Resin and Plastic in Jewelry

Posted: January 26, 2011 in contemporary art, metalsmithing

When I create jewelry I consider all materials to create a beautiful and unique artsy piece. Options such as color and texture are obvious choices but, when it comes to medium almost any medium can be used in  jewelry.  Feathers, found objects, paper mache and clay are some interesting and commonly used choices.

But did you know plastics (commonly known as acrylic) and resins are also available options?  Let me be clear about what I mean by plastic aka acrylic. I am not talking about manufactured plastic beads or any type of plastic manufactured by a jewelry supplier. I am talking about plastic which is manufactured in its “raw form” by a manufacturer that is in the business of selling plastic.

Plastic in its raw form are sold in clear or colored sheets, polished pre-cut shapes, rods and tubes. The great thing about buying plastic in this form is that you can cut the piece to your design, you can heat it and mold it to your liking and there are numerous choices to polishing and finishing.

Resin is another type of plastic which is also used in jewelry making. For the artist who loves to use photographs, slogans, iconic images or organic objects into their jewelry, resin is a great way to protect the medium.   Before resin is poured, it looks like gel. After resin sets, it looks like clear plastic. Both jewelry suppliers and home improvement manufacturers produce resins.  The look of your finished product will depend on the resin manufacturer, type of resin (epoxy, polyurethane or polyester) room temperature and how long you the resin rests.



"Courage" By Deemakesjewelry Copyrighted 2010

In my piece “Courage”,  I used Easy Cast by Cast n’ Craft because of its low odor and long 24-hour set. The advantage of using a long set is that it gives you more time to add color or fix mistakes. With normal quick-setting resins you have only a few minutes to finish pouring and if a mistake is made…well good luck. With Easy Cast the finished product is clear, shiny and glass-like. This product is available in craft stores and comes with a bottle of resin and its hardener which must be measured equally to get a perfect finish.

There are also expoy resin which are sold by hardware stores in pre-measured dispensers which are more of a headache than the convenience of pre-measured resin is worth because the epoxy resin and its hardener never truly dispense equally.

If you want a finish which is clear but, harder and more of a glass-like feel to the touch, I recommend Rio Grande’s Colores Doming Resin System. It is available on Rio Grande’s website and also comes in a bottle of resin and its hardener. This product also must be measured equally.

Polyurethane resins are used for large, detailed castings such as bracelets or overly large shapes into large molds.

Regardless of which resin you use, safety precautions must be used because of the toxic fumes that are released. Safety-approved respirators, good ventilation, proper gloves and safety goggles are a MUST!

  1. Blackjack says:

    It’s hard to search out educated people on this subject, however you sound like you understand what you’re talking about! Thanks

  2. buy jewelry says:

    I enjoyed this post greatly so thanks for writing such a interesting topic on resin. .

  3. MB says:

    This put things into perspective! I’m semi-new to this and in mixed media overload right now and am getting confused. lol. Love your site!

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