Mithril: Resin Gem Tutorial

Resin Gem Tutorial:

Resin can be used in many projects, this is a tutorial to  make gem stones. The type of resin you want for this project is called polyester casting resin. It’s a clear resin that comes in either a 2 part solution that you mix in equal quantities or one that requires a catalyst. In this tutorial I’m using one with a catalyst. When working with resin it’s important to either go outside or wear a mask that takes in the fumes as resin fumes are dangerous to breath in.

The materials I have here are: Resin, Catalyst, Plastic jug, latex gloves( you may use vinyl if allergic to latex), A stick to stir with and molds. I forgot to photo nail varnish, hot glue gun, hot glue gun sticks, scissors and silver card. If you want to add decals to the resin you would need a stick to insert then with and your decals.

First step is to measure out the resin, I used about 50ml and it was enough to completely fill and to have some extra. Add your catalyst (or the other part of the solution) and stir slowly. You will see it will start to thicken up. If your gemstones aren’t able to have a backing, like for earring pendents, at this point you can add special resin coloring.

Now pour into your molds. Be careful not to over fill them as this will make it more difficult to release the resin later.  I’ve used special resin molds but you can use anything that flexes slightly. Some people say silicone reacts with resin but I haven’t tried using resin molds.

If you want to add decals you have two options. You can fill the resin molds fully then use a stick to push them in, this will make them come very close to the surface. If you want the decals to be more in the middle half fill the mold, then add your decals then put the rest of the resin up.

Let them cure, I normally leave it overnight. You will notice the gem will look cloudy but don’t panic! As you can see once you can pop them out they are clear. Be careful when popping them out as they are still a little sticky but this will go away if you leave them for a couple of hours out of their molds.

Now you can colour them, I use the cheapest nail varnish I can find as you need a slight transparency. You can also use glass paint. If your gemstone have a design on them like an eye you would paint it reverse, start off what you normally paint on last and build it up.

Now cut a section of of shiny silver card. You want the stuff that you can almost see your reflection in.  Heat up your gun and once the glue is push-able add a liberal amount to the back of the gem and then quickly push onto the card. It doesn’t take very long to dry. You can see on this photo some nail varnish has come out but that’s because my glue gun heats up too much.

Once dry cut out the gem as close as you can to the gemstone. I used scissors so I can’t scratch the gems with my clumsiness but if you gem is an awkward shape you can use a craft knife.

Once they are all cut out you can use them in your project.  I hope this tutorial was easy to follow. Please comment or ask me if you would like any tutorials like making your own molds.

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