Tag Archives: bamboo

110: Resin Topped Stud Earrings

DSC00962I’ve been wanting to experiment with resin for years!  I just never got around to it – in all honestly, I read so many horror stories, I was a little timid.  So let me tell you – just do it.  It’s not hard, the mess can be contained, and the results are worth it!

My love of paper almost rivals my love of lasers.  I’ve shied away from combining the two for my jewelry line at Isette because paper is fragile and prone to wear and dirt.  Resin is perfect to protect the paper, and even adds another dimension to it thanks to the doming property.

Here’s my step but step guide to resin topped laser cut stud earrings – I’m a complete resin newbie, but I love the results!

Variety of papers
Variety of papers
Glue prep - coat with paste, and let it get tacky!
Glue prep – coat with paste, and let it get tacky!
Blanks ready to be made into studs!
Blanks ready to be made into studs!

Step 1: Glue the paper to the wood.  I laser cut some thin bamboo blanks and rough cut some fun paper I had in my stash – a page from an old dictionary, regular gray scrapbook paper, and some beautiful handmade Japanese paper.  I used professional quality PVA glue, which is acid free and long lasting.  One of the tricks I learned from years of bookbinding – put a coating of glue on both sides of the piece you are gluing together.  Let them get a little tacky, and then adhere them together.  The bond is stronger, and paper is much less wrinkly and easier to work with when glued this way.  I let them dry together overnight.

Step 2: Laser cut your shapes from the papered wood. I love making stud earrings, so this is what I designed first.  Simple shapes – drops, dots and hearts.  I sized them a bit larger than my usual stud earrings, so they would be easier to work with if I had to handle them a lot when applying resin.  It also allowed more real estate for the patterns to shine through.

Freshly cut!
Freshly cut!

I also whipped up some simple bar shaped pendants, and pre-cut some holes to put jump rings through.

Step 3: Set up your work area.  Resin can be a little messy and drippy – it’s best to be prepared.  Cover your surfaces.  The internet suggested using silicone mats, which are nice an flexible and the resin pops off of when dry.  I used my earring gluing board – not flexible at all, and I kind of regretted it.  There is a piece that is likely permanently stuck on now.

MDF glue board, with the Perler bead board on top.
MDF glue board, with the Perler bead board on top.

I went out an purchased some Perler Bead boards to use as doming board.  Doming boards are useful for thin items you with to top with resin.  Like water, resin has a surface tension which makes a nice dome on the end project.  If you get a little heavy handed with the resin, it’s very easy to spill over the edge.  If it’s on a flat surface, the spill over pulls a lot of the resin over the edge with it and stays attached to the piece.  If your piece is on a doming board, the resin drops away, preserving the surface tension on the top of the laser cut piece.

All laid out on the perler bead board.
All laid out on the first Perler bead board.

I donned by respirator, as the resin can be strong smelling and I was working with tiny pieces, and gloves are good to limit your exposure (nitrile, not latex).  Resin Obsession Website has a full list of safety tips.

Unmixed resin!
Unmixed resin.
Unfinished studs, with 4 drams of unusable resin. It was like spreading taffy at the end!
Unfinished studs, with 4 drams of unusable resin. It was like spreading taffy at the end!

Step 4: Mix up your resin.  Resin is generally sold as a two part system,  so you are sold a bottle of resin and a bottle of hardener.   I used Doming Resin from Rio Grande which called for equal amounts of each.  I didn’t know how far resin would go, so I mixed up a 6 dram batch (3 drams of resin, 3 drams of hardener).  Of this, I probably used 2, and the rest hardened before I could finish all my pieces anyway.  So, smaller batches are key!

Resin experts recommend stirring the two together slowly, as to not create excess air bubbles which might affect the quality of the resin later.  As I mixed, the resin became cloudy, then cleared up.

