Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Resin Beer Bottlecap Coaster Kits

Shopping for men's gifts is one of the hardest shopping assignments there is. But when my twin nephews celebrated a milestone birthday recently, I knew exactly what to give them: a set of resin coasters featuring some of their favourite alcoholic beverages.

They were a huge hit!

If you find yourself with that male gift shopping dilemma (and with Christmas fast approaching, who doesn't?), then why not consider making your own set of coasters to give to the beer loving men in your life.

If you're the hands-on type of person who would like to make your own mancave coasters, you can now buy the Beer Bottle Cap Resin Coaster kit and have the fun of doing it yourself. 

Or if you want a set but don't want to make your own, I'll make them for you! Just send me an email.

So here's what you get in the kit:
  • a handmade flexible silicone mould (for easy demoulding)
  • bottle caps to get you started
  • self adhesive surface protectors for the back of the coaster
  • complete instructions, with full step by step photos; and
  • if you're in Australia, your kit will also include an epoxy resin kit, measuring and mixing cups, stirrers and latex gloves. Sorry, but I can't ship resin internationally.
Kits cost $40 without resin, $75 with 200ml resin or $85 for 500ml resin. The 500ml kit has enough resin to make 4 coasters - you just add your own bottle caps. 

Visit my website and purchase a kit for yourself or wrap it up and give it to the man who loves to make things for himself. I'm sure he'll enjoy collecting the bottlecaps for himself!

'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, October 29, 2012

Pumpkin Glitter to the Rescue - How to Fix a Less than Perfect Resin Bangle

Today's project is going to take a plain resin bangle and dress it in wonderfully sparkly, pumpkin coloured glitter for Halloween.
Resin bangle covered with pumpkin coloured glitter

Notice the white spots on the top of the bangle in the photo below? Well, sometimes when you're working with resin, things don't turn out quite like you'd hoped - this bangle was one of those occasions. But those imperfections make it the perfect candidate for this treatment.
Peach resin bangle with surface imperfections

I won't go in to what caused the white spots but instead I want to show you a way of disguising them. And seeing as it is Halloween this week, an orange bangle is ideal for the glitter treatment.

For the first part of this project you'll need a resin bangle, Mod Podge, glitter (I chose a shade of pumpkin), a tidy tray to catch the glitter and a paint brush.

Paint the bangle with a coat of Mod Podge working in small sections at a time. The wonderful thing about Mod Podge is that even though it's water based, it will stick to the resin..... amazing! But beware..... if you don't clean up your brush with water straight away, it will permanently stick to your brush too.
Brushing on a coat of Mod Podge on the bangle

Sprinkle glitter on the Mod Podge, using the tray to catch the excess and then repeat all the way around the bangle.
Coating the bangle with glitter.

Wow..... love this look!
Pumpkin coloured glitter on a resin bangle.

But whilst it looks pretty, you'll look like you've been visited by the glitter fairies unless you seal it. Let the Mod Podge dry for several hours before proceeding.

For the second part of the project you'll need resin. I chose EnviroTex Jewelry Resin because it's really clear and it's perfect for applying as a coating. For a project of this size you only need about 5mls but I find there is less chance of getting the measurements wrong if you mix up more than 2.5mls of each part. You can always use the left over resin on another project but just have that project ready to go.

Here's what you'll need:
EnviroTex Jewelry Resin
2 measuring cups
2 plastic party cups
wooden stir sticks
disposable glove
utility knife

The first thing I like to do is cut the top off my plastic party cups. Keep the bottoms for another resin project. The rims make a great stand for the bangle so that you don't get resin all over you whilst you're working. You'll see what I mean later on. Turn one of the cup rims upside down and place the bangle on it.
Glittered bangle supported on a cup ready for a coat of resin

Insert the second cup rim inside the bangle and now it's nice and sturdy and can be handled without getting resin all over you. Mix up 10mls of resin, following the manufacturer's instructions carefully.
Resin bottles and glittered bangle

Paint the resin on with a gloved finger. You can use a paint brush for this but you will have to throw it away afterwards.
Using a gloved finger to spread the resin over the glitter.

