Make These with Crystal Clay, Mica Flakes & Colorized Resin
I was curious about how to create more of a reflective quality in my resin pieces. By applying a layer of Crystal Clay and embedding Mica Flakes prior to pouring the colorized resin into the bezel allowed for a more reflective pop to the resin. Once the resin has cured, the resin is gently sanded to provide the dull matte finish. The overall results? I think they are stunning.
Fast Video Tutorial!
Watch this Fast Video For a quick overview of the process and then read the full tutorial below!
Nunn Design Bezels
Crystal Clay – White
Mica Flakes – Silver
Nunn Design Resin Kit
Castin’ Crafts Opaque Pigments
0000 Fine Steel Wool
Other Supplies Needed:
Toothpicks or headpins
Glossy business cards or card stock
Preparing Your Nunn Design Bezels:
Step 1. The Nunn Design Findings are oxidized to provide an aged look to the precious metal plating. The oxidization, when it comes into contact with the Crystal Clay could change the color of the clay. To avoid this, clean the findings thoroughly prior to applying the clay. Get the tip of a Q-Tip wet with rubbing alcohol and clean away any of the blackened oxidization on both sides of the bezels.
Mixing and Applying the Crystal Clay:
Step 2. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the handling and mixing of the Crystal Clay. While wearing gloves, pinch off two equal sized balls of Part A and Part B and blend together fully until the clay is no longer marbled and is uniform in color.
Tip: I guestimate the amount of Crystal Clay that I will need to fill the bezels for the project I’m working on. I would recommend under mixing the amount of clay and having to mix frequently, versus feeling the pressure to work fast or have waste.
You have approximately 90-120 minutes of working time before the clay starts to harden, so take your time. Once the clay is thoroughly mixed, remove your gloves to make it easier to work with the clay.
Tip: Make sure to wrap up your Crystal Clay to prevent it from drying out and hardening. Store Part A and Part B in separate zip-lock bags.
Step 3. Pinch off the amount of mixed Crystal Clay that you guess will fit into your Nunn Design Bezel. Roll the thoroughly mixed Crystal Clay between your palms until it forms a smooth round ball.
Step 4. Press the ball of mixed Crystal Clay into your bezel using the tips of your fingers. For this particular technique, I wanted the Crystal Clay to be flush and level to the sides of the bezel.
If you have too much clay, you can pinch off the excess clay and use your fingertips to create a smooth surface. Another option would be to remove the clay all together, pinch off some of the clay, roll it into a smooth ball and reinsert the clay into the bezel.
For the navette shaped bezels, roll the Crystal Clay into a tube before embedding it into the bezel. Pinch off the excess clay and pat it down into the bezel base flush and level to the sides of the bezel.
Step 5. If filling the corners with Crystal Clay is challenging on the square and rectangle shaped bezels, use a toothpick to press the clay up into the corners of the bezel. Pat down the toothpick marked clay with your fingers until smooth.
Step 6. Use a wet-wipe to clean-up any excess Crystal Clay that might have been left on the jewelry finding. The Crystal Clay hardens like cement, so cleaning it up now and being tidy as you go makes the process easier and the results so much nicer.
Apply Mica Flakes:
Step 7. Before the Crystal Clay cures, sprinkle some Mica Flakes onto your work surface. Use a toothpick with a slightly damp tip to pick up the Mica Flakes and place them into the Crystal Clay. Try to cover the full surface of Crystal Clay with Mica Flakes.
Step 8. Use a Q-tip to burnish the Mica Flakes, securing into the Crystal Clay.
Tip: I like to sprinkle the Mica Flakes onto a plastic bag or onto a business card so I can easily place the excess Mica Flakes back into its container once I am done. Sprinkling the Mica Flakes onto my work surface also allows me to see the various sizes and shapes of the flakes easily.
Step 9. Allow the Crystal Clay to cure for 2 hours. It will continue to cure over the next 12 hours, but after 2 hours it will be hard to the touch.
Mixing Nunn Design Resin:
Step 10. Read the resin instructions for safety concerns regarding the Nunn Design Resin.
When I work with resin, I always:
- Have my room heated around 70-73°
- Place a large plastic bag over my work surface and tape it down
- Make sure I have ventilation in my workroom
- Wear gloves
- Wear glasses (readers because I can’t see anymore. Plus it protects my eyes!)
- Have a pile of wet wipes handy
This is a great blog post that covers 20 Habits for Successfully Using Nunn Design 2-Part Epoxy Resin. Even if you are a seasoned resin mixer, this might be worth a read.
Step 11. Place one cup (included in the Nunn Design Resin Kit) onto your table. For curing purposes, it is very important that the resin be an exact 1 to 1 ratio of Part A and Part B. I suggest getting your eyes level with the resin so you can see the lines on the measuring cup. Pour Part A of your resin kit up to the 1 TBS mark on your measuring cup.
Pour Part B of your resin kit into the same cup until it is filled to the 2 TBS mark.
It is important to pour Part A first and then Part B. It is some chemical thing about part A being heavier or something.
Step 12. Set your timer for 2 minutes. Using the stir stick from your kit (a popsicle stick or coffee stir stick will work great too), slowly and carefully stir your resin scraping the sides as you stir. Stir for a minimum of 2 minutes. If your resin is still cloudy continue to mix until clear.