Step 5: Pour!  Or in my case, drip and dab is more appropriate, but it doesn’t sound as action-y.  I used toothpicks to get a large drop to put on the stud earrings.  This dome resin was more viscous than I expected, kind of like “soft ball stage” consistency, if you make candy. So it stayed balled and so I started messing with it right away trying to spread the resin to the edges to with my toothpick.  It was messy, and not at all the right technique.

Resin drops spreading as I try to be patient.
Resin drops spreading as I try to be patient.
Patience only lasts so long. Helping the resin to the edge!
Patience only lasts so long. Helping the resin to the edge!

A better way is to hurry up and wait.  Weird but true.  I had a much better time with the resin when I dropped resin on a series of studs, then waited a bit to let the resin spread out on it’s own, maybe a minute or so.  By the time I was done dolloping resin on the last piece, the first one was ready to spread.  The resin settled naturally out – not enough to cover the whole piece, but pretty close.  I could easily “walk” the resin to the edge and the dome evened out accordingly.  (By “walk”, I mean I dragged the toothpick, upright, to the edge, creating a path.  Don’t use the toothpick like a spatula – it just sticks in the resin and disrupts the dome.)  The circles had better natural coverage than the other shapes.  For hearts, I learned it was better to put two smaller drips in the loves of the heart, and then walk the resin down to the point.  With a single big drip it was more likely to just flow off the “v” of the heart.

Too much resin!
Too much resin!
You can see the difference between the resin topped and the "raw" paper pieces. If I would have sealed the paper, it wouldn't have changed color as much.
You can see the difference between the resin topped and the “raw” paper pieces. If I would have sealed the paper, it wouldn’t have changed color as much.

Lesson learned: The scrapbook paper and the dictionary pages changed color pretty significantly – I should have sealed them first to create a barrier and keep them from getting soaked.  The high quality Japanese paper fared brilliantly.

Step 6: Wait.  When your pieces are covered as you desire, stop messing with them.  It’s time for them to cure overnight.  Get a lid that you can put over the wet resin to keep dust of them and marring your hard work.  Make sure it isn’t touching your resin, of course!  Go to bed and dream about how delightfully shiny your jewels will be.

Step 7: Admire and Finish.

The studs *barely* fit on the posts of the doming board. It was a delicate balancing act to get them to stay on the board flat and spread the resin around.
The studs *barely* fit on the posts of the doming board. It was a delicate balancing act to get them to stay on the board flat and spread the resin around.

Admiring your handiwork is a very important step in the process – the resin will look really cool!  Clean up any resin than may have dripped over and stuck to the back and sides – I had quite a bit.  I got better about dripping on the right amount by the end, so I’ll chalk that up to learning curve.  I basically peeled it off with a pair of curved nosed pliers and my thumbnail.  Quick and dirty, but it got the clean up job done.  Attach any stud backs you desire!

Resin overflow.
Resin overflow, from the underside.

In the case of the pendants, drill out the resin filled holes.  I need to try the pendants again without the pre-cut holes – It might just be easier to drill since I have to drill out the resin anyway.  And it would save me a resin spill underneath.

Pretty and perfect on my brand new post earring cards! Also laser cut, or course.
Pretty and perfect on my brand new post earring cards! Also laser cut, or course.

I love how they turned out, and I’m looking forward to combining lasers and resin in other ways!  If you give resin coating a try, let me know how it turns out for you!

PS – what do you think of the new jewelry cards?  This post is the debut of the new design 🙂

 

106: Quilting with Wood

So, only posting one new project a month was supposed to give us more time to get more complex projects done.  I started this project 3 weeks ago, I swear, but didn’t get finished until 15 minutes before post! (…don’t mind the few threads I still have to tuck in).  So, here we have one false start, two new skills acquired, a last minute trip to the store because I ran out of thread, and in the end potentially a totally unique project – quilted wood*.

insertnamehere (28 of 30)

The idea for this post was born out of a discussion with Rebecca at Hugs are Fun about making reverse applique with wood.  The concept is interesting – use the laser to cut whatever interesting designs you’d like, and have fabric peek though the negative spaces.  When brainstorming options on how to adhere the fabric to the wood, I thought “Why not quilt it?”  And if I’m quilting it, I might as well go whole hog and bind the edges as well.

