These elegant, deep orange, faux amber earrings are created with polyester resin and epoxy clay. They are extremely lightweight for their size and the realistic faux amber is much more durable than natural amber. I've been working on faking gemstones lately and I'm quite happy with how real these amber tear drops look.
Plan ahead. These earrings take a fair amount of time to make, but are well worth it!
Step 1: Orange & Gold
Step 2: What You Need
Molds - 2 silicon tear drops (around 30mm)
Casting resin - any kind works fine, it's mostly just a matter of drying time (I used polyester)
Alcohol dyes - yellow, orange
Copper color flake glitter
Bits of dried plant, bug, or other natural debris (optional)
Mixing cups (Dixie cups work well)
2 part epoxy clay (I used brown)
2, 4mm jump rings
Rubber stamp (leaf pattern)
Gold metallic acrylic paint
Small paint brush
Metallic violet or pink pearl powder
Clear varnish or nail polish
Small rolling pin
Optional old pliers
Set of 2 long gold-plated kidney ear wires
Assorted small gold beads (2 sets of 6-10)
Jewelry pliers optional
Lots of Patience!
Step 3: Begin
Get out all of your resin supplies.
Mix 1-2T of resin according to package directions.
(**If you're using polyester resin, don't add the hardener until just before you're ready to pour.**)
Step 4: Yellow
Add enough yellow alcohol dye to make a bright lemon yellow. About 3 drops. Stir well.
Step 5: Next
Step 6: Orange
Add 1 drop of orange dye at a time until you have a beautiful amber color.
Step 7: Inclusions
Add a few flakes of copper glitter. Stir well.
Look at the mix to see if you need more glitter. If you add to much the amber will look fake.
Step 8: Optional Inclusions
You can add bits or plant or insects if you want. Stir well & let them "soak" a few minutes.
Step 9: Fill
(Time to add hardener and stir well if using polyester resin)
Pour the resin into the molds slowly.
You don't want to get bubbles in what will end up being the earrings' front surfaces.
Since we're making a custom bezel, don't worry about over- or under-filling the molds a little bit. Or what the backs look like.
Step 10: Check & Wait
If the inclusions are settling to the bottom of the molds, take a toothpick and stir them up a bit until the resin is too thick.
Curing time will vary a lot, so be patient.
Step 11: Are They Fully Cured?
Step 12: Then Unmold
If the mold comes away without being sticky, pop the amber out the rest of the way.
If they're still sticky, leave the molds alone. Run away. Come back tomorrow.
Step 13: Unmold
Take the tear drops out of the molds.
You can see that mine were supposed to have holes in the tops and that didn't work. For this project that makes no difference.
If the resin has any tackiness, leave your amber top-up overnight and don't touch.
Step 14: The Setting
When your amber is 100% cured, you can begin the custom setting.
I chose epoxy clay because it's very strong, and very easy to work with. You can buy epoxy clay online or at a hardware store, though hardware stores don't usually have color choices. (It may be called epoxy putty.)
Step 15: Make Clay
Take out equal parts of the color clay and the hardener. I like to make a ball out of each one so I can check that the quantities are the same. Each is about the size of a marble.
Combine the clay and hardener until the color is perfectly uniform.
Note: You can use a different color clay for a different color effect. White will make the amber a much lighter orange or even yellow. Brown made for a very realistic deep orange.
Step 16: Template
Flatten out the clay to about 1/4". Then press the molds into the clay gently - just enough to leave an outline of the tear drops. The molds are your bezel templates.
Step 17: Cut, Drop & Roll
Using an xacto knife, cut out the tear drops. Roll the cut clay out just enough to flatten it out. Check for size. If it's too small, roll a little more.
Step 18: Begin the Bezel
Gently press each amber drop into a clay tear drop as shown.
Then gently press the clay edges up and onto the amber drop. You can cover imperfections if necessary. (Like my broken tops)
Step 19: Smooth and Fine Tune
Fingers are the best tool for smoothing and refining the settings.
Step 20: Stamp
Let the clay rest a little, but not harden.
Stamp a pattern into the clay.
I also used my knife to add crosshatch decoration to the front edges.
Step 21: Jump Ring
Press a 4mm jump ring halfway into the clay on the top center of each tear drop. Use a toothpick to smooth out the clay around the ring. This may seem a little floppy now, but the clay will be rock hard and the ring will be permanent.
Let the epoxy clay cure fully - at least overnight.
Step 22: Paint the Bezel
Mix the gold paint well.
Paint over the brown clay with a small brush.
Try not to get paint on the amber, and wipe it off quickly if you do. If you're having a hard time keeping the tear drop in place, try holding it by the jump ring with pliers. Make sure to paint in all the stamped lines. Use a thin coat so you don't fill the details in with paint.
Let the paint dry fully.
Step 23: Blush
When the paint is dry, dip your fingertip into the pearl powder. Using a very small amount at a time, rub the powder over the gold paint. This makes for a very pretty earring back.
Powder should be applied only on the raised surfaces. This will bring out the stamped details.
Note: If you don't add the powder, you don't need any varnish.
Step 24: Varnish
Add a coat of varnish or clear nail polish over the tear drops to seal the powder.
Let dry fully.
Note: These photos have the ear wires. You can put them on either before or after the varnish.
Step 25: Attach Wires
To put the finished tear drops on the kidney wires, simply unhook the wires and slide the drops on through their jump rings. Make sure they're facing front.
Then choose 6-10 small (2-4mm) beads and thread them onto the ear wire. Put the beads on largest to smallest so they taper towards the top of the ear wire.
Repeat the bead pattern with the other earring.
Hook the ear wires back together.
Note: I didn't do this, but you can add a drop of permanent clear glue to the top and bottom beads to secure everything onto the ear wire if you want.
Step 26: Faux Amber Earrings!
Your earrings are gorgeous, done, and ready to wear!
If you enjoyed this tutorial, or just appreciate the effort : ) Please vote!
And feel free to share what you make - I'd love to see your projects!
Second Prize in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest