Did you ever want to make something out of resin, but didn’t know where to start? Have you ever wondered how people make custom things out of resin for their art? I’m going to teach you how you can make anything you can imagine, a finished resin piece of your very own creation you can actually hold.
The amount of things you can make are unbelievable. Please share this DIY!
I get a lot of questions about how I make the things that I do, and the crazy things I create, and for the projects that I get myself into. I’ve used this technique to make a lot of things for products, art, props, costuming, and sooo much more.
This year I am very excited to be a designer for the most prestigious and creative of all the wearable arts competitions in the world. I’ve worked my tail off, using these exact same techniques, to produce some of the outfit that I’ll be featuring in the competition. Because of the nature of competition, I can’t show you any of my actual project. Expect photos after September.
In this tutorial we’ll sculpt, mold, and cast little things, so you can try it out for yourself. This is a long DIY, so I will be taking off next week. You can expect another DIY after that.
We’re going to make the dangling feathers on this decorative sun-catcher. This DIY is for beginners, so we’ll be making a fairly easy shape that has one main side with detail, and a back that doesn’t matter, similar to a button or cabochon . This is NOT how you make things with detail on all sides, like a figurine. That’s far too much detail and for this. That’s fun for another time.
We’re going to focus on creating, the whole thing – from start to finish. I chose this DIY, because I want you to know how unbelievable your own ideas are, and how easily you can make them reality!
Let’s get on with those steps already!
Supplies for this tutorial are:
- Clay – I use Chavant NSP Oil Based Clay, but any non-drying clay works
- Alumilite Amazing Mold Putty Kit
- Silicone Mold Release Spray
- Resin of your choice (this is similar to what I used) Alumilite Amazing Clear Cast resin
- Inexpensive Cooking tray
- Resin colorant/pigments Transparent Green Resin Dye
- Embroidery floss
- Sandpaper Fine grit and medium grit (for any sharp edges)
- Sculpting clay tools or anything to help create shapes
- Popsicle sticks, spoons, toothpicks, and your hands are options too
- Fine Glitter
Start by warming a small amount of clay in your hands or with a hairdryer if you’re using oil clay. Each type will be different, but work a bit around in your hands to soften it. Roll it into a ball then slightly flatten in your hand to get closer to the shape you want to make.
Press the clay to the center of your tray to make it stick slightly. You don’t want it to move around much. The feather we’re making is fairly thick, between 1/4 & 1/8 inch so we can drill a hole and hang them. The clay is even thicker than that at this point.
Use sculpting tools to shape the feather, working on the basic shape and thickness first. Remove material to make your shape. Add a central vein down the middle by carving out the sides and leaving the center strip.
Smooth out the shape and then add the fine detail lines to the feather, starting at the main vein and going out and down, just like a real feather. Anything on the clay will show up, so keep it clean and smooth for the best results. I added additional texture to mine, you can do anything you want.
If you’re familiar with sculpting or clay, use its solvent and a very soft paintbrush to smooth it out more. Otherwise use your fingers or tools to smooth it and remove the little pills (balls of clay) that form from sculpting it.
Place this is the fridge, or outside if it’s cold out to harden the clay a little. You don’t want to try to freeze it, that would be bad in the end, but rather chill it to make it firmer.
Note: You can either do the next step on the tray, or carefully lift the clay from it and press it into the mold (that’s what I did.) Use string to cut it off the tray if needed and smooth the edges.
Get out equal parts of mold putty part A and part B using a spoon or other thing that can reach it. Do not touch one to the other. Measure them side by side separately, so you have the same amount of each. You want them to cover your shape, so use your judgement.
Quickly mix both parts together in your hands, until there are no swirls in the color and they are fully mixed. You only have 2-3 mins of working time, so quickly make your mold. Make a ball out of it, then slightly smoosh it and stretch it to closer the size of the clay feather.
Place the silicone on a tray and slowly press the clay shape FACE DOWN into it. Submerge the clay’s detail and press the silicone around the edges of the clay with your fingers to enclose the shape, without covering the back -now top. Lightly push the edges snugly around the shape.
Give yourself at least 1/4 inch around the outside edge of the clay shape and be careful not to press it too deep because you don’t want the mold to be thin where your detail is.
Give the mold 15 minutes and check if the silicone is cured by lightly touching the mold. If it indents, it’s not done. If it’s hard to the touch it’s finished.
When it’s finished, it’s time to de-mold, or take it out of the mold. Gently remove the clay feather from the mold, getting all the clay debris out. Be careful not to stretch it too far, which will cause rips.
Note: The mold putty comes in two tubes, part A & part B. When you remove the amount you need from one, used a different utensil to get the other one out. Unused parts can’t touch each other at all. Like not even a little.
Interesting Note: Advanced users will know that if the mold ends up with smeared chunks of clay in it that you just can’t get out no matter how much you try or scream at it, you will need to do a first pull, or cast resin in it, just to get the clay out. A fast curing resin, like what’s used for model cars, is usually used for this. Keep it simple so you can try out the materials, not test their limits.
Always spray your mold with mold release suitable for what you’re going to dump into it. You may get one good pull out of it, but resin and other materials will dry out your mold and stick to it, ripping it when you try to de-mold. It’s worth crying over (or at least losing a lot of time and money). This isn’t a mold for chocolate. Just spray it!
Measure out your resin by weight or volume, whichever it needs. I’m using a clear resin with Castin’ Craft’s green translucent pigment. I also poured one of the feathers with fine gold glitter, added to the clear.
Be sure not to over-pour resin into the mold. It dries VERY hard & you will have to sand down the extra.
Let the resin cure for the recommended amount of time, per instructions. Mine is about 24 hours. Every time you pour the mold, it takes that long before you can get it out and do it again. Now you see why I chose three lovely feathers for this tutorial.
Carefully de-mold your resin treasure! I drilled holes in the sides, added gold embroidery floss, and hung them on a small branch. TADA!
You can reuse your new mold around 10+ times before it deteriorates as long as you spray it with release.
I hope you liked this tutorial. I would love to see what this inspires you to make. Email me a photo with a short description of your project @ firstname.lastname@example.org. Your project may be chosen to be featured on my website.