Resin is an amazing crafting material that can be used for a lot of different effects and for making a lot of different things including jewelry. Making resin jewelry is easy and can yield amazing results. Not to mention that it is a lot of fun.
Here are the basic steps of making resin jewelry:
- Make or buy a silicone mold
- Mix the two parts of the resin in the correct ratio
- Color the resin using alcohol inks or resin dye
- Pour the resin into the silicone mold
- Add flowers, paint, glitter, or similar to the resin
- Suspend a jewelry fixture in the resin if needed
- Remove the cured resin from the silicone mold
- Sand and polish the resin jewelry if necessary
These are only the basic steps of making resin jewelry. There are a lot of things to consider from choosing the right resin to making or buying a silicone mold that is right for making jewelry.
In this article, you will learn how to make your own mold or what kind of molds to buy for resin jewelry making as well as how to work with resin and how to choose the right kind of resin for your project.
Materials You Need for Making Resin Jewelry
You don´t need much for making resin jewelry but there are a few things that you have to watch out for when buying your supplies.
These are all of the supplies you will need:
- Resin with high UV-resistance
- Silicone mold
- Disposable cups and mixing sticks
- Latex gloves and an FFP2 mask
- A digital scale for mixing the resin
- Decorations like glitter or flowers.
- Alcohol inks or resin dyes for coloring the resin
- Jewelry fixtures
I have a very detailed article explaining in great detail what materials you will need for making resin jewelry and why. It also lists some materials that are nice to have or can be used to experiment with.
You can get disposable cups, string sticks for mixing, latex gloves, FFP2 masks, and the digital scale at your local supermarket.
Just make sure to get a digital scale that is meant to be used for cooking and not for weighing people.
I will talk more about the best types of resins for jewelry making in the next section but you basically want a type of resin that is very UV-resistant.
Silicone molds are pretty easy to get and you can decide if you want to make your own mold or simply buy one from Amazon or at your local crafts store.
I highly recommend getting a silicone mold with a basic shape with very little detail in the beginning but any silicone mold will be fine. You can also find good silicone molds in the baking section of your local supermarket.
For coloring resin, I usually use alcohol inks. But you can also use pigment powder or acrylic paint. But pigment powder will make the resin lose its transparency and acrylic paint can leave paint specks inside the resin that can make the resin look dirty.
Finally, you need some jewelry fixtures for your jewelry. They are pretty cheap and you can get enough fixtures for hundreds of jewelry pieces on Amazon for just a few bucks.
The Best Type of Resin for Making Jewelry
There are a lot of different types of resins on the market, from deep pour resins to UV resins and more. So which type of resin is best for making jewelry?
As a whole, the best type of resin for making jewelry is two-part liquid resin with high resistance to UV. The resin will yellow when it is exposed to the sun for longer periods of time so a high resistance to UV is a must when making resin jewelry.
I also recommend using a resin that has a thin consistency. This will make it easier to work with as you don´t have to worry that the resin won´t flow into every part of your silicone mold.
I personally recommend using the Crystal Clear Resin from Let´s Resin as it has a very high UV resistance as well as being very transparent and degassing.
How to Make Resin Jewelry
Now that we have all of our materials we are finally ready to make some resin jewelry.
1. Make or Buy a Silicone Mold
We will need some sort of mold to make our first piece of jewelry. I personally recommend buying a simple silicone mold from your local supermarket before exploring other possibilities.
For this guide, I am using a silicone mold that I bought in my local crafts store.
You can, however, also make your own silicone mold if you want to. I have a separate guide where I explain in great detail how to make a silicone mold. You can read the article by following this link.
2. Mix the Two Parts of the Resin in the Correct Ratio
This is one of the most important steps in this entire guide. If you mix the two parts of the resin incorrectly then the resin might not cure.
Here is an example where I failed to measure the two components correctly and the resin wouldn´t cure properly.
So make sure that you mix the two resin parts in the correct ratio.
The ratio varies depending on the brand and type of resin, so make sure to read the instructions on the packaging.
I always use a digital scale to accurately measure the two parts of the epoxy.
Before you handle the epoxy it is highly recommended to wear gloves and an FFP2 mask. You should also let the epoxy only dry in a well-ventilated area as toxic fumes will be created by the resin during the curing process.
To measure the correct ratio place an empty cup on the digital scale and press tara to null the scale.
Then pour some of part A of the resin into the cup. Hit tara again and then pour the correct amount of part B into the cup.
And it’s as easy as that. You should end up with the correct ratio each time if you didn´t miscalculate.
Don´t mix the resin yet if you want to color it!
3. Color the Resin Using Alcohol Inks or Resin Dye
There are a lot of different methods and materials that you can color resin with but I personally recommend using either alcohol inks or resin dyes if you are new to working with resin.
Mix one drop of the ink or the dye with the resin. Mix the resin thoroughly and add some more ink if the coloring isn´t strong enough yet.
You can also mix different dye or ink colors to create new colors or to add some color accents.
4. Pour the Resin Into the Silicone Mold
Most of you will probably use a one-part mold when making your first few resin casts so this step is pretty straightforward.
Just place the mold on a flat surface and carefully pour the resin into the mold.
I usually pinch the top part of the cup to force the resin to pour out in a very thin stream.
This will help eliminate some of the bigger bubbles present inside the resin.
You can also use a lighter to remove some more of the trapped air inside the resin. Simply light the lighter and move it carefully over the poured resin inside the mold. You should see some bubbles pop on the surface.
5. Add Flowers, Paint, Glitter, or Similar to the Resin
Before the resin is cured you cal also add some decorative elements to the mold to make your jewelry more interesting looking.
