Friday, July 20, 2018

How to Create Cells in a Resin Art Masterpiece

Black and White resin art cell painting with gold veins.

Resin art is a fun way to create a piece of contemporary art that you can proudly display in your home. And it's not difficult to get started with pouring resin. If you've been admiring all the incredible fluid art pieces on Pinterest and want to know how it's done, then this tutorial is for you. It shows you a simple technique for creating resin cells in your artwork. The black and white colour scheme makes the cells even more dramatic!

Black and white resin art panel featuring cells and veining.

I've put together a shopping list of all the supplies you'll need to make your own piece of resin art:

Shopping List:

EnviroTex Lite pour-on epoxy resin
Castin'Craft Pigments: Black; White
18" x 18" primed canvas art panel OR cradled painting panel (wood needs to be sealed with acrylic paint or gesso before using)
Dispersion media (aka silicone oil or treadmill oil - look for dimethicone)
Silver powder
Gold Powder
3M painter's tape
8oz graduated plastic measuring cups
Small plastic cups
Disposable acid brushes
Wooden stir sticks
Gloves and safety glasses/goggles
Butane Torch

Prepping your Work Space

Before you get underway, protect your work surface with a plastic painter's drop sheet. Resin is really sticky stuff and you don't want to get it on you. Wear goggles and gloves at all times and work in a well ventilated area.

Elevate the art panel on some cups and then level the canvas. Resin will always find the low point so if your canvas is not level, the resin will flow in that direction, which can spoil your artwork.

Before you begin, tape the back of the art panel or painting panel with painter's tape and burnish the edges. This will make it easier to remove any resin that overflows.

Mixing and Colouring the Resin

Measure out 125mls (4oz) of Part A and 125mls (4oz) of Part B of EnviroTex Lite in the same cup. Mix the resin thoroughly, following the mixing instructions included in the resin kit.
Pouring resin and hardener into a graduated plastic measuring cup.

Pour 30mls (1oz) of resin into each of two small cups. Colour one with silver and one with gold. Use enough powder to make them opaque.
Pouring some silver powder into mixed resin.

Colour the remaining resin with enough black pigment to make it opaque.
Pouring black resin pigment into a cup of mixed resin.

Pour the black resin across the art panel in large bands of colour. Keep some large open spaces for the white resin.
Pouring black resin onto the canvas

Mix another 250ml (8oz) batch of resin. Pour half into another cup and colour it with enough white pigment to make it opaque. Set the rest aside. (It can be coloured later with either black or white to fill any gaps as needed.)
Pouring white resin pigment into clear resin.

Creating Resin Cells

The magic ingredient for creating cells is demethicone. It behaves like a repellent and disperses the resin. Add 5 drops of the dispersion media into the white resin and stir through very lightly. The amount of stirring you do actually determines the size of the cells.
Dropping the silicone oil into the white resin

Pour the white resin in the open spaces on the canvas alongside the black. You will see cells developing where the two colours meet. If the cells don't begin to form, pick up the painting with your gloved hands and tilt the panel just enough so that the resin begins to move. This should open up the cells.
Pouring white resin onto the canvas so that the black and white resin can react.

Drizzle the thickened silver resin along some of the edges where the black and white meet. You don't need to add too much, just to add some highlights.
Drizzling silver resin onto the black and white resin.

Learning when to STOP!

Use the heat gun to move the resin out towards the edges of the canvas. As the white resin moves across the surface of the black, even more cells will open up. Pushing the resin around is fun to do but it's easy to get carried away and you need to STOP!!  If you overdo the heat gun, the colours will mix too much making the patterns overly busy. You really want to keep some solid bands of colour. If you still have gaps around the edges, pour more resin from the cups to fill them in.
Pushing the resin around the canvas with the air from a heat gun.

Drizzle some thickened gold resin wherever you would like gold highlights.
Drizzling gold resin alongside the black and white edges for highlights.

Use the heatgun to soften and spread out the gold a little. Keep the heatgun moving at all times and take care not to over heat or burn the resin.
Feathering the edges of the gold resin with the heat gun.

Brush the sides of the canvas with the resin that has fallen onto the dropsheet.

Now your canvas is finished... but the resin will keep moving until it reaches gel stage. Once you're happy with how the canvas looks, pass the butane torch across the canvas to pop any bubbles. You may need to do this again a couple of hours later. Leave the canvas to cure overnight.
Passing a flame across the surface of the resin canvas to pop any bubbles.

