October 29, 2015


When I purchased my Oyumaru, it came with a shell mold. I cast a few pieces in it and the idea came to do the fish painting into the shell.There was a problem with this, it was a full solid piece.
 At first, I was going to just sand the parts that I needed out then go back and do the layered painting. But sanding it turned out to be more work than I had planned on. After thinking on it for a few days, I finally found a solution. I tucked some Oyumaru into the cavity and then used that to create the shape I wanted.

 I now have the hollowed shell I was originally going for. I'm gonna cast a few with different colored shells and begin the painting. I have to make quite a few because the layering is still in it's learning stage.
It would make a cute mermaid setting. Or a nice resin open sea shell.Or even a back drop for a clay piece.

September 27, 2015

Challenging motivations

This Clearcast works so good, it's difficult to shape the shuttles. I would literally  have to watch the resin for a few hours to make sure it's solid enough to maintain shape but still malleable enough to form the blades. For straight-forward pieces, it is heaven because it finishes curing in about 14 hours. I mean rock hard for me where I live. I still have not reached that "aha!" moment with this resin. Here are a few examples of pieces that either were too hard to shape or not mixed correctly and ended up bendy.

I can most likely save two shuttles out of these blades only because the casting was thick and it did cure semi-proper. The one most disappointing that it didn't work out is the blue and white one.
She is too bendy to be saved. I may be able to make a cabochon or two and dip it in more resin to create a hard shell out of it. The color play is so gorgeous that I'm willing to try even if past experiences say it's a waste of time. Fortunately, the painted fish shuttle fared better. They both have posts attached to them on the backside. The bottom had a "shaped mold" with the ends covered to create the bend to the blades as the resin cured. The top was a flat piece that I had to sand down to create the arch.
On the bottom you can see where the mold covered the top of the blade because all coloring abruptly stops. It looks like I took an eraser to the paint. I'm going to have to make a vacuum former to make some more reusable molds. My Oyumaru is just starting to wear out. Which is saying a lot since I've been using it for a few years now.
This new batch is curing resin is the result of a contest. It's Autumn themed. Autumn to me means golds and browns. The smaller round ones are going to be cabochons. When they pop out of the mold they'll have a recess for me to add inclusions to them.
I used the bottom to my gold leaf flake bottles to make them.
Originally I had used the bottom of my paint pallet. They turned out to be too domed shaped. I did want them coin type.

They also trapped air bubbles too easily. Those were incredibly difficult to remove. They also had a very cloudy appearance to them when they popped out of the mold. That was a surprise, because all previous castings with Oyumaru gave the shiny finish.

I did add some more resin to the pieces to bring back the shine. The hazy look dispersed quickly.
Unfortunately, there were only two I was happy with. The first was the pumpkin sticker in the upper right. The other the orange to brown leaf in the bottom left corner. The original idea was to create a series of leaves going from green to dark brown. The lighter green faded too much to be noticeable with the orange glitter and the brown darkened to black in the resin. I hope to do better with the pieces curing right now. This contest ends on the 29th so I only have two days to finish the pieces.

September 18, 2015

Discovering new resins

I joined a Facebook group called Resin Art Fun Open Forum, that is centered around resin. They have a wonderful collection of members that give advise. In some of those posts, I discovered a new type of resin and more or less how to work with it.
My first trial run was tragic. I obviously did not mix it correctly by the level in these bottles. I made the mistake to work with the children still awake to distract me. It began curing in less than ten minutes and I had to hastily dump the resin into whatever mold was available since it did heat up quite a bit. I have to admit, I got a bit nervous when the resin 'smoked' a small bit.

In the shuttle mold in the forefront, it was poured 30 seconds before the one to the back right of it. As you can see it did pour smooth. The one in the back is a globby mess. I followed the directions exactly as it was described, but I later learned that those directions were for larger castings.

