Various decorations, which use real fresh flowers, stand out from all and immediately attract attention. They remind you of the bright and colorful sensations of a sunny summer. They can be found on sale in costume jewelry stores, as well as in jewelry stores. Crafts are framed with golden crowns, covered with dusting, equipped with accessories.
From epoxy resin and beautiful flowers, you can create real masterpieces, which after decoration turn into pendants, earrings, bracelets. And if working with precious metals requires special equipment and is unlikely to be affordable for a simple layman, then pouring epoxy resin is manual work. Therefore, it can be done with your own hands.
The apparent simplicity of manufacturing is very deceptive. Despite the fact that a minimum set of materials is required for pouring resin, the master must provide for a number of nuances, each of which can turn painstaking work into a waste of time. In order to fully describe the process that allows you to get flowers in epoxy resin, we will break it into separate stages.
Flower selection and drying
The work of a real master in pouring dried flowers into resin is full of subtleties, knowledge of which allows you to get a high-quality result. There is no unified theory of flower preparation, as there are a number of life hacks used by everyone, from beginners to experienced craftsmen. Some of the problems remain unresolved. For example, the need to dry plants complicates the task, and many flowers will not be able to dry at all. The flowers will lose their color and former beauty.
Before you start collecting the material, you need to prepare the necessary tools. You will need a book whose pages are made of loose yellowish paper, cotton pads and nail scissors.
Some masters recommend collecting flowers in a bouquet, but forget-me-nots, violets and other similar “delicate” flowers in a bouquet are simply impossible to bring home. They will crumple and lose their shape. They will begin to fade immediately after harvesting, and there is a high probability of gusts or creases of the petals. A book is useful here, and flowers are placed between its pages.
It is not recommended to pick flowers immediately after the rain. Excessive moisture of the material contributes to a change in the natural color. In addition, wet materials will stick to the paper.
After the rain, sunny dry weather should stand for at least a day. After transportation, the flowers are placed in a homemade desiccant made from a container with silica gel or semolina. The filler absorbs moisture. As a result, you can get an excellent result in a few days. The color of the petals will be slightly dimmer, but these side effects cannot be avoided.
It is better to dry the flowers of pansies, daisies, or delphinium between cotton pads. This rule is valid for all samples having different thicknesses in different sections. The fleshy petals of an orchid, tulip or iris should never be placed in a book. The paper will not be able to absorb all the moisture. Cotton pads are used, which should be replaced with new ones every 2-3 days. The choice of disks is approached with caution. Their grooved surface is printed on the petals.
The last nuance is related to the color of the material. Practice shows that not all plants are suitable for drying. The result strongly depends on the coloring. Color change is quite a normal phenomenon. It is recommended to use purple, yellow or blue flowers, as well as green leaves for making jewelry. Without proper skill, it is easiest to preserve these colors when drying. Drying chamomile or rose is quite difficult. The white petals will turn yellow, and the red ones will take on a brown hue.
The key to an excellent pouring result is a properly prepared epoxy composition. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, which specify not only the proportions, but also the algorithm for mixing the components.
In this regard, there can be no universal recommendations, since different resins are prepared in different ways. A plastic film will help protect the work surface from accidental ingress of the substance. It will be almost impossible to wash the frozen resin that has dripped onto the surface of the table.
- The first step is to study the information about the proportion of the components. Determine how much hardener should be per unit volume of the main composition. The instructions may give an example of the preparation of resin of a specific volume or mass. It is likely that a completely different amount of epoxy will be required for the work. Therefore, we will have to recalculate.
- The components of the composition are poured into different cups. If the instructions specify the weights of the components, then electronic scales will be needed, and if the volume is large, you can use a medical syringe without a needle.
- The dye is rarely used in decorations made of epoxy and fresh flowers. If necessary, it is added to the main composition before the hardener is added. This rule is important to observe, since when applying the dye to the prepared composition, it will not give the desired effect.
- Mix the components for 5-10 minutes, using a wooden stick. Even if at first glance it seems that the resin is ready, the mixing process does not need to be stopped, since there are many air bubbles inside and they should come to the surface. The final release of bubbles will occur if the resin is left in a warm place for 10-15 minutes.
Filling with mold
The mold, made of silicone, allows you to fill the flower with epoxy resin so that you get a decoration in the form of a ball or lens. Let’s talk about the basic principles of pouring natural components using the example of a rose flower.
The most popular form for jewelry is a sphere. After adding accessories, you will get a beautiful keychain, earring or pendant. If a part of the ball is cut down, you will get a product that can be installed on a stand to decorate any interior. Finally, the color in the transparent ball can simply act as a souvenir.
First, a ready-made composition of epoxy resin is poured into the silicone mold. At the same time, the entire form is not filled in. The volume of resin should be slightly more than half the volume of the mold. Then the flower is gently immersed inside. Hasty actions can lead to damage to the flower. In addition, slow immersion ensures that all cavities inside the bud are filled with the composition. Thus, the number of air bubbles is minimized. If it is inconvenient to hold the flower by the rest of the stem, a wire is screwed to its base.
For the stem or wire, the flower is rotated in one direction or the other during immersion. This should be done with extreme care so as not to damage the petals.
After such manipulations, you can gradually add resin until it completely fills the mold. A thick solution will certainly deform the flower, so you will have to straighten the petals with a thin stick or toothpick. Curing of the composition takes about a day of time. It is not necessary to accelerate the process by heating the resin. It is better that the solidification process be natural. The resin attracts the smallest dust particles, which subsequently negatively affect the result. The ball is left for a day, while covering it with a dome suitable in size.
After separating the mold from the frozen ball, the stem is cut off or the wire is removed. The part where the filling ended is processed with a file. The ball itself is polished until a smooth transparent surface is obtained. Now everything is ready to install the accessories.
