Make These with Epoxy Clay, Skeleton Leaves and Nunn Design Resin

This is another one of those simple tutorials that creates such great results! The details of the skeleton leaf really make this project, and it is a great starting point for other organics too! In this tutorial you will learn:

  • How to mix and embed Epoxy Clay
  • How to apply organics onto Epoxy Clay
  • How to mix and apply Nunn Design Resin

Fast & Long Video Tutorials!

Watch this Fast Video For a quick overview of the technique!

Watch the full tutorial video where I walk you through the whole process.

Learn How!

Supplies :
Nunn Design Bezels
Epoxy Clay – White
Nunn Design Resin Kit
Skeleton Leaf/Organics

Other Supplies Needed:
Rubbing Alcohol
Wet wipes
Toothpicks or headpins
Glossy business cards or card stock

Other Tools:

Preparing Your Nunn Design Bezels:

Step 1. The Nunn Design Findings are oxidized to provide the aged look to the precious metal plating. The oxidization, when it comes into contact with the Epoxy 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.

How to Preserve and Prepare Organics:

Step 2. To ensure that your dried and pressed flowers are ready for resin, please read A Beginners Guide to Drying and Preparing Organics for Creating Resin Jewelry. The preparation of drying and pressing of your flowers is a critical step for avoiding bubbles in your resin.

Step 3. Some dried and pressed flowers and organics will become totally translucent when exposed to the resin. If you want to reduce your risk of this happening, you may want to get in the habit of spraying Castin’ Crafts Resin Spray on all your flowers before embedding them into the resin. The resin spray is very fast drying, easy to apply and will seal the dried and pressed flowers nicely.

Place dried and pressed flowers or organics in a cardboard box with high sidewalls and head outside when it is time to spray. Spray on one side, then turn over and spray the other side.

If you don’t want to go this route of purchasing resin spray (sorry, it is expensive for us to ship this, so we don’t offer it on our site), you can have some extra dried and pressed flowers or organics at the ready in case the flowers that you wanted to use become translucent and aren’t working for you. Because there are a gazillion options for flowers (well, maybe not that many) it is way too hard to know what will work for sure and what won’t. You will have to experiment.
TIP: This vendor has the resin spray and offers free shipping on Amazon.

Mixing and Applying the Epoxy Clay:

Step 6. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the handling and mixing of the Epoxy 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 uniform in color.

Tip: I guesstimate the amount of Epoxy 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 Epoxy Clay to prevent it from drying out and hardening. Store Part A and Part B in separate zip-lock bags.

Step 7. Pinch off the amount of mixed Epoxy Clay that you think will fit into your Nunn Design Bezel. Roll the thoroughly mixed Epoxy Clay between your palms until it forms a smooth round ball.

Step 8. Press the ball of mixed Epoxy Clay into your bezel using the tips of your fingers. For this particular technique, I wanted the Epoxy Clay to be flush and level with 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.

Step 9. Use a wet-wipe to clean-up any excess Epoxy Clay that might have been left on the jewelry finding. The Epoxy 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 the Skeleton Leaf:

Step 10. Lay the skeleton leaf down into the Epoxy Clay and press. Hold the skeleton leaf down with one hand while you use a pair of scissors to trim around the bezel’s edge with the other.

IMPORTANT! Continue to trim until there is no overhang of the Skeleton Leaf along the outside edge of the bezel. If there is an overhang, it will be easy for the Nunn Design Resin to overflow.

Step 11. 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 12. Allow the Epoxy 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 13. 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 14. 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 15. 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.

Drizzle on Resin:

Step 16. Drizzle a small amount of resin over the top of the skeleton leaf embedded into the Epoxy Clay. Poke and press around the skeleton leaf hopefully dislodging any potential air bubbles. Once you have agitated your resin, drizzle more resin into the bezel until it is domed. Use a toothpick to pull the resin out to the edges of the bezel.

Step 17. You will want to ‘babysit’ your resin for the next 1 – 2 hours. If you see bubbles rising to the surface, using your hot breath – breathe on them. It isn’t a “blow” sort of breath – more of a “huff” sort of breath. The hot air will make the bubbles expand, rise to the surface and pop. As the resin starts to set-up and becomes thicker, it will be more difficult for the air to rise to the surface. Make sure to check in on the curing resin to double check for air bubbles.

Step 18. If you do have some bubbles, use a toothpick to gentle drag them over to the sides. This agitation process will help them to pop. When the resin is thick and taffy-like in texture it is time to let it be. If you attempt to pop bubbles at this time, you may end up with a gooey mess.

Step 19. If you have any resin that has over-poured or seeped under the bezel and onto the card, wait about 6-12 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.

Step 20. 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.

TROUBLESHOOTING: Disappearing Organics

Some dried and pressed organics will become totally translucent when exposed to resin. If you want to reduce your risk of this happening, there are two different methods for preparing your preserved organics. You can spray your organics with a resin spray or coat them with resin prior to embedding them.

A customer sent in this skeleton leaf problem:

“Hello I am running into a problem when adding skeleton leaves to a dark background type pendant. I prepare the leaves and they look great when I place them initially but once I pour the resin on them they turn clear and just about disappear. they turn almost transparent and no longer can be seen against the background. Is there a trick to avoid this problem?”

I have to admit, organics are tricky. For not all organics are the same or do they respond the same with resin. Just when I think I have something “figured out” in theory, it might not work from organic to organic.

So, to start with, the organic that I use in this tutorial: Epoxy Clay, Skeleton Leaves and Resin within Wire Frames Tutorial! and in this tutorial: Make These with Epoxy Clay, Skeleton Leaves and Nunn Design Resin

They are actually artificial rubber tree skeleton leaves. Therefore they don’t absorb the resin and don’t become transparent.

If you are working with organic skeleton leaves, the resin will absorb into them. For these pieces, I would recommend that you do the following:

  1. within a bezel or open frame, place in your:
    a. White Epoxy Clay or
    b. Colorized Nunn Design Resin. The only color that really will allow for the skeleton leaf to be seen is white.
  2. Once a or b from step 1 has cured, mix a batch of Nunn Design Resin.
  3. Drizzle a layer of clear resin over the cured Epoxy Clay or Colorized Resin
  4. Place the skeleton leaf into the “drizzled layer”.
  5. Pour on more clear resin until fully covered.

The risk of doing this as I described, is that the skeleton leaf can “rise to the surface.” If so, do not dome the resin. Fill until level or flat with the sides of the bezel. Then you will have to go back and top it off with another batch of resin.

I know this sounds like a lot of steps, and it is. But once you start into production, you will have all stages of pieces waiting for resin, so you will be rotating things on a regular bases.

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.

Learn How With Videos!

Here are two videos we did with on preparing Nunn Design 2-Part Resin, and colorizing it!

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