DIY: Found Object Resin Cuffs

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Photo by Jessie Lacey

There’s been a theme in my art and DIY projects: using natural elements in an artificial or odd environment. When I make a terrarium, I take from nature and create a tiny world for my enjoyment. This idea has flowed nicely into jewelry making as well. I’ve used flowers and moss before, but the chemical reaction with the resin seems to degrade the organic materials, which is certainly interesting but hasn’t been exactly beautiful. That is something to keep in mind when choosing materials to use in your resin. But creating your own found-object resin cuff is a simple process with uniquely wearable results.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

• EasyCast Clear Casting Epoxy
• Disposable measuring cups
• Popsicle sticks
• Whatever molds you want to fill, preferably silicone ones (find them on Amazon or at craft stores)
• Found objects that would look great in the cast

STEP 1: Stuff your found objects into the molds.

Step 1: Stuff the molds. Photo by Jessie Lacey

Start by stuffing your molds with your found objects, but not too much. I used sea glass in one bracelet mold and strips of wood in the other, which I bent to stay curved in the mold. I learned the hard way to pre-bend the wood because, even when cast in epoxy, the bracelets still have some flex to them and will try to straighten out over time. Do not overstuff the molds because the resin has to be able to flow around everything, which I also learned the hard way when I used sand-like grains in some previous bracelets (they were my dogs cremains, most of the jewelry turned out amazing though).

STEP 2: Follow the epoxy directions very carefully.

Step 2: Epoxy. Photo by Jessie Lacey

Now the important part. Follow the directions on the epoxy carefully. There are 2 bottles: the resin and the hardener. Mix equal parts together. If measuring is off, the resin will never cure, no matter how much you beg, and there is no fixing it. The resin is incredibly viscous. You might need only one measuring cup, but have a couple on hand. Use disposable ones because the resin will cure inside them.

STEP 3: Mix slowly with a popsicle stick.

Step 3: Mix with popsicle stick. Photo by Jessie Lacey

Mix the epoxy with a popsicle stick slowly so as not to create too many bubbles. Use a second measuring cup to pour the epoxy back and forth, which helps decrease the number of bubbles. The directions say to mix for 2 minutes—this is the most important 2 minutes of your resin-making career.

STEP 4: Pour the resin into the mold.

Step 4: Pour the resin. Photo by Jessie Lacey

Slowly and carefully pour the resin into the molds. Make sure to get in all the cracks and gaps. I sometimes use a clean popsicle stick to scrape up any resin that gets on the top of the mold. I also pop bubbles as they surface.

STEP 5: Remove your masterpiece from the mold.

In two days, you may enjoy your masterpiece by working it out from the mold and sanding down the rough edge. Sanding tip: Start with a large grit and work your way down to the finest grit to get that polished-edge look. Only the top needs to be sanded, thankfully.

Jessie Lacey lives in downtown Portland and spends whatever free time she has making dresses, cocktails, art and trouble.

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