Wednesday, March 11, 2020

7 Ways to Eliminate Bubbles from Your Resin

Don't let bubbles be the undoing of your next resin project.
No matter whether you're just starting out with resin or whether you've been working with resin for a while, bubbles are something you will always have to deal with. They can be really frustrating but there are ways of minimising them, or even eliminating them from your projects.

Colourful box containing text: 7 ways to eliminate bubbles from resin

There are many different things that cause bubbles and there are just as many ways to minimise or get rid of them. Half the battle is working out WHY you got bubbles. Once you know why you're getting them, it's a whole lot easier to deal with them.

Try some of these tips and tricks to beat those pesky bubbles.

How to Deal with Bubbles in the Mixing Stage


Avoid Vigorous Mixing and Stir Slowly

Resin needs to be mixed thoroughly for it to cure. If you stir fast or whip the resin, you'll incorporate a lot of bubbles into it. Try stirring slowly. It will take longer but when you're working with epoxy, you have plenty of time so stir slowly and you'll end up having a lot less bubbles to deal with.
Mixing resin with a stir stick in a small plastic cup

Small plastic cup with clear mixed resin

Rest the Resin

Once you've mixed the resin, let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Set a timer so that you don't forget it.

Most of the bubbles you mixed into the resin will rise to the surface. They're much easier to deal with once they're sitting on the surface of the resin than when they're suspended in the resin. To see how to pop bubbles on the surface of resin, see "How to Deal with Bubbles AFTER Pouring"
Small cup of mixed resin with a timer set for 10 minutes

Warm the Resin to Avoid Micro Bubbles

If you've ever mixed resin and it looks cloudy instead of clear, hold the cup up to the light. Most likely, it's full of tiny, microscopic bubbles. These bubbles are so small that they can't rise through the resin to the surface and if there are thousands of them, they resin appears cloudy. This is the result of mixing cold resin.

If your bottles of resin feel cool/cold to the touch, try warming them in a container of warm water. Make sure the lids are on tightly so no moisture can get inside them. Leave the bottles for 10 minutes and then remove them from the water bath. The bottles should no longer feel cool. Now you can go ahead and mix the two parts together. Don't forget to refer to the instructions that came in your resin kit - they will tell you what the optimum temperature for working with your resin is.
Warning: Never mix hot resin. If the bottles feel hot, let them cool before mixing the two parts together.
Resin and hardener bottles sitting in a container of warm water

How to Deal with Bubbles AFTER Pouring

Mixing resin isn't the only place that you'll encounter bubbles. Even if you have no bubbles after mixing, there are still other ways that bubbles can be introduced into the resin, so having some tricks up your sleeve to deal with them is essential.

Drag Them Out of the Resin

When you put textured items into resin, quite often a bubble will get trapped against the surface of the object. You can avoid that happening by "painting" on a thin layer of resin with a stir stick before placing it in the mould. But if you still manage to get a bubble, use a toothpick to dislodge it and then drag it out to the edge of the mould where you can remove it from the resin.
Using a toothpick to dislodge the bubbles caught on the surface of the leaf.

Using a toothpick to drag bubbles to the edge of the mould.

Use a Straw

Once bubbles reach the surface, you can blow through a straw to pop them. The carbon dioxide in your breath will pop them.
Bubbles being removed from resin by blowing through a straw

Use a BBQ Lighter

This is one of my favourite tricks. You'll need a BBQ lighter or gas torch for this trick. Pass the flame BRIEFLY across the surface of the resin. Use a back and forth motion so that you keep the flame moving across the resin surface at all times and don't linger in one spot. 
Passing a flame from a BBQ torch across the surface of the resin

Use Rubbing Alcohol

If you're not comfortable using a flame on the surface of the resin, then this tip might be for you. Fill a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol and spritz the surface of the resin. The alcohol breaks the surface tension causing the bubbles to pop. The alcohol will evaporate quickly without affecting the resin.

Now that you have a host of different ways of dealing with bubbles, go forth and create bubble-free resin projects.

Pin These Tips!
How to deal with bubbles in resin tip sheet


'Til next time.....








If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs



Thursday, March 5, 2020

DIY Pearl and Filigree Leather Earrings

When Joanna Gaines first sported her simple leather leaf earrings, you could never have imagined how popular DIY leather earrings would become. 
Ultramarine blue leather teardrop earrings with cut out for filigree and imitation pearl detailing.

There are a ton of tutorials out there using a Cricut and other die-cutting machines to cut leather earring shapes but you don't need to invest in a cutting machine to make them. 

There's a MUCH CHEAPER way! 

Head into your local Michaels store and pick up a pack of Realeather earring shapes and then get creative! If you don't have access to a Michaels store, look for 32x50mm veg tan teardrop shapes.