Quilt backing and top.
Quilt backing and top.
Top makes a perfect fussy cutter!
Top makes a perfect fussy cutter!

First step was to design my pattern.  I couldn’t get traditional quilt blocks out of my head do I pulled out the Old Maid’s Puzzle Block – I used it back in Week 64 and still had the vector files.  I thickened the lines and merged them so I wouldn’t end up with a heap of triangles when I was done, and ran a line of holes for stitches at the base of each triangle, and the border edge.  For ease, I just did a simple backstitch, but you could really jazz this up with you wanted to figure out hole placement for fancy stitches.

Quilt layers, and the homemade binding
Quilt layers, and the homemade binding

A quilt is made up of layers and this project is no different – I have a thin (1/16′ bamboo) top layer with the reverse applique design, a fabric layer and then a solid, 1/8″ bamboo back layer.  The stitches hold the layers together.  Aligning the holes that are laser cut is a breeze – the top and the bottom are the same pattern that I removed the cut out triangles from.  The is no real possibility of misalignment.

While the holes are perfectly aligned, the Wonder Clips helped rule out user error :)
While the holes are perfectly aligned, the Wonder Clips helped rule out user error 🙂

Have I mentioned I’ve never actually quilted or bound a quilt before?  No?  All I can say is thank goodness for on-line videos. I picked some fabric I had for the middle layer, ran to my local quilt store, Prairie Stitches Quilt Shoppe, to ask for expert advice on binding fabrics (and picked up a package of Wonder Clips!) and picked out complimentary colors from my embroidery floss collection.  Who knew that having a laser cutting blog would build up my sewing stash?!

Front stitching.
Front stitching.
Back stitching. There's not a lot of options to hide messy stitches with the wood, so I had to make it neat!
Back stitching. There’s not a lot of options to hide messy stitches with the wood, so I had to make it neat!

I used the Wonder Clips to hold the layers together and did the internal stitching in pink first.  I made this relatively small, 6×6, so I wouldn’t have to piece together fabrics to make a continuous binding.  I just purchased 1/8th a yard from a bolt and had a ton to spare.  There multiple types of quilting bindings, and they have confusingly similar names.  I chose to make double fold binding tape for the edging because it was simpler – one stitch through and you are done.  Single fold binding requires two passes of stitches and flexibility to fold over corners, neither of which are an option on the wood.

Pink stitching is in place, and I used the clips to keep the binding from flopping around when stitching it up.
Pink stitching is in place, and I used the clips to keep the binding from flopping around when stitching it up.
Pretty proud of this neat little corner!
Pretty proud of this neat little corner!

Making double fold binding tape wasn’t as nerve-wracking as I thought it would be – you simply iron your strip of fabric in half, the long way, and then iron each edge to the middle fold.  I used this video by Toni Barsi for tips on how to apply double fold bias tape and how to get it to go around your corners neatly!

Tidy and neatly bound wooden quilt!
Tidy and neatly bound wooden quilt!
Here's the back the sewing is done, I just have to hide the ends. The ends on the right and top are done, I just rand out of time.
Here’s the back the sewing is done, I just have to hide the ends. The ends on the right and top are done, I just rand out of time.

It turned out to be a very cute project, and I learned to create and then used double fold quilt binding.  I can see how the techniques could be refined to make some interesting and artistic quilts!  Now, to find a use for my little oddball quilt…

*I did a quick Google search and didn’t find any other examples of people quilting wood – “Quilted wood” is amazing wood grain, but not a quilt, and “wood quilt” brings up pictured of wooden pieces arranged like a quilt pattern, but not actually sewn.  I’d be interested if anyone has found a quilted, layered wood project like this.

101: Pincushion Rings

Time to make presents!  Having become acquainted with some many sewers of the past couple years, pincushion rings were on my radar – question was, how to make them with lasers?