Place the cup stand back on the bench. The excess resin will drip down the stand and pool in the lip of the rim.
Resin coated bangle supported on a cup whilst it cures.

After 5 minutes, turn the stand upside down, remove the rim which is coated with resin and discard it. Turning the bangle upside down will help the coat of resin even out but you may need to used your gloved finger to smooth out the surface completely. If you have any further drips at the bottom, use a toothpick to wipe away the excess so the bangle doesn't stick to the stand.
Resin coated bangle left to cure on an upturned plastic cup.

Leave it to cure for 24 hours. There will probably be some excess resin to be removed.
 Rough and uneven edges left on the bangle after coating with resin 

Carefully shave it away with the Stanley knife. If it is still rough, you can use 180 grit wet/dry sand paper to smooth it. Make sure you use it with water so that there is no dust to breathe in. Follow up with 400 grit if necessary.
Using a utility knife to trim away the uneven edges of the resin

And there you have it. A wonderfully sparkly glittered resin bangle and no imperfections in sight! It goes rather nicely with my spotted Halloween bangles too.
 Spotted orange and black resin bangles with a glittered pumpkin bangle.

Try this fix on bangles that are filled with bubbles as well (if you try to pour polyurethane resin on a humid day, you'll be familiar with this problem!).

If you like this project, you might like this one too!
How to disguise Bubbles in a resin bangle

Pin this Project!
Step by step how to glitter a resin bangle.

Resin bottles with Glittered Bangle

'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, October 25, 2012

Bangles for Halloween

You might remember these retro side circle bangles that I cast a few weeks back.
Orange and black resin bangles with flat spots

In that post I told you that I had a little plan for them and today is the day to reveal that plan.

The flat circular areas on the side of the bangles is ideal for gluing on embellishments and these disks which I cast in a paint palette with EasyCast epoxy resin are the perfect fit.

Once they were cured, I glued them on with Araldite 5-minute epoxy for a really strong bond. You can see how to mix 5-minute adhesive properly in this post
Attaching resin domes on the flat spots of the resin bangle

Such a simple but eye catching result and with Halloween just around the corner, the colours couldn't be more perfect.
Orange and black spotted resin bangles.

If you're using a paint palette or other plastic as your mould, don't forget to give it a spray with mould release first or the resin will become a permanent fixture in the bottom of the palette!

If you liked this idea, take a look at this related project:
Pumpkin Glitter Resin Bangle

Pin this Project!
Group of spotted and glittered Halloween bangles

'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, October 24, 2012

Poppy Garland Necklace

This month one of my necklaces appears in Crafts 'n Things magazine.  I thought you might like to have a little look.

Poppy Garland features a bold ceramic flower threaded on a garland of Kiwi Sof-Suede lace, square Czech glass donuts and Swarovski crystals.

If you'd like to make this striking necklace, you'll find the full instructions in the October issue of Crafts 'n Things.

'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, October 16, 2012

Licorice Allsorts Stack of Resin Bangles

Have I ever told you that I have a sweet tooth?

Well, I do. So whenever I'm in Adelaide, I always pay a visit to Blackebys Sweets at the Central Market to indulge my sweet tooth with their incredible selection of traditional sweets and lollies. And my lolly of choice? Why, it's the old fashioned licorice allsort!

I love the idea of wearing my favourite lolly. And with a much anticipated visit to Blackebys on Saturday, I was inspired to make some fun licorice allsorts bangles!
Handmade licorice allsorts resin bangle stack of green, black, pink, black and yellow square bangles.

Aren't they cool - a stack of square bangles that really look like licorice allsorts. But the benefit is, you get all the colourful layers, but with none of the calories!

Now I know that not everyone is a fan of licorice allsorts but if you do like them, then you know how much fun it is to peel away the layers, one by one. And in the calorie free version, you can do that too; just switch out one colour and swap it for another - such a fun accessory to add to your wardrobe!
Yellow, black, pink, black and orange square bangle stack look like layers of a licorice allsort.

Want to learn how to make your own? Join me in a Resin Bangle and Ring workshop in my studio and I'll show you how.

'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, October 15, 2012

Pretty Pastel Cookies

It was raining last week so I spent an afternoon in the kitchen baking. The whole house was filled with the sweet aroma of freshly baked biscuits. Mmmmm......

