The motivation for this technique was to make it easier for the maker to create fabulous pendants with a more streamlined process. By using colorized Crystal Clay in the base of the bezel, then applying the organics, only a single pour of resin is required!
In this tutorial, we will cover:
- How and why to clean Nunn Design Bezels
- How to preserve and prepare flowers and organics for floral resin jewelry
- How to mix Crystal Clay
- How to colorize Crystal Clay using Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments
- How to apply Crystal Clay into the Nunn Design Bezels
- How to embed flowers and organics into Crystal Clay
- How to mix Nunn Design 2-Part Resin
- How to colorize Nunn Design 2-Part Resin with Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments
- How to create multiple layers of pressed flowers and organics into the Resin
- How to babysit your curing resin
- How to clean-up resin overflows
- How to create a frosted resin look using steel wool
- What to do with excess resin
Fast Tutorial Video:
Watch this Fast Video for a quick overview of the process and then read the full tutorial below!
Long Tutorial Video:
Watch the Long Video to view the complete process!
Nunn Design Bezels
Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments-White
Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments-Blue
Crystal Clay 50g-White
Nunn Design Resin Kit
Dried and pressed flowers or organics
0000 Fine Steel Wool
Other Supplies Needed:
Glossy business cards or card stock
Plastic Bags, such as a Zip-Lock Bag
How and Why to Clean 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 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.
Learn more here on How and Why it is Important to Clean Nunn Design Bezels.
How to Preserve and Prepare Flowers and Organics for Floral Resin Jewelry
The preparation process of your flowers and organics is a critical part of successfully creating floral resin jewelry. If the flowers and organics are not preserved and prepared properly, you will likely experience discoloration in your flowers and bubbles in the resin.
How to Preserve Flowers and Organics
Step 2: To preserve and prepare 2-dimensional flowers and organics to be embedded into the colorized Crystal Clay and layered into colorized Nunn Design Resin, pressing your flowers and organics within a flower press, book or catalogue will provide the best results.
Here are some basic steps to preserving your own flowers and organics:
- Pick organics and press them while they are fresh
- If you would like to use a floral press, you can buy one or make one. Other inexpensive alternatives are to use books or a catalogue. I personally think that an old catalogue destined to be recycled is the best choice.
- Place the flowers and organic in between two sheets of paper and insert the paper in between the press, book or catalogue pages. Allow a good 1/8” of book pages in between the organics so as to not disturb the various layers. If you are using a book or catalogue, place additional books on top of the book with your flowers or organics to provide additional weight.
- Pressing flowers using a press, book or catalogue will take 2-3 weeks to fully dry.
TIP: If you aren’t able to press right away, place the organics in a zip-lock bag and place in the refrigerator until you can press them.
How to Prepare Flowers and Organics for Resin
Step 3: Some dried and pressed flowers will become totally translucent when exposed to resin. Resin spray is a very fast drying, easy to apply aerosol that will seal the organics. The extra coat of sealant from the resin spray will prevent the resin from absorbing into the organics.
Here are some basic steps for preparing your flowers and organics to be placed in resin:
- Place dried and pressed flowers in a cardboard box with high sidewalls and head outside when it is time to spray.
- Spray the dried and pressed flowers on one side, then turn over and spray the other side.
- To purchase the resin spray (sorry, it is expensive for us to ship this, so we don’t offer it on our website) this vendor has the resin spray and offers free shipping on Amazon.
- If you don’t want to purchase and use the resin spray, you can have some extra dried and pressed flowers 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 difficult to know what will work for sure and what won’t. You will have to experiment.
Learn more here on How to Preserve and Prepare Organics for Floral Resin Jewelry.
How to Mix Crystal Clay
Step 4: Crystal Clay is a 2-part epoxy. Mixing equal parts of A & B activates the clay. Once the clay is activated you have 90-120 minutes before the clay hardens and you can no longer sculpt or embed objects into it. Prior to mixing the 2 parts, it is recommended by the manufacturer to wear gloves when handling. Once the clay is mixed it is activated and is neutral and gloves are no longer necessary.
