Friday, September 10, 2010

Epoxy Resin Stickers

"What the caterpillar calls the end, God calls the butterfly."

It is such a beautiful quote and a great way to start off this post.

I have always loved butterflies. I am fascinated by the transformation that takes place as a caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly - it is truly one of nature's great feats. And now that we are in the first days of spring in the southern hemisphere, I thought they'd make a great subject for this tutorial.Last week I promised I would show you how to make your own epoxy resin embellishments. And it's easier than you might think.

The full downloadable pdf version of this tutorial will be available shortly over at my website: Mill Lane Studio, but in the meantime, here it is in blog format.

For this technique you will need to use a doming resin. I like to use Easy Cast because it's clarity is excellent and it's readily available and while it's not a doming resin, it does give you the same effect.

You'll also need the following items:
  • Some images;
  • Scissors or a hole punch
  • White adhesive such as Mod Podge (optional) and a paintbrush - wash the brush in water before it dries
  • Small measuring cups. Make sure they have measurements marked up the side.
  • Stir sticks for mixing the resin
  • A firm, non stick surface to work on; and
  • An applicator for applying the resin such as a wooden stirrer, a toothpick, a paintbrush or even a plastic pipette with a fine nozzle. You will throw this item away at the end of your session, so don't use your best paintbrush.
  • Gloves to protect your hands. Always follow the safety recommendations on the packaging just to be safe.
You can punch out your images or, if you're feeling very patient, cut around your images carefully.This next step is optional. Seal each side of the image with Mod Podge, paying particular attention to the cut edges. A thorough, even coat will prevent the resin seeping through and causing what looks like an oily stain on your image. This will also keep your images looking true to colour. Make sure they are completely dry before proceeding. I omitted this step for my butterflies because I wanted to take advantage of that "oily look" which makes the images more translucent.
Place the sealed images on the non stick surface. I've used a Nordic Ware non stick pan but a teflon craft sheet such as an appliqué sheet or the Ranger craft sheet is also excellent. Place this on a firm work surface.Next, mix the resin according to the manufacturer's instructions. You will only need to mix a really small amount, about 5 to 10mls in total for a project like this. I can never stress this enough but if the manufacturer says measure equal quantities, then make sure you measure and mix equal quantities. Don't add extra hardener just to make sure - the resin will cure properly without adding extra hardener. And if the manufacturer says to mix it twice, then mix it twice. Following the instructions will give you great results every time.

Now, using your applicator of choice, apply the resin in a thin coat across the surface of your images. Try to keep the resin within the cut edges of the image so that you get the doming effect. You will most likely have some seepage underneath and that's OK. It just means you won't need to coat the second side and because you're working on a non stick surface it will just peel off when it's cured. You can add a second coat if you'd like your images to be more domed.Set your images aside to cure. They'll cure faster in warmer weather than they will in the cold - I usually leave them for between 8 to 12 hours and then coat the back if it didn't get a coating when you coated the top. And that's it! Once they're fully cured they're ready to be used in your next project. And the best part about it is that they are both waterproof and durable. They are even tough enough to be used in jewellery. Wouldn't these butterflies look great as earrings?!Add ImageIf you find that it's too fiddly to coat small images this way you can coat with resin first and then cut out once the resin is cured but you get the nicer domed-look using the first method.

And it's easy to turn them into stickers: just run them through a Xyron sticker machine and you're done.

Hope you have fun with this.

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