Something I keep hidden about my creative process is my love of the dark side. The underbelly, the richly textured, and the suggestion of all things scary. My current jewelry line is full of funny, light, lovely pieces that make my clientele smile. Little do they know as they wander through my creations that I have a penchant towards the creepy. But as things would have it there are two sides to every story when setting out to make a “dark” piece and sometimes things don’t turn out the way you planned.
My muse for this project is the new, and old, Mad Max movie. The new trailer is full of imagery. Gas masks, skullery, sand, fibers, exaggerated teeth, hair slathered into Mohawks, and lots and lots of dirt! I’ve watched it at least twenty times. If you lived in a world gone “mad” how would you adorn yourself? What would be available? How would you go about putting something together? The following will show you how my answers manifested.
Black acrylic paint
Metal or rubber block to pound on
A sizzix, cuttlebug, artisan xplorer or other embossing type machine (optional)
Start by flattening out your bottle caps. There are a couple ways you can do this. First I took out my aggression and just flattened them with my hammer. Put the metal block on top of your rubber block for noise reduction then bang away. As you flatten the plastic inside the cap will loosen and you take pliers and pull it out.
Second, if your caps aren’t as flat as you would like, after hammering run them through your embossing machine. Lay them on the appropriate trays and run them through. They flatten like magic!
Now it’s time to enamel! Get out the enameling powders, medium, embossing heat gun, and a heat proof surface. Using the medium brush it onto the egdes of the flatten cap then dip in one of your colors. Heat until melted. On some of the caps I redipped into a second color when the enamel was still hot then reheated immediately. It gives you a sort of crackle effect.
You can enamel all of the surface, part, or none. It’s all up to you.
Now comes some fun experimentation. Gather your sand, black acrylic paint, and all your ICE resin equipment. Mix up a batch according to instructions and have an extra cup handy. Pour some of your resin into that extra cup. Using a toothpick grab a pea sized dot of paint and put it into the resin mixing until incorporated.
Then dump in some sand. Use a little and then add as you go until you get your desired texture. Drip the sand/resin mixture onto your bottle caps. Let cure overnight.
Idea: if your caps still aren’t quite grungy enough go back with a second resin coat. Mix in more black paint and coat each piece again. The subtle color will darken each cap and give you an entirely new look.
Let’s resin some feathers and some newspaper. I had some feathers laying around so I gathered black and a couple multi-colored ones plus some torn pieces of newspaper that I thought would go with my project.
Mix up a small batch of ICE resin according to instructions. Lay your paper and feathers on a garbage bag. Using the sponge brush dip into the resin and spread onto the feathers, both sides. Same with the paper. Leave on the garbage bag to cure overnight.
Lay out all your components playing and moving things around until you like the arrangement. Punch holes in the caps according to your layout, add chain and links to make the bib necklace. Wrap wires at the tops of your feathers, place on your creation. Add clasp and wear proudly!
As I took the journey through this creation I thought what I was going to have at the end was a grungy, recycled, kind of dirty piece. The sand, texture, and colors were meant to reflect that destroyed world that is post apocalyptic. Boy was I surprised when I tried it on. It’s actually very wearable and, to my surprise, pretty! It just shows how things change and morph as you wander through the creative process.
Footnote: I didn’t end up using the resin newspaper in the necklace design but I did make an earring. After watching Mad Max in Thunderdome I couldn’t resist the earrings, the enormous circular earrings, that Tina Turner was wearing! Mine are a very paired down version but fun nonetheless less!
The resin newspaper was simply torn, holes were punched in the feathers, and laced over a circular piece of brass wire. Add an earring finding and you have a great wearable!
An Ice Resin not so quick tip today by Susan M Walls. Nature? Nurture? I really couldn’t decide so I did several projects to help you find your “natural” creative inspiration. Some salt, a branch, and some dried flowers and there you have it! Hope you enjoy it!
Battling with this concept I decided to allow my nature to take over and make whatever it wanted. Which is several projects instead of one. Could I have settled on just one? Ummm…honestly? No. Could I have done less than what I came up with? Probably, yes. But I just went with it.
Here we go…and I’m leaving the question with you. Is it nature…or is it nurture?
Just recently I spent five days at a painting retreat and since painting is about all I really want to do now that I’ve returned. One of the techniques is done with wet paints and salt crystals. As the salt dried it sucks up some of the paint color but also repels some of the color floating in the water.
While looking at this happening I thought, “wow, that might be quite incredible with resin.” So…
…that’s exactly what I did.
Collect the colored crystals or work with them just as they come out of the box. Mix ICE Resin according to instructions then pour a shallow layer into the bezel. Lay in the salt crystals until your happy with the results. Let dry overnight. the next day you can use your bezel as is or coat the tops with more resin. Whichever look you like best!
On any given day my studio is definitely a work in progress with items all over the place. As I was working on the salt crystals I noticed that I left some older spices from my kitchen on the table. Knowing the project due had the word nature in it I thought, “hmmm…maybe working with natural ingredients in the resin would produce something fun.”