Clean off any residue from the dispersion media thoroughly with a soft, dry cloth. If any silicone oil remains on the surface of the resin, it will repel the resin top coat.

Mix approximately 375mls (12oz) of EnviroTex Lite (do this in two batches) and pour it across the art panel. Pop the bubbles and leave the resin to cure 24 hours.
Applying a top coat of clear resin to the canvas.

It's almost time to hang your masterpiece. But wait.... there's still tape and resin drips on the back to remove. You can see how to do that in this short video:

Pin this project!
Resin Art with cells inspiration sheet.

Now that you've removed the tape, go ahead and hang your masterpiece. 

'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

Friday, June 15, 2018

How to Disguise Bubbles in a Resin Bangle

What do you do when you've made a resin bangle and it hasn't turned out very well? Maybe it's filled with bubbles, or the colour isn't what you want, or there's some other blemish that you wish you could hide. Today I'm going to show you a trick I sometimes use to disguise imperfections. And it looks absolutely stunning!
Jewel toned resin bangle in shades of magenta, purple, red and gold viewed from three angles

I'm starting out with a bangle that is full of bubbles. Other than the bubbles, there's nothing wrong with the bangle.
Translucent yellow resin bangle filled with bubbles.

Here's a shopping list of what you'll need for this technique:

Piñata Alcohol inks (I prefer Piñatas because they are highly saturated, vibrant colours)
Piñata Claro Extender
Piñata Metallic Rich Gold
Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze
Plastic drinking straw
Disposable gloves (use nitrile gloves if you're allergic to latex)
Rubbing alcohol for clean up

How to Paint a Resin Bangle with Alcohol Ink

This is a messy process and I like to work on a non-stick craft sheet because it's so easy to wipe clean afterwards. Before you begin, put on your gloves. 

Apply a drop of one of your chosen colours onto the surface of the bangle. Whilst it's still liquid, blow through the straw to make the ink splatter and spread.
Bright pink alcohol ink being splattered onto a resin bangle by blowing through a drinking straw

Take a second colour and do the same thing. You can overlap colours if you like because dried alcohol ink is reactivated by wet alcohol ink, so the colours will blend. Cover the whole bangle in this way. If the alcohol ink gets on the inside of the bangle, blow the ink until it splatters and can't be spread any further.
Blowing through a straw to disperse a drop of blue alcohol ink in a splatter pattern on a resin bangle.

Now comes the magic!

Apply a couple of drops of metallic alcohol ink. It will run but that doesn't matter.
Adding drops of gold alcohol ink onto the dried colours and allowing it to run.

Now, immediately add a drop of Claro Extender to the metallic ink. It will keep the ink from drying too fast. It will also reactivate the colours underneath.
Adding a drop of Claro Extender to the gold alcohol ink.

Position the straw over the metallic ink and blow it around so that it disperses across the surface of the bangle. It will create a rich ripple or marble effect. You can also try blowing it around without using the Claro Extender for a more solid look.
Blowing the gold alcohol ink around the bangle so that it mixes with the coloured alcohol inks and creates a marbled effect.

Apply the metallic ink over other areas of the bangle. Disperse any excess on the inside of the bangle too. You can see how it's lightened some of the really dark areas of alcohol ink.
Resin bangle with gold alcohol ink marbled through the bright pink, blue and yellow alcohol inks.

Now you need to set aside to dry. Alcohol ink dries pretty quickly, but if you have really piled on the alcohol ink, leave it to dry for a few days before the next step.
Red, blue and purple alcohol inks blended together with gold marbling on a resin bangle base.

Sealing the Bangle to Protect It

This next step is optional but if you choose not to do it, then see the note at the bottom of the post.

Put the bangle on some newspapers or a plastic drop sheet and spray it with a couple of light coats of Krylon Triple Thick Crystal Clear Glaze, allowing each one to dry before applying the next.
Spraying the alcohol ink painted bangle with clear acrylic spray.

Note: If you choose to skip the sealing step, then make sure that you keep all alcohol away from the bangle. There's alcohol in a lot of products that you might not even think of: cleaning products, perfume and hairspray, to name a few. If you don't want the alcohol ink to get reactivated and rub off onto your skin and clothes, then sealing the bangle is the way to go!