Leather earring shapes are like blank canvases that are just screaming to be customised. In this tutorial, we're going to cut out a peep hole, re-colour the leather to the most gorgeous shade of Ultramarine and then add some details with imitation pearls and a filigree. So let's get started!

Here's a list of what you'll need:
2 x Veg Tan Leather Teardrops (32x50mm)
Realeather Dye Pens (Basic Set)
2 x Silver filigree connectors 57x16mm
White imitation pearl flatbacks (I used 5mm and 8mm)
2 x 12x7mm centre-drilled white imitation pearl teardrops
2 x silver ball end earring wires
6 x 6mm silver jump rings
2 x silver head pins
Crystal Katana or other tool for placing pearls
G-S Hypo Cement
pen/pencil
scrap paper

Tools: Flat nose pliers, flush cutters, round nose pliers, scissors, craft knife

Make a Template

Trace the teardrop on a scrap of paper and cut it out. Centre the filigree on the template and trace around it. Remove the filigree and sketch a pointed oval using the inside edges of the filigree shape as a guide. Fold the template in half and cut out the oval.
Tracing the filigree onto a paper teardrop template and cutting out the centre.

Prepare the Leather 

Position the template over the leather teardrops and trace the pointed oval on the front.
Tracing the template onto the veg tan leather teardrop shape

Carefully cut out the oval with a craft knife or scalpel.
Cutting out the peep hole in the leather shape using a scalpel.
The veg tan leather teardrop shape with the cutout sitting next to it

Colour the Veg Tan Leather

Use the blue marker to colour the front, back and sides of the teardrop (you want the back of your earrings to look good too!). Try not to overlap the colour or it will leave dark lines.
Using a blue dye pen to colour the front of the leather teardrop shape

Space the pearls around the bottom of the teardrops and then glue them into place.
Gluing the faux pearls into place around the bottom section of the teardrop

Assemble the Earrings

Open a jump ring, insert it through the top of the filigree and then hook it through the hole of the teardrop so that the filigree sits at the back.
Inserting a jump ring through the top of the filigree and the top of the leather teardrop.

String the pearl drop on the head pin and bend it at a 90° angle.
Bending a head pin at a 90° angle above a pearl teardrop using flat nose pliers

Trim the tail to 10mm (3/8") with the flush cutters....
Trimming the head pin using flush cutters

.... and turn a simple loop.
A pearl teardrop strung on a head pin with a simple loop on the jaws of round nose pliers.

Hook a jump ring through the bottom of the filigree and hook on the loop of the
pearl teardrop.
Hooking a pearl teardrop onto the bottom of the filigree with a jump ring.

To finish the earring, insert another jump ring through the one at the top of the earring and then insert the earring wire through it. Complete the second earring to match.
Inserting the earring wire through the jump ring at the top of the earring.

The finished earrings are a standout and they'll look amazing teamed with a bright, summer outfit. You'll find them lightweight and comfortable to wear too. All in all, they're the perfect accessory for your summer wardrobe, so enjoy wearing them all season long!

Pin the Project!
DIY leather earrings inspiration sheet


'Til next time.....








If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs



Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Preparing Flowers for Resin - FAQs

Fresh cut flowers might be shortlived but we can't help enjoy them for their fragrance, beauty, shape and colour. It's no wonder that we want to preserve them forever in resin.

But how do you preserve them?

And can you put them straight into resin?

These are questions I'm often asked about putting botanicals into resin. Hopefully, this FAQ page will answer the questions you've been wondering about.

I know you're itching to get your flowers into resin before they begin to fade, but before you dive in with those beautiful flowers from your bridal bouquet, or the memorial flowers from a loved one's passing, read through these FAQ's so that you know how to treat your flowers for best results.
Wedding bouquet of white chrysanthemums, deep red rose buds and blushing bride proteas on a wooden deck

Keep Your Flowers Fresher for Longer

First things first, keep the flowers in a cool place until you're ready to work with them. Have you noticed how florists keep their arrangements in the fridge? There's a very good reason why. It helps slow down the flowers' development so that they are fresher when they're delivered. You can keep your precious blooms in the fridge for several hours.

Things that will make them wilt faster are heat, draughts and direct sunlight. So if you can't put your flowers in the fridge, place them in an esky (aka cooler/chilly bin) or even in a bucket of fresh, cool water to help keep them hydrated, in the coolest place in your house and away from draughts.
Wedding bouquet of pale apricot open roses, blue sea holly flowers, gypsophila and greenery in a bucket of water.
Keep flowers in a bucket of fresh water in the coolest place in your house

Preparing Flowers for Resin - FAQs

Now, read on to find out the answer to some common FAQs.

