Friday, April 17, 2020

How to Make UV Resin Look Like Dichroic Glass or Brilliant Opal

Attach a playful penguin to your key fob and turn it into a FUNKEE keychain. This anodized penguin has a belly filled with iridescent flashes of brilliant colour giving it the look of dichroic glass or a dazzling opal. But you don't need glassmaking or lapidary skills for this project...

You can easily create this dichroic glass look with UV resin and iridescent mylar flakes

And it will only take you around an hour! 
Silver penguin keychain/bottle opener filled with resin and iridescent mylar
I've used an ultra-fast curing UV resin in this project. But you can use regular UV resin and still get the same results. The benefit of using this faster curing resin are that it has a lot less odour than regular UV resins, it cures FASTER and it only needs a low-wattage lamp (like a UV torch or mini UV lamp) to cure it. 

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A Note About UV Lamps for Curing UV Resin

There are a lot of different wattage lamps available and it can be confusing to know which UV lamp to choose to cure your UV resin.

If you choose the same resin I used, then you can use any of the nail lamps I've suggested and get extremely quick results. This is a much faster curing resin than other UV resins. All these suggestions are very low wattage lamps but they will all cure this resin in 1 or 2 minutes (when working in layers).

If you choose a different type of UV resin, you may need a 36W lamp and allow your chosen resin to cure longer.

The 9W UV lamp I used in this project i's mains-powered and it doesn't have a timer (it stays on until you switch it off). The benefit of not having a timer is that you can put the resin under the lamp and walk away and you won't have to keep switching the lamp on when the timer runs out. It might seem like a small thing, but you'll soon see why it's better to not have a timer when you've had one with a timer!

Sadly, this product is hard to find now so you'll have to hunt it down. But here's some places where you still might find them: Salon Store UK, Amazon Japan, The Hair Store Spain

Edited: A really good upgrade to the 9W lamp is a 36W nail lamp. It uses the same UV bulbs as the 9W lamp, which cure UV resin so much better than LEDs. This is my first choice when it comes to curing UV resin.

The 6W mini UV lamp comes with a USB cable and it needs to be connected to a power bank or device in order to work. It has a timer which you will need to switch on each time you put the resin under it to cure.

The 12 LED UV torch runs on 3AAA batteries. Because this resin cures so quickly, holding the torch above the curing resin for a minute or two at a time is not too arduous, but if you're using one of the other UV resins, it can become very tiresome holding it for 5-10 minutes whilst the resin cures. Plus, you'll need to replace the batteries frequently if you're using the torch for 5-10 minutes at a time. But this won't be so much of an issue using the recommended UV Resin.

Five anodized penguin keychains filled with resin, iridescent mylar, gold leaf and glitter.

Preparing the Bottle Opener

Remove the keyring (and chain if there is one) from the bottle opener.
Silver penguin bottle opener and keychain ring

Place a piece of packing tape over the back of the opening. It's essential to use clear tape and not coloured tape for this step or the back of the piece will not cure. The tape will act as a temporary backing to hold the resin inside the penguin's belly. Burnish it well, especially around the inside edge so the resin will not be able to leak out.
Burnishing the tape on the back of the keychain with a wooden stick

Creating the Faux Dichroic Glass Look

Pour out a small puddle of resin onto the Teflon square and add one drop off black dye to it. UV resin needs to be slightly translucent to cure so don't overdo the black dye or the resin won't cure properly.
Adding black dye to the UV resin

Mix the colour through the resin completely. You can use a toothpick, a wooden stir stick or a plastic spatula... whatever works best for you.
Using a toothpick to mix the resin and dye together

Pour the resin straight from the Teflon square into the base of the penguin.
Pouring the black resin from the Teflon square into the belly of the penguin

Cure the resin using the handheld torch...
Curing the resin in the penguin's belly with a UV torch

or the nail lamp... or the mini UV lamp, whichever one you choose.
The penguin keychain being cured in a UV nail lamp

Squeeze a small amount of uncoloured resin in the centre of the penguin. You only need a very thin layer... something for the mylar pieces to stick to.
Pouring a clear layer of resin over the cured black resin inside the penguin

Dip the toothpick in the resin and use it to pick up a piece of mylar. Place it into the resin. Continue adding pieces of mylar to the resin, overlapping the edges to create different colours. Because this is a shallow bezel, use only one layer of mylar pieces.
Adding a piece of iridescent mylar to the clear resin using a toothpick

Cure the resin under the lamp.
The iridescent mylar in the resin being cured under a nail lamp

The surface will still be lumpy with small bits poking through.
Looking at the penguin from side on, you can see the bumpy surface with the mylar flakes protruding through the resin

Add another layer of clear resin over the mylar and cure it. If needed, add a fourth layer of resin to make the surface smooth and dome it slightly. Cure the resin.
Adding another clear layer of resin to cover the mylar completely

Turn the piece over and cure the black resin. This extra step to cure the back of the piece will make sure the black resin is cured. Once it's cured, you can remove the tape.
The back of the penguin facing backside up in the nail lamp to cure the back of the piece.
Wipe off any tape residue with methylated spirits (denatured alcohol).

If the back is slightly hollow (mine was), apply just enough clear resin into the back to fill the hollow so that it's flat and cure it.
Adding a layer of clear resin to the back of the penguin to fill the hollow.

Open the keychain ring and insert it back onto the bottle opener.
Using split ring pliers to open the split ring and re-insert it through the top of the penguin.

And that's it! Your faux dichroic glass keychain/bottle opener is now ready for use.

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How to make a resin-filled key chain bottle opener inspiration sheet

Happy Resining!

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