5 Basic Resin Steps for Mixed-Media Jewelry

You know I have this thing (and I know many of you do, too), where I have to try every technique and product that comes down the pike. Encaustic, water-soluble pencils, batik, and more–I've got the supplies for all of it.

mixed media jewelry with resin by jennifer priest
Mixed-media bracelet with a resin- and collage-filled bezel
by Jennifer Priest. Get the how-to in #HandmadeBracelets.

Well, one product and technique I have somehow resisted is making mixed-media jewelry with resin. I'm not sure what my resistance has been–goodness knows I have a ton of jewelry findings and fabrics to work with. And I adore those bezels filled with tiny paper collages and found objects.

I think I just have a fear of processing the resin. But my colleague, Jewelry Making Daily Online Editor Tammy Jones says not to worry. Anyone can whip up a mixed-media necklace or bracelet with resin and collage if they just follow the manufacturer's instructions and these five basic steps:

Resin Jewelry 101

1. Seal: Before embedding paper, fabric, flower petals, leaves, or other porous ephemera in resin, you must seal it with a sealant (such as Mod Podge®). Paint the top, bottom, and sides with a few thin coats, allowing it to dry between coats. Printed pieces that aren't sealed properly can blur or darken strangely when the resin permeates them, and all unsealed pieces can cause dreaded bubbles.

2. Layer: Build your tiny collages in layers to create interesting dimension. Create even more dimension by building multiple resin layers, because embedded objects will likely sink to the bottom of the bezel otherwise. Add a layer of resin over your first ephemera layer and repeat, putting items in place one layer at a time and allowing layers to set almost completely in between.

3. Pour: Add resin into bezels slowly to avoid spillover (it's usually self-leveling) and, more importantly, to prevent trapping air inside, which causes bubbles.

mixed media jewelry with resin by carol la valley
"Writing Long Past Midnight" by Carol La Valley.
How-to featured in #HandmadeBracelets.

4. Pop: Use a pin or sharp toothpick to pierce bubbles as quickly as possible, before the resin begins to set. You can also very quickly pass a torch flame near the surface of the resin (don't use a heat gun or hair dryer, which can blow dust etc. into the resin). The heat causes the bubbles rise to the surface and pop.

5. Cure: All resins need to cure (dry and harden). Many resins cure in about 24 hours in normal settings, but some resins can cure faster. UV resin cures in minutes when placed under a UV light (or a little slower when placed in direct sunlight). Even hardware-store resins come in quick-dry options (used more for securing pieces that need to hold together quickly, almost like glue) or slower-curing options that allow you to have more time to work on your resin jewelry projects, remove bubbles, etc.

For inspiration, I've got #HandmadeBracelets, a downloadable eBook filled with designs made by members of the ICE Resin® Creative Team 2013 for the stars of Hollywood. The ebook offers inspiration from photos of the jewelry, the artists' statements on their creative process, and inspired several step-by-step mixed-media jewelry projects.

With these basics and #HandmadeBracelets in hand, there's no reason to wait to combine mixed-media jewelry techniques with resin for wearable art.

P.S. Have you used resin? What tips can you offer? Leave them below.


Art to Wear, Blog, Mixed-Media Jewelry


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.