Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Resin D'etre or What Can You Do With Spare Ceramic Tiles?

Good question!  Well, mine weren't exactly spare because I went to the home improvement store and bought some but this will work for anyone who has some ceramic tiles hanging around from a bath or kitchen renovation.

Flowers on Trellis
 Large Flower
Group of Hyacinths

Let me start from the beginning.  I have these alcohol inks that I bought some time ago.  If you've read any of my prior post, you'll know that I have all kinds of materials and supplies stashed away that I bought for no other reason than I might use them someday.  I think I bought the inks when I was in my card making phase but I'm not sure.  It could have been when I was in my let's try to dye polymer clay, or what can I dye with this phase.  Anyway, I had the inks and I stumbled on a video on You-Tube involving ceramic tiles and flaming alcohol inks.  I actually wrote another post about where I made a few pendants and a set of accent tiles.  If you're interested, you can read it here.  Burn The House Down!

This time I was going to make some ceramic tile coasters for my sister's birthday.  I actually tried to make the alcohol paintings look like something, instead of slopping the ink on and later deciding what shapes I saw.  I think I managed pretty well.  After the tiles were dry, I started with the resin.  For those of you that don't know, resin is extremely sticky!  It also requires precise measuring and mixing time to make it set right.

This is where the Resin D'etre comes in.  Alcohol inks will not stand up to hot, cold or wet environments.  I've done research looking for something that would make the inks impervious to their environment.  Pretty much the only thing I found was resin. I bought some Envirotex Jewelry Resin  The first time I used resin was for some ceramic pendants.  I was kind of nervous, since everything I read about resin indicated that it was difficult to use.  There was the whole precise measuring, then timed mixing and the pouring, oh the pouring!

Actually it wasn't that bad.  I measured out the resin in one of the little cups included in the kit.  Then I added the hardener.  One tip:   I marked the cups with a Sharpie to indicate the amount of each I needed.  You need equal part resin and hardener in order for the mixture to set right.

Then you have to stir it, and stir it, and stir it!  For at least two minutes.  You have to make sure that you stir and scrape the little cup, then stir and scrape some more.  After two minutes, you pour it into another little cup and stir and scrape  some more.  After another minute of additional  stirring, it's time to pour.

I was nervous at this stage.  I wasn't sure how much resin to pour on the pendant.  I had mixed up a total of 1 ounce of resin.  Would it be enough?  Would I have a half coated pendant?  It turns out it was more than enough.  It's a good thing I had a total of three pendants ready to go.  I used up all the resin I had mixed.

Now comes the really hard part.  I had read that you should put some kind of tape around the edges at the back of the piece.  That way any drips that you miss will come off with the tape.  Being an over-confident kind of gal, I figured I didn't need the tape.  I could just scrape any excess off, right?  Wrong!

I placed the pendants onto little inverted cups, so that any excess would drip off.  I had also lined the pan I was using with parchment paper.  So I poured away.  Resin immediately started to drip over the sides and collect underneath.  I was using one of the wooden stick included for stirring to scrape the drips but the pendants and the cups were so light that they kept getting away from me.  I did the best I could but the resin kept dripping and I kept wiping.  After the three pendants were coated, I set my timer for 25 minutes.  Although it says that the resin degasses itself, from all the bubbles I saw, I wasn't so sure.  By some miracle, I must have done everything right!  No bubbles and eventually the dripping stopped.

After 24 hours the resin had set but I had these big globs of resin on the underside of the pendants.  I sanded like mad, but never did remove all the globs of resin.  That's when my ingenuity (or desperation, if you like) kicked in.  I had some black leather that I had purchased for another project.  I cut circles to fit the pendants, glued them in place and problem solved!

Anemones Under The Sea Pendant 

Flower Garden Pendant 

Right now I'm working on a set of four ceramic tile coasters.  I feel more secure using the resin and I think that they are coming out beautifully.

In conclusion, like I've said before, if you want to try something new and out of your comfort zone, I say go for it.  You learn from every new endeavor, even if you fail.  Keep trying until you get it right!