This piece was really hard cured in about 12 hours! It actually turned out to look like a cool quartz piece. It also turned out to have some weight to it. Not to say it was heavy, but it doesn't have a paper weight feel to it like most of the other resin pieces.
These are the few shuttle blades I was able to create. The green one reminds me of a beer bottle. It even has the feel of glass. The purple one turned out a little bit bendy. The green I used pastel chalk, the purple a drop of acrylic paint. It seems that it needs to have the acrylic mixed to one part of the resin before I mix with the second part. It DOES began curing quickly. This made it more difficult to create the swirls. It will make finding a way to tint my resin more challenging. Eyeshadows do work just as easily in this resin as any other type of resin. I haven't tried embedding anything in it, but that's tonight's project.

August 22, 2015

3d resin painting

I've seen a few resin pieces that people have painted, mainly goldfish, and other aquatic animals into. The realism is mind blowing. It intrigued me enough to try myself. I have never attempted to "paint" before. I do have acrylics but I use them to tint my resin for the swirl effects. Using UV curing resin I figured why not try?

Now I did have the thought to use the technique, once semi-mastered, to paint realistic small animals and make shuttles with the resin. The problem is shaping the blades. This technique is essentially layered resin casting. Since the UV resin I use(Magic-Glos) is sand-able, it occurred to just use a rectangular shape more or less the length of the final shuttle length. I had to leave it long enough to later sculpt the blade out of it, but not too long I waste a lot of resin. Because UV resin can get expensive real fast. A one ounce bottle is now almost $15 USD. This is going to be a costly trial piece.

I suppose I should have taken more photos as I was working the layers, but honestly it didn't occur to me to do that until I began typing out this blog entry. Working time spent on this piece is 90 minutes. Pretty quick compared to regular resin casting. I did add a thicker top coat to the piece because I will be taking quite a bit off to shape the blade. I wanted it to remain thick enough to hold tension.

Since this is a fish, in the middle layer I swished the UV resin to create air bubbles in it. Fishies like bubbles. It was actually a lot harder to do since this resin naturally degases so bubbles are minimized.
Apparently it is good enough to catch my Tenchi's interest. Pretty good for a first try right? Now all that remains is shaping the shuttle.

August 21, 2015

One step foward...

I'm currently working on making the video tutorial for the resin shuttles. Editing takes up so much time. There's takes and retakes and even more retakes. Did I mention I'm doing this in the spare moments from the Real World Work Life? For something that started as just fun, it is taking a lot of work. The biggest issue I'm having is temperature control. Starting the shuttles is not an issue. The curing time is. My Honey keeps turning the air conditioner down to a temperature that ruins the pieces. No matter how many times I mention it, he keeps forgetting. I've wasted bottles of resin this way. For every one shuttle that pans out, there's six that didn't.

On the failures, I'm thinking of trying to make them into thread bobbins. Or even make them into a tray collage encased in a even larger resin base. Similar to the dragon plate display.
Or if I can find a "tile" mold, I can make several of them and use them like blocks to make other things, like a box or shelf. Some of the shuttles came out pretty but are not stiff enough on their own to hold tension. With a side project like this, I won't have to feel bad about throwing those away.

I found another YouTube tutorial on an alternative way to make molds. Make a small vaccum former than with LDPE plastics, make the molds.
<iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/hkrHDWzYRN0?list=PLexO86OnPbHl742u3R3561hOIQgkRyAv1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>

I just picked up my new shop vac as well as most of the materials needed. The only thing missing is the actual plastic. I found a local distributor but they only sell large sheets for more than I planned on spending. I'm looking into alternatives online right now. I did try out making silicon molds out of silicon and cornstarch, but I found that their lifespan is really short. It was not worth the mess involved making them. Plus they did not work for resin casting, they kept leaving a nasty pasty film that I had to sand layers off to remove. So for now I think I'll stick to my good old standard: Oyumaru.

June 17, 2015

Experiment and expanded experience

I was asked by a friend at work if I could "fix" some toys his son broke. The first was a gun, it turned out to be too difficult to do a quick fix, so I made a mold... 
This is one side of it. There is a lot of flash I'm going to have to file off, but it's okay I have time.