Q. Can you put fresh flowers in resin? 
A. No. Flowers and other organic materials should be completely dried before embedding in resin. If any moisture remains in the material, the flowers will become brown, sludgy or mouldy in a short time.

Q. How do you dry flowers for resin? 
 A. For whole flowers, place them on a layer of silica sand (like Flower Drying Art) or cooking salt and then carefully spoon more desiccant around and over them until they are covered. Leave them to dry for a week and then check them. They should feel papery. If not, repeat the process until they are dried. You can learn more about drying flowers with desiccants here.
Stem of yellow chrysanthemums lying on a bench alongside a plastic lid of dried yellow chrysanthemums.
Fresh flowers on the left and flowers dried in silica sand in the microwave on the right
Q. How do you preserve the colour of flowers when you dry them?
A. Most flowers will change colour when you dry them. But the best way to preserve the colours is to dry them using a quick method like the microwave drying method.
Pressed rainbow rose petals strewn on a black bench alongside a Microfleur flower press with 4 rainbow rose petals
For quick results, dry flowers in the microwave using a Microfleur flower press
Q. Can I dry flowers in the microwave? 
 A. Yes. This is the quickest way to dry them. You can use a Microfleur flower press if you want to press the flowers. To keep the flowers whole and 3D, place them in a microwave-safe container and cover them with fine silica gel. The silica gel needs to get down inside the layers of petals too.

Q. What’s the fastest way to dry flowers?
A. Use the microwave. Not only does it give the fastest results, but the flowers retain their colour really well. The power level and length of time required will depend on your microwave. You can press them or dry them whole in the microwave. Find more information on using the microwave to dry flowers here.

Q. Can you put dried flowers straight into resin?
 A. Some dried flowers become translucent when they're put in resin whilst others don't. To be on the safe side, seal the flowers before embedding them to help prevent the resin from penetrating the petals.
Pressed red and yellow rose petals coated in a layer of wet Mod Podge on a sheet of silicone baking paper. Painting a layer of Mod Podge onto a rose leaf.
Sealing dried petals and leaves with Mod Podge
Q. How do you seal flowers before putting them in resin?
A. There are many methods that work well. Dried flowers can be coated with white craft glue (Mod Podge), hairspray, resin spray, quick-drying gloss spray, or sandwiched inside clear packing tape or a laminating pouch. This video shows several methods for sealing petals. Just choose the one that works best for you. 
PIN FOR LATER!
Preparing flowers for resin inspiration sheet

'Til next time.....








If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs



Thursday, January 30, 2020

Turn Leftover Resin into a Smart, Striped Ring

Most times when I measure out resin, I usually mix up a little more than my mould needs just in case I have a spill. But because I hate to waste resin, I usually pour whatever's leftover into something else, like a smaller mould or a small cup. After a few resin sessions, I end up with little pots of striped resin, like these.


Three 1oz cups filled with multicoloured stripes of resin
Pretty cool, huh? They're all sorts of colours I'd probably never put together but that's part of their charm!

So now that they've cured, what can you do with them?

Lately, I've been turning them into rings. 
Resin ring featuring stripes of different coloured resin


Depending on which way you slice the cups, you can have the stripes running in any direction you like - something that pouring into a ring mould doesn't allow you to do!

It's quite a lengthy process but the end results are totally worth it! But before getting underway, I need to stress that this is not a Beginner's project!

Two multicoloured striped resin rings shaped to a point


Safety First

Before getting into the project, I'd like to talk about safety. Just as when you're working with resin, there are things you need to do to ensure your safety whilst you work at transforming that cup into a ring. This project uses power tools, so you need to wear protective eyewear whenever you're cutting, grinding or sanding. And a particulate dust mask whenever you're producing fine dust. It's even better if you can extract the dust away or use a shop vac with a HEPA filter to catch the fine dust the sanding creates. If none of these options is available to you, skip the power tools and do all the cutting and sanding by hand and sand with water to catch the dust.  

With your safety now taken care of, let's get into the process of how to turn a resin-filled cup into a smart, stripey ring.

Tools

There's only one essential power tool required for this project: a drill and a spade bit to cut the ring hole. All the other power tools just make the job faster. If you don't have these tools, you can do all the cutting, shaping with hand tools and the sanding by hand.

Here's what I used to complete this project but see notes throughout the instructions for what you can manage without:
Bench Vise
Saw (I used a Japanese saw and a coping saw - they both work equally well)
Quick-release clamps
Drill with spade bit (I used 16mm but choose one that is slightly smaller than your ring size)
Ruler
Permanent marker
Belt sander
JoolTool
JoolTool ninja microfinishing disks: Coarse, Medium, Fine and Very Fine (60, 30, 15 and 9 micron). You'll also need back pads fitted with cushion backings

If you're hand sanding, you'll also need 180g and 400g wet/dry sandpaper

Personal Safety Equipment:
Goggles or wrap-around safety glasses
Particulate mask 
I also use a shop vac with HEPA filter to catch all the dust that's created whilst cutting and sanding

How to Cut a Slice from the Resin Block 

If you have a bench vise:
Position the resin block in the vise securely and use a saw to cut away the round walls on one side of the cup. This is the Japanese saw in action. It rips through the resin very quickly but it leaves a deep saw pattern.

