Ok, as promised, here is part 2 of my resin tips--finishing the resin. I think perhaps the biggest thrill is popping out the resin piece from the mold to see how it turns out. Perhaps the smallest thrill (or no thrill at all!) is sanding the piece--but it is a very important part of the process. Even if tedious. I want to take a moment to again recommend Sherri Haab's book--it is the resin bible, and certainly worth a read!
Here is my sanding set up. Now, I accidentally reversed two of my sandpapers. Normally I do it in order of roughest to finest grit. The higher the grit the finer the sandpaper. The 600-1000 I purchased at an auto supply shop. The others are from a hardware store. Also, please notice the mask. I do NOT enjoy wearing it and breathing my own breath over and over--but it is far better than breathing in resin particles which are NOT good for your long-term health. Please be safe!!
Sometimes when I've been sloppy with my resin, I have some really big, rough, edges. In that case I use a scissors to trim them. I also only use the 100 grit if it is really gnarly. Take care because it will really remove a LOT of resin. Also, the more you use the sandpaper, the finer it becomes--my 100 is probably finer than that by now because it is pretty well used, as you can see. I will be showing you this on one of my new Valentine's Day pieces! My friend sent me some really cute heart sprinkle candy, and I used them in heart shaped molds--I think they turned out sweet!
Once I have trimmed, if needed, I go down the line of sandpapers... yawn yawn, boring boring. You will see the edges getting nicer and nicer. Please note that once you hit 600 grit, this becomes a wet sanding experience. I keep an old Cool-Whip container for the water. Choose an icky container because once you use it, it is no longer suitable to contain food. I think some people actually sand right in the water, but I dunk my piece in the water and then sand. Works for me! By the time you hit 1000 grit, it is like polishing the edges.
Sanding, la la la!
Dunkin' la la la!
There! Nice and smooth!!
Now, at this point some people glue bails on (these bails will be pictured later). Personally, I usually drill a hole and make a wrapped loop. If you are a bail gluer, you can skip these drilling pictures, or just look at 'em for fun! Personally, I think both ways look nice! But you are saving a little money on supplies, and can control the size better with the wire.
I put the piece into a regular vise that we have in the basement. I use a rag in there to protect the resin from scratches.
Then I drill with my beloved Dremel tool. It is not a fancy one, but can do so very much. If you do not have one, I would strongly consider it--for many areas of home improvement and crafts. I prefer the 1/16" bit, but I am sure that is a personal preference--I go down a bit, maybe a quarter of an inch, not an exact science. Only use the low speed setting because if the resin heats up too much it will adhere to the drill bit. Not a huge deal, but a mess. And personally, I am surrounded by enough messes! I find that the wire fits, but also leaves a little room for glue, as well.
Our nice little hole!
Above is the glue on bail--little silver leaf-looking piece. I have found this on etsy. Just search under supplies, "bail." You would put glue on the little leafy part, and adhere it to the back of the piece. I use wire to make a wrapped loop bail.
There are many tutorials on making wrapped loops. This is a nice one. One day I sat down and made them over and over and over until I mastered it. REALLY, it is worth learning if you don't already know how. Once your hands and tools know what to do, it is very easy. It is like riding a bike!
As far as glue goes, I am a BIG fan of 5-minute epoxy. Did you know it is a type of resin? You can get it at the hardware store OR the craft store. Usually they come in little syring-y applicators, but I happened to find a big amount at a hardware store. Simply mix two equal portions on a notecard or scrap card for a bit with a toothpick. I also use the toothpick as an applicator. It will set up in about five minutes, and has an excellent hold.
And there you have it. Be sure to position your loop so it hangs correctly on its chain. At this point it is a nice touch to polish it with carnuba wax--which is the same wax that is used on cars! I found this at the local hardware store. You can pick some up when you are getting your sandpaper! :-)
Good luck and most of all, HAVE FUN!