Preserving Organics for Resin Jewelry

The more organics that I preserve, the more I learn. But honestly, in the big scheme of all there is to know on this subject, I have to admit, I know very little. I’m embracing the fact that I’m learning as I go along and am committed to share what I learn.

A couple months ago, I did a post on 6 Tips on How to Prepare & Embed Organics in Nunn Design 2-Part Resin. There was also a video on that post that I shot with Artbeads. At that time, I hadn’t explored the process of gathering and harvesting mushrooms or fiddleheads. This post is an account of my experience and process.

Gathering of the Organics:

One of the things that is so addictive for me, about working with organics, is the hunt of the treasure. Finding a patch of mushrooms or fiddleheads in nature is equal to hitting the mother-load at a garage sale. The same sort of adrenaline courses through my body. Those who have come across a patch of tiny little mushrooms know exactly what I’m speaking about, don’t you?

Here are examples of preparing mushrooms and fiddleheads using the silica gel.

Step 1: Harvest

Katherine and I headed out to harvest some mushrooms and fiddleheads.

Dry your Organics with a Silica Gel

Drying your organics with a silica gel allows the moisture in the flower or plant to be removed without altering the color. Bubbles that occur in 2-part resin are often caused by moisture in the organics. Most flowers can be dried in 2-5 days (there is a chart included in the package that states how long various flowers take).  Also included in the packaging are methods for speeding up the drying time by placing the silica gel in the microwave. Silica Gel is non-toxic and very fine so it doesn’t damage your organics and is reusable.

To use the Silica Gel, find a tub or a Tupperware container that has a lid. Sprinkle in a layer of gel into the base of the tub, then lay in your organics and sprinkle on another layer. Build up layers until your tub is full. Wait the required amount of time on the packaging for the organics to dry.

To remove the organics, take a large plastic bag and slowly start to sift out your organics. Follow the instructions on how to reuse your silica gel by drying and storing it.

Step 2: Silica Gel

In a Tupperware container, I sprinkled a layer of silica gel into the base. (If you are seeing stuff in the gel, there were little bits of organics left over from my last batch I dried).

Step 3: Place in Silica Gel

Next I placed the organics into the silica gel, leaving space in-between each item.

Step 4: Create Layers and Cover

I continued to sprinkle the silica gel, creating multiple layers. Once all of the organics were covered, I placed the lid onto the container.

Step 5: Let Dry

I placed my container under my bed and let it sit for the recommend amount. Well, actually, I totally forgot about the fiddleheads for a week or so. I don’t think there was any time that was listed on the silica chart on how long fiddleheads take to dry. I figured extra time wouldn’t hurt.

Step 6: Sift and Store

Once the organics had done their time, I sifted through the silica gel to find all the dried mushrooms and fiddleheads. The silica gel is very fine. It was a challenge to get all the gel off the tiny mushrooms. I gently blew on the mushrooms and fiddleheads to try to remove gel. I had no noticeable side effects from the gel still being in the crevices when I poured the resin.

This is one of the Tupperware containers I use to store my organics once they are dry.

Option: Spray your Organics with a Resin Spray

I have gotten in the habit of spraying all my organics that I embed in resin. I’m not really sure if this is totally necessary, but honestly, if I’m going to spend a bunch of time mixing and pouring resin, I want to take any and all precautions to make sure I have great results. I place my organics in a cardboard box with high sidewalls and head outside when it is time to spray. The Resin Spray is very fast drying, easy to apply and will seal your organics nicely.

  • Sealing the organics will prevent the resin from absorbing into the organics, causing the flowers to darken.
  • Sealing with Resin Spray can also prevent any moisture from coming in contact with the 2-Part Resin. We know what moisture does! It causes bubbles!

Finished Pieces

This was my first try with making the mushrooms and fiddleheads into resin pendants.

It really was a lot of fun. I did have little tiny bubbles that occurred. Next time I will explore placing the resin filled bezel in my vacuum tank to remove the bubbles. Does anyone know if that will work?

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Learn More:

To read a tutorial on how to embed organics into resin, you might be interested in these blog posts.

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4 thoughts on “Preserving Organics for Resin Jewelry

  1. Tomika says:

    Thank you for this very detailed tutorial. I have been thinking about trying to do “natural” items in a resin mold that I have. Figure if nothing else it will make a cute desk item. I wasn’t sure how to retain color though. The silica gel makes perfect sense.

  2. Kaylin says:

    Is it possible to just run a lighter over the resin to rid it of bubbles? I know a lot of people do that, but I wasn’t sure if this would possibly mess with the organic within the resin

  3. beckynunn says:

    I have read in several places to never place an open flame near epoxy, so I don’t promote it in my tutorials.

    What I can say is that it works.

  4. Jeff says:

    Do you think it’s possible to cast a whole hot pepper in this method? Any tips? I’ve been trying and have had minimal success.

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