Surfing YouTube again, I found a few tutorials on how to make your own silicon mold with three simple ingredients. I thought to give it a try. After making a trip to Wal-Mart, I picked up the stuff for about $8. Some clear 100% Silicon, Corn Starch, and Vegetable oil (you can use any type of oil, baby/corn/vegetable), and I was ready to experiment! There are some other tutorials where the authors don't take so long to get to the actual teaching portion, but this one is the one that got me started so I linked it.
I have to say it was pretty easy to do. The downside: it's really stinky during the shaping process! I strung up some beads with some jewelry wire and did my test.
IF you plan on using this technique to make your molds, know in advance it is very sticky messy when you begin working with it. Use gloves. And have a fan to blow the fumes/vapors away from you from the silicon. I ended up making about four molds like this, on two I added a bit of color.

Clear beads with gold flakes

They end result came out nicely. They are not as shiny as the pieces I cast into Oyumaru or even the Silicon Putty, but you can just buff them up or put some spray resin to make them shiny again. These I added gold flakes used in nail art. Actually I purchased a lot of different supplies for nail art to embed into the resin. The rhinestones don't work too well as they tend to lose their "dimensional" qualities and look like little round blobs. I can still use them in clay casting I suppose.

 I thought that adding that ring of beads to one of my elongated hearts shuttles would give it the stability I was searching for. While it does look pretty, it also made the shuttle larger and a bit uncomfortable for me to hold. Maybe a re-design on this style would make it workable.

I was tatting with my small Evee shuttle when I ended up overloading it. It ended up springing the tips, but when I "squished" them together, I noticed that if the ends were curved differently, they'd hold more thread.Then I saw some tatting shuttles on Pintrest that led back to a Russian Ankars site. I have no way of purchasing them myself, so I thought to try and make one myself. The basic shuttle shape is exactly the same as previous shuttles, the only difference is to add a "fold" to the tips. While it still has the oval-ish shape of the standard shuttle it does taper to a more rectangular shape when you hold it on it's side.

I playing with some molds and decided to make a bottle one. Here are two different sizes.

 The smaller one will make a good earring or charm.
 Using inspiration from Beauty and the Beast from Disney, I thought to make my own rose under glass. I took one of the rose buds from my topiary and cut it short to make it fit. The original container used to make the mold was a contact lens bottle. I threw in some micro beads used in nail art but they went transparent in the resin but left a nice green tint to the bottom of the bottle.

I was so sad when I couldn't find my little fox mold. I did managed find one little charm that used to make new molds so I can now bred the foxes/cats to my hearts content. These two were used to make new molds with the Corn starch silicon technique mentioned above. Some of the molding material clung to these because the putty was still slightly sticky and not ready to be used.

May 10, 2015

The downside to resin casting is failures. Sometimes I hang on to them because they're too pretty to throw away. I once thought I could "fix" them by adding more resin to reinforce them. I know better now. If your pieces are soft and wiggly, they are failures and they belong in the trash bin. Sad, but true. Most of my soft pieces are a direct result of curing temperatures. Those in my home like to kick the A.C. down to 60 degrees at night, which is when I do most of my casting. I thought of buying a small heater to keep the temperature at 78 degrees, but it would be counter productive, since the A.C. would work harder to bring the temperature down in the house.

Now I'm having to wake up earlier in the mornings to do any casting. Actually, I bought more fans and told those in my home NO A.C. when I'm casting! Being half awake, I still end up wasting resin. I'm going to have to find some middle ground here.

On resin table, I have four shuttles in the works. I found a new tutorial on YouTube, that shows how to create swirls in the resin. The results leave a very pretty swirling effect.

April 22, 2015

Mini hooks and a few WIPS

My crochet hooks were starting to get lost. One of my favorites is a size 15. This is super tiny hook head. I use it to hide the ends of my tatting projects. Problem is that whenever I needed it, I could never find it. I was thinking of  making it into a pendant. I took out the resin and did a half cast into the rectangle shape of one of my store bought molds.
Top size15 middle size 12 bottom size 10 crochet hook
 After waiting for it to finish hardening I cut them into sections and was thinking of simply rounding the edges off and putting a hole into them, making them pendants. The size of the finished piece was a bit too small to ever be able to crochet with it, but since these were for my tatting joining and hiding threads, they were okay. I didn't really care for the whole hanging off my neck theme, so I added a few more jump and soldered rings to it and attached it to a ring base. This can easily be extended by added some more jump rings, but the current length is good for keeping out of the way.

