Tutorial! How to Seal Images for Resin

From time to time, I’ll be offering fun tutorials on my blog to inspire your own craftiness. Of course, if you’re not of a crafty bent, I am always available for custom work, and to put your beautiful images in a keepsake piece just for you.

Aisha Necklace

 

First up: how to seal images for use in resin pendants. One of the many ways you can use resin is to create a custom piece of jewelry using an interesting picture or a photo of a loved one. But watch out! It’s not quite as simple as just cutting out your picture and coating it with resin.

Before you begin, you want to make sure your photo will fit in the bezel. Many commercially-produced bezels come in standard sizes that correspond to common craft paper punches. For this tutorial, I am using a Nunn Design Grande bezel, which corresponds to a 1 1/2″ oval punch. If you are planning on creating several round or oval pendants, you may want to acquire a few, as they make matching your photo to the bezel super easy.

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If you don’t have a paper punch, that’s okay. Place your bezel to your image and use a pencil to lightly mark the shape you want to cut out. The tricky part is that you’ll have to cut slightly inside your markings, and you will likely have to trim several times to get a perfect match. Take your time with this step so you have a good fit.

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Once you have your image ready to go, there are two main ways to seal your image so that it won’t get ruined when you pour your resin over it.

The first way is the quickie way: you can sandwich the image between two pieces of clear packing tape. Once the image is secure between the tape pieces, trim around the edges, and then seal the edges with a white glue so that resin doesn’t seep in. Place a dot of glue at the bottom of your bezel, apply your image, and then pour the resin once it’s ready. I tend not to do this, as you can often see the shininess of the tape beneath the cured resin, and it’s not an effect I particularly care for.

The second way I’ve found looks a bit better once your resin has cured, but it takes a bit longer to complete.

First, place your image against a piece of wax paper or aluminum foil. Coat it with a thin layer of sealant. My favorite sealant is good old fashioned Mod Podge. I’ve tried lots of different sealants and nothing beats it. Don’t be worried if your sealant goes on white or opaque. It will dry clear.

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Wait ten minutes, and then coat the back of the image. It’s important to note that resin will seep in and discolor any part of the image that is not sealed completely watertight, so be careful to get a nice coating over everything.

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Wait another ten minutes, and coat the inside of your bezel. Place your image in, and then go over it with a final coat to make sure the edges of your image are completely sealed in.

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Wait a half-hour to make sure everything is completely dry. If your sealant isn’t dry, then the seal won’t hold, and your image will be discolored.

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Mix your resin per the package’s instructions, and then fill the bezel. While your resin is still fresh and pliable, you can add any inclusions you’d like. For this pendant, I’ve added three tiny Swarovski Crystal rhinestones.

A note about resin: my absolute favorite resin is Susan Lenart Kazmer’s Ice Resin– it’s the only resin I currently use. I tend to mix up an ounce at a time and do several pendants in a batch to minimize waste.

If you’d like a domed finish, pour a second thin layer of resin one day later, unless you are skilled at judging how to create the dome in one pour. It takes practice!

If you notice any bubbles, you can gently pop them with a toothpick or a pin. Another trick is to gently pass a flame a half-inch over the surface of your pendant. The heat will draw the bubbles closer to the surface, and they will either pop on their own or be much easier to pop with a pin. Be sure to work quickly here—you only have about 45 minutes before your resin becomes too goopy to work with.

After 24 hours, your piece will be at the “soft cure” stage, which means you can gently handle it and clean up any over-spill. Be careful not to press too hard on it, or you could dent your resin. After three days, it will be at the “full cure” stage, and should be rock-solid if you correctly mixed your resin.

 

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Enjoy your new pendant!

Warmly,

Chris

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Weekend Sale!

It’s a rainy day. Not even a good thunderstorm– just a rainy day that’s way more humid than it ought to be. My water is shut off ’til noon for “routine maintenance,” which means no coffee or shower ’til then. Add it all up, and I’m grumpier than Grumpy Cat.

I need a sale to lift my spirits.

Through Sunday night, use coupon code RAINYDAY20 at checkout for 20% off your order!

www.sihayadesigns.com

Enjoy!

Christina

What Color Are Your Wings?

Hey there! Long time, no see!  It’s been a few months since last I posted here.  April and May have been a whirlwind of making wings and vending. Here’s a sneak peek into that process:

First I make the wings out of wire, hammering them so that the frames are nice and sturdy. I made boxes and boxes of wings. I’m surprised my fingers didn’t fall off!

Wing Frames

Next, I decide if I want a pair to be transparent and iridescent or glittery and opaque. If I choose glitter, I sift through my collection of iridescent glitters to choose just the right shade.  New shades for spring include Summer Green, Coral, Teal, and Iridescent Gold.  My next batch will also include a holographic fuchsia.

