Monday, April 4, 2011

Resin Casting: A Primer and a Giveaway!

The fine art of resin casting.  I wish I could say that’s what I do.  But, alas, I’m just a humble crafter with a fearless (or senseless) attitude towards using dangerous chemicals in my work. 
"CANDY" Pendant with real cake sprinkles.
I have to say that I love, love, love resin and there is so much you can do with it.  Somehow, everything is cuter when it’s encased in resin.  Colors are brighter. And there is something satisfying about the glassy smooth surface.

I will say this, resin can be expensive when you are just starting and have to buy supplies.  The resin itself costs a minimum of $15, however, for that amount of money, you can make a lot of stuff.  Then, there’s all the stuff you don’t have to buy, but want to buy (molds, colorants, books, etc.).  It’s sooooo worth the money because resin is awesome! 
Hairpins embellished with resin cabochons.
Sara vs. Sarah and the great folks at ETI are giving you three chances to win some resin AND two different types of mold making materials.  This is an AWESOME prize.  At retail, this would cost at least $75.  We’ll be giving away one prize pack per week for the next three weeks starting today!  More on that at the end of the post.


We'll start the first project tomorrow.  Today, we're just going to go over some preliminary instructions.  This stuff isn't exciting, but I urge you to read it as it is important to successful casting!
One of my earliest resin pieces, a trivet made from a candle plate, an image from an old cookbook, some Christmas trim, sequins, glitter, and real Christmas lights.

Supplies

You need two basic things to start resin casting:  1) some resin, and 2) a mold.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Well.... 

Resin.  There are several different brands of casting resin available and several different types (epoxy, polyester, polyurethane, etc.).  So many choices.  Resin Obsession is both a blog and an online store.  This site is a great source of information on different sorts of casting resin.  I recommend you check it out if you want to start experimenting. 

I am going to use Castin’ Craft Easy Cast by ETI because I like this product. Like all resin, Easy Cast comes in two parts:  the resin and the hardener.  Whatever resin you use, it will need to be mixed accurately. Easy Cast is, indeed, easy as it is mixed at a 1:1 ratio.  Do pay attention to the mixing instructions or you may end up with a rubbery mess, or a casting that won’t come out of its mold.  With Easy Cast, you can do a fairly large pour, which is another reason I like using it.  With other resins, you may have to pour in increments.  But the real reason I like using Easy Cast is that it degases well and dries crystal clear.   
Resin comes in two parts, the resin and the hardener.
Molds.  Commercially made molds are available.  You can get them at some craft stores or online.  Castin’ Craft (made by ETI, the same people who make Easy Cast) makes many different molds.  You can also use silicone baking pans or silicone ice cube trays (I find them all the time at thrift stores for cheap).  Most plastics will not work as a mold (for example, plastic candy molds will not work). Generally, the softer the plastic, the better it works as a mold.  Experiment and see what works.  In general, if you can easily bend the plastic mold without it cracking or breaking, it may work as a mold if you use a mold release spray (Castin’ Craft does make one).
Faux enameling done on a copper pressing with resin colored with dry pastels.
Pay attention to the interior surface of your mold.  If the surface is rough, your casting will be rough.  If it has raised writing, then your casting will have raised writing.

Of course, you do not necessarily have to unmold your casting.  You could, for example, use a flat shallow plate like I did with my friend Joe’s Liberace Trivets.  Or do a casting in the bottom of a wooden box or tray.  Jewelry bezels are fantastic for making resin cast charms.  Fishbowls, glasses, a table with a lip on it. . .  If it can hold water, it can hold resin.

With molds you can really use your imagination and experiment.  Just keep in mind that once you use an item for casting, it’s not a great idea to use again for it’s original purpose, especially if it was meant for food.  Dangerous chemicals.  Remember that.
Some of the other things that make resin molding fun.
Other Supplies.  A few other things you will need are: disposable gloves, small plastic cups (I use the kind you get take out salad dressing in), and popsicle sticks for stirring.   Optional supplies are:  mold release spray (I’ve heard that cooking spray will work, but I’ve never tried it and can’t recommend it), a resin colorant (e.g., purchased dye, chalk, food coloring), decoupage medium, a craft brush, super fine sandpaper, car polish, a Dremel drill, and a heat gun for degassing.