Pincushion rings and bracelets are very useful for quilters and people the use a lot of pins because it holds pins close – no need to find a pincushion nearby. I decided to attach the pincushion to a laser cut frame, much like my pendant frames.  I put together a couple designs and made a deep frame front, and solid thin back.

Laser cut frames
Laser cut frames

My biggest mistake in making these was sizing them for rings, not sizing them for usefulness.  The smallest ring, a 1 inch circle with a little over a half inch center, was pretty impossible to make a cushion.  The bigger circle is 1.5 inches, and I think it could go up to 2 inches.

Tight fit with fabric.
Very tight fit with just  a tiny bit of  fabric.

I originally wanted to use the cut out circle in the frame to attach the pincushion to, with the intent that it would sit snuggly back in the frame.  I learned two things attempting this – 1) hot glue doesn’t work on wood and 2) the laser cutting kerf isn’t big enough to tuck fabric all the way around – it barely squeaked in to get the corner in for the picture.  To make it work, I would have had to make the gap wider.

Pincushions (6 of 16)
For the second attempt I took a clue from this Instructables tutorial – sew a little pouch with a circle of fabric and filled it with cushion materials.  I used a mix of walnut shells and cotton batting.  A running stitch around the edges allowed me to cinch it up.

Pincushions (7 of 16)

E6000 is a crafters friend.
E6000 is a crafters friend.

I used E6000 to glue the frame to the cushion, and then to attached to the solid back.  Because I was gluing at the 11th hour, I didn’t actually finish the rings.  I wanted to let the E6000 cure fully before attaching the prefabricated ring back.

Cute little ring size!

Cute little ring size!

Pincushions (11 of 16)

95: Fabric Covered Wood

Some familiar designs and solid pieces to show off the patterning
Some familiar designs and solid pieces to show off the patterning

A few weeks ago, during Week 92: Laser Cut Appliques to be exact, I came across the intriguing fact on the Heat N Bond website that it works to adhere fabric to wood.  Cue wheels spinning!

All the fun fabrics
All the fun fabrics

Most of my jewelry design is done in silhouette, without  a lot of detail other than in the outline.  This really allows the materials to shine, but every once in awhile it’s fun to jazz it up with a surface, like we did with the alcohol inks way back in Week 13.  I picked out a few favorites from my every-growing stash of fabric, focusing on ones with smaller designs or close patches of color to work with small or intricate designs.

Neatly attached to to wood with Ultra Heat N Bond
Neatly attached to to wood with Ultra Heat N Bond

Attaching the fabric with Heat and Bond was really easy – all you need is an iron.  (If you’ve neverworked with it before, check out the video from Heat n Bond’s website.) I ironed it to 3mm bamboo, probably my favorite material of all time.

Check out those edges!  Nice, neat and smooth.
Check out those edges! Nice, neat and smooth.

Cutting was simple – we didn’t even adjust the settings from bare wood.  The edges were tidy, and only one piece out of the whole lot had any fray.  One thing I would have done differently, though, is I should have taped the fabric side.  On the lighter fabric, a little bit of soot did make it a little dingy.

Finished pieces next to the original fabric.  There was a little bit of soot transfer, but this would have probably been alleviated by taping the fabric side before cutting
Finished pieces next to the original fabric. There was a little bit of soot transfer, but this would have probably been alleviated by taping the fabric side before cutting.  On the piece to the right, you can see the extent of the fray – one loose thread.
Stress Test!
Stress Test!
fabriconwood (8 of 13)
Lightly engraved fabric.

The adhesion was pretty solid, but not infallible – the fabric can come off, but it took some pretty intense scraping with pliers to get up the corner.

We also did a quick test on engraved fabric – I would probably try to engrave deeper to get through the fabric next time.

The results are fun, and applicable in so many ways.  Think about how fun it would be to make fabric covered tangrams, quilt blocks,  names for a kids room, or unique jewelry.

Finished Jewelry
Finished Jewelry