Craft Book Review: Explore, Create, Resinate by Jen Cushman

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Last year  I became acquainted with Ice Resin 2-part epoxy resin, and met the wonderful Jen Cushman manning the booth at CHA. At the time I was unfamiliar with her impressive art and writing credentials- I just thought she was one of nicest, most welcoming people I’d ever met. Little did I know that she was writing the an amazing book!  Today I get to share how  “Explore, Create, Resinate” really can expand your resin-crafting horizons!

This tidy volume is 104 pages, divided up into 9 chapters. The first 3 are pretty much the technical primer on working with Ice Resin; the next four chapters are ideas and cool ways to use the resin; and the last is salvaging mistakes. (Now that’s a handy chapter!)

The book is spine-bound with glossy pages and a gorgeous, artistic feel. No “cutesy” captions here! It feels like you’ve walked into the most wonderful and amazing vintage curiosities shop the minute you open the front cover.

Stunning samples throughout.

Since I already had a rudimentary familiarity with Ice Resin, I decided to try a few things I’d never tried before. The first- Resin Paper! The idea of being able to impregnate paper with resin to make it both durable and translucent just captivates me! (Remember, I saw the art dress that Jen and Claudine Hellmuth displayed at CHA. AND it was the winner.) It was amazing:

Time to get started! I mixed up a lovely batch of Ice Resin, applied the resin to my paper on a plastic-bag covered surface, following the directions. I then tried making an open-backed bezel AND glitter inclusions for mold casting.

Of course, given the curing time for resin, I had to wait until the next morning to see how my items turned out. When I tried to remove the resin paper from the plastic bag…. well… see for yourself.

CRAFT FAIL

It seems that when Jen says to cover your surface with a garbage bag, she means the black, heavy-duty ones. (Which of course, I don’t buy.) Whatever you, do NOT substitute plastic shopping bags.

However, my  mold pours with the glitter inclusions looked pretty good:

Now, see that little dribble on the open-backed bezel on the left? Well, that’s a drip- but not the end of the world! Consulting the tips in chapter 9, I was able to trip that off and it looks near-perfect now.

Also, something I noticed but didn’t expect: when I used my home-made molds, the resin came out matte- not shiny and glassy at all. Here is a photo comparing commercial mold castings and my Lego brick castings:

Again, using the tips in the book, I gloss-coated my glittery Lego bricks, and now the are perfectly shiny. OH, and I tried the resin paper again, this time using a silicone baking mat that I use for polymer clay. Check how great it turned out:

I can’t wait to use them in some projects!

So, on the whole, I think this book is a must-have for any artist/crafter who wants to “explore” resin. It’s  straightforward enough (and the steps simple enough) for a beginner, but the projects look very advanced and certainly give off the air of “high art.” I know I’m not done with it yet.

Manufacturer’s listed price: $23.95.

Disclosure: Sample provided for review.

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About Jenny Barnett Rohrs

Chief Craft Test Dummy, Craft Evangelist, Founder, Editor, bottle-washer, trouble-maker, and creative whirlwind.

View all posts by Jenny Barnett Rohrs

4 Responses to “Craft Book Review: Explore, Create, Resinate by Jen Cushman”

  1. bee Says:

    Wow, great review, very thorough – I love the pics you provided as part of the test drive.

    Thanks!

  2. Jen Cushman Says:

    What a totally unexpected, but awesome surprise to see your reviewed my book! I really love how you took such a thorough and honest examination of it, which is what your readers have come to expect from you always by now – truth and honesty. :-)

    It’s funny but when I got to the part about the garbage bag and craft fail, I both winced and laughed. My bad for my insutructions not being as clear cut they ought to have been. That’s what happens when you’ve used a product a zillion times and get too close to things writing a book. I’ve had a few others write me about this too, so, now I makes sure to say kitchen garbage bag or heayvy-duty trash bags. The white kitchen ones will work just fine too. The thing is the bags need that extra oil in them for the resin not to stick. Course, you’re bright crafty mind figured it out with the silcone sheet. Yay.

    Thanks for the shout out! Can’t wait to see you at CHA in a few short weeks. — Jen

  3. Jen Cushman Says:

    Ok, me again. Arghh, the editor in me has to chime back in. That line should be “Your (not you’re) crafty mind figured it out!

    Also, just a little note. There were 5 winners in the CHA Summer Crafty Couture dress contest — 6 actually. 5 judge’s picks and a fan favorite. Just wanted to clear that up cause I don’t want my other winning CHA Designer friends to come back and yell at me for taking ALL the creative credit. (grin)

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