 Getting back to my resin shuttles. The pair in the center is a commissioned pieced where the person requesting submitted her own tatting to be encased. Two of these others will be for a giveaway. One on this blog and the other on my tatting blog. The rest will be going to my Etsy shop on May 5th, along with another 5 or 6 finished ones.

In the background, you can see all the resin dust left over from shaping these. Actually there was a lot more but I vacuumed up most of it. Sometimes this part of the shuttle making is the most laborious. I switched back and forth between my Craftsman rotary and a hand file. I had to give the rotary time for the battery to recharge.
I do need to make new mold for the shuttles. My current ones are worn out. I'm also looking up tip on how to keep that matte look to the shuttles. I like the hazy look of it, but more for like the background of the piece. I still prefer clarity for the top. Kind of like when you blur a pictures background to help spotlight the main piece.

April 11, 2015

simple and to the point

I've decided to do a shuttle giveaway. It will be a clear resin one with a cat/lion face in the blade. If interested in joining, leave a comment here. The entries will be left open until the 20th and the drawing taking place on the 24th.

January 10, 2015

Making the Shuttle mold


Usually I use one of the three materials below to make my molds. No matter which type of product you use make sure you have the object you want to copy clean and ready to be used when you make your molds. Be patient. There are varying wait times for the mold to be ready to accept resin into it.


                                               Molding Material type:  Oyumaru.
... fácil, rápida y económica , y así es como descubrí el Oyumaru

 This is a plastic clay type of material. It is resin ready as soon as it cools. Cooling time can be quicken by placing it in the freezer for a minute. It is reusable and all that is need for prep is hot water and paper towels for excess water seepage. I purchase mine on Etsy.com or Ebay.com. Although I have found prices more reasonable on Etsy.com. Gloves are completely optional, it does pick up detail very well with minimal effort. This is preferred method for first time casting. There is no extra wait time needed for it to be used beyond the three to five minutes for it to cool. All my casting have come out clear with no hazing or matte finishes.

                                         Molding Material:  Easy Mold Silicone Putty
Using gloves is optional. It does have a slight greasy feel to it when working. It's a simple 1:1 ratio mix on the two different components. The pieces are ready to use for clay or food in about 4 hours but for resin casting it is a 24 hour wait. This is to make sure there is no chemical reaction between the different elements. You can use it after the four hours, but you'll get a filmy/matte cast to the piece instead of the clear/shiny look. I use this to make a more solid second mold of my pieces after all the sanding and smoothing has been done. It does hold up to multiple uses well, however it will eventually wear out with repeated use. This is easily available at my local crafts stores, Michael's and HobbyLobby. You can also purchase online on Amazon.com or Ebay.com.

                                      Molding Material: Amazing Mold Rubber

the New Amazing Mold Rubber ???
 This is one of the only products that I use where I had to wear gloves. It can be really tacky so lay down some wax paper in the area you are working. Also use in a well ventilated area, it has a strong smell to it. With this mix I have to pay more attention to make sure I'm using the correct mix ratio. The detail this picks up is amazing! Don't be stingy when casting, make sure your piece has a solid base, otherwise the mold will wear out fast. If the mold is too thin, it will tear. It's flexibility is perfect for helping to shape the shuttle blades without removing them from the mold. Depending on the thickness of the mold, you may have to wait up to two days to be able to use. Generally, the instructions say 2-4 hours to demold. You only have 20 minutes to work with this before it starts to solidify. The final pieces come out shiny. The final texture of the mold is smooth and reminds me of  gummy bear candy.

Now on to the actual tutorial...This is for a flat surfaced shuttle, not textured like my small hearts shuttle.We will be working in reverse. The top of the finished product will be on the bottom of the mold. Keep this in mind when using something like a broken shuttle with the post still attached, to copy. Through my many experiments, I've learned it's easier to make the blade flat and shape it before it is fully cured. This also makes it easier to embed items into the resin. It also helps to reduce time spent sanding and finishing the final product. Always keep in mind the thickness of the final blades when making your mold. If it is too thick, your hands will tire more easily when tatting for long periods of time. It may also be more difficult to hold the shuttle in your hands.

