You've probably gone on etsy or storenvy and drooled over resin jewelry pieces at least once. They're so cool, right? But they seem so complicated? I mean, they're plastic! Plastic is made in factories! I have no idea who my hypothetical target audience is right now (they're very incredulous) but you get it.

decora, donut, and etsy image

Well, I am here to guide you gently into the world of resin casting. Consider me the Virgil to your Dante, the GPS in your car that is usually not trying to drive you into an open construction zone.

molds, silicon, and custommade image

The first thing you need is a silicone mold. These can be made at home, but they're kind of more advanced. I don't even make my own molds, usually, unless I'm making a bezel (a metal frame that you pour resin into). I would buy a candy or ice mold at your local dollar store, or silicone cupcake liners, which create cool starburst badges if you fill up the bottom a bit. They'll have pricier molds at art supply stores, but a better variety. If you're willing to wait roughly a month for your molds, check out aliexpress or another wholesale site for more mold shapes than you could ever store in that washed out pork rind jar you keep molds in (I'm assuming you're me).

handmade, Resin, and resina image

Now, you have two options for starter resin (actually waaay more, but these are the two I find the easiest to start with); two part resin involving a liquid catalyst, or one part UV resin. They both have their drawbacks. The two part resin needs to be mixed exactly according to the instructions or it won't cure properly. It will also be cloudy if the temperature is too cold when it sets. The UV resin cures quickly in direct sunlight, but anything inside that creates a shadow will remain sticky. This can be fixed by rotating the cast object when it's mostly hardened so the sticky sides get some sunlight too. You can also pour a thin layer of resin into the mold to coat it, then cure that before adding the inclusions.

fairy kei, tropical jewelry, and etsy image

As for inclusions, or stuff you stick in there, you can use pretty much anything as long as it isn't perishable or wet. Candy usually works, though, so do dry foods like chips. Hollow objects like pressed flowers or dead bugs may create air bubbles (which you can pop with a pin when the resin is still liquid). Fabric and paper need to be coated with mod podge, glue, or matte medium before casting or they'll turn transparent, which can be a nice effect on its own. If you're in doubt about whether you can put it in resin, google it! Someone has probably tried something similar.

jewelry, teeth, and weird image

When you finally have your resin piece, usually a flatback sculpted ornament called a cabochon, you can glue it to metal or plastic with epoxy glue (I recommend E-6000) or to fabric with FabriTac. This is really fun with smaller cabochons that are intended to be stud earrings. Glue transparent fruit slices all over your shorts!

kawaii, pastel, and pink image bow, paw, and etsy image

You can buy two part resin at any plastic or art supply store. You can get UV resin at Daiso, on amazon, on aliexpress, or directly from the Solarez company's website (if you want a large quantity). Now go forth and be kitschy.

necklace, sky, and pendulum image