Craft Ideas for Resin

    CRAFTS CLASSES
    TO INSPIRE CREATIVITY
    by Lillian Downey

    About the Author

    Lillian Downey is a writing professional who has served as editor-in-chief of "Nexus" literary journal and as an assistant fiction editor at the "Antioch Review." Downey attended Wright State University, where she studied writing, women's studies and health care.

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    Resin is a clear polyester craft medium that, when mixed with a catalyst, dries hard and clear, making it a versatile vehicle for displaying and preserving keepsakes and creating unique craft items. The initial process of resin casting must be completed quickly, before the resin sets too much. The project must then cure overnight before it's completed. Resin should not be used by children without adult supervision, as it can be toxic.

    Working with Resin

    Clear resin casting liquid is mixed with a catalyst, which triggers the curing, or hardening process. This process begins immediately, but isn't so quick that you don't have adequate time to work with it once it's prepared. It will achieve a jellylike consistency after 25 minutes, so prepare it right before you plan on using it. Mix resin in plastic cups with wooden sticks and not with your good kitchen equipment, because they'll need to be disposed of after mixing.
    You can encase images or keepsakes in resin, creating more visually interesting pieces and preserving and displaying interesting items. Pictures and paper images need to be treated with a sealant, like a few coats of decoupage medium to prevent the ink from running.
    Supplies for resin crafts, such as resin molds and resin itself, can be purchased at most craft stores and in the craft section of some department stores. Rubberized molds for soap making can also be used with resin.

    Pouring Resin

    Pour prepared resin into molds, or, in the case of jewelry, special wells. Rubberized molds are the most convenient, as dried resin pops out easily. If you use stiff molds, you'll need to apply a lubricant or mold conditioner in order to get the resin to release.
    Different brands of resin and different projects require different curing times, but most projects will need to cure overnight in order to produce completely hardened resin. Once you release your project from a mold, handle the pieces only with gloves to prevent permanent fingerprints on your project. After about two hours out of the mold, your project will be set enough to handle.
    Remember to cover all your work surfaces with newspaper. Resin spills damage most surfaces, including clothing. Work in a well-ventilated area to avoid breathing in resin fumes.

    Craft Ideas

    Jewelry is the most widely used application of craft resin. You can use special jewelry molds with resin wells, or small freestanding molds. Place a sealed image or other embellishment into a mold or well and pour craft resin on top. Allow to cure overnight. Drill holes in the hardened resin to attach to jewelry hardware, or use more resin as glue to bind the pieces together.
    Create a resin paperweight by preparing your mold and resin, then filling the mold halfway with resin only. Allow it to cure for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until it's a jellylike consistency. Press your item firmly into the resin with a wooden stick then cover the rest of the way with resin.
    Use a shadow box, deep picture frame or tray and fill halfway with resin and allow to harden to the jelly stage. Press in your keepsakes or decorative items, like feathers, photos, dried flowers, interesting insects, bottle caps, or anything you're interested in displaying, and cover with resin.
    Create a resin fish bowl. Add colorful gravel to the bottom of the bowl, then pour in resin until it fills in and covers the gravel by 1 inch, then immediately begin pressing plants or other floor decorations. Pour in resin a couple of inches at a time, allowing it to harden to the jelly stage, and place plastic or glass fish at each interval. Continue adding resin and fish until your fishbowl is full.