Starting with no item to create the shuttle with.
 I recommend using either the Oyumaru or the EasyMold Putty for this.  First you have to make a template. I used a piece of cardboard and cut out the basic shuttle shape.
 You can also use an old plastic gift card. Just make certain that what you use has a definite smooth side. This is what you are going to impress into your molding compound. Gently push the smooth side of your template into the compound, making sure to use even pressure. If you push too hard into one side and not the other, the mold will be skewed and you won't get a flat surface out of it. Only push deep enough to be able to create a "lip" to keep the resin in. The lip has to be tall enough to not allow the overflow of resin but not too deep that the cast piece comes out too thick.

 You'll have to experiment to get the tension level you want out of this. That is the main reason I recommend Oyumaru, if you mess up just pop it back in the water and start over. Less wasted product. You will also have to create a smaller mold for the center post. If you have a broken post shuttle, just use that to make your post. If not, you'll have to find something similar in height and width to create the mold out of.

 After waiting the appropriate time, you'll have your first shuttle blade mold ready for use!

Making a copy of an existing shuttle blade.

For this portion I highly recommend using a shuttle that has already come apart. You can use the outside of it but you must be aware of the pressure needed to get your mold made. The blade is already concave or shaped so you will not get a flat surface. This will make casting a bit more difficult. You will end up having to sand off a bit of resin after it has cured to make it even. This is unavoidable. I also do not recommend turning the shuttle on it's side and making a mold of it in this manner. It is possible to do this with The Amazing Mold Rubber, but not recommended. IF you plan on embedding items into the resin, it will be very difficult to keep the items from moving while the resin is curing. Also you can only go halfway up the shuttle. The final piece will have a seam going down the center that will take some work and another coating of resin to get rid of. With items embedded you must keep an careful eye on your piece frequently to correct drifting of items. There will also be problems with the blade tension. Once the piece is cast, you can't really adjust the tension since the first half of the shuttle has to be on the second while in its gummy stage to bond.

Assuming your shuttle is broken with the post still attached to one of the blades we are going to make a mold. This time instead of working in reverse, we are going to press the blade with post facing down into the molding compound. Make sure this molding compound part is rather thick before you begin. Starting in the center where the post is located, gently press down into the compound. Keep in mind to not push too quickly or deeply. You want to have a bit of a thick base still when you are done. If you push too deeply the post will protrude out the bottom or the layer will be too thin to withstand the resin and will leak out. Again, gently push from the center to the outside of the blade to create the lip to keep the resin inside the mold. Shape it up if needed to create the lip. You might have to shape the lip by gently pushing up from the sides. Be mindful to not have the molding compound cover over the top of the shuttle. You want to be able to easily pop the shuttle blade out of the mold.
 If you push too hard or too quickly, you will create 'streaks' or uneven layers under the blade. It leaves a bad mold that while you can still use it, it will require a lot of sanding to fix the layering. Another way to create the mold is with the Amazing Mold Rubber. For this prep your shuttle pieces.

You will want to have the top of the shuttle secured to the "mold box" bottom. The post should be facing you on top. Make sure you tape the pieces or glue them down. They will move because the molding compound begins as a liquid before solidifying. Make certain that you leave enough space between the two blades to create a divider. The blades should not be touching any part of the mold box except the bottom where they are secured to. After mixing the rubber, slowly pour it onto the pieces. In my mold there is a bit of a gap between the blades and the bottom of the molding box.

 I will have to "trim" this down after it finishes curing. If you did not mix enough of this compound to fully cover the post, do not worry. This material bonds to itself, so just make another batch and pour it over the existing portion. If you do not have one of these small plastic containers, you can make a mold box out of practically anything. There are YouTube videos showing people using clay as a base and Lego blocks to make their mold boxes. Clean up on this rubber material is super easy after it finishes curing. It peels right off. With the thickness of this particular mold, I will have to leave it for about three to four days to be certain it has finished processing and will be ready for resin use.

There you have it, you've made a shuttle mold!