Love this project? Then Pin It!
Row of finished brightly coloured resin bangles coloured with alcohol inks and a bangle with alcohol inks being applied to the surface.

Row of brightly coloured alcohol ink bangles in shades of pink, red, purple, orange and green.

'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

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Resin Rose Bubble Ring

UV Resin Rose bead set in a silver filigree ring base.

My hands get some pretty rough treatment in the studio and because they are always in front of the camera, I get a regular manicure to keep them looking good. You've probably noticed that my nails are always a different colour!
Pastel Pink UV resin rose bead with gold bead caviar centre, set in a silver filigree ring.

Whilst visiting my nail technician last week, I noticed she had some gorgeous 3D bubble roses on her nails and I realised immediately that this was something that we could do with UV jewellery resin. It's just a matter of building up layers of resin and painting each layer with colour. In the nail world, they paint the rose petals with gel nail polish but I've used alcohol inks which worked just fine.
Two UV Resin rose rings, one light pink and one dark pink, displayed on a white ring cone.

So here's what you'll need to make your own.
  • UV resin
  • Pinata Alcohol inks. I used Señorita Magenta and White (you need the white to give the pink some opacity and some depth). 
  • Claro Extender (for when the alcohol inks dry on the palette)
  • Gold Bead Caviar (aka microbeads)
  • Tool to build the bead on. I used a ball tool and had difficulties removing it as you'll see below, so I recommend you use the needle tool
  • UV Nail Lamp (at least 9 watt)
  • Paint brush
  • Paint palette
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • JoolTool or metal file to grind the bottom of the bead flat
To turn your bead into a ring, you'll need:
  • a filigree ring base
  • 5-minute epoxy adhesive
  • chain nose pliers

How to Make a UV Resin Rose Bead

Start by applying a bead of resin to the tip of the ball tool.
Applying one drop of UV resin to the point of the needle tool.

Place it under the UV lamp to cure. You'll need to rotate the tool constantly so the resin doesn't drip or cure lopsided. This will take several minutes depending on your nail lamp.
Placing the UV resin into the nail lamp to cure.

Apply another layer of resin over the cured resin and dip the ball into the bead caviar. This will become the stamens of the rose. Then place it under the nail lamp again, constantly rotating it until the resin has gelled and the beads are adhered.
Dipping the point of the needle tool into the jar of gold bead caviar to coat the resin.

Apply a coat of resin over the bead caviar and cure it under the nail lamp, rotating it until the resin gels.

Squeeze a drop of white and pink alcohol ink onto the palette and dip your brush into each colour. Paint three of four petals around the resin ball. You want them to cup the caviar a little.
Using the paint brush to paint the alcohol ink petals around the sides of the resin ball.
One layer of light pink petals painted around the base of the resin ball with the gold bead caviar in the centre.

Once the alcohol ink has dried, apply a coat of resin to the whole ball and cure as before. If you apply a thick layer then it will take more time to cure. If your layer is thin, then you'll need to apply a second coat.
Applying a layer of UV resin onto the alcohol ink and spreading it over the painted petals.
Curing the next layer of resin under the UV light.

Paint another layer of petals on the resin, lining them up in between the petals of the first layer but so that they sit slightly lower.
Using the paint brush to paint a second layer of darker pink petals in between the gaps in the first layer of petals.

Continue adding layers of resin and alcohol ink until your bead is the size that you want.
The final bead showing all the layers of petals, ready to be removed from the needle tool.

The bead should be easy to remove from the needle - just give it a twist and pull it off.
Twisting the bead to release it from the needle tool.

Now you need to flatten the bottom so that it will sit on the ring base. I used the JoolTool with a grinding disk because it removes the excess material so quickly and you can see what you're doing as the ninja disk rotates. I absolutely love this tool! But you could just as easily use a hand file to get the same result.
Using the JoolTool to grind the bottom of the bead flat.

Turn the Resin Rose Bead into a Ring

Use the pliers to open out the prongs on the ring base a little so that the bead sits snugly.
Use the chain nose pliers to open out the claws of the filigree ring base so the bead will fit.

Mix up the 5-minute epoxy and apply some to the base of the bead.
Applying the five minute epoxy to the base of the bead with a wooden stir stick

Press the bead into the ring base and hold it in position for a couple of minutes.
Pressing the bead firmly into the filigree ring base.

