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My mom and I used resin for the first time. We learned a lot and had a lot of fun. It was nice to have someone to bounce ideas off of (even if neither of us had any experience). We watched tutorials and read information so we’d have some idea how things should work.

This first time, we were just adding resin to things in bezels. We’ve both been collecting bezels for a while, true to our love of buying craft and art supplies. We both had lots of ideas, so we laid things out to see how they might look. I was heavily into romantic, vintage looking themes and wanted to use pretty papers, lace and rhinestones.

My mom had more eclectic, artsy ideas. She fell in love with this Art Mechanique bezel when she saw it a while ago. I think this specific heart was already out of production, but she searched around and found some. 

The ceramic bird in the bezel on the left is by Andrew Thornton. I thought that was a nice idea. 

This face bead with crystals is her favorite. (By the way, if anyone knows where to get any of these specific face beads, let me know in the comments. I’ve found others, but not this exact one.) 

We decided to try the ICE resin plunger for ease. She bought these at different stores, and when we put them next to each other, we saw one had obviously yellowed!

I consulted with the Facebook hive mind and found this wasn’t unusual over time or when exposed to sunlight. The store must have had it in a place exposed to sunlight. Good ideas for this if we wanted to use it included using it for a project meant to look aged, for a faux amber type look or for resin we would be coloring anyway. However, we decided we would just take it back and only use the one plunger. That meant we didn’t get everything done we had planned.

I am an impatient person, often shortcutting things to the detriment of a project. I had determined I would not do that this time. I cleaned my bezels, sealed my paper multiple times, let everything dry completely, etc. However, after we were done, my mother and I realized there were a number of really basic things we didn’t do, and that was unlike us. We were just so excited to get started. We didn’t fully cover our work surface, just covered the work areas, and we didn’t change into work clothes. (You can see where this is going.) Nothing too important was ruined, but next time we will plan better.

We made sure the temperature in our work area was 68 – 72 F before starting. We mixed a moderate amount of resin to start, made sure to stir it slowly (sort of folding the parts together) for at least two minutes, and let it rest at least five minutes to minimize bubbles. We drizzled resin from the stir stick rather than pouring it. It was sometimes difficult to see when there was enough resin in a bezel. I don’t know if it’s our eyes, the lighting (we did have a task light and were in a room with lots of windows during the day) or the nature of clear resin. It seems that the common idea is to pour enough to have it dome. I preferred a flat, glass-like look. My mother liked that or even a not full look with some items sticking out of the resin.

We didn’t get a lot of bubbles. I was glad, but a little surprised. One thing that did get bubbles was a pendant I made with buttons. Later, I read that things with holes are prone to bubbles and I could have sealed the holes with glue. I was able to pop the bubbles with a toothpick, but I could see more bubble inside the buttonholes. I would move them out into the open where it was easier to pop them until there was one that took me about ten minutes to pop. Then I decided to leave them in the holes. They looked a little like eyeballs, but I thought they might not be that apparent when the whole piece was done. I don’t think they are apparent now that it is cured.

I was obsessed with some of the glitter and other inclusions available for resin. In the end, since we didn’t have enough resin, I didn’t get to try everything I wanted, but we did try some Ice Resin Opals. I watched a tutorial about those, and I thought I was using the product/color in the video, but I wasn’t. Mine was silver opal. Typical of me not to know that ahead of time. The look I got was different, but I still like it. I did get tiny clusters of bubbles in that. I think because it was near the end, and after I stirred in the glitter I forgot to let the resin rest. However, they were small clusters of tiny bubbles that popped easily when I blew on them.

Once poured, pieces need to be covered to keep dust and other possible contaminants out while they are drying. We decided to use coffee filters because they are lint free (good for cleaning glass!) a good size and have air flow. I told myself, in my quest for patience in this project, that I would check on the pieces after 20 – 30 minutes for any air bubbles, but otherwise resist temptation and leave them alone.

But I didn’t.

I kept going over and lifting the coffee filters (which I called “hats”) because I was fascinated and thrilled by the glassy sheen of the resin. About three hours into the drying process, I lifted the hat from one and promptly dropped it on the bezel, and into the resin, displacing it. I was so angry with myself! I covered it back up and left it be for a while. I thought it would dry with a defect in it, but I read that I could let it dry and do another pour to possibly save it. When I checked about an hour later, true to the marketing, the resin is self-healing. I was extremely relieved. I didn’t know how dry it was, and if it would be able to recover. That glassy finish I so admired was back. I’m not sure how long a piece has to be drying before a mar would be permanent without another pour.

Here are our finished pieces after three days curing time. Overall, we are pleased with the result. This button piece was inspired by some beauties by Lori Anderson.

We had such a blast. We ordered more resin that very day. We will finish the bezels we designed but didn’t have enough resin for, and some new designs. We’ve also invited my sister and brother-in-law to participate this time.