There are a lot of different types and styles of photo jewellery. Amongst the most popular styles are photo pendants, photo rings, floating pendants, photo bracelets photo brooches and charms.
In addition to jewellery there are also photo keychains and photo dog tags to name just a few ways of personalizing every-day items.
Photo jewellery is easy to make and can be produced overnight with the use of glass clear resins, that permanently seal and protect the photos within the jewellery.
Many of our customers start out by making a piece of photo jewellery for themselves, wear some to work and find that everyone wants one too! Before they know it, they are making money in their spare time, with a photo jewellery making business. No one has seen anything like it before.
Which resin do I use?
Polyester Clear Cast Resin is the most economical resin to use but it has some nast side effects. The
MEKP catalyst used to harden the resin is fairly toxic stuff with a very nasty odour and should only be
used in well ventilated areas.
Polyurethane resin (CraftCast Resin) comes in several forms, a white, opaque resin that hardens in 3 minutes and can be removed from the mould in only 10 minutes, and a water white clear resin. These are widely used and make beautiful jewellery.
Epoxy resin (CrystalCast Resin) is still the most popular. It has none of the bad features of polyester and provides jewellery makers with a safe, easy to use, slower setting resin, with good optical clarity, that many jewellery makers prefer.
Types of Resin Jewellery
To use pendants as an example of what styles of jewellery can be made:
(1) The pendant can be produced in a resin mould at the required shape and size
(2) It can be made with the photo cut to the required free form shape and coated with resin as a domed piece
(3) The photo may be cut to size, placed in a jewellery bezel and embedded with resin.
Photo Printing and Sizing
Print the photo in an ink jet printer to the required size using waterproof paper if available. If using anyother type of printing paper, make sure it is sealed before using the resin.
A handy sized paper can be found on eBay (4×6 Canon Photo Printing Paper 50’s)
If you experience any difficulty in sizing your photos to the required size Google “photo resizer” or use one of the following programs:
- download.cnet.com/fastone-photo- resizer
Cut to size with a pair of scissors. Make the cut a fraction smaller than the base of the mould or bezel, so it will be easy to slip into the resin.
Sealing the Photo
Seal both sides of the photo by:
(1) Paint with a sealer such as Mod Podge
(2) Spray with an acrylic art sealer
(3) Laminate in a laminating unit
(4) Seal with clear packaging tape.
Casting the Resin
Please read the directions that come with your CrystalCast casting kit. It is important to make certain that you have all of the necessary equipment and supplies available before you start a project that involves CrystalCast.
Prepare the Jewellery Moulds:
Use wax paper or freezing paper to protect the work area. Prepare all mould cavities with a light spray of mould release/conditioner. If there is excess release/conditioner use a clean paper towel to remove the excess. Let the mould dry before adding in the CrystalCast.
No mould release is required if using a jewellery bezel as the resin and photo will be permanently embedded.
CrystalCast Resin Instructions:
Step 1: Make sure the CrystalCast is at the proper temperature. The optimum working temperature of CrystalCast is 75° F or 24° C. The CrystalCast bottles should feel warm to the touch but not hot. If the bottles are too cold, they can be warmed gently, by placing them under running warm water. It is important not to expose them to a hot environment, so make sure to only use warm water to raise the temperature and cool water to decrease the temperature.
If the CrystalCast is too cold, the casting will be cloudy and not clear. It will also contain microscopic bubbles that will spoil the look of the casting.
Step 2: Measure and mix the CrystalCast. The ratio is 2 parts of resin to one part of catalyst. It is important to measure the liquids and not just guess. If the mixture is not exact, the casting will be soft and often sticky. This means that the piece will be unusable.
The mixing of the two chemicals will result in the creation of a chemical bond. To achieve the proper bonding between the two chemicals, the mixture must be mixed twice and in two stages. The first mixing is one unit of resin and one unit of hardener. These should be mixed in a plastic mixing container that has straight sides, a flat bottom and is of wax free construction. Use a wood stick to mix the components. Mix for 2 minutes.
Mixing should be in such a way that the wooden stick scrapes the sides and bottom of the container. As a last measure, the stick should be cleaned by scraping it gently along the rim of the container.
The goal is to make certain that all of the chemicals are mixed thoroughly. When the two minutes are up, the mixture should be poured into a second mixing container that is clean. Using a NEW stick, stir the contents for another minute.
Add colour dyes if desired, and mix until the proper tone is achieved.
Pour the contents into the mould or bezel. If you have extra CrystalCast, pour the excess into the base of some other moulds. This will help to create different looks for the castings.
Read the sections about Layering and embedding for instructions on using partially filled moulds.
Treatment of Air Bubbles:
CrystalCast is designed to degas itself within a couple of minutes. If fillers are added to the CrystalCast mixture, additional bubbles may form. The bubbles should rise to the top and dissipate on their own and in a short period of time.
If bubble are persistent, then use a hair dryer and pass warm air over the surface of the mould. Do so quickly as hot air can melt some moulding materials.
Cure Times and Temperatures:
The ideal curing temperature for CrystalCast is between 70°F / 21°C and 85°F / 29°C. The amount of time needed for the casting to fully cure is dependent upon room temperature, as well as the thickness of the casting. The normal curing times for a 1 inch (2.5cm) thick casting is 24 hours for soft cure and up to 72 hours for a hard cure.
All pieces should be cured for a minimum of 24 hours, before attempting to de-mould. Pressing from the bottom will usually do the trick, but a gentle twisting of a rigid type plastic mould can also be used.
Try to avoid over twisting the plastic mould as they will lose their shape over time.
Trim and Sand Edges:
Sandpaper can also be used to reshape edges. Using a sharp knife or a pair of scissors may also help. Using a file, sander, or Dremel to shape or carve castings should be followed up by using 150 grit sandpaper to help remove and smooth scratches, etc.