In this instructable I will show you how to make a custom ring out of epoxy resin.
I made these for my partner. The green ring is support to look like naturaly growing crystals. The blue and purple rings were my fist attempts and have a dolphin design.
When set, epoxy resin is a tough and durable material. It can be clear or coloured, translucent or opaque. Set epoxy can be sanded, painted and polished. Epoxy is light weight and will not rust, and if it does break or chip, its easily fixed with more epoxy resin.
All these attributes give epoxy good reason to be used for home made jewelry.
The dark purple "dolphin" ring was my first attempt at epoxy jewelry. It ended up looking a bit like worn glass you find on the beach!.
The methods shown in this instructable can be used to create other types of jewelry as well.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
The materials required are...
*A tea light candle
*2 part epoxy resin/adhesive (I used rapid setting epoxy)
*Acrylic paint (colour of your choice)
*Glitter (to add sparkle to the epoxy)
*Plastic gems or other decorations
The tools required are...
*A razor blade or craft knife (be careful, they are very sharp)
*2 little disposable pots
*2 mixing sticks
*Some disposable gloves
*A mug of cold water
* An apple corer or piece of pipe matching your fingers diameter
Other useful tools...
*Precision files (for wax carving)
*A pin (for delicate engraving)
*A spoon (for the cornflour)
*An old toothbrush (to brush of wax chippings)
*An electric oven, or hotplate (to melt the wax)
Step 2: Preparing the Candle
Remove the tea light from its case, flip it over and pull the wick.
Replace the wax in its metal case.
Step 3: Preparing the Wax
We need to prepare the wax. When tea light candles come new, they are to grainy too carve nicely. Here we will melt the wax and let it set again, producing a more uniform, smoother and less brittle wax. This is essential for producing delicate or detailed jewelry and makes a big difference.
Place the wickless candle on a hotplate or electric hob and turn to a low heat.
Watch over the candle as the wax melts and goes clear. This should take a few minutes.
Try not to poke or disturb the molten wax, and avoid spilling it.
(Spilt wax can be left to cool and scraped of later. )
(Don't use an open flame to heat the wax as this is a fire hazard.)
Once all the wax in the case has melted and is clear, carefully remove the candle from the hot plate or hob.
(beware it will be hot, and make sure to turn the hob off after.)
Leave the wax to cool and until its soft.
Step 4: Cutting the Finger Hole
Now we are going to cut out the finger hole. This is easiest done whilst the wax is still soft.
You will need an apple corer or a piece of pipe which has the same diameter as the designated finger.
Whilst the wax is still soft, the apple corer or pipe is gently pushed in the the centre of the candle.
Now we need to dunk the candle in to a mug of cold water. This will quickly solidify the wax. once the wax has gone hard remove the apple corer
Step 5: Preperation for Carving
Now that the wax is cool and has solidified, we can pop the centre out. Then we can start preparing to carve the wanted design in to the wax.
Simply push on the centre of the metal base to pop the centre out of the wax.
Next, if possible remove the candles case intact and keep it for later.
Otherwise use the razor blade to gently cut the surrounding case of the candle and peal it off. The torn up case can be binned.
The wax ring can now be cut and sanded to a more uniform ring shape. This may help when carving the design.
Step 6: The Carving
Use your selection of tools to cut, carve, file and sand the wax to your desired shape. I primeraly used a razor blade to cut and carve the shape. Then some sandpaper to round it off.
Beware razor blades are very sharp so handle them with care.
Make sure to take care when working with the wax. Only make shallow cuts and carves as to avoid cracking the wax.
The warmth from your fingers can soften the wax so have a cup of cold water to regularly dunk your work in. This will cool the wax and keep it hard.
Step 7: Make the Mold
In this step I'm going to teach you how to make an amazingly useful material called oogoo. Oogoo is a mix of silicone caulk and cornflour, usually in a 1:1 ratio by volume. This produces a fast setting silicone rubber that is perfect for mold making and many other things. Credit to mikey77 for oogoo.
First we will need a tea light candle to house the mold. We will also need a small tub to mix the oogoo in.
Mixing the oogoo
Now its time to put on your gloves. The oogoo will give off ethanoic acid fumes as it sets so work in a well ventilated place and avoid skin contact.
You will need to squeeze some silicone caulk out of the tube (enough to fill the candle casing) in to the mixing tub. Next grab your spoon and shovel a roughly equal volume of cornflour in aswell.
Use your mixing rod to continuously stir and mash the mix until it turns in to a uniform paste.
You will now want to smother your wax ring in this oogoo paste. Make sure to press the oogoo in to all the crevices and details.
Place the smothered ring and the rest of the oogoo in to the tea light casing. Make sure the ring is completly covered with oogoo. Make sure to be careful with the wax ring as breaking it now would be catostrophic.
Place a plastic bag (I used a recycling bag) over the top of the oogoo. With your fingers, smooth the oogoo on top of the mold and press gently to relieve any airbubbles in the mixture.
The plastic bag can be peeled of later.
Leave the oogoo for 1.5 - 2 hours to set. It should feel firm and rubbery when set.
Any weak spots can be reinforced with more oogoo at any point.
Step 8: Cutting Open the Mold
Saddly in this step your wax ring will be destroyed.
On a happier note. The mold will allow many new rings to be casted.
You will need to use the razor blade to cut the mold open horizontally.
Turning the mold as you cut may help to keep the cut clean and straight.
Remove the broken wax pieces. These can be kept to be melted down again.
The mold is ready to cast the epoxy in.
Step 9: Casting the Epoxy
OK, first of all, epoxy is an irritant and is not pleasent on your skin so its time to but the gloves back on.
Before its set, epoxy smells a bit like fish, (in my opinion) so it may be wise to find a well ventilated area again.
I'm using rapid setting 2part epoxy resin from pound land.
When using the rapid setting epoxy, the resin and hardener will begin to react quite quickly. The mix will get hot and within minutes it will be tacky and start clumping.
You can add colour to the resin by adding a tiny drop of acrylic paint. (I think water colour works as well)
A little paint will go a long way, also be aware that adding too much paint may spoil the resin.
Make sure to eject equal amounts from each tube, and be aware of bubble in the tube. Leaving the epoxy syringe upright will help get rid of the air bubbles.
If you want to add colour, now is a good time. Only a tiny drop is needed.
Make sure to mix the epoxy thoroughly and be aware it gets hot.
When you are happy with your mix, start spooning it in to one of the halves of your mold. Push the epoxy mix in to all the details of your mold and make sure to spread it evenly. Try to pop any air bubble that have got trapped.
Repeat with the other halve.
Make sure both halves are full and press them together. Make sure the 2 halves line up properly and press gently as it sets. In 1-2 minutes the epoxy should have firmed up.
leave it to set for at least 10 minutes before removing one half to have a look. When the epoxy fully cures, any excess can be broken off and the ring sanded down.
Leave the ring over night for it to gain its full strength and plastic epoxy properties.
Step 10: Finish
Once the epoxy has be left for several hours and fully cured, it can be filed and sanded to finish it off. It can even be polished or painted. The mold can be reused numerous times. To make multiple copy's of the same ring, or you could make a different coloured rings.
Wear it or give it as a gift...
Thank you for looking at this!
Hope you enjoyed it!