And now your Resin Rose Bubble ring is ready to wear!

Avoid this mistake!

For the first bead I made, it seemed like a good idea to form the UV resin around the tip of a ball tool but that made it very hard to remove. To get it off, I had to use the grinding attachment on my Her Embosser Tool to create a flat base around the base of the bead.

Then I had to switch to the drill to drill out the resin from around the spindle of the ball tool. I was lucky that the spindle came out of the ball tool so that I could drill almost vertically down to the ball tip without the wooden handle getting in the way.
 Using the drill to remove the resin alongside the shaft of the ball tool.

Then I had to grip the shaft with a pair of pliers whilst pulling and wiggling the bead until it came free.
Using the pliers to wiggle the shaft of the ball tool back and forth until the ball tip is released from the resin.

It took a fair bit of effort so I highly recommend building your bead on a needle tool!

Like this project? Pin it for Later!
DIY Resin Rose Ring inspiration sheet.

Inspiration sheet with photo of light pink and dark pink Resin Rose Bubble Rings on a ring stand

Tutorial sheet showing step by step photos of how to make the resin rose bubble ring.

'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, May 3, 2018

9 Fabulous Handmade Jewellery Gifts for Mother's Day

There's no doubting the importance of your Mum. She nurtured you through your childhood years, loved you unconditionally as you navigated the teenage years and helped shape the person you have become today as an adult. Now, she's a confidante, an adviser, your biggest fan and your cheerleader. What an amazing woman she is! One thing is for sure - no matter how grown up you are, your Mum never stops being your Mum! So this Mother's Day, show her just how much she means to you with a gift that not only comes from your heart, but that was handmade with love.

To help you, I've rounded up some of my most popular jewellery making projects that she is sure to love.

Egyptian Perfume Bottle Pendant:
So this is not actually a bottle but it does look like one. This exotic pendant will take you less than an hour to put together.
Bottle shaped pendant made with hollow turquoise glass heart bead and bead caps

Rose Cluster Bottle Pendant:
Another bottle pendant that isn't actually a bottle. This tutorial also includes step-by-step instructions for making a snake chain to hang the bottle on. This project will take you a little over an hour.
Bottle necklace made with a red rose cluster bead and bead caps.

Ice Crystal Earrings:
Give your Mum some sparkly earrings! If she's not into blue, then make them with her favourite colours!
Silver teardrop chandelier finding draped with icy blue Swarovski bicone crystals

Fiesta Sunset Earrings:
For the Mum who likes her jewellery to have a more Southwestern influence, make these leather lace earrings in earthy tones. These just make you want to party!
Teardrop earrings made with orange, turquoise and rust suede lace with a marbled bead dangle.

Kashmiri Stretch Bracelet:
This is an easy project for a beginner to tackle. Using exotic beads like these Kashmiri beads is what makes it so special.
Stretch bracelet made with purple Kashmiri clay beads

Candy Coloured Kumihimo Bracelet:
This basic Kumihimo braid is much simpler than it looks. Once you get the hang of how to do it, you can make the bracelet whilst you're watching TV.
8-strand basic Kumihimo braid worked in candy colours and made into a bracelet

Beaded Leather Kumihimo Bracelet with Sliding Knot:
For something just a little more challenging than the basic Kumihimo braid, add some beads to the braid and then finish the bracelet with an adjustable sliding knot. Your Mum will love that she can do this bracelet up on her own!
Leather cord Kumihimo bracelet with pearlised focal bead and seed beads worked into the braid,  finished with an adjustable sliding knot.

Marbled and Textured Resin Bracelet:
You'll need a bit more time to complete this resin bracelet, but the time spent will be well worth it! Your Mum will love the marbled and the textured pieces in the shiny silver settings. It will become one of her favourite pieces in no time!
Pink and purple marbled and textured resin slices set in an oval bracelet setting
And if after all those ideas, you really don't have the time to make a piece of jewellery for your Mum, then why not choose a stack of colourful handmade resin bangles in her favourite colour. These bangles have magnetic closures that are encrusted with sparkly crystals and they come in whatever length you need. I make them for Mums with bigger wrists, Mums with smaller wrists and Mums with average size wrists. No matter what size you need, I can make one to suit. Or, buy one ready-made. See the full range here: Mill Lane Studio Jewellery Shop.