Taking curry powder and cayenne powders I mixed up some ICE Resin. Use about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of your selected spice and mixed it into the resin. My spices made these…
This is just an idea to get you started and the pieces are plain as I haven’t put them to use yet.. I’m thinking of maybe placing them into bezels or the faces might make fabulous rings. What do you think? Does it make you re-think your spice cabinet?
Those are good ideas but I felt like they weren’t “the” idea for the project so I trudged on. Deciding to take a break I went out and pruned a few trees. The branches had these fascinating patterns. Small criss-cross detail, tiny little nubs. Again I thought, “I wonder if these little details would show if I cast the branches in resin?”
Guess what happened next? :)
Running inside I grabbed the Art Mechanique Molding Putty and made a mold of the branch. While that cured I searched my stash (hoard) of bezels and came up with one from quite some time ago. A backless shield. Perfect! Also saved (hoarded) I went in search of a dried flower or leaf that I could put into the bezel. I have a waist high pile of old phone books that I’ve put different plants into the pages to dry. For this I chose a flower and some small leaves to accompany it.
Using packing tape seal the back of your bezel burnishing well so there are no air bubbles. Fold over the tape ends to make the bezel easier to handle.
Mix up your Ice resin according to instructions.
Pour a shallow layer into the taped bezel. Enough to cover the entire bottom.
Place dried floral material with tweezers and push down lightly to extract any trapped air bubbles.
Allow to dry overnight.
After drying, mix up a second batch of resin.
Pour in another shallow layer.
Place leaves or any secondary material, words, paper items, and press lightly for bubbles.
Pour resin over top until you achieve the desired doming effect of the resin.
Leave to cure.
After the drying of the second layers you can remove the tape and bead as desired. I decided to add the resin branch.
To the branch some brass wire, vintage parts and some older Czech glass beads. Voila a beautiful nature piece! Or did nurture get me here? Hmmm…
Susan creates and travels with her wearable art company
This project may look a bit familiar as I did one similar to it last time I was on the ice Resin team back in 2013. But this time I wanted to showcase how versatile ICE Resin is as an adhesive and a collage material.
It is so much fun to recycle things that would normally find themselves in the trash bin. Have you played with soda cans? They are thin aluminum that doesn’t rust, is thin enough to cut with simple scissors, and a die cut machine easily turns them into all kinds of shapes. You can see how with a few simple techniques you can make great jewelry pieces with soda cans.
So let’s get started!
Soda cans cleaned
Pages from a vintage book
Work or leather gloves
Cuttlebug or Sizzix or Artisan Xplorer die cut machine
Heart and butterfly cutting dies in two sizes
ICE Resin and appropriate supplies for mixing
Small sponge brush
Collect some cans and make sure to rinse them out. REMEMBER: use your safety gear! Safety glasses and gloves are a must for this project! With those in place use your heavy metal shears and clip off the top of the can. I clipped through the drinking hole into the softer metal then maneuvered around to clip off the entire top. Then cut down the seam or towards the back and clip off the bottom. Now you have a flat piece of metal. Rinse or clean as necessary and be careful the edges are sharp. (Use a medium grit sand paper to remove any loose pieces or sharp burrs)
Mix up your resin according to instructions. While you wait for the bubbles to clear lay out a garbage bag for your wet pieces, grab your gloves, sponge brush, and your vintage pages. Pour or dip your brush into the resin and onto the can metal sheets. Be sure to coat all the way to the edges then press your pages down on top. Pour more resin and using the brush coat liberally. Lay on your bag to dry. Continue with all your can sheets until done.
Leave to dry for 24 hours. (You just collaged paper to metal with ICE resin!!)
When dry ready your die cut machine with heart dies and cut a minimum of five large petals and three medium sized for the flower pin. Cut a few butterflies from any extra collaged can pieces. Your medium grit sandpaper can be used to remove sharp edges.
Starting with the larger petals place five onto the micro screw. Follow with three of the medium petals. Punch holes in your pen nibs and place those on top. (I used a Cropodile) Screw the nut into place, I used jewelry pliers, as tightly as you can get it. The nibs may bed bending to fit into the petals. I also bent the petals with my fingers to mimic flower petals.
Brush some medium onto the flower petal edges and dip in the enameling powder. Heat with embossing gun until melted. Continue with all your petals. With the butterflies I did some edges and some of the can designs to hide them, picking enamel colors that I liked as I went. (I actually did my enameling after I assembled the pieces. You can do either, before or after.)
Now you’re ready to mix up another batch of ICE Resin. With a sponge brush seal all your enameling and pour resin into your bezel piece. Also coat the butterflies and you can also use the resin to glue the pin backs in place. Just dribble a bit on the butterfly and place your pin. The resin will do the rest! You can also put some resin in the center of the flower piece then drop your bezel into it. For my example I used some tiny heart shapes,which I added last, to steady the bezel piece while it dried.
Voila! You have lovely recycled butterflies and a flower pin to show off your love of the literary!