Wednesday, July 29, 2020

How to Finish Resin Jewellery

If you've got the resin bug and have started making resin charms and cabochons, you no doubt want to turn them into head-turning pieces of jewellery that everyone swoons over. After all, you've spent time and money and poured not only the resin but your creative heart into these pieces, so you want them to look professional and have that exclusive designer look about them. Right?

But you probably didn't give too much thought to how you'd assemble the charms once they cured and now you're asking yourself
"How do I turn all these charms into jewellery?"
Well, there are many ways to assemble your resin casts into jewellery and wearable accessories.

You can get as creative as you like with your designs but before you can do that, you'll need some basic methods that will allow you to connect pieces together first. 

Here's a few ideas that you can try:

  1. Glue on a flat pad components
  2. Drill a hole
  3. Embed a finding in the resin as it cures
  4. Wrap with a filigree to hold the cabochon in position
Want to see what these methods look like in real life? Then read on!

1. Use a Flat Pad or Glue-on Component

Flat pad jewellery blanks come in so many styles and there's one for every type of jewellery that you can imagine, from shoe clips to hair barrettes, and every piece of jewellery that comes in between, making them very useful for turning your resin castings into fabulous resin jewellery and accessories.
Selection of gold and silver flat pad jewellery findings, including, earrings, rings, brooches, button covers, bracelets and hair clips
Flat pad jewellery findings are easy to use: Just apply a strong adhesive to the flat pad and position the resin cabochon into place. This one is a pendant bail and it's glued onto the back of the casting, ready to be strung on a chain.
Turquoise and silver resin heart with a flat pad bail glued to the back

Once you've got your flat pad jewellery blanks, you'll simply glue the resin cabochon onto the blank.

Not sure what type of adhesive to use? 

In the studio, I use and recommend 5-minute epoxy in the syringe pack because it bonds metal and resin strongly. If you have a lot of pieces to put together, buy the one with the mixing nozzles and it will mix the two parts of the adhesive as it dispenses it. The nozzles are single-use, so for future jobs, just dispense equal parts from the syringe and mix with a wooden stir stick. This is the correct way to mix 5-minute epoxy to make sure your bond is strong and secure. 

Many crafters prefer E6000 industrial-strength glue which is another good choice. You can buy it in a mini tube so you don't have to worry about it drying out and it includes 3 fine tips for precision placement of the adhesive.

2. Drill a Hole

Use a 1mm drill bit and drill a hole in the cabochon. 

I'm using my trusty battery-operated Her Embosser Hobby Drill which is lightweight and easy to handle for small drilling jobs like this. It has a 1mm drill bit which is the perfect size for jewellery findings and other stringing materials.

I love this drill because it's lightweight and portable. It delivers enough torque to drill through the resin without melting it as it drills, Plus, it's very pretty! But if you're not into flowers, it also comes in a camo finish.

Safety note: If you're using a more powerful drill than this, use a vice to securely hold the cabochon in place while drilling. You'll need to use the lowest speed on the drill to avoid it heating the resin and gumming up the hole as you drill.
Drilling a resin cabochon from the top to string it as an earring

If you're using a Dremel or similar rotary drill, a drill press will ensure you drill straight through your cabochon or charm. You'll need to purchase a smaller collet and drill bit.

If you've drilled a hole in the top, glue in an eye pin or screw eye so that you can attach an earring wire or string it on a chain. Use 5-minute epoxy adhesive if you're in a hurry. Or if you prefer a seamless finish, mix up some of the resin you made your casting with.
Eye pin inserted into the top of a faux opal resin cabochon

You can also drill your castings sideways... 
Drilling sideways through a resin cabochon with a drill

This will allow you to string through the middle of the casting...
Inserting an eyepin sideways through the resin casting.

and turn your pieces into a bracelet.
Faux opal resin bracelet made up of several log shaped pieces with silver wire coil beads in between

If your casting is thin enough, drill a hole from front to back and insert a pinch bail to finish your cabochon off. Pinch bails come in a variety of sizes and add a more professional look to your resin pieces than jump rings, but jump rings will also work for smaller charms.
Squeezing the prongs of a silver pinch bail into a thin pink resin casting

3. Embed a Finding in the Resin

If you don't have a drill, then this little trick is a good one to know. You can embed the findings in the resin before the resin cures. Use a mini craft peg to hold a shortened eye pin in place whilst the resin cures.
Miniature orange peg holding a gold eye pin, being inserted into a column mould filled with resin

Mini craft pegs are ideal for column moulds because they're so lightweight and can balance across the top of the mould without causing it to topple over.
Mini orange peg resting on top of column mold whilst holding eye pin

Once the resin has cured, you can remove the peg and then demould the resin cast. If it's hollow, top it up with a bit more resin and let it cure.
Crystals-shaped purple and gold leaf-filled resin pendant held in a hand

You can also embed findings by adding them after the resin has cured. If you have a hollow back on your casting from where the resin has crept up the walls of the mould, you can top up the back with resin and place a finding in it to cure. Use 20g wire or an eye pin and create a coil and centre it in the back of the casting. Once the resin has fully cured, you can turn a loop to string it from.
Coiled gold wire sitting in hollow back of resin cabochon

4. Use a Filigree Stamping to Hold the Resin Cabochon

I love filigrees... they add a touch of vintage, old-world elegance to even the most modern piece. Choose a brass stamping larger than your cabochon and wrap it around the resin. Use pliers to press the stamping firmly onto the resin. The filigree will act as a cabochon setting with claws and hold the cabochon securely in your jewellery design. 
Lime green resin cameo wrapped with a filigree brass stamping, strung with light green, yellow and brown crystals.

And the bonus is the detail on the back of the piece. Here, the stringing material has been threaded through the filigree.
Back view of lime green came showing brass filigree detail

Get more assembly ideas here in this video

So now that you've got a few different ways of assembling your jewellery, go out there and create your own OOAK jewellery pieces and wearable accessories that look like they came from an exclusive, designer boutique!

Pin these Ideas!

Graphic with golden yellow background and purple column mould held in a hand.

Happy Resining!

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