle sticks. Try to work in an area that is free of dust, and don’t use a light that attracts dust. Also pretend you’re a sloth and move slowly when working with resin. That keeps the dust to a minimum too. J
Now it’s time to mix the resin. It comes in 2 bottles, with a hardener and a resin. The hardener is kind of yellow, but shouldn’t be too yellow. I learned the hard way that it has a shelf life, and will go bad after about 6 months.
Make sure you have on your gloves and mask, and take your little measuring cup and pour a 1 to 1 ratio of resin and hardener.
Here I am pouring the resin.
Now for the hardener. You pour one on top of the other in the same cup. Try really hard to get these ratios as exact as possible.
Set your timer, and mix the 2 together slowly for 5 minutes with a popsicle stick.
Set your timer and let the mixture sit for 20 minutes. You'll notice the bubbles start to go away too as you wait. The “pot life” or time you have to work with the resin is about 1 hour. Less if it’s hot where you’re working.
So now you get to pour your mixture into the bezels. The best part about Colores epoxy resin is you can bake it! This makes the process so much faster. Here's how I have it set up in my kitchen, with the bezels ready to go, and the toaster oven on at 150 degrees F. Oven temps vary so you'll have to experiment with yours. Just don't go over 150. The manufacturer states the cure time when baking are: 6 hours at 95 degrees F, 3 hours at 120 degrees F, or 1 hour at 150 degrees F.
Here are the bezels lined up on a jumbo popscicle stick ready to go.
I kind of squeeze the measuring cup to form a little spout, and slowly pour it into each bezel cup. Some people pour the mixture into a squeeze bottle for more control. I add a few more drops if needed by dipping a popsicle stick into the resin and drip the resin into the bezel. You get the hang of how much to pour though practice. Don’t pour too much or the resin will spill out, and have a paper towel ready if you do spill. Also, check to make sure no bubbles have formed. If you see any, use a straw to lightly blow them out; don’t inhale the fumes.
Carefully place your bezels inside. Another option is to allow them to air dry, which will take 1-3 days.
Now pat yourself on the back, you did it!
~ Don’t use gloss Mod Podge use matte. I used the gloss, and it created this weird glittery mess after I poured on the resin.
~ Make sure you don’t bake your charms anymore than 150 degrees or they burn…trust me on this one, I know.
~Don’t try to hurry the sealing part, and not let them dry. The resin will soak into your image and ruin it. I messed up a bunch this way.
~Check often on your charms as the resin is drying to inspect for bubbles. Those little buggers can appear out of thin air it seems! You may want to place the charms in the toaster oven and don't turn it on for an hour. Then check for bubbles every 15 minutes. Oh and don’t use a dryer to try and get them out, it can blow more dust on your piece or burn it. I even heard of using a lit match to get bubbles out but don’t. Too scary.
~ Do use the Colores Epoxy Resin I recommended. I spent a lot of money on others and could never get them to cure properly.
~Mix the resin and hardener well, or it won’t cure correctly, and may come out cloudy or tacky.
~When resin dries, it is hard as glass. Anything you don’t want it on needs to be protected.
~Weather changes the way resin cures. When it was foggy out, I saw many more bubbles form in my charms. Warm temperatures helped with the best results, with little or no bubbles.
~Videos on you tube that may help you out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Krb1a3OhsS0
~Follow all of the manufacturers directions and warnings.