by Lisa McGrimmon
If you've been looking at trying some jewelry resin projects, you might have hit a bit of a road block in terms of figuring out exactly what supplies you need and where to buy them.
I know I did.
When I first started making resin jewelry, I wasted some time and money using resin and mold making products that weren't ideal for my needs. I also had to search around a bit to find the right products.
Here are the jewelry resin and casting supplies I recommend and links to online stores you where to buy those supplies at a good price.
When you buy jewelry resin, keep in mind that different types of resin work well for different applications.
Coating resin is used in projects where you want to apply a thin layer over an item to give it a smooth, glossy finish.
Casting resin is used when you want to create a 3 dimensional cast from a mold or fill some type of small container (like a bezel). Coating uses a thin layer, while casting requires a thicker layer.
When you are using casting resin, you can choose between polyurethane and polyester casting resin. I've tried both, and I really prefer polyurethane. In my experience, it seems to set more reliably, and it does not have the terrible smell that polyester resin has.
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When I started making resin jewelry, it was tough to find great bezels at a fair price, with reasonable purchasing terms. Happily, Amazon now has a very nice selection of bezels for reasonable prices. Check out these examples. You can use the search box below to look for more bezels on Amazon.
I like to create my own images to embed in bezels or molds. I just seal them with Mod Podge (which you can buy at any craft store).
If you'd like to purchase designed images to include in your bezels, take a look at collage sheets. There are plenty of gorgeous designs out there.
I have not worked with color in resin, so I can't provide a lot of insights into the best brands or techniques. If you'd like to add some color to your resin projects, many brands supply colors you can experiment with.
You will only need premade molds or mold making materials if you are not using bezels. If you are casting all of your resin pieces in bezels, you can skip this section on molds.
Pre-made molds for jewelry making are fairly easy to come by. Check out your local art and/or craft supply store and you will probably find a few options. You can also find plenty of jewelry molds at Amazon.
Making your own molds for jewelry casting is simple and opens up amazing design possibilities.
My all time favorite mold making material is Smooth-On Oomoo 30 Silicone liquid silicone rubber.
I just love this stuff. A new batch of Oomoo delivered to my door always means a fun round of experimenting.
Oomoo is easy to use (just mix it gently and pour it into a container with the item you want to cast), it creates sturdy molds, and it is inexpensive, but, unfortunately, I have found it's not readily available in most craft or art supply stores, so I always order it online.
You can find Oomoo on Amazon
If you are going to use any kind of molds for jewelry resin projects, you'll need some mold release. Mold release helps the resin to easily pop out of the mold once it has cured. You do not need mold release if you are only making projects with bezels.
You should have no problem finding mold release any good craft supply store, and you can buy Castin' Craft Mold Release at Amazon.
Mixing your jewelry resin and hardener in exactly the right proportions is absolutely crucial for good results. You'll need small, graduated mixing cups (graduated cups are cups that have units marked on the cup for measuring) for mixing and measuring.
I would suggest that you avoid buying graduated cups from art supply stores. You'll end up paying a lot more than necessary.
If you're mixing small amounts of resin, simply go to your local drugstore and ask for a package of medicine cups (the kind you use to measure liquid medicine for young children). They are the same as the cups sold specifically for use with resin, but they are usually a lot less expensive at a drugstore.
You can use popsicle sticks for mixing. These are inexpensive and widely available in the craft section of large department stores or craft stores - No need to go on a hunt for them in a specialty store!
The best way to remove bubbles is with a heat gun. Some people recommend other options (like blowing through a straw, holding a match over the resin, or using a hair dryer), but all of those options have problems and, in my experience, don't work as well as a heat gun.
I bought my heat gun from Michael's with one of their 40% off coupons, so it was very inexpensive. If you don't have a Michael's or other large craft supply store nearby, you can pick a heat gun for a reasonable price on Amazon.
Phew! That was a lot of information and a lot of options. Since you might be feeling a bit of information overload right now, here's a quick summary of what you'll need. You can get some of it at local craft stores, and you should be able to find everything you need on Amazon.
There are a few jewelry resin supplies that you can pick up inexpensively at your local drug store, department store and/or craft store. Those include:
Have fun with your jewelry resin projects!