Casting a Resin Pendant Bezel

Once I have a mold made for a pendant bezel I want to make, I need to make castings from the mold.   I've tried a variety of things here - I've made completely clear bezels using 'Art Resin' (the same clear resin I use for the front of my pendants), or made tinted ones by adding a pigment tint to the 'Art Resin'. 


I've added 'Quarry Tone' filler to make the bezels look stone-like


But currently one of my favourite things to do is to use a duo-chrome or multi-chrome pigment as an outer coating - this makes the pendant very shiny and colourful.


20190109_085711 from Warren Baird on Vimeo.


 Here's how I do it!

First, I take a paint brush, dip it in the pigment I want to use and spread it evenly around the mold, being sure to get it into every nook and cranny.   You can use a lot of different pigments for this, but any relatively fine reflective pigment will work.  Be careful with what they call 'transmission pigments' - these are pigments that change the colour of light that passes through them, rather than light that is reflected off of them - they will look relatively white-ish in the container, but if you spread them over something black the the colour comes out - these are used pretty commonly used for nail polish.  

The pigment I'm using here is called a chrome pigment from a company called Hali Pigments - specifically HLMR-5 - you can find it on aliexpress and probably through other sources.   It's not cheap - it runs about C$15 per gram - but it's the nicest I've found so far by a pretty long shot.

The next step is to mix the resin.  I usually use Smooth-On's SmoothCast 32X family - 325, 326 and 327.   The main difference is how long they take to cure - the length of time you have to work with the resin (the pot-life) ranges from about 2.5 minutes withe 325 up to 20 minutes for 327.  Of course, this also impacts the time until you can take the bezel out of the mold, so with 325 you can do it in less than an hour, but with 327 it might be many hours before it can be ready.   I've generally found 326 is a good compromise in terms of giving you some time to work, but not having to wait too long for the finished piece. 

This stage is trickier if you don't have a vaccuum chamber, the resin will get bubbles in it, and it can be tricky to get a nice smooth object without a vacuum  to help remove the bubbles.   I generally put the mixed resin in the vacuum chamber briefly, then pour it into the molds, and then put the molds with the resin in them in the chamber as well, to avoid bubbles stuck to the bottom of the mold.

Once the resin has cured, you can take the bezel out of the mold - usually you'll need to do a bit of trimming and sanding around the back side to make things nice and neat.


And then you are ready to make pendants!