One of my favorite parts of being on the Craft Test Dummies Team is getting to play with different products… which is why I was so excited when I was sent the Little Windows Resin Starter Kit to play with! I took some time to create two batches of the resin, and play with different techniques, and can’t wait to tell you what I learned!
Here is what Little Windows says about their products:
Little Windows makes it fun & easy to turn your favorite photos and other treasures into shiny wearable art, with a complete program that has everything you need in one place!
Our epoxy resin is the best ever! We worked hard to create a safe formula that’s easy to use. We wanted to offer something you could use at your kitchen table, to add a waterproof shine to any project. This is not a toxic product and it doesn’t have the wicked smell you find with most resins. Beyond its great performance with casting, doming, layering, coating and filling bezels and other forms, the basic advantages are:
* blends easily, so you won’t get sticky spots
* small batch size (1 tbsp per batch)
* not a toxic product
* no bad odor
* very low bubbling
* can put anything into it, even delicate items
* works well with other mediums and favorite supplies
* 30+ minutes to move things around, 12 hours to set-up
* crystal clear and stays that way
Our molds are brilliant too!
* beautiful shapes polished to a mirror finish, so whatever colors and textures you put in will be reflected up and around the sides
* gorgeous geometric shapes in 3 sizes, plus hearts
* great depth for variety and layering in casting
* re-usable over and over
* easy release – no chemical mold release needed
And we’ve got brilliant accessories to finish your creations with style!
Let me tell you what I thought of the kit. First, the packaging is beautiful! After you’ve finished with the supplies in the kit, you can use it to gift a piece of jewelry to a friend. I love packaging that is reusable!
When I opened the box, here is what I found inside:
There was a small bag with some jewelry bits, including a chain and a bezel, a medium sized resin mold, a mixing wand and small hand drill (I thought my hand drill was missing the bit, but it turns out that it is tucked inside – turn the bit the OPPOSITE direction you would expect, and the two parts will come apart, flip the bit-end, and screw back together) a doming tray, special photo paper, instructions, 2-part resin mixture, mixing cups, photo template.
I started by reading through the instructions. When working with a product that needs specific measurements, and specific timing, I like to read through all the expectations first. Then I set to work mixing the resin. I found that the resin compounds had no odor, and though the mixture was slightly cloudy at first, once I finished mixing, it was completely clear.
I decided to try the resin on several different surfaces – photos, paper, and embellishments.
I wanted to see if the resin would make the ink from my scrapbooking marker bleed, so I wrote “forward” (which is my word of the year for 2014) on a piece of scrapbooking paper. The kit only included the one bezel, which I found a little strange, because the bezel has a loop on each side. When using a bezel as a pendant, I like it to have just one loop. When stringing several together, I prefer two loops. But that may just be my personal taste.
I did make a small mistake when filling the bezel. I should have put just a few drops of resin in before inserting the paper, and then filled the bezel the rest of the way. But I added too much. This resulted in some overflow. We’ll chat more about that in a little bit.
After filling the bezel and the three cavities of the mold, I had resin left over. I had only filled the molds about 2/3 of the way… and this gave me extra resin to play with! I tried a couple fun things. I painted the resin onto paper, to see if I could get a shiny/matte effect when dry. I used a paintbrush – it is important to note that afterwards, this paintbrush had to be thrown away. The resin turns the brush into one solid piece when dry.
I also painted the resin strategically onto photos, and tried the resin on one of my dyed wooden hearts to see if the chemicals would react to the dye at all. Here are a few of the pieces I made in the two sessions I played with the resin.
I think all the pieces turned out well, but my second session was more successful than my first. On my first session, I put my photos right-side-up, as shown in the instructions. However, this results in a sharp edge on the sides.
You can sand this sharp edge away with a nail file or fine-grit sandpaper, but then you have an edge that is smooth… but no longer clear.
(Jenny’s Note: you can make those sanded/opaque edges disappear by wiping down the piece with alcohol to remove loose debris, then painting on another thin layer of resin and letting it cure again for 8 hours or so. It’s a time-consuming process but pretty easy to do and it’s a way to eliminate the sanding marks.)
If you put the photos in right-side-down, you can sand away the edge so that you don’t have a sharp edge towards your skin (on a necklace pendant), and also the photo isn’t compromised by having sanded edges visible on the front.
The first time I used the resin, I poured it at my craft table, then moved it to a high shelf in the bedroom to cure. The resin has to cure for 12 hours. I thought that perhaps the sharp edge came from the resin being moved or shaken after beginning to set. The second time I poured the resin, I poured it and left it completely alone for 12 hours, but had the same edge. This tells me that the edge comes from the drying process, and is not the result of the tray being moved at all.
I did try the resin on a wooden heart. I wanted to see if it would react to the Rit dye I had used to dye the heart.
The heart and dye were fine – the problem was that I had a pre-drilled hole on the heart. On the left of the photo you can see the top of the heart. On the right, you can see the bottom – where all the resin leaked through the hole and onto the doming tray. Lesson learned: no pre-drilling holes!
The bezel turned out great. The ink didn’t smudge or bleed at all. However, the resin makes the paper look “wet” Which isn’t a big deal except the two-sided scrapbooking paper I used had some areas of dark design on the back, and that dark design bleeds through to the front because of the “wet” look of the paper. It doesn’t ruin the design for me, but it is something to be aware of when working with double-sided papers.
As I mentioned before, I had some resin overflow when I was filling the bezel. I was able to pick it off with a sharp blade without too much difficulty (but be super careful if you do this!).
Speaking of papers – the paper I painted the enamel on didn’t work as I had hoped. The resin seeped into the paper, but not completely, giving some areas that are 3D, and some that are simply glossy. Perhaps if I tried a second coat of enamel over the first, I could get a better result… but I’m not so excited about this technique that I’m willing to do two coats (12 hours apart) to try to get the desired look.
(Jenny’s Note: if you seal the paper FIRST with Mod Podge (both sides) the resin won’t sink into the paper.)
The technique that I was most thrilled with the results of was painting the enamel onto strategic areas of a photo. You can see it a little bit on this photo of my youngest son in the snow…
But it really stands out in this photo of my husband holding our firstborn.
Such an amazing technique for adding some “pop” to a photo (literally and figuratively)! I’ll be doing this again!
Since I didn’t have the drill bit for the pendants, I used krazy glue to glue bails onto the back of my pendants. Those will work fine.
I had a lot of fun playing with the Little Windows Resin Starter Kit, and even though I did two sets, I still have enough mixture to do a third! You can purchase the kits online at http://www.little-windows.com along with different molds and accessories. I think it is a great kit for someone wanting to get started in jewelry making, and though the $48.00 price tag is a decent investment for a hobbyist who isn’t sure if they’ll like playing with resin, it really has all the supplies you need to start creating beautiful resin jewelry – and refill resin starts at just $8.00, so that’s super affordable!
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