20 March 2016

Make a Splash!: mixing resin with paper-crafting

This project involves paper-crafting (card making / scrapbooking) and resin. The idea was to make a coaster of a stamped image. The February release for Kraftin' Kimmie Stamps included a set called Make a Splash which is a girl stomping in a puddle of water. I love the dynamics and joy in this stamp so I decided to make it into a coaster. That it is also just about exactly the perfect size helped, too.


Project Steps:

Making anything with resin usually takes several steps and often spans several days. The coaster has 3 layers or resin: base - under the image, image layer - and top or finishing layer. 

Preparation: the curing area

I am working in a new workshop since we moved into a new house at the end of January (we bought a house!!). It reminded me how important level is. I actually had a couple failed pours because my area wasn't level.

For curing, I have a couple super cheap letter trays on a shelf and cover them with a clear box. This keeps them out of the way and allows me to cure a few things at the same time. I live in British Columbia, Canada, and, while working the project, it was still technically winter and it has been rather rainy and chilly. To combat the cold a bit, I have a heating pad (blue thing at the bottom) and aluminum pan under my curing rack. This helps to give a slightly warmer area for at least the beginning of the cure. If it's too cold while they're curing, they can develop more bubbles. To get the space level, a bubble level is your friend. If your space isn't level, add a shim or two. Make sure you level in all directlions. I cover my rack with wax paper since the resin won't stick to it if there is an over-pour. The worst thing is to have your project stick to the place you're curing it. Parchment paper works well, too. I use store brand generic. 


Since the mold is flexible and silicone, I didn't need to do any preparation for the mold but could pour the resin directly into it.

To make the base, I mixed up the resin according to the directions on the container. Easy Cast is a simple 1:1 ration 2 part epoxy resin. I find that, even with calibrated graduated cups, it's best to measure a small amount of each part into separate cups and then pour one into the other to stir them. Slow and steady wins the race, you want to avoid stirring in bubbles.
With the Craftin' Cast pigment and dye, they're added after the resin parts are mixed. You don't need to add much. I added a small amount of the blue translucent and pearl and mixed them in slowly and carefully (for bubble avoidance). I poured the resin into the mold and let it cure. The base for this project is in the middle, but I did three different ones at the same time. I let it cure until it was not sticky to touch and very hard. This should take around 12 hours, but I had to come back to it a little less than 24 hours later. The project stays in the same mold for the next steps.


While the base was curing, I created the image to go into the mold.  To make sure my image would fit, I used my BigShot die cutter and a circle die from We R Memory Keepers (massive set of nested circles, quite handy). Before I poured the base, I found the die that fit in the mold buy simply trying the rings in the mold.

I cut a few discs so I could have a few on hand for later as well as this project. 

I used Memento Tuxedo Black to stamp the image on to one of the discs. I paper pieced the pink polka-dot jacket, yellow polka-dot boots, and green belt to give them more character. I stamped the image again on the pink polka-dot and hand made paper, cut out the jacket areas (fussy cutting) and then glued them into place on the white cardstock. Then coloured the rest with PrismaColor pencils and fussy cut the whole image. These are the same steps I could use for a card.

Sealing the Image

Resin is a liquid and paper absorbs liquid, so the image needs to be sealed. The image placement and the image sealing can be done at the same time. Using Mod Podge, I thoroughly coated the resin base.I also covered the back of the image with Mod Podge. While both were wet, I positioned the image in the mold and then covered the top of the image with Mod Podge. I made sure to get the edges well covered. I covered it  in a couple of coats, letting it dry a bit in between each. This was also a good time to add in the glitter and have it stay where I wanted. I carefully sprinkled glitter just over the water areas. A little bit did go stray, which is okay, but the majority is on the water to give it extra sparkle. 

I then let it sit overnight to make sure the Mod Podge was entirely dried. Resin hates water, so you need to make sure it is thoroughly dry. I returned to the project the next evening. 

Image Layer

Once the image was fully sealed and the Mod Podge completely dried, I mixed up another batch of Easy Cast resin. This batch I left clear and poured over the image and base. This was the easiest step. This time I wanted to make sure the layer of resin was well cured before going on to the next step. I left it and returned the next evening, almost 24 hours later.

Finish Layer

When I took the coaster out of the mold, the edges were a little rough and cupping up the sides a little. This is normal and happens for any molded item. I also had a bubble cluster at the edge. To get rid of these, I use sand paper or an emery board to smooth down the edges and remove the bubbles. Then, I mixed up another batch of resin. For this pour, I wanted to make sure the back of my piece would not get messed up with accidental drips, so I put it on a curing mat which elevates the piece. I poured the resin over the coaster, making sure to touch the edges so they would be smooth and shiny. I let the piece cure yet another over night. 

Make a Splash!

Front and back of the coaster. I didn't do anything to decorate the back but the pearl in the blue give it a soft glitter effect.

Other Projects

Along with Make a Splash, I also made 2 other coasters: Dorothy and Hattie the Ghost. For Dorothy I paper pieced her dress and shoes and painted on the yellow brick road on the resin (I meant for it to be going off in the distance, but that didn't work too perfectly). For Hattie, I stamped her on some ancient tracing paper that had become yellowed with age. Hattie's base is glow in the dark. Dorothy is a birthday gift for my mom. Hattie is giving me ideas for a series of coasters.

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