The gloves that are included in the Crystal Clay 50gr Kits are not my favorite. They are way too big for my hands and I have a heck of time mixing and colorizing the clay while wearing them. If you are having the same challenge try a different brand. If you do not have a latex allergy, I recommend using a pair of industrial, powder-free, 5 mil, latex glove sized to fit your hand snugly.
I use my latex gloves over and over again to prevent waste. To get the most usage out of the gloves, place baby powder generously over your hands prior to putting the gloves on. This will make it easier to get the gloves off once you are finished mixing and colorizing the Crystal Clay.
Step 5: With the gloves on, open up the packages of Crystal Clay and pinch off two equal-sized balls of Part A and Part B. Blend together the 2 parts fully until the clay is no longer marbled and is uniform in color.
Tip: I guesstimate the amount of Crystal Clay that I will need to fill the bezels for the project I’m working on. I would recommend having plenty of bezels prepped just in case you have excess 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 to avoid contamination while it is in storage.
Step 6: Use a wet-wipe to fully wipe down your gloves, removing any Crystal Clay. You will want to keep your gloves on. If the clay is sticky, you can wait 10 minutes to let the clay set-up a little. This will help it be less sticky when you apply the Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments.
How to Colorize Crystal Clay using Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments
Step 7: To decide the Pantone color you’d like to create, download the Nunn Design Pantone Cheat Sheet. to see the dozens of colors and color formulas that you can choose from. For this tutorial, I’ll walk you through the steps to creating a denim blue color and a sampler of other colors that can be created by tweaking the portions of Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigment.
By looking through the Pantone Cheat Sheet of color options, I could see that in order to create a deep denim blue color, I would need Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments in White, Blue, and Black. The color formula was meant for mixing with Nunn Design 2-Part Resin, so I knew there would be a little tweaking that needed to happen, but those 3 colors would get me started in the right direction.
The color formulas call for different portions of Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments. The portions of the pigment are created using toothpicks. Here is a visual of what the formulas portions look like:
1 ttp = 1 tiny toothpick
1 tp = 1 toothpick
1 ltp = 1 large toothpick
Here is the color sampler and the color formulas that I used to create the various shades of denim.
Step 8: To create one of these colors from the sampler, shake the containers of white, blue and black Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments. Squeeze a heavy squirt of each of the pigments onto a piece of plastic.
TIP: Make sure to apply the lids of the Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments right after you use them. I can’t tell you how many times I have contaminated my colors by putting on the wrong lids!
Step 9: The formulas are based on applying the colorants to a round ball of mixed Crystal Clay about the size of a very large blueberry. If you are mixing a larger size of ball of Crystal Clay, just adjust your formula appropriately.
Step 10: If you don’t have your gloves on, now is the time to put them back on and let’s colorize the Crystal Clay! Flatten the large blueberry size ball of Crystal Clay, creating a nice small patty. Follow the color formula from the colorized Crystal Clay sampler (or use your own!). Add the right amount of toothpick sizes of colorant to the Crystal Clay. I like to place the Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments onto the flat surface of my large blueberry sized ball with the intention of trying to keep more of the opaque pigments in the clay and less on my gloves when it comes time to mix it! Once the pigments are applied, fold the clay around the pigments like you are folding up a burrito or a crepe (is it lunchtime yet?).
Step 11: Blend the clay and opaque pigments fully until blended. If you want to create a darker color, add more of the blue and black. If you want to create a lighter color, you can add white or more of the non-colorized mixed White Crystal Clay.
Step 12: To be able to reuse your gloves, wipe them down fully with a wet-wipe before removing. To remove the gloves from your hands, pull at the fingertips and then pull the full glove off. This will prevent it from turning inside out and potentially getting some of the opaque pigment on the inside of the gloves and on your hands. The colors are potent and stain very easily.
Step 13: Whatever colors you create, be sure to record your formulas so that you can recreate it another time or better yet, share it with others! Store your formulas in a bag and have it ready for the next time!
How to Apply Crystal Clay into the Nunn Design Bezels
Step 14: Before you place your colorized Crystal Clay into the bezel, make sure your dried and press flowers or organics will fit. If the stem is too long, use a pair of scissors or flush cutters to remove the excess.
Step 15: 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 16: 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 slightly below the lip of the bezel.
If you have too much clay, you can pinch off the excess and pat down until smooth again, or remove it from the bezel altogether and remove the excess.