Objects to Embed 

You can embed anything in resin:  photos, charms, beads, buttons, bugs, fabric, rocks, toys, decorative papers, glitter, candy, etc.  One of the great things about resin is that you can work with dimension instead of everything being flat.  Take advantage of this!
Candy is fun to embed.
There are a couple of things to consider.  If you use beads, charms, shells or other things with holes in them, you will get bubbles.  I guarantee you will get bubbles.  You can avoid this by filling the holes with clear drying white glue and letting it dry before casting.  With charms, I usually grab my tin snips (or an old pair of scissors) to remove the ring to ward off bubbles. 

The other thing to consider is that when you embed paper or fabric, you need to seal it first.  If you don’t, the resin will soak into the paper/fabric.  To seal it, cover both sides with white glue or decoupage medium and let it dry before embedding it.  Trust me on this one.  You will NOT be happy if you don’t take this step.

Finally, I would think twice about embedding any precious object.  Once that resin hardens, you are never getting it back out. It wouldn’t be a great place for great-grandma Mabel’s engagement ring, for example.

Safety

Resin is made of toxic substances.  Fumes from some resin products are very strong, the liquid is toxic, and it can cause irritation to skin.  Don’t be scared off.  The same would be true of your average permanent marker!  You need to take a few safety precautions and all will be fine.
  • Work in a well-ventilated area
  • To avoid harsh fumes, do not put your head near the mixed resin
  • Wear gloves when mixing or pouring resin
  • Safety glasses are a good idea, especially when mixing
  • Keep pets and children away from resin until it is fully cured
One last word of advice, consider wearing an old apron or clothes that you don’t care about ruining.  I’ve done resin casting for years and have only spilled on myself once.  If you do spill, however, it’s not going to come out.

That’s it for the primer.  Tomorrow, we’ll start casting!
A marbleized flat disc technique I came up with.  I'll show you how to do this in the coming weeks.

Now about that giveaway....

To enter, you must be a follower of Sara vs. Sarah.  Leave a comment on on this blog post letting us know what you would try to cast if you won the Castin’ Craft prize pack. Be sure to include your email address or other way to contact you when you comment.

Entries will be accepted until Sunday, April 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm MST. Any entries received after this time will not be considered. We’ll post the winners the morning of Monday, April 11, 2011.  On Monday, we will also open another giveaway of a Castin’ Craft prize pack to be sure to enter that (and there will be yet another one after that—3 chances to win).

Open to US residents only.  Only one Castin’ Craft prize package per person. Winners will be chosen using random.org.

Thank you once again to the good people at ETI (EnviroTech, Inc.) who make the fabulous line of Castin’ Craft products who made this giveaway possible!

Good Luck!!! Pin It

30 comments:

mine said...

I love this. I did some resin casting (hate to say it, over 40+ years ago) with my dad. Haven't done it since. I would love to win this great prize and I would use the opportunity to experiment and play. Also, encase the little flowers that only come up once a year so I could enjoy them all year long and share with friends and family. Thank you!

emarci said...

I would love to do some resin casting! I like to make jewelry and would love to cast some charms in resin and make some charms to put on bracelets. Thanks for the series and the chance to win! You can contact me at emarci at hot mail dot com
Thanks again!

Leah said...

I have done some resin casting in art school but haven't done it since. It can create some really cool stuff. I love the candy pendant... so cute!

Marfa said...

I've been saving metal bottle caps just for this sort of thing...I am anxious to try resin and LOVE the look.

LrSchwtz said...

This is the first time I've visited your site, I found it through a link party. I love it! You both are great. I'd love for you to share some of your ideas on my Share the Wealth Wednesday Link Party! www.laughloveandcraft.com

SuzyQSparkles said...

I'd cast what I wanted to show you... a super cool charm bracelet my Grandmother was given by Motorola. She helped develop the microchips that went on the first trip to the moon. The charm bracelet has six different NASA/moon related charms... ;)

esbeads said...

I have been toying with this for a while, but haven't jumped in yet, so this kit would be great to get me going! I have a variety of items that I've collected, but I love your fabric idea!
elena.tucker@sbcglobal.net

Terry said...

I love the samples you've done. Loved it when you showed me how! have fun!

E.B. said...

