January 17, 2013

Resin and Polymer Clay Bracelet Inspired by The Hobbit

Am I evolving into a mixed media artist? Certainly felt like it when I got my first resin casting kit a few weeks ago. Creations with polymer clay and resin – should be fun, right? I had to give it a try. Throw in the Hobbit theme, and voila!

Hobbit-inspired bracelet made of polymer clay and resin.

For those curious about how I did it, here’s the story.

First, let me share my first-try pieces with resin. Not bad. The process is easy enough.

Resin casting kit and first output.

Suddenly, I had this design in my head of a Hobbit-inspired bracelet combining polymer clay, resin, and cord knotting. Since there would be 12, no, 13 pieces, each element had to be small enough to complete a bracelet that wouldn’t be too bulky. I started making circles with polymer clay. Bake clay, then on to the next step.

Polymer clay backing.

I had printed out a photo of the dwarves when I first started making Thorin’s scalemail armor, so that would be the source of my bracelet photos.

Hobbit photo for dwarf faces.

Long story short, I prepped the dwarf faces, glued them onto the round setting, sealed them with Mod Podge (this step is essential because without the seal, the resin will eat up the photo), and delicately covered each photo with resin one drop at a time.

Preparing dwarf faces for the Hobbit bracelet.

Hobbit dwarves under resin.

No matter how slowly you stir the resin mixture, bubbles will appear in the pour. So I had to tend to the pieces for a few hours, checking to see if bubbles are forming.

Bubbles forming in the resin cast.

To remove the bubbles, I used a butane lighter. I just swiped the flame very quickly a few inches over the bubbly piece to create enough heat to pop the bubbles. Some crafters blow through a straw, but that’s tedious (and your breath moisture could create droplets that will end up on the piece); others use a heat gun (which I don’t have) or a hair dryer (which some don’t recommend because the air flow is hard to control and it could kick up dust/debris that will stick to the piece).

A little heat to pop the bubbles in the resin.

 I covered the curing pieces to protect them from dust and lint.

Cover to protect the resin from dust and lint.

While the resin was curing (this is the toughest part for me -- the resin requires two days to harden), I molded the back pieces – the thingies that would help me string the bracelet. Nothing fancy, just has to do the job. Baked, then after the resin hardened, glued them on.

The back pieces for stringing the bracelet.

Glue the back pieces onto the resin cast.

It was a little tricky knotting the band of dwarves but I got it together. And here’s the knotting effort:

Hobbit-inspired bracelet knotting.

And the finished product. Who can tell me why my OCD is nudging me to redo the final step?

Hobbit-inspired bracelet.

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