Step 17: 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.
How to Embed Flowers and Organics into Crystal Clay
Step 18: Place the dried and pressed flowers or organics into the colorized Crystal Clay using a couple of toothpicks or a pair of tweezers.
Gently move the organics into the desired position and then press the organics down into the clay. Pressing the organics into the clay will prevent them from floating to the surface.
Step 19: 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.
It is not necessary to fully let the Crystal Clay cure prior to moving onto the next step of mixing and pouring the resin.
Tip: I would recommend covering the card with glossy packing tape. This will prevent the resin from sticking to the paper.
How to Mix Nunn Design 2-Part Resin
The Nunn Design Resin Kit contains:
A 4-ounce bottle of clear epoxy resin
A 4-ounce bottle of epoxy hardener
2 precision tips to screw onto the bottles
5 mixing cups
5 mixing sticks
Printed instructions on how to mix the resin
Step 20: Read the resin instructions for safety concerns regarding the Nunn Design Resin. Put on your latex gloves and I would recommend safety glasses. I wear readers so I think that my eyes are protected. Make sure you have a pile of wet-wipes on the ready!
Step 21: To mix the resin you’ll want to have an exact one-to-one ratio. The one-to-one ratio has to be one tablespoon of Part A first and one tablespoon of Part B. This is a volume thing, not a weight thing. You have to mix the full mixing cup of resin to have the resin properly activate. I thought this was an excuse to get me to use more resin, but trust me, it isn’t! It is important to pour Part A first into the cup and then Part B. It is a chemical thing about part A being heavier or something.
Place one of the mixing cups included in the Nunn Design Resin Kit onto your table. I suggest getting your eyes level with the resin so you can see the lines on the measuring cup. Remove the lid to Part A of your resin kit and slowly pour the resin into the mixing cup up to the 1 Tablespoon mark.
I suggest that you go slow until you start to gain more confidence. When you start to get near the 1 Tablespoon line, tilt the Part A bottle down, slowing the flow of the resin. Slowly drizzle the resin into the cup until you have hit the 1 Tablespoon mark EXACTLY! To end the flow of the resin, twist the bottle. Use a wet-wipe to fully clean-up resin from the edge of the bottle. Make sure to put the Part A lid back onto the resin bottle.
I fold over my wet-wipe to make sure I don’t contaminate Part B when I clean up the edge of that resin after I pour it. I am also making sure that I don’t get any of the resin onto my hands.
Following all the same steps taken with Part A, pour Part B into the mixing cup until it is EXACTLY at the 2 Tablespoon mark.
Clean up the edge of the resin bottle and securely twist the Part B cap back onto the resin.
Step 22: Set your timer for 2 minutes.
Using the stir stick from your Nunn Design Resin Kit, slowly and carefully stir your resin scraping the bottom of the cup and the sidewalls as you stir. Go slowly because it is easy for the cup overflow. I hold the cup down at the base and use my fingers to help rotate the cup around. Stop from time to time and scrape the resin from the sides of the stir stick and continue to stir for the full 2 minutes. If your resin is still cloudy after your timer has gone off, 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.
Another habit that I have, is being aware of where I rest my stir sticks. To avoid getting resin all over my work surface, I like to rest the resin stir sticks in one of the mixing cups or onto a small Ziploc. I can easily peel the resin off of the Ziploc and reuse it. I can also reuse my stir stick once the resin has fully cured. I do know people who wipe out and reuse their mixing cups, but I haven’t done that so I cannot recommend it.
How to Colorize Nunn Design 2-Part Resin with Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments
Step 23: For this tutorial, we are going to colorize the mixed Nunn Design resin with the white Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigment. Place an empty resin mixing cup onto your work area. Pour the clear, mixed resin into the cup, filling it to the 1 TSP (you may need more of the full TBS mixed, but you can easily colorize more).
Step 24: Add a light squirt of the Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigment – White colorant into the clear mixed Nunn Design Resin and mix fully until blended. If you want the color to be even more opaque, add more of the Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigment – White.
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.
