Thursday, June 24, 2010

Prepping Friendly Plastic for jewellery making

Some weeks just don't go the way you plan. I know I promised you a follow up post to the Friendly Plastic demos I did at the Scrapbook and Papercraft Expo but I got completely waylaid trying to eradicate the gremlins that got into my website instead. Three days and 18 hours later it's almost restored to how it was and it's all functional again with just a few minor things still to be fixed. Needless to say, I learnt a whole lot more about basic web design - but it's boring stuff.... I'd much rather be creative in the studio than fix websites!

And now that that's behind me, it's back to the "how to" I promised you.

So far, you've cut your strips of Friendly Plastic, re-fused them together in a great combination of colours, marbled them and cut them out into shapes. Now what?

Well, it's quite simple really. To prepare your marbled Friendly Plastic cutouts ready for assembly into pieces of jewellery you'll need to coat them with resin. For a really thick, glass-like coat you can use Envirotex Lite but I usually use Easy Cast because it's versatile and can also be used for casting. Other papercrafting products like Dimensional Magic, Diamond Glaze and similar products will give you a nice gloss finish but won't stand up to the rigours that jewellery needs to withstand. They are better suited for coating pieces you intend using in papercrafting projects.

Firstly, trim any pieces that have ragged edges using scissors.

I lay strips of double sided tape across a non-stick pan and line up all the pieces I want to coat with resin. The tape keeps them still so you don't have to chase them all over the tray when you apply the resin.I always measure and mix the resin as per the manufacturer's instructions. Measuring the two parts properly will ensure that your resin will cure.... so does mixing it properly. I mixed 7.5mls of part A and 7.5mls of part B which was enough for two trays of cutouts.
Then comes the tedious bit - applying the resin. You'll need a tool to spread the resin evenly across the surface of each piece. I use a disposable plastic pipette but you could use an old paintbrush or even a paddle pop stick. Just make sure you spread the resin right out to the edges and if you can, coat the sides also. It will make for much more durable pieces of jewellery.
If there are any bubbles on the surface, you can gently blow through a straw to pop them.

And that's it. Not so hard at all!

Set the pieces aside to cure for 24 hours and then they'll be ready for you to turn into your own unique pieces of jewellery. Cover the trays with a plastic container so you can see through it and you'll be less likely to bump them accidentally. The cover will keep the dust off the resin until the pieces are cured.

And then comes the fun part - the design possibilities! But I'll save that for another day!

'Til next time,