Monday, January 2, 2012

Resin Cuff Links How To

Welcome back dear friends and visitors!

Twenty Twelve (there, I said it again!) promises to be another very creative year in my studio so I hope you'll be a regular visitor in 2012 and enjoy spending time with me as I create away!

Let's get this year underway with a tutorial! Today I'm showing you how to make cuff links using UV resin.

You might remember this post just after Christmas where I showed you some gifts I had made for the male members of my household. Well, now I'm going to show you the basics of how to create those cuff links using UV curing resin.

If you want to create Friendly Plastic cuff links like mine then visit Jen Lowe's blog for a great video showing the Fracture and Fusion technique.

Here's what you'll need to make the basic cuff links:
  • Pair of silver plated cuff links;
  • Item to embed in the resin;
  • Magic-Glos UV resin;
  • Dye based ink pad
  • Scrap paper
  • Stanley Knife
  • Ruler (with a cork back - see a tutorial here) and paper scissors
  • Tim Holtz Tonic Scissors
  • Paddle pop stick
  • UV Lamp (or sunshine)
  • Small, deep lid (a coffee jar lid)
  • Rice or sand
  • Gas lighter
  • Double sided tape
Begin by creating a template as your cutting guide.

Place a cuff link into the inkpad and then stamp it on scrap paper.

Cut it out using the knife and ruler, keeping the paper in tact to become a negative frame. Trim the four sides a little more so that it fits inside the cuff link bezel.

Test that the template fits.

I'm working with a fused strip of Friendly Plastic that I had left over from some other projects. You can see those here and here. It's a really good idea to make up a strip larger than you need so that you can use it in multiple projects. It's even better when you're pressed for time and you have these on hand and ready to go...... like on Christmas Eve when you need a quick last minute, but very eye catching gift!

If you're using paper instead of Friendly Plastic then you will need to seal it so that the Magic-Glos doesn't wick into the paper causing discolouration. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for how to do this. A word of warning: Don't use Mod Podge with Magic-Glos as it is not compatible.

Place the negative template over the Friendly Plastic and move it around until you like what you see in the frame.

Place a piece of double sided tape on the back of the template and place it inside the negative frame. Remove the frame and then cut out the square. You can use the Tonic scissors or the ruler and knife. I preferred the knife because you get a cleaner cut, but it takes more effort.

Cut a matching square and check that they both fit inside the cuff links.

Support the cuff link in the small bowl of rice or sand. Squeeze a blob of Magic-Glos into the centre of the cuff link and then spread it out to the edges with a paddle pop stick. Place the square of Friendly Plastic over the Magic-Glos.

Squeeze another blob of Magic-Glos into the centre of the Friendly Plastic and then spread it out to the edges. You should have sufficient to completely cover the Friendly Plastic. If there are any bubbles in the resin, pass the gas lighter briefly across the surface. The heat will pop them. Take extreme care when using a flame making sure that the Magic-Glos does not catch alight.

You can create the second cuff link at the same time. Place the container under the UV lamp or in direct sunlight (i.e. not behind glass) and allow to cure for approximately 10 minutes.
You will need to top up the bezels with a second and third coat until you achieve a nice dome. Cure in between each layer. And that's it!

For a really professional finish, present them inside a cuff link box. Chances are, the recipient won't guess that you've made these yourself, so why not add a little "handmade by me" tag to the back of the cuff links.

If you'd like to print off this tutorial, hop on over to my website, Mill Lane Studio where you can download the pdf version of the tutorial.

So I finish off today wishing you a Happy New Year.... may it be a year filled with crafting every day!