After mixing is complete and your resin is clear, scrape both sides of your stir stick on the edge of your resin filled cup.
Colorizing the Nunn Design Resin:
Step 13. To create 2017, 2018 and 2019 Pantone Colors, take a look at these blog posts for the color mixing formulas:
- 2017 Pantone Color Formulas using Nunn Design 2-Part Resin and Opaque Pigments
- 2018 Pantone Color Formulas using Nunn Design 2-Part Resin and Opaque Pigments
- 2019 Pantone Color Formulas using Nunn Design 2-Part Resin and Opaque Pigments
Step 14. To colorize the resin, place another empty resin mixing cup onto your work area. Pour the clear, mixed resin into the cup, filling it to the 1 TSP mark.
The Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments are very potent. Let’s define what a “tiny toothpick tip” and a “toothpick tip” amount of colorant should look like. This is not an exact science. If you don’t get the exact amount, your color will still come out fairly close.
A “tiny toothpick tip” should look like this.
A “toothpick tip” should look like this.
Step 15. Add in a tiny toothpick of Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigment – Red and then stir gently until the colorant is fully mixed with the resin. Let resin sit for 5 minutes to allow the bubbles rise to the surface and pop.
Tip: Be sure that the colorant does not equal more than 10% of your resin as having more than 10% could cause issues with curing.
Step 16. I tend to work in a small area (typically my kitchen table), so I like to work on a surface that projects can be easily moved around and not disturbed. Place some business cards or some heavy card stock onto your work surface, making it easy to move the pendants without getting any resin on your fingers.
Tip: I would recommend covering the card with glossy packing tape. This will prevent the resin from sticking to the paper.
Step 16. Drizzle a small amount of colorized resin onto the surface of your cured and firm to the touch Crystal Clay. The light pink wasn’t showing up at all, so I added a tiny toothpick more of the Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigment-Red to the resin.
Note: If you have a variation in the depth of the bezels and the amount of Crystal Clay that you fill the bezel with, the colorized resin you pour onto the clay in later steps will vary in color intensity. It is kind of confusing, so here are some examples.
This bezel had the Crystal Clay flush to the surface.
This bezel had the Crystal Clay just on the bottom and the depth of the bezel was fairly deep. When the colorized resin was applied, the color was more intense because there was more of it.
Curing & Clean Up:
Step 17. Let the resin cure for 12-14 hours. It will be hard to the touch, but resin continues to cure for the next 72 hours. Place a small plastic container over the bezels to prevent dust from getting into the resin as it cures.
Tip: You might need to use a toothpick to make the bezels level.
Step 18. If you have resin that has over-poured or seeped under the bezel and onto the card, wait about 6 hours until the resin is at its “soft cure” phase. Remove the bezel from the card. The resin will still be soft. Use a pair of needle nose pliers to bend back the resin from the bezel. The resin will easily separate and peel off of the bezel.
Create a Matte Surface with Steel Wool:
Step 19. Once the resin is fully cured, use fine steel wool to gently rub the surface of the colorized resin. This will result in a matte resin surface, versus a shiny resin surface.
Tip: If you have any pits or blemishes in the cured resin surface, these will be accented with the steel wool. I actually like the darkening that occurs, but if this isn’t your cup a tea, try a very fine sandpaper.
Assemble into something fabulous!
You can find these finished pieces in our gallery, specced with the findings used to create them!
- Pembe: Classic Deep Bezel Large Circle Necklace
- Ogen: Organic Mini Bezel Navette Necklace
- Opakeko: Grande Pendant Circle Necklace
- Guto: Classic Deep Bezel Small Circle Necklace
- Terapo: Organic Mini Bezel Drop and Twisted Hoop Necklace
- Ovala: Large Oval Earrings
- Rondo: Small Circle Wire Earrings
- Persiko: Organic Bezel Rings
Ideas For Excess Resin!
If you are stressing because of the waste, here are a couple of tutorials that are ideal for resin that is getting very thick and goopy.
- Colorized Resin Gems Tutorial
- Texturized Resin in Open Frame Hoops Tutorial + Video
- Making Molds with Organics to Create Sculpted Resin Tutorial + Video
- Nunn Design Resin Drop Pendants using Excess Resin and Gilding Flakes
Learn How With Videos!
Here are two videos we did with Fusionbeads.com on preparing Nunn Design 2-Part Resin, and colorizing it!
- How to Prepare and Mix Nunn Design Resin with Becky Nunn | Fusion Beads
- How to Colorize Nunn Design Resin with Pigments with Becky Nunn | Fusion Beads
Shop the Supplies!
With each of our Buy & Try Tutorials, all of the supplies you will need are available for purchase.
Shop Wholesale Bulk:
- Nunn Design Bezels
- Nunn Design Resin Kit
- Castin’ Crafts Opaque Pigments
- PearlEx Powder-Silver
- Mica Flakes
How to Purchase Wholesale?
If you are interested in becoming one of the many designers who trust their jewelry to Nunn Design Findings, please join us by registering to become one of our wholesale customers!
Nunn Design primarily sells wholesale, but we do offer Retail Kits and Retail Buy & Try Programs for certain projects. For all other findings, please visit our Where to Buy Page for a listing of online stores that sell Nunn Design Findings retail.
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