Stack of 4 resin bangles in shades of green, embellished with crystals and silver beads, finished with a sparkly magnetic clasp.

I hope these ideas help you find just the right gift to show your Mum just how much she means to you.
Pin for later!
Make your Mum one of these 9 beautiful pieces of jewellery for Mother's Day

'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

Monday, April 30, 2018

Rose Cluster Faux Perfume Bottle Necklace

Every Mum deserves a bouquet of flowers for Mother's Day. But why not go one step further and make her a pendant with a beautiful rose cluster bead that will live on long beyond a bunch of flowers. Make it yourself with love and show her how much she means to you. 
Rose bottle pendant featuring a red rose cluster bead, bead caps and silver Swarovski crystals

This stunning bottle-style pendant is surprisingly easy to make. You just need an assortment of bead caps and a couple of crystals to add some sparkle to this special rose cluster bead.

Here's a shopping list to help you out:
Beads and findings required for the Rose Bottle Pendant
Tools: 2 pairs chain nose pliers; Round nose pliers; Flat nose pliers; Flush cutters;  Bead mat

Work Out Your Design

To design your bottle pendant, you'll need to sort through your bead cap mix and find combinations that work well together. Starting with the base, string on a 3mm bead cap (or a round spacer bead). This will act as a stopper and make sure that the first bead cap doesn't fall off if it has a large hole.

Now, create the base and stem. 

Try different combinations of bead caps: some bell shaped, some flat, some cupped. Place multiple pieces together to create fancy shapes, or string some upside down to give them a different look. 

Include the 6mm Swarovski crystal in the stem and add the feature bead so you get a really good idea of how it will look. Just keep trying the bead caps in different combinations until you like what you see. I eventually went with number 2 because I liked its balance.
3 different bead cap combinations for the base of the rose bottle

Now do the same thing with the top. String different combinations of bead caps to create a fancy-shaped top for your faux perfume bottle. Include the 4mm Swarovski crystal in the top as part of the "cap". This time I went with the third combination.
Three different combinations of beads and crystals to make up a "lid" for the bottle.

Once you're happy with the design, firm all the bead caps into position so they nestle inside each other and there's no play in them. Grip the head pin above the last bead/bead cap with chain nose pliers and bend it at a 90° angle above the pliers.
Use chain nose pliers to bend the head pin at a 45° angle

With round nose pliers, create a loop large enough to string your chain through. Finish with the tail of the head pin on the side so that you have a complete loop.
Using round nose pliers to form a loop at the top of the neck of the head pin.

Hold the loop with one pair of pliers and grip the tail with the other pair. Wrap the tail neatly around the neck as many times as you need to. This will keep the components firmly in position so that there is no wiggle room. Two to three wraps is a good balance. If you need more than this, then make the neck shorter next time.
Wrapping the wire around the neck of the head pin

Trim away the excess tail close to the neck.
Trimming the tail of the head pin flush with the wire wrapping using flush cutters.

Make the Chain

Decide how long you'd like the pendant to be and take away the clasp length from this measurement. I cut my chain to 50cm (19.75") and with the clasp and jump rings added, it measures 52cm (20.5") long.
Cutting the snake chain to the desired length for the necklace, using flush cutters.

Place one end of the chain into the chain end. You can glue it into position if you wish, but this is optional. Suitable adhesives would be GS-Hypo Cement or super glue. Grip the loop and the very tip of the chain with the chain nose pliers. With flat nose pliers in your other hand, press one flap of the chain end over the chain. Do the same to the other side. Give it a gentle tug to make sure it's secure. If not, press the flaps down more firmly and then tug again.
Crimping the cord end onto the snake chain with chain nose pliers.

String the other end of the chain through the loop of the pendant. Attach a chain end to this end of the chain in the same way.
Threading the snake chain through the wrapped loop of the rose bottle pendant

Connect the ends of the chain to the clasp with jump rings.
Attaching the clasp to each end of the chain with jump rings using chain nose pliers.

And that's it. Your Mum will love receiving such a beautiful handmade gift. And every time she wears it, she will remember how much you mean to her.

Pin this project for later!
DIY Rose Cluster Bottle Necklace inspiration sheet.

For Mum, Rose Bottle Necklace tip sheet with step out photos.

'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