Another variant of the decoration is a hemisphere or lens. There are much more options here. The surface can be not only spherical, but also elliptical. Silicone molds designed for food products are used as a mold. In the absence of such, the form is made from improvised materials.
A blank made of natural materials is laid out inside the mold with tweezers, and it can be not only a whole flower, but also its individual petals. The form is filled in completely. This is the difference between the filling technology and the one used in the manufacture of the ball. The resin is injected in small portions, spreading the petals with a thin stick and distributing the epoxy more evenly over the entire shape. After partial curing of the resin, in some cases it is necessary to top up, as a number of brands shrink.
The edges of the finished lens will surely be sharp. Therefore, they are ground with a file, and then the entire surface is polished. A thin drill makes a hole for the hardware. You can fix a lock or other fasteners using epoxy resin as glue, but often the hardware elements are attached by simply screwing into the “body” of the resin.
Filling without mold
Despite the fact that the mold can be made with your own hands, many are scared off by this prospect. But there are variants of jewelry that are made without a form.
You should not expect the correct outlines, but the products will repeat the contours of leaves or petals, which are beautiful in their naturalness.
In the absence of mold, the resin is allowed to infuse a little to increase its density. The composition of the fluidity should resemble fresh honey.
It is impossible to transfer the amount of resin in the instructions, since it depends on the number of products or petals in one product.
The newly prepared resin will flow beyond the boundaries of the decorative material and stain the surface, and a thicker composition will allow you to create a volumetric layer. While the resin is being prepared, you can prepare the surface.
Needless to say, all work should be carried out in a clean room after wet cleaning, using personal protective equipment (gloves, bathrobe, respirator).
It is important to choose a work surface so that it has a strict horizontal level. You can use an ordinary table covered with plastic wrap for these purposes, but the horizon should be checked with a level, adjusting the height of the table legs if necessary.
An excellent option for the working surface is a metal tray covered with adhesive tape. The adhesive tape in contact with the resin will give a glossy surface, not a matte one. The adhesive tape separates well from the frozen resin, and is also inexpensive. Some masters suggest using disposable plastic bags, but they are difficult to separate from the resin, so one–sided tape is the best and affordable option.
After the petals are spread out on the surface of the tray, and the resin reaches the desired density, a drop of resin is applied to the petal with a stick and leveled over the entire surface.
You need to work in latex gloves, otherwise greasy spots will remain on the resin. The resin is almost completely spread out. It is only necessary to control this process. Having covered all the petals with a layer of resin, they close the tray with a dome and leave it to dry for a day. After 24 hours, the procedure for applying the layer is repeated. As a result, 2-3 layers of resin should be applied, and then turn the sheets over and apply one layer on the back of the future product.
No matter how carefully you try to pour the resin, the edges of the product will go beyond the boundaries of the petal, so you will have to turn it at the next stage. It can be done manually, but it is more convenient to use a drill with an abrasive nozzle.
Let’s consider another option for making key chains from epoxy, but without the use of molds. First, a set of materials is produced. You can use individual flowers or inflorescences entirely. The material is laid out on paper and outlined. Peculiar patterns are formed, which will be easy to navigate when filling. The whole work can be divided into several stages.
- Preparing the basics. Paper with templates is covered with a thin film. A file folder is perfect for this purpose. After making sure that the surface is horizontal, you can start pouring. The resin is poured onto the film, through which the borders of the templates are visible. The word “pours out” is not quite correctly chosen, since it is enough to drop a couple of drops and disperse the resin over the area of the template with a thin stick. The blanks for the base are covered with a dome to protect against dust, but after half an hour it is necessary to check that the resin does not spread beyond the boundaries of the template. If this happens, then the resin is driven into place with a stick. It is already thick enough and allows you to control the shape of the spot. The base dries for a day.
- Gluing of the material. It is necessary to prepare a small amount of resin, and arrange the flowers or inflorescences according to the appropriate bases, which were previously separated from the film file. To glue the flowers, one drop of resin is applied. The workpiece is left to dry for a day.
- Filling of the front part. It remains to cover with a layer of resin the part of the workpiece that used to be adjacent to the file. Its edge should be smooth. Complicating the process is the fact that a flower or a leaf lies on this edge. But since the elements are pre-glued, the work is greatly simplified. The resin will have to be applied in layers. The resin is applied with a stick so that there are no voids left. After the flower is completely covered with resin, the workpiece is sent under the dome. After a day, the procedure can be repeated. If you want to get a larger volume, you will have to fill in another additional layer.
In the process of manufacturing and subsequent wearing of epoxy jewelry, special care should be taken. Useful tips will help, which are the result of the gradually acquired experience of some masters.
First of all, do not rush with the application. The resin must dry properly, otherwise it will remain greasy spots from the fingers. This also applies to those cases when layer-by-layer filling is performed. The workpiece can be picked up in a few hours, but fingerprints will remain on the surface.
It is not advisable to wipe products made of epoxy resin with chemically active cleaning agents. Those brands of resins that are used for jewelry are “not friends” with solvent, alcohol and other similar elements and may lose their transparency and gloss.
Appropriate advice should be given to women. Wearing jewelry made of epoxy is not recommended when using decorative cosmetics. You need to be careful when applying perfume or deodorant, as well as when working with nail polish remover.
Such jewelry is not suitable for daily wear. So, it is not recommended to play sports or go to bed with earrings or other epoxy products. They are worn at a social event or similar events. You need to store jewelry in special boxes. Such storage will eliminate the loss of sometimes small elements and protect the resin from sunlight. It is believed that epoxy resin is resistant to ultraviolet light, but with prolonged irradiation, turbidity may occur on the surface.