I love the idea of resin! I have not tried it out yet, so if I won I would first make some necklaces and bracelets. I especially like your fabric necklace idea. Then I would expand and decorate picture frames!

reamer.elizabeth@gmail.com

Carol said...

I LOVE your resin samples! If I won I would definitely try it out! VERY cool ideas and it looks fun!
carolmbungert@gmail.com

Terri said...

I've been making bracelets for my granddaughters. I've wanted to try casting, but it is the price that keeps me away. Hope I win. Thanks for the chance!

Lee said...

What a great giveaway! I would love to make some pendants for my sisters and nieces! thanks!
butler83ataoldotcom

Faiths dream said...

I would love to make the bottle cap charms with resin. I have been looking at them thinking I would like to try themm

Anne said...

I've tried a few things embedded in bottlecaps and I'm ready to move on to more challenging materials. I've been collecting old jewelry pieces to
disassemble and rework into new jewelry pieces. This is an awesome give-away! Thanks for a chance to win. Anne, yourmainestamper

Chris Fairfax said...

I have always wanted to dismantle and desolder electronics, such as a broken iPods or small items, and seal the parts in resin like a real-life exploded diagram. Imagine seeing this, sealed in 3 dimensions floating in resin! http://digitaldaily.allthingsd.com/files/2010/06/Apple-iPhone-4-Exploded-View.jpg

I also have always wanted to make small items, such as keychains, notebook covers, wallets, or even something large like a tabletop covering, using circuit boards or processors sealed in resin. So cool! If I could figure out a way to add batteries with real working LED's inside the resin, it'd make the projects complete!

my email is chris.wifi@gmail.com

The Woman Undone said...

Hey I followed you awesome chicks!!! I would love to try my hand with some handmade flowers and glitter!!!

Faires Bears and Toads said...

HOLY COW! I totally want to do this! This is exactly what I have been looking for. I want so badly to embed dried flowers and make them into a charm bracelet for my 8 year old daughter who swears that she is turning into a fairy! HOW FUN!

darcifranco@gmail.com

Laurie said...

I have lots of miniature vintage Christmas items like reindeer and santas. I would love to make something with them like coasters.

StepThruCrazy said...

Resin is one of my all-time favorite mediums. I'd be making some earrings!

jo said...

You've inspired me! Win or not, I'm tryng this medium for something different to do. The first thing I'll attempt is a charm for an ongoing bracelet. I'll make charms for my 2 daughters and me that have a different theme each year, and we can all wear them to think of each other. If we go on a trip, maybe it'll be a flower from where we visit, if we go to lunch maybe a piece of the logo of where we went, etc... that way we can wear our memories. I love this!!! I want to link to your site if possible for our readers!:0 thanks!
jo from www.OttLite.com

Sew Now! said...

I too have dreamed of resin projects. The one that sticks out in my mind most is making resin coasters with beads and coins inside them. Hope I win so I can get started!!!

* Taci * said...

I'd love to win and try this out as well. Thanks for the opportunity :)
tacizahl@gmail.com

Wrongtree09 said...

I've never used resin before, and I'm intrigued. I'd try encasing small leaves, I think. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

Janice said...

I would love to try my had at casting to make jewelry. I tried once but the resin was bad & was a gelatinous mass, before I even added the hardener! Jan Myfreebiemailbox@yahoo.com

Carleen said...

I would love to try. I would make some candy pendants for easter.
carleen1978@gmail.com

Hushgirl said...

Ooooh I have always wanted to try resin! I would make jewelry, maybe cast with glitter...I love the sparkle but hate that it gets everywhere...encase it in resin, no more mess!
Hushgirl@juno.com

Shannon said...

This is such an awesome giveaway! If I won, I would share it with my son to make a super special charm bracelet for his teacher for the end of the year and a mothers day gift for his grandmas. He is 10 years old and he loves to make his own gifts... With lots of girls in our family, he would be set and be able to do something a little different for the different holidays and birthdays this year!!!

Jae said...

I would cast my child's baby tooth!

Mizufusion said...

Oh man, I've been wanting to try resin casting for so long.. thanks for the tips!

goldberie said...

I would never have thought of using fabric with resin. I guess I'm just not up on resin. This looks so awesome. I have a fabric that I would marry if I weren't already happily married. This would be a great way to wear it whenever I want. Thanks for sharing this project.

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