You can use flowers, glitter, paper, photos, figures, and so on to pimp your jewelry.
But you can also add some effects to the resin by adding some glitter or acrylic paint.
My favorite effect is adding some drops of acrylic paint or alcohol ink to the resin and then carefully swirling it around in the mold. This will result in a colorful swirl effect inside the finished piece.
6. Suspend a Jewelry Fixture in the Resin if Needed
In some cases, depending on the mold, you will be able to suspend a jewelry fixture in the uncured resin.
This is advantageous because you don´t have to drill any holes later on and once the resin is dry the jewel fixture will stick permanently to the resin.
So if your mold allows it, then submerge the bottom part of the jewelry fixture in the resin and fix the top part with a toothpick so that it will stay in place.
If your mold does not allow it, such as in my case, then don´t worry, you can just drill a small hole in the finished piece once it has cured and thread in the jewelry fixture that way.
7. Remove the Cured Resin From the Silicone Mold
Leave the resin to cure for at least 24 hours. Some resins are slow curing and will need even more time to fully cure so make sure to check the instructions on the packaging.
Once the resin is fully cured simply remove it from the silicone mold by gently pulling the sides of the silicone mold away from the resin and then gently push the cured resin out of the mold.
This may require some moving of the silicone mold before it separates from the resin cast. So be patient and just keep on pushing and pulling until the cured resin releases from the mold.
8. Sand and Polish the Resin Jewelry if Necessary
All that is left to do is to finish and polish the resin jewelry if needed.
I usually use a small box knife or a hobby knife to remove any excess resin.
Be careful not to cut yourself or the resin cast.
Then I use very fine-grit sandpaper ( the finest grit I can find) and some water to wet sand the edges where I separated the excess resin and to remove any other uneven parts on the surface.
If I wasn´t able to add a jewel fixture to the resin cast before I will now use a very small drill to drill a hole in the resin cast to add the jewel fixture to the finished resin jewelry.
And with that, we are done. You have successfully made your very first resin jewelry!
How to Make Wooden Resin Jewelry
Making wooden resin jewelry is slightly different and a bit harder to do than regular resin jewelry because you will need some woodworking tools and lots of patience.
Having some power tools will make your life so much easier but I will make the example piece without using any power tools in this guide so that you can follow along either way.
1. Cut the Wood to Size
The first thing to do is cut the wood to its rough size.
I will be making a rectangular necklace as it is the simplest shape to make.
For that, I am cutting the wood piece in a rectangular form. Then I will roughly sand the wood to make it smooth.
Finally, I am using some pliers to break pieces off of the bottom part of the wood where the resin will be.
Darker wood will usually yield the best results but I wanted to try this with some cheaper white wood to see how it will turn out.
2. Create the Mold
Next, we will need to make a small mold for the resin part of the necklace. I am usually using acrylic sheets for this because resin doesn´t stick well to acrylic sheets and they are easy to cut to size with a box cutting knife.
Glue the acrylic sheets with hot glue in a rectangular shape and make sure that you seal the bottom and the sides with hot glue to keep any resin from spilling out.
3. Pour the Resin
Next up is pretty much the same as before. Mix the resin as described before and color it if you want to.
You can also add some glitter, or paint to it if you want to.
4. Remove the Jewelry From its Mold
After the resin has cured remove it carefully from the mold by breaking the acrylic sheets apart.
Be careful not to cut yourself during this!
5. Cut and Sand the Jewelry to its Final Form
This step is the most work-intensive one.
You have to cut and sand the jewelry into its final form. You can use the hobby knife for cleaning the cast and cutting the rough shape.
Then use some rough grit sandpaper to sand the necklace into a more refined shape.
Finally use some very fine grit sandpaper and sand the resin until it is smooth. I usually add some water to the final sanding pass to get the resin to a very smooth and transparent finish.
6. Polish the Resin Wood Jewelry and Add the Jewel Fixture
The last thing that is left to do is polish the whole necklace.
You can use some wood oil to polish the wooden part of the necklace and some very fine grit sandpaper together with water to polish up the resin part of the necklace.
If everything went well then you will end up with wood-resin jewelry that will wow your friends!
Putting Fresh Flowers in Resin
I mentioned before that there are a lot of things that you can put into the resin to make your jewelry stand out. Among those things, I listed flowers but can you simply put fresh flowers in resin?
As a whole, fresh flowers should not be put in resin. FLowers are organic and if they haven´t been properly dried before they will turn brown and eventually rot even if they are inside the resin. Only dried flowers can be put in resin.
There are several ways to dry flowers but the easiest one is to press the flower in between some parchment paper and then put the parchment paper together with the flower in the middle of a thick book.
Leave it there for one or two weeks and the flower will be fully dried and ready to be used in resin castings.
Will Leaves Stay Green in Resin?
I often get asked if leaves will stay green in resin and the sad answer to this is no.
As a whole, leaves will turn brown after a while even if they are in resin. The leaves have to be dried first before putting them in resin.
Putting Photos in Resin
Another popular thing to do is encasing photos in resin but this isn´t always as easy as it seems. So can you simply put photos in resin?
As a whole, photos that don´t fade when exposed or the sun can be put in resin. Resin gets hot during the curing process so photos that fade when they are exposed to heat can´t be put in resin. Photos printed on glossy photo paper usually work, though.
When I put photos in resin I normally print them out of high gloss photo paper.
In my experience, this high gloss paper is best because it can take the heat that resin develops during the curing process without fading or blurring the picture itself.
And gloss paper usually has a protective coating on it that protects the photo from the sun making it pretty UV resistant.