Learn how to create interesting textures into colorized Crystal Clay to make fabulous focal pieces!
In this tutorial you will learn:
- How and why to clean Nunn Design Bezels
- How to create a silicone mold using organics or found objects
- How to mix Crystal Clay
- How to colorize Crystal Clay with Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments
- How to apply Crystal Clay into the Nunn Design Bezels
- How to use Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments to add color and highlights
- How to create an impression into Crystal Clay with a silicone mold
- How to mix and apply Nunn Design 2-Part 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 see the complete process!
Nunn Design Bezels
Easy Mold Silicone Putty
Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments-White
Castin’ Craft Opaque Pigments-Blue
Crystal Clay 50g-White
Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigment 3g-Gold
Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigment 3g-Silver
Nunn Design Resin Kit
Fresh Organics or Vintage Button
Other Supplies Needed:
Glossy business cards or card stock
Plastic Bags, such as a Ziplock
Wooden Blocks covered with Packing Tape
Needle Nose Pliers
A Flat Surface (for flattening the Easy Mold Silicone Putty)
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 Create a Silicone Mold Using Organics or Found Objects
Step 2. To create a mold that will bring a natural element of texture and design to your jewelry, select freshly picked organics with a great deal of relief and definition. Dried organics can easily crumble and crack when pressed into the Easy Mold Silicone Putty.
Step 3. Easy Mold Silicone Putty has a 3-minute working time. For best results and maximum window of being able to work with the putty, make sure your room temperature in brought up to 70 degrees.
Step 4. Lay a piece of plastic, such as a small Ziploc Bag, onto your work surface. Pinch off a small grape-sized ball of Part A and Part B of the Easy Mold Silicone Putty. Getting the knack for mixing just the right amount of putty will take some practice. You might mix too much or too little putty the first time. Try your best to guess the amount of putty you will need to have approximately 1/8” putty around the outside edge of your bezel’s rim. You will also want the thickness of the silicone putty to be approximately 1/8”.
Step 5. The working time of the silicone molding putty is only 3 minutes, so you will need to work quickly. Take a moment to make sure you have the following supplies. Laying out everything on your work surface prior to mixing will provide more ease.
- The organics for your mold creation
- A flat surface to press the silicone putty into a flat disk
Step 6. Knead both part A and part B together until the putty is blended completely and is uniform in color.
Step 7. Roll the fully mixed Easy Mold Silicone Putty into a smooth round ball that is free of creases. Place the mixed putty onto a piece of plastic. If you have creases, try your best to have the smoothest side of the mixed silicone ball facing up.
Step 8. Use one of the lids from the containers of Easy Mold Silicone Putty or a flat surface, such as a glass bowl, to press down into the silicone putty. Creating a nice round and evenly flat disk out of the silicone putty.
Step 9. Press the freshly cut organics into the molding putty right away (it sets up really fast!). Use the lid of the putty or a flat surface to press the organics firmly and evenly down into the Easy Mold Silicone Putty.
Step 10. The Easy Mold Silicone Putty will start to set and be firm to the touch after 20 minutes. Remove the organics from the putty.
TIP: If you have some organics that didn’t easily release, use a pair of tweezers to remove the organics that may still be stuck in the many crevices of the putty.
Step 11. If you plan to make an impression into Crystal Clay that is using a bail pendant and have too much silicone putty around your organics, you can trim away some of the excess silicone with a pair of scissors. You are ready to use your mold!
How to Mix Crystal Clay
Step 12: 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. 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 mils, 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 13: 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 14: 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 15: 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 ltp = 1 large toothpick
Here is the color sampler with the color formulas that I used to create the various shades of denim.
Step 16: To create one of the 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 17: The formulas are based on applying the colorants to a round size ball of mixed Crystal Clay about the size of a very large blueberry. If you are mixing a larger size of a ball of Crystal Clay, just adjust your formula appropriately.
Step 18: 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?).
TIP: For this tutorial, I was going to fill a lot of bezels, so I tripled the formula and worked with a ball of Crystal Clay the size of 3 large blueberries.
Step 19: 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 20: 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 finger tips 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 21: 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 22. 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 23. Press the ball of mixed Crystal Clay into your bezel using the tips of your fingers. For this technique, fill the Crystal Clay level with 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 24. 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 Use Pearl Ex Powders to Add Color and Highlights
Step 25: Using a Q-Tip, smear a little of the Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments onto the Silicone Mold. Tap the side of the mold onto a Ziploc Bag laying on your work surface. This will remove any excess Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments from the mold. Place the excess Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments back into the container.
Step 26. Use a wet-wipe to remove any of the Jacquard Pearl Ex Powders from the silicone mold. Whatever powder that you have on the mold will be transferred onto the Crystal Clay.
How to Create an Impression into Crystal Clay with a Silicone Mold
Step 27: Place the colorized Crystal Clay filled bezel face down onto the silicone mold and press down evenly. To make sure I have a really good impression, I like to pick up the mold and press the mold into the clay, as well as pressing the bezel down into the mold.
Step 28: If you don’t like the impression that was created, use a wet-wipe to remove the Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments. Pat the impression in the colorized Crystal Clay with your fingertips until you have a smooth surface once again. Reapply Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments onto the mold, tap off the excess and press the bezel down into the mold again.
Step 29: Clean the bezel thoroughly with a wet-wipe, removing any of the colorized Crystal Clay. The Crystal Clay will harden like cement, so cleaning as you go is a good habit to get into.
TIP: Before storing your silicone molds, wipe away all of the Jacquard Pearl Ex Powdered Pigments with a wet-wipe. This will allow you to have a clean mold for the next time.
How to Mix and Apply 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 30: 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 31: 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 32: 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.
Step 33: Because the bezel has a bail loop, you will want to provide a nice level surface for pouring the mixed Nunn Design Resin. I use blocks of wood that I cover with packing tape. The block provides an edge for the bail to hang off of, making the bezel level.
TIP: If you don’t cover the blocks with packing tape, and if you have any overflow of resin, the bezels will be stuck to the wood. Make sure to cover the blocks with packing tape.
Step 34: Using a toothpick or narrow resin stir stick, drizzle a small amount of resin into the surface of the textured colorized Crystal Clay.
Step 35: Using a toothpick, drag the resin to the side edges. Take a couple moments to agitate the resin around the inside edges of the bezel (this is a typical area for bubbles to be trapped). 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.
Step 36: Drizzle more of the mixed Nunn Design Resin onto the surface of the Crystal Clay until it is slightly domed. Pull the resin out to the edges of the bezel using a toothpick. This will allow for the rim of the bezel to be fully covered with resin, making the finished pendant to be cleaner and more professional looking.
How to Babysit Your Curing Resin
Step 37: During the first 1-2 hours, watch closely to see if any bubbles appear in the resin. Continue to use your hot breath to “huff” on the pieces to pop the air bubbles.
Step 38: Let the resin cure for 12-14 hours in a dust-free environment.
How to Clean Up Resin Overflows
Step 39: If you have resin that has over-poured or seeped under the bezel and onto the wooden blocks, wait about 6-12 hours until the resin is at its “soft cure” phase. Remove the bezel from the wooden blocks. 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.
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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