For the last week I've been playing with a versatile and intriguing product: Ice Resin. Along the way I've learned a few tips and tricks to share with you. First, some general information: Ice Resin is a two-part, jeweler's-grade clear epoxy. Besides the two-part epoxy, you will also need a release agent (think of it as Pam for molds). Trust me--when you run out of this, you are finished. It's that important. You will also need a mold to pour the epoxy into, as well as any colorants or inclusions that you might wish to add to the mixture.
Let's start with molds; you have a few options here. First, you can purchase craft molds. These are reusable polypropylene molds available in several basic shapes. Again, remember to spray the molds with release agent to prevent the epoxy from sticking to the mold.
A second mold possibility is one that you create using found objects and Mold n' Pour. Mold n' Pour is a two-part putty that hardens into a flexible, reusable mold. One caution: don't over-knead the Mold n' Pour. (Trust me on this one. . .) The putty above is not thoroughly mixed; you can tell by the marbled appearance that it still needs to be mixed more.
The Mold n' Pour here is well-mixed--no more white striations. Seriously, though, if you get carried away and over-knead the putty, it will start hardening in your hands. Two minutes is long enough, even if it feels good in your hands and you are having fun. I've used a couple of Vintaj brass pieces here, as well as some seashells that I picked up off the beach in Tel Aviv many years ago. Isn't that baby conch shell the sweetest? Unfortunately, I didn't have enough Ice Resin left to fill this one, but I've ordered more.
Another possibility is using a pre-made frame as a mold. I tried two different types, a Memory Frame that I had sealed the back of with clear packing tape, as well as some jewelry blanks with a hollow well in which to pour the resin. (I used a 1-1/2" copper patina Memory Frame on the left and a oval jewelry blanks similar to this and this on the right, except that I used a smaller sized oval for the pendant.) The paper insert in the Memory Frame is from Graphic45's Steampunk Debutante 8" x 8" pad. If you are using a non-glossy paper beneath your epoxy, you must coat the paper on both sides with white glue or Mod Podge to seal it. If you don't, the paper will become translucent.
Once you have your molds ready, you can mix the epoxy. As is typical for any epoxy, measuring precisely and mixing thoroughly are critical. Read all of the directions before you begin. If the room in which you are working is cool, it will help to let both bottles sit in a sink full of very warm water for 30-40 minutes before you try to mix the parts. When you are ready to mix your epoxy, begin with Part A, the resin, and add the same amount of part B, the hardener. Stir for at least two minutes, making sure that the two parts are completely mixed. If you have any questions about mixing, go here to the Ice Resin site for instructions and pictures.
After you have mixed your epoxy, let it sit for about five minutes if you have any bubbles. (I had no bubbles, but I had heated the bottles in warm water before I started; I think the gentle heat helped by thinning the resin a bit.) You will have about 30-45 minutes of working time to work with the resin after it is mixed. I mixed two batches of the epoxy, making one fluid ounce both times--1/2 oz. of both resin and hardener. Because I had my molds prepared ahead of time, I had plenty of time to use all of the epoxy before it started to get hard.
The epoxy will be clear when you mix it well. I knew that I wanted to add some color to my Ice Resin. You can purchase oil-based colorants, but if you have artists' oil paint on hand, that works well also. (Here is more information on coloring Ice Resin.) I poured a small amount of clear resin into a second plastic cup to add color and stirred it in with the amount of paint that was on a toothpick--a small amount goes a long way.
When you are pouring the ice resin, you probably will not be able to get a convex surface on your first pour. (Again, trust me on this one. . .) If you want a convex surface, let it dry and add a few drops to the top of your dry epoxy the next day. The epoxy is self-leveling, so don't count too highly on surface tension to keep it in place if you try to add too much.
To a second plastic container I added some white oil paint.
When I removed these pieces from their molds the next day, I really didn't like them at all. They looked "plastic-y." However, when I pulled out my Copic Various inks and started dripping ink on these, they quickly became some of my favorites. I love it when an experiment turns out right!
Here was a second white piece after being doctored by Copic Various inks.
And here it is after I drilled holes, added jump rings and beads, and attached a chain.
To the Memory Frame and Steampunk Debutante piece I added a Vintaj bee charm.
This little blue beauty needed a VIntaj bird charm and more of my superstore beads.
These are Sunday jewelry, for sure!
I hope that you get a chance to play with Ice Resin. As you can see, I had a hard time knowing when to stop, and I have several more pieces to dress up next time I get a chance to play. Thank you for visiting the In Touch blog today!