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Using EnviroTex Lite Resin For Jewelry Making
If you have read some of my previous hub tutorials on pendant making, you will see I have mentioned EnviroTex Lite resin quite a bit. I've been wanting to write a hub just on EnviroTex Lite because I have found it to be such a great resin to work with. It is the first and only resin I have ever tried and continues to work really well for me. It is a little bit pricey but a small 8oz box of it lasts me for months since I only use small amounts at a time for jewelry making.
Maybe you are new to this and you aren't sure exactly what resin is. Resin is basically a type of plastic. It starts out liquid and then cures hard through a chemical process by mixing together two equal parts of resin and hardener. There are different kinds of resin but two of the most commonly used resins in jewelry making is epoxy resin or polyester resin. Resins are used in molds to create the entire piece or as a thick glassy coating for your jewelry pieces.
With EnviroTex Lite, you can achieve a piece from a deep mold but I don't think it's the best to use for this. You will have to do smaller, thin layers which will take a lot more time. For shallow molds it works good but there are other resins better suited for use in deep molds.
What exactly is Envirotex Lite?
EnviroTex Lite is an epoxy type resin and is better used as a thick top coating for your jewelry pieces but you can also use it on top of images inside of bottle caps, pendant trays and poured into shallow molds. The EnviroTex Lite that I use comes in a blue box which says EnviroTex Lite pour-on High Gloss Finish. This resin is versatile and can be used with polymer clays, metals, wood etc. One of it's uses is for coating and sealing table tops. Once you mix it up, just pour it onto your table top. Then it will crawl to the edges and level itself out. It penetrates the wood and cures into to a beautiful shiny, glass-like table top that is fully protected. It can also be used on top of fabrics and paper as long as the fabric or paper is sealed properly with something like mod podge or white glue. The reason for this is because it will soak into the fabric or paper and get it wet causing dark spots or blurring to appear. The mod podge or glue works as a kind of "shower cap" to keep the porous material dry until the resin cures. This stuff is absolutely amazing! Whether you are pouring into a shallow type mold, bottle cap or using as a thick (sort of doming) top coat for something flat, your jewelry will have a beautiful, thick, glass-like finish to them. The result is a more professional look with great durability.
The main point I am trying to make with this hub is don't be intimitated by working with resin. Using this resin has really taken the fear away for me. It is not hard to work with. The main thing is just paying attention to what I am doing and as long as I'm doing everything correctly and in the proper order, the finished results are always awesome! If I can do it, you can do it!
Tips For Using EnviroTex Lite Resin
Working with EnviroTex Lite IS really easy. You just have to make sure not to miss any steps in the process. Here are some things I have learned along the way. Hopefully these tips will help you out if you are new to making jewelry using EnviroTex Lite:
- Make sure to cover your surface really well when working with resin because once it is dry it's there for good. Using wax paper on your work surface is a good idea since drips of resin will not seep through.
- Make sure to have your supplies (mixing cups, sticks, etc.) sitting out and ready to go.
- It is a good idea to have a roll of paper towels and a bottle of rubbing alcohol handy to wipe any resin spills or any resin that gets onto your hands. Cleaning up with water won't work because resin is not water soluble.
- It is recommended to wear gloves but I admit that I do not wear gloves. I don't feel as much in control of my work with gloves on. What I do is try to keep my hands out of the resin as much as possible and then when I am finished, I wipe any resin off my hands with a paper towel and scrub my hands really well with soap and water. I'm not recommending for you not to use gloves. It's up to you and what you feel comfortable with :0)
Mixing the two parts:
- Mixing together the exact same amount of resin and hardener is crucial for good, clear resin. Pay really close attention that they are both exactly the same.
- The best way to make sure you have two equal parts of resin and hardener is by using the 2 cup mixing method. Just measure out your resin in one cup and hardener in the other, making sure they are exactly the same. Then pour the resin into the cup with hardener and mix for one minute and then pour the contents (scraping the sides as much as possible to get it all out) into the other cup and mix for one minute. This way you have it all mixed together as much as possible.
- Since I usually only work with small amounts at a time, I use small, plastic measuring cups (for liquid medications) purchased from a medical
supply. You can get a ton of these for cheap at your local medical supply. Also, mixing small amounts at a time helps you to not waste left over resin. It's better to have not enough than too much. You can always go back and mix up enough to finish off your piece.
