In this blog I will present commented discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of various art resins; discuss how to prepare flowers for use with resin and which flowers have worked best/not worked for me. I will be presenting interviews and discussions with other pressed flower and resin artists. I will have a "tip of the day" section.

I'm hoping that lots of you contribute; comments, arguments and disagreements are always welcome. Resin is such a complex medium that we all have something to learn. Besides, tweaks and even new resin products are coming out all the time.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Tools I Use with Resin; and a wonderful Pressed Flower in Resin Artist

I've been winnowing down the number of tools I use in working with resin and my pressed flowers. I started out with all sorts of fancy stuff I found recommended by the resin -making companies  and sellers of resin. I've winnowed  these down to a very few which I find indispensable:
From the left:  (1) Sandings sticks: these little goodies in come in multiple grits and the sanding paper can be moved around the stick; the papers are replaceable. I found them in hobby stores and tool stores on line.
                      (2) Microbrushes. After I saw a picture of these somewhere once, I googled them and found quite a few prices, and as usual a large variety of prices. I buy them by the jar of 50 at a time, and use several each time I pour resin, to spread resin to the edges; to move flowers around, to catch little pieces of plant  that I don't want in the piece of jewelry. The original ones I used to buy were metal and could be bent to an angle; I haven't been able to find those lately. These plastic ones will angle only a little but are still incredibly useful.
                      (3) A paintbrush for applying resin to the sides of jewelry. I buy cheap ones   in bulk so I don't have to try to clean and reuse them. I just have to make sure that there are no loose hairs before I stick them in the resin.

                      (4) A plastic flat-head tweezers. Also very inexpensive; they don't bruise delicate flower petals like the metal tweezers do.

                      (5) Disposable makeup sponges. Sometimes I buy the double-ended ones, depending on the price I can get for these in bulk.  I find them indispensable for wiping drips and run-overs of resin while I'm pouring and  repairing resin.

Not pictured, but what I also use are: little 1 ounce medicine cups in which I measure my resin; I buy them by the 100 from our local pharmacy; disposable plastic 2 ounce bottles with which I dispense the resin after the two parts are mixed;(boston rounds with dispensing tips), online),  baby wipes for spills; a microwave terracotta brick press, for the times I microwave instead of press drying flowers;  blotting paper (I googled for it online) and old phone books and bricks as weights, for regular drying of my flowers

I also want to introduce you to an  artist whose work I love.   Ruth of Buttermilk Lane
( has been my inspiration for the 5 years I've been working with resin--she's been making pressed flower and resin jewelry for a heck of a lot longer than that!  Here are two absolutely  lovely pieces of hers. I don't know that I'll ever reach her level of expertise or her artistic ability with flowers and resin! 

.Thank you for visiting my blog.  Chris

Monday, August 23, 2010

Bubble Trouble

Hi, thank all of you for the great response for my first two blogs. I am greatly encouraged! Sometimes I feel like I am a tiny invisible mite in a huge sea of resin workers, bloggers,  and, especially, jewelry sellers.

 One of the biggest difficulties I have in working with resin and flowers is with the resin molds, which I call reverse molds, because the face of the piece is at the bottom of the mold. (I get my molds at Michaels, or online at Resin Obsession or other craft sites.)
  After I spray the mold with mold release (available wherever the molds are sold--ooh, sorry, it rhymes!), I set the mold upside down on a newspaper to dry, at least a couple of hours; then I respray it and again let it dry.  I'm finding that spraying it twice results in very shiny pieces.) Then I set the flower  face down in the mold; pour in enough resin to just cover the flower and then press gently on the flower with a sponge makeup stick to press the air bubbles out. The problem comes either with obstinate bubbles as in the piece above, or in very delicate flowers which bruise:
so if I push on them the petals either show darkened, or eaten out. Sometimes the flower is full enough that I can moisten it first with resin or pull it into the resin with plastic flat tweezers, thereby avoiding the bubbles, but most flowers tear or fold if I try that.

 Basically, it's come down to patience: small taps or pushing gently on the flowers to walk the bubbles out to the side  and  avoiding using the most bruisable flowers in the reverse molds.

Now just a small mention about the bubbles you get on the surface: these are pretty easily taken care of by gently blowing on them with a straw; or passing a heat gun over them, or in the case of more obstinate resins that really don't want to let go of those bubbles, I've used a little butane torch to pass the flame over. Since I mostly use Colores Doming Resin or Colores general resin, I can get the surface bubbles off with a straw.

Thank you again for your encouragement!  Next blog I'll show you a few pieces by other resin-flower artists which I absolutely love. Also, I'll discuss  the  few of the tools I find absolutely essential in working with resin.  Chris 


Friday, August 20, 2010

Those pesky bubbles!!!

Bubbles are the bane of any resin artist.They appear for many reasons, and generally once they appear there is often little you can do except ignore them or toss the piece.

I've found that there are three main types of bubble problems: the first is the tiny bubbles throughout the resin, making the piece look either ethereal, or cloudy, depending on luck and your intention. The larkspur earrings, above, had bubbles throughout. 

The other day our house was very very hot as the air conditioner was broken. I was going to pour resin; in my wisdom I decided that the resin surely would not need to be heated, since the house was so hot already. I ended up having to toss 2 ounces of the resin because it was so full of bubbles I could barely see the flower! I'm not sure what running the two resin bottles under hot water for  a few minutes does, but when I prepared the next batch, I did heat it up and had no problem.

All the posts I've seen describe several causes of bubbles: not heating the resin; stirring too vigorously; old resin (in my experience, older than 6 months, are a few.

The next couple of posts will discuss two other types of bubbles: reverse mold bubbles under flowers, and surface bubbles you can often "blow" off.

Hint of the day: don't store clear resin jewelry in a gold-or silver-paper covered gift box; the resin will take on a yellow ugly tint.

Thanks for visiting my blog.  Chris

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Resin and Flowers: How I Started

After this post I promise I won't talk about myself, but this once I thought I'd answer a question frequently asked: what made me start in resin.

In the 60's in college I bought a green glass two-sided pressed flower pendant. I loved it and still have it.  For years I thought about doing something similar, but I didn't have time (and the will) to start a new craft until about 6 years ago, when I kind of burned out on machine knitting.
I looked on line for embedded flower jewelry, realized I didn't want to work with stained glass, and found resin. There wasn't a whole lot of anything on line 6 years ago but I found Envirotech Lite, and Easy Cast. I bought a couple of books on pressing flowers, started to raid my husband's garden, and started. I basically just experimented for the first couple of years, and most of my experiments were pretty awful. I did come out with a few pieces that are still nice today, but that was the exception.
    I gradually improved, and more important, started following the directions and being more careful (patience isn't my strong point) and my jewelry started improving. I actually sold several hundred dollars of jewelry in my first craft show 4 years.   But in the last couple of years, new products have come out and lots of other more experienced resin artists are now on line.  Furthermore, there are lots of pressed flower experts.  I belong to the World Wide Pressed Flower Guild,(online) where many of the top pressed flower artist in the world congregate, teach, and commune.

I started selling on Etsy a year ago. Since I continue to work full time, I haven't devoted a whole lot of time or energy promoting; but I've been honored to do several custom orders, for wedding and funeral flowers, besides selling my jewelry online on Etsy, occasionally on EBay, at craft sales and off line. I'm getting near (partial) retirement and am devoting more time to my crafts--fancy panties and resin flower jewelry. I continue to devour everything I can find online regarding resin, and posted several times on Etsy forums.

I was looking for an active blog on resin-flower jewelry, and really didn't find any, so here we are!