ALL THE GLITTER!

After I choose the glitter, I pick what crystal to use. I only use Swarovski crystals in my wings. It’s my opinion that they’re the best on the  market– they’re the sparkliest and most durable. And I have LOTS.

ALLLL THE SWAROVSKI

Next, I use tweezers to bejewel the heck out of the wings, and then pair them up so that they can be coated with resin. Resin adds more durability, and also ensures that the wings will be waterproof, that the glitter and crystals will not flake off, and that there’s a smooth, glossy coat.  Plus it makes them super easy to clean– I’m always getting hairspray on mine, and a light scrub with an old toothbrush takes care of it instantly.

Allllmost there!

From there, I hand-make all of the earwires. For the necklaces, I have discovered that customers really love them on light, colorful ribbons, so that’s how they are now sold in my shop.  Each pendant is matched up to a ribbon necklace that coordinates best. If you prefer chain, however, that option is still available.

The wings are now ready to be sold to you!

Jason & Jessa at Spoutwood

(Jason, my husband and “booth babe” with Jessa, a customer, at Spoutwood.)

Aren’t they sparkly all lined up in the sunshine?

405892_471657569579505_931391625_nPhoto by Vasilion Photography

www.vasilionphotography.com

And here’s a pair I loved so much I had to keep them for myself!

Spring Promo

There are a whole bunch of wings currently in the shop. I am still doing custom pairs if you would like something particular!

Warmly,

Christina

www.sihayadesigns.com

I Wish I Had More Hours In The Day

Whew. It has been a BUSY month.

You can’t tell, because it’s been over a month since I’ve updated my shop, but I have had my hands full. First I had two wholesale orders to fulfill for my retailers. Then I got notice that I was accepted for Spoutwood, and I’ve been making supply orders and beginning and endless sea of fairy wings. I’ve also been working on custom orders, prepping the Earring Club to go out, doing pearl-knotting for local jewelers, and filling in a full week at my local bead shop.  Oh, AND I am in rehearsals with my two dance troupes for performances next week. No pressure!

I’ve been running towards the ends of my stated turnaround times, but still scraping by. I’m only one person, and sometimes I forego sleep to get things done. I have a lot on my plate, and I am thankful that I am Virgo when it comes to time management.

Even so, I’ve been able to scrape together a big update of earrings for your pleasure! I have a few new pieces with lampwork glass in the much-loved Faery Moons series, handpainted metal in Marrakesh Leaves, some swirly wirework, Earring Wardrobes in soft tones, new Wanderlust pieces, and some pickings from lines I did for my retailers– a couple of Confectionery earrings and the lone pair of Effervescence Bubble Hoops standing from my last batch.

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As I am still at the bead shop this week, I’m not sure exactly what time the update will go up. I still have to photograph about 12 pieces, but I am hoping I can prep the bulk of it to go up earlier rather than later.

Warmly,

Chris

What’s going on at Sihaya Designs?

The shop has been quiet for a little bit, but trust me, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes!

First of all, I have received notice that I was accepted to vend at the Spoutwood Farm May Day Fairie Festival in Glen Rock, PA. I am over the moon! My bellydance troupe, Transcendence Tribal, has performed at Spoutwood for the past few years (under our sneaky pseudonym of The Fairy Ring Dance Collective). I have had so many people tell me that I should apply to vend, as well, because of the popularity of my Fairy Wing Jewelry. This year, I did apply, made it through the jury, and am so excited to be counted among the amazing artisans on-site. If you are on the East Coast, you should come to the festival, which runs May 3-5th this year.

Secondly, I am excited to announce that I have added two new retailers to the brick and mortar shops which carry my work.  The first is The Sassy Mermaid in Baltimore, MD. The second is Vintage Bliss Boutique on Main Street in Ellicott City, MD. As a fan of both of these shops and their dreamy, ethereal aesthetic, I couldn’t be more pleased to begin with them what I hope will be a wonderful working relationship.

Confectionery Hues

Thirdly, Spring is coming, and I am so desperate for warmer weather than I’ve begun to paint every bit of metal I can get my hands on soft, dreamy pastel shades. There will be a small update next week.

And finally, as I periodically get requests about custom work for labradorite pieces, I have taken a new batch of shots for the labradorite I currently have available for commissioned pieces.

Labradorite!

You can see close-up shots and detailed description of each piece by browsing this Flickr set. Pieces are first come, first serve, so be sure to email me at christina@sihayadesigns.com or convo me on Etsy if you want to reserve a specific piece.  Custom labradorite pieces (Elven Tears series excluded) run $70 – $250, with the median price being about $95 for a 3″ pendant.  Prices are determined by metals requested, price of the stone (purples and rainbows tend to be a little pricier than blues), and complexity/size of the design. I do take payment plans.