I use a forcer to pipe these pretty little biscuits. You might know this gadget as a cookie press. It comes with a selection of piping discs which give the biscuits their lovely patterns.

Once baked and cooled, all you need to do is mix up a batch of stiff icing, divide it into small bowls and colour it. Then sandwich the biscuits together in pairs.

Don't the pastels look pretty on a crisp white platter?

This batch travelled with me to Adelaide for my Mum's 80th birthday afternoon tea. They were a big hit and by the end of the afternoon, the platter was empty. I think that's the best compliment any cook can have!

'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, October 8, 2012

How to Decorate a Birthday Cake in 10 Minutes!

What do you do when you have to decorate a cake in a hurry..... in a park..... and without a kitchen?

Well, the smart thing to do is to reach for "frosting in a can"!

A couple of weeks back we had our first spring picnic for the season. This was more than just a picnic though; it was also a birthday celebration. And no birthday would be complete without a cake; kitchen or no kitchen!

If you're a busy working mum then canned frosting could become your best friend. No mixing, no colouring, no flavouring - it's all done for you. Just press the nozzle and out comes the frosting. You even have a choice of 4 nozzles to give you different piping patterns. It's SO easy that a child can do it. And it tastes pretty good too. This is simply the best shortcut to cake decorating that I've seen!

So with the cakes frosted, I decorated the cupcakes with chocolate butterflies that I had made the night before.This was definitely the most time consuming part of the cake because the purple chocolate melts just wouldn't cooperate. They are very finicky if you don't get the temperature just right, and I just couldn't get the temperature right. The milk chocolate on the other hand was a breeze to work with (love Cadbury cooking chocolate - tastes so good and melts perfectly!). The butterflies are not my best effort but they still tasted really good!

Here's another tip: If you have to transport them like I did, then don't pipe them on Glad Bake (silicone baking paper). They will just slide off the paper when they set and end up in a jumble in the the bottom of the container. Pipe them onto waxed paper instead and once they are set, you can just peel them off. Luckily they had been on ice in the esky so it wasn't too much of a drama but next time I'll know better.

This whole cake took just 10 minutes to frost and assemble - perfect for a picnic. But my recommendation is that you leave the chocolate butterflies for the parties you have in the cooler months - they soften way too quickly on a warm spring 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

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Retro Style - More New Bangle Moulds!

Today the sunshine is streaming into the studio and the bangles perched on the window ledge are bathed in a lovely warm glow.

Sigh..... makes your thoughts turn to summer! And that's a timely reminder that it's time to turn our attention to spring and summer fashions.

Bangles and rings are great accessories to bring last year's summer wardrobe up to date so today I'm working with some new bangle and ring moulds that have a retro feel about them. Mod, retro, neon and colour blocking are all buzz words in fashion at the moment and they can easily be translated into resin jewellery.

And if ever there was a match made in heaven, it would have to be retro and resin. I mean, what could be more retro than a resin bangle!

A little while ago I showed you some very hip square and eclipse bangles and the retro wedge ring and today I'm working with the Classic Wide bangle, the Retro Pyramid ring and the very groovy Retro Side Circles bangle.

It's amazing how different techniques can make a bangle look totally different. This first one is marbled in shades of purple giving it more of a vintage look reminiscent of pearlised lucite.

But given the colour block treatment, it looks much more retro.

BIG is in this season and the retro pyramid ring certainly fits that description. With it's non symmetrical facets, it's a real statement ring.  It's big and bold.... especially in neon!

You can get a better idea of the size of the retro pyramid from behind.
"Retro Side Circles" has flat disks around the outside of the bangle which catch the light. I see lots of possibilities for embellishing this bangle and I'll show you what I have planned for them in another post.
There are 7 flat circular areas around the outside of "retro side circles"

There are now over 20 different bangle and ring designs to choose from in the Resin Bangle and Ring workshop. And they are all available for use during the workshop - a sort of try before you buy option! You'll learn how to make your own retro resin accessories - it's fun and satisfying and they make great Christmas gifts too!  For further details and bookings check out the workshop page at Mill Lane Studio.

'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