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.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


 Today I'm introducing a resin-pressed flower artist with a different bent:  Zipper8Design (
I came upon her coasters in a random  Etsy search, and really liked her work.  Here she explains how she started and the problems she has with pressing flowers:
I started working with resin while getting a Masters of Architecture, I used it for a project in one of my digital fabrication classes. I was having so much fun that I decided to order some extra for myself to fool around with. That, and a random bottle cap collection I had lying around, led to my first experiments with making trivets and then coasters out of recycled beer bottle caps. For a while my little business really just focused on the bottle caps, until one day I thought, what if I embed something else into my coaster, like say a gingko leaf? I absolutely adore gingko leaves, and there are a lot of gingko trees on the streets of NYC around my apt, so I picked a pretty one off the tree one day, took it home and poured my first botanical coaster. And within about an hour, my leaf was an ugly brown. I was bummed, but thought, well maybe if I just press and dry the leaf first it will stay nice and green? So I started drying leaves, and discovered that it worked!

This past summer when I started trying to press other flowers I ran into a lot of problems, and a lot of brown petals! I tried pressing flowers in the microwave because I'm impatient, but really struggled to master that technique, and ended up with a lot of flowers embedded with the quilted paper towel pattern. Finally I settled on simply putting the flowers between printer paper, and in a big stack of books. I would usually leave them there one weekend, and pull them out the following weekend, the next time I was up in CT. Unfortunately I spent a lot of time refining my technique, and often times wouldn't figure it out until after the flower I was working with had died off. For instance I was trying to press these pretty yellow sundrops that my Mom had bushel loads of. First I pressed them face down, splayed out, but they didn't look so great. Then I test pressed one sprig lying on its side, leaves and stem and all. And it was perfect! The next weekend when I went to press more, all the flowers were gone. Now I just have to wait until next summer to use my new skills, at least for the sundrops.

Overall most of my issues tend to be with the pressing of the flowers. I find the resin really easy to work with, and maybe its just the brand I use but I've never had real issues with bubbles or anything like that. But, the scale of a coaster allows for many more imperfections that would be noticeable at a small scale, such as in a pendant. I'm still learning, and for me the most challenging thing is to plan ahead for the seasons. This fall for instance I collected fall leaves like a mad person, certain that just when I discovered my next great coaster those leaves would be gone, just like my sundrops. So its a learning process but I'm loving it, and my botanical coasters are really popular so I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and learning along the way. For instance, next summer I'm going to hoard queen anne's lace like there's no tomorrow because those have ended up being hugely popular and I only caught on at the end of the season and wasn't able to collect nearly as many flowers as I might have liked. Nature wins again I guess.

Thank you!

I'm trying something totally new. In the early days of my jewelry making I bought a big bunch of "jeweler's seconds" drop pendants and settings, which turned out to be demo pieces with posts soldered on the backs. I finally figured out that I might be able to use them if I sanded the posts off and filled them with resin. I've gotten some interesting results:

Thank you for visiting my blog!  Chris

Thursday, November 11, 2010

INTRODUCING PENNEE, a new resin-pressed flower artist; and TRY SOMETHING NEW!

I'm honored to introduce Pennee, who is comparatively new to working with resin and pressed flowers.  I discovered her jewelry while browsing Etsy:  I asked her how she started working with resin, and some of the challenges she faces with resin and pressed flower:
My name is Pennee and my shop is Pennee Designs at Etsy. I started making jewelry many years ago and have gone in and out of it over the years.  Resin is my new love.

It was hard to learn since I had no class to go to and was basically kept at reading on the internet, watching YouTube videos and I finally got 2 books, "The Art of Resin Jewelry" and "The art of jewelry Plastic and resin"  I recommend the first book as it explains things from the beginning of the resin process. Mine came with a DVD which was nice and informative.  I usually buy books at Amazon as they have good prices.  I suggest making sure if you buy the first book, (by Sherri Haab) that you make sure it comes with the DVD.

One of the hardest parts of making a resin flower piece for me is keeping the small bubbles out and making sure there are no big ones that I have missed.  I try and slowly but with some force move the bigger flowers around to get bubbles out.

I use a stir stick or something without a point so I can press the flower down onto the first layer of resin which has already dried.  If the mold is see through I hold it up to a light making sure it stays flat so the liquid resin does not run out of the mold and onto the floor, (I've done this, not fun).

Once I move the flower around until I think any big bubbles are left underneath and looked at the flower from underneath I leave it but I will come back a few times until it is sticky and see if I need to pop a bubble.  It is OK to move the flowers around when they are almost sticky because resin will slowly slide back into any crevasses.  The problem with this is you have to be careful not to mess up the other flowers or things you have put in the mold.

One thing I just found out from a man who used to work with resins and plastics is if you put less hardener in the mix it will not harden less it will harden slower and that will cause less bubbles.  I have not tried this yet but it sounds like an interesting idea and I am going to do it for my next pour and I'll let everyone know what happens.
   Isn't her jewelry lovely?

I have been finding fun in trying new techniques; as long as I don't use expensive settings or too much resin, I have little to lose, and occasionally  some astounding successes.  Here  are a few examples that show you really don't have to follow the rules!
I didn't like the flower in resin by itself, so I glued it to a pendant setting I'd had for years; It didn't fit perfectly, but it sold right away so guess it was ok!
I wanted to try the "tray" shapes.  This didn't turn out too well, but it gave me the fortitude to try some other ideas with the mold.

I bought the pendant setting thinking it would be easy to add crystals or something to the bottom ring. But once I had put the red leaf and flowers in, I couldn't find anything to match. The piece I added still doesn't work so now I'm looking for a little brass setting for it to complete the piece. It may never happen, but I've learned a few things.

I wanted to try a flower on plain metal, without a resin background. Although I had trouble photographing this, I like the result.

Thank you for visiting, Chris