If you don't have a bench vise:
Position a block of wood on your work space, place the resin block on the wood - bottom up to make it more stable - and clamp it down with a quick release clamp. You'll need to position the clamp off to the side so that you can saw the wall of the cup away.

Cutting away one side of the resin with a saw

Make a second cut through the middle of the cup. I switched to the coping saw for this cut, just to compare the two cuts.
Using a Japanese saw to cut the resin cup into thin slices

I found that the coping saw cut through the resin quite easily too and the teeth marks were not quite as deep as they were with the Japanese saw but I forgot to photograph the other side to show you.
The outside and the first thin slice have been cut away from the resin cup.

Now it's over to the Jool Tool to remove the cut marks left by the saw and to sand it smooth. Doing the sanding at this point isn't essential but its easier to do some of it now before cutting the ring's hole.

If you don't have a Jool Tool, skip down to Cutting the Hole

Start with the coarse disk. Dip your finger into water and then wet the surface of the resin. When mechanically sanding resin, you need to use low speed so turn the Jool Tool on and adjust the speed to the lowest speed it will go. If you use a high speed, the resin will overheat. Place the resin slice up against the wheel with light pressure and sand away all the cut marks. It will splatter a bit as you sand and dry off really quickly so add a bit more water.
Smoothing out the teeth marks from the saw with a coarse pad on the Jool Tool

After sanding with the coarse disk, the vertical saw marks will be replaced by the scratch pattern of the coarse disk.
The resin slice is sitting on a coarse sanding disk

Move on to the medium disk and sand with water until all the coarse scratches have been removed.
The resin slice is sitting on a medium sanding disk

Progress to the Fine disk and.....
The resin slice is sitting on a fine sanding disk

....finally, to the Very Fine disk. There is still a lot more sanding required but that will come later.
The resin slice is sitting on a very fine sanding disk


Cutting the Hole

Clamp a block of wood to the bench. Clamp the resin slice onto the wood and make sure it is secure. You don't want it spinning when you start drilling the hole.
The slice is clamped to a block of wood with a quick grip clamp

Fit the spade bit into the drill and slowly drill a hole in the centre of the resin slice.
Using a spade bit to drill a hole in the resin slice to turn it into a ring

The resin slice with a ring hole cut into it.


Shaping the Ring

Draw the shape of the ring onto the resin with the permanent marker.
Using a ruler to mark the cutting lines to shape the ring

Place the ring into the bench vise or clamp it down on a block of wood and cut the ring to your desired shape.
The resin slice with one side cut straight

Alternatively, you can shape the ring on a belt sander. I've turned the belt sander off here rather than take an action shot as it just isn't safe to try to juggle a camera whilst using this machine. The belt sander is fast and efficient but you really need to have your wits about you.
Shaping the sides of the ring on a belt sander

Once you've shaped the ring, it's back to the sanding. If you did the initial sanding to remove the saw marks, then you can move on to final sanding and polishing. But if not, use 180 grit sandpaper and water to remove the saw and spade bit marks and then move on to 400 grit. As you sand the hole, keep checking it for fit so you don't over enlarge it.


Final Sanding and Polishing

If you have a JoolTool start with the coarse disk and sand the ring on all sides until no scratch marks from the 400 grit paper remain.
Remember to use the slowest speed that you can dial the JoolTool down to.

Progress through the medium, fine and very fine disks. If you can still see deep scratch marks after any grade, then you need to backtrack a step (or two!) to remove them before continuing.

Switch to the buffing wheel at HIGH SPEED and buff the ring to a high shine.

Two multicoloured striped resin rings viewed from the side to highlight the shimmering mica powder layers


Apply a small amount of Micro-gloss liquid to the flannelette cloth and polish the resin all over. Buff to a high gloss with a clean part of the cloth and you're finished!

If you don't have access to a Jool Tool for this project, you can achieve the same finish by hand sanding using a Micromesh Sanding kit. You'll need to start at 1500 and work your way through all the grades. Give the ring a highly polished finish by using the Micro-gloss liquid as above.

Pin this Project!
Inspiration sheet with striped resin cup at the top and finished resin ring at the bottom.

'Til next time.....








If you can't get enough of My Tutorials and you want even more inspiration, click here to find my books and printable pdfs