Make Resin Cabochon Rings
Resin is a very versatile medium for jewelry making. I use it to make rings, necklaces, and earrings that I sell on Etsy. In this project we will be making some simple rings with inclusions. This will give you a good introduction to using resin that you can then expand on to make other jewelry.
Time required: 2 days total (1-2 hours per day)
Cost: $30-$40 for whole project, per ring varies.
- Easy Cast Resin or other clear resin
- Opaque resin pigment or alcohol ink
- Transparent resin pigment or alcohol ink (optional)
- Inclusions (sculpted polymer clay pieces, glitter, beads, candy, small toys, stickers, etc.)
- Ring blanks
- 2-part jewelry epoxy
- Plastic or silicone molds
- 2 Graduated mixing cups (or medicine dose cups)
- Bowl of warm water
- Craft sticks for stirring
- Cabochon resin mold
- Freezer paper
- Nitrile or latex gloves
- Clean empty box
1. Prepare your work space. You need at least a good 2 square feet of space to work and because resin is time consuming it should be a place you can leave your cabochons to set for at least 24 hours (a dining room table is not ideal unless you never eat at it).Lay out all your material and tools in advance, once you start working you don't want to have to go searching because resin is messy. Speaking of messy, you should protect your work surface, freezer paper is best because the resin can't soak through it as readily as newsprint. If you don't have freezer paper available 2-3 layers of newsprint will work but if you get any spills change the top layer immediately.
2. Pick your inclusions. The possibilities for inclusions are numerous, in the rings shown above I sculpted tiny polymer clay animals to encase in the resin. This requires some sculpting skills and ability to work very small but there are many more options available, a few options are:
- Glitter, flakes, and flocking powders
- Candy (only dry candies like sprinkles, hard candies, valentine hearts, etc. avoid soft candies)
- Sea shells
- Sand and pebbles
- Small toys
- Paper or printed artwork. Treat these with modpodge first,(back, front, and edges) or the ink can bleed or the paper become translucent.
- Dried or pressed flowers
Practically anything small enough and that is completely dry can be included in resin, moist objects will often discolor or get a milky surface so they should be avoided.
3. Mix the first batch of resin. EasyCast uses a 1:1 ratio by volume, this just means that you need to mix equal parts resin and hardener. Since the the ring cabochons are quite small, using 1oz graduated medicine dose cups is ideal (plus they are really cheap).
The resin will mix better, and with fewer air bubbles, if you first warm the resin by sitting the bottles in a bowl of warm (not hot) water for about 10 minutes.
Measure out the amount of each part of the resin you want in it's own dose cup, and then pour then into a third cup, making sure to scrap the sides of each with a craft stick to get all the liquid out. Stir the resin thoroughly until any cloudiness or streaks are gone, at least 2 minutes, scraping the sides regularly.
At this point if you want the resin tinted or to have glitter suspended in it you should add it (remember this is the top of the ring being poured first so if you are adding pigment make sure it is transparent and don't add too much glitter if you want other inclusions to be visible). If you want to make more than one color you should use a different cup for each color. Most of the time however you will probably want this layer to be completely clear to better show the inclusions we will add shortly.
4. Prepare the mold. Spray your mold evenly with mold release. Some people don't use mold release on plastic molds but I've found the mold release does make a big difference in how easy the cabochons are to remove.
5. Pour the first layer of resin.
6. Add your inclusions. For small inclusions like glitter, sand, etc. you can simply sprinkle them onto the resin. For larger inclusions like candy, shells, or dried flowers gently place them into the resin with tweezers. Do this slowly to minimize the chances of trapping air bubbles under the inclusion.
Some freshly poured resin cabochons
7. Allow the resin to set at least 8 hours. Cover it with a box to keep dust from settling onto the resin.
8. Mix the second batch of resin.
9. Pour the second layer of resin.
10. Set the resin set at least 24 hours, again covered the the box.
11. Demold your cabochons.
12. Mount your cabochons on your rings. Follow the instructions for your 2-part epoxy
13. Enjoy your new rings. You can keep them, give them as gifts, or sell them at craft shows or on Etsy.*
*Note: Only use art you created or is in the public domain if you plan to sell your jewelry. Stickers and prints of cartoon characters and other popular characters are protected under copyright and/or trademark.
More Information on Resin Jewelry Making
This is my go to book for process of making resin jewelry