- I use a wooden popsicle stick to stir mine or sometimes a wooden skewer. Make sure you mix vigorously for a minimum of 2 minutes. Mine usually looks frothy and bubbly when I am done mixing it.
- Inadequate mixing or uneven measurements of the resin and hardener can result in a resin that will not cure properly. It will be tacky or clouded so just really be sure to pay close attention to these two things.
Pouring the Resin:
- You will probably notice tons of tiny bubbles in your resin after you have poured it. Just take a straw and slowly exhale over the bubbles. This will get rid of the bubbles and clear up your resin. Be careful not to inhale from the straw.. just gently exhale. Make sure to check often to see if any new bubbles have formed and pop them.
- If you will be pouring your resin into a bottle cap or pendant tray with an image inside, be sure to always coat your image with something like mod podge or a white glue. If it isn't properly coated, the resin will penetrate it's porous surface and cause dark spots and/or blurring of the image. My favorite to use is mod podge. It works awesome for this!
- If you have a tray to fill, it will be best to pour EnviroTex Lite in layers letting each layer dry at least 8 hours before pouring another layer. Pouring too thick of a layer may cause a cloudy tint so it's really better to do it with smaller thin layers when using EnviroTex Lite. I do a kind of layered collage in some of my bottle caps and they turn out really cute with a sort of 3D effect.
- If you are pouring your resin over something flat, make sure to pour just little bits at a time, using a wooden stick to push it over to the edge. If any pours over the edge, come back in about 25 minutes and wipe it off of the edge. It should start thickening up enough by then so you can kind of mold it to stay in place and stop seeping over the edge.
- You can put a piece of tape around the edges to stop it from going over the edge. Duct tape works really well.
- Remember if you are going to be pouring it into a mold, pour it in thin layers, curing 8 hours in between each layer. If you will be embedding things like glitter, charms or doing a collage in your molds, you can add them after each layer or in the middle of your layers. These make awesome looking pendants! There are tons of things you can embed in resin- just make sure if any of your embedding material is porous to seal it with mod podge or white glue first.
- If you are using a really deep mold, there are better resins out there to work with. The polyester resins, from what I have read, do better in deeper molds or you could try the Castin Craft brand. I've heard this one is an epoxy but is formulated somehow to do better in deeper molds. This one is next in line for me to try.
- I've found that silicon baking molds and silicone ice cube trays work really well with envirotex lite and you don't have to use a mold release. I have to work with it some and pull pretty hard to get it out but I've never destroyed a mold. You can use silicone molds over and over too so they really are a good investment if you are serious about using molds with your resin. Just remember not to pour too much into the mold- I never use the entire portion of the mold. I pour small amounts into my mold (usually two thin layers) and they still take shape and look great. I make sure not to get them too thick.
- One more thing about using molds- if you end up with a resin piece with a dull sheen after you have taken it out of the mold, you can brush one more coat of envirotex lite over it or even some clear nail polish and it will help shine it back up. There are tons of tips about this and lots of great awesome information about working with resins at the Glass Attic.
- When you are all finished, make sure your pieces are sitting to cure on a completely flat surface.
- Cover your pieces with a plastic container (like a plastic shoe box) or some type of container, even a cardboard box will do. You just need to have something sitting over your pieces to protect them from dust and other particles in the air.
- Your pieces will be cured enough to handle in 24 hours but will take up to 72 hours to completely cure.
As I've been saying throughout the hub, EnviroTex lite is that it is GREAT to work with when making jewelry and I hope that people are not intimidated by it because it is a "resin". I know I keep mentioning the same things over and over but it's just so important that you do certain things while working with it. Good thing is that it is really easy to get the hang of and you will love the results every time! You will end up with quality, handmade pieces of jewelry that will last for years. I have never minded the time and effort put into making the resin jewelry because I know the end results are completely worth it.
If you are interested, here are some of my pendant tutorials using resin:
- How To Make A Domino Pendants
- How To Make A Bottle Cap Pendant
- How To Make A Polymer Clay and Resin Pendant
Thank you for reading and have lots of fun making your own resin jewelry!