How to Apply Clear and Colorized Resin to Create Multiple Layers of Flowers and Organics
Step 25: It is time to apply the clear and colorized resin to create this awesome look! It is not necessary to fully let the Crystal Clay cure prior to moving onto this next step. I pour resin over wet Crystal Clay all the time.
With this next step of applying the clear Nunn Design Resin and the colorized resin, there is no right way to do this. Each pendant created will be unique.
Drizzle clear resin into the Nunn Design Bezel until the flowers that are embedded into the Colorized Crystal Clay are fully submerged. Take a couple of moments to agitate the flowers and resin by poking the flowers with a toothpick. This will help release any air bubbles trapped into the flowers. If you have bubbles that rise to the surface, use your hot breath to “huff” on the resin. The heat from your breath will make the bubbles expand and pop.
TIP: Use multiple toothpicks. One to move the resin around inside of the bezel and one to hold the bezel in place. I try to keep my hands away from the resin, especially as more and more resin is applied and a higher dome of resin is created. This tip will help to not disturb the resin and prevent over-pours.
Step 26: Drizzle more clear resin onto the surface of the organics until the bezel is filled slightly under the lip of the bezel. Use your toothpick to go along the inside edges of the sidewalls of the bezel to poke and see if any air bubbles are trapped beneath the surface of the resin. If bubbles surface, use your hot breath to “huff”.
Step 27: Now it is time to add some of the white colorized Nunn Design Resin. Apply a small amount of the colorized resin onto the end of a toothpick. Swirl the colored resin into the clear resin. Move the colorant around until you have the desired look that you would like.
Step 28: If you are losing sight of your pressed flowers due to the colorized resin, drizzle clear resin over the areas where the flowers are embedded. The clear resin will push away the colorized resin, making it easier to see the flowers.
How to Create Multiple Layers of Pressed Flowers and Organics into the Resin
Step 29: If you are interested in adding multiple layers of flowers to create dimension in your piece, double-check that the flowers will fit and take into consideration the composition of the design. Trim away excess flowers and the stems of the piece.
TIP: When adding multiple layers of flowers to create dimension, it is easy for the flowers to rise up and protrude out of the top surface of the resin. If the flowers do protrude, it could be necessary for you to do a second pour of resin, once the first pour of resin is cured.
Step 30: Drizzle a small amount of clear resin onto a Ziploc bag. Place the additional flowers that you would like to embed into your piece into the puddle of clear resin. Use a toothpick to agitate the resin and flower, forcing any air that might be caught in the flower to release. Make sure your flower is fully coated before using a pair of tweezers to place the organics into the bezel.
Step 31: Lay the flower into the bezel. Use a toothpick to position the organics where you would like. Swirl additional white colorized resin to create that moody misty look. Now tell me, doesn’t that look fabulous?!
How to Babysit Your Curing Resin
Step 32: During the first 1-2 hours, watch closely to see if the flowers are rising and protruding out of the surface of the resin and for air bubbles. If the flowers are rising to the surface and protruding, use a toothpick to press the flowers back down into the resin. Continue to use your hot breath to “huff” on the pieces to pop the air bubbles. As the resin starts to set-up, let it go.
Let the resin cure for 12-14 hours in a dust-free environment. If the flowers are protruding or if you have dust, we will address that later once the resin has cured.
How to Clean Up Resin Overflows
Step 33: If you have 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. Where you will have challenges in around the bezel loop. Take your time to remove the resin by using a pair of flush cutters or tweezers.
TIP: It may take longer than 6 hours depending on your room temperature. You will want the resin to be firm, but not super hard. Test it starting around 6 hours, but more than likely it will take closer to 8-12 hours.
How to Create a Frosted Resin Look Using Steel Wool
Step 34: After 18-24 hours, use fine steel wool to gently rub the surface of the colorized resin, resulting in a matte resin. If you had protruding flowers or dust, the fine steel wool will help these areas in the resin look less noticeable.
Tip: When the resin is curing and off-gassing, small “pockmarks” may form in the resin’s surface. When you gently rub the colorized resin with steel wool, this will cause the “pockmarks” to darken. If you don’t like this look, try using a very fine grit of sandpaper instead of steel wool. I actually like these marks. It feels more organic.
What to Do with Excess Resin!
If you are stressing because of the waste, here are a couple of tutorials that are ideal for the 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
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