Thursday, April 25, 2013

Making resin hearts

I needed to make some resin hearts for a project and wanted to include mirror pieces in the hearts. I have done this before with other inclusions, like red coated wires and broken red glass.

I had two types of plastic hearts, three red ones that held Sweet Tarts from Valentine's Day and three clear ones from Hobby Lobby.  I wanted to put a screw sticking out from the back so that I could attach the hearts to shadow boxes, so first I am going to cut a hole in the back of the hearts. This will allow a place for me to pour the resin, and also put the screw after pouring.

I used my Dremel with a cutting wheel. My Dremel has three speeds, I used the low/slow speed when cutting plastic. It cuts easily and melts a little bit at the edges. I let the hearts cool, then picked off the melted plastic bits.

I lined some pans with freezer paper, shiny side up. The resin will peel right off after it hardens. I like to put my projects on something I can move so I can free up my work space after pouring.(These are craft pans and are never used for food use).

Read all of the instructions on the resin packaging. Work in a ventilated area, wear gloves and goggles. Cover your work surface as any drips will become permanent.

Before mixing my resin, I sprayed mold release into my molds.  I let it dry and applied two more coats. It has to be dry before adding the resin.  I added my mirror pieces to the red heart molds. In the future, I will use a dab of glue to attach them to each other so they don't move around much (don't glue them to the mold though!). I would have liked to put blue tape around the seams, but was too worried that the mirror pieces would move.

I had some resin like stuff I had bought at a thrift store for almost nothing. It was originally meant to be mixed and poured into a vase of artificial flowers, to look like water.  I was concerned as most resin mixes are 50/50 and as you can see the bottle on the left is way smaller than the one on the right.  I wanted to color my resin so I pulled out my red alcohol ink for this.  I mixed the resins and all the ink I had left (20-30 drops?). I did not think there was enough resin to fill all the big red hearts and I needed them to be the same color. Also, the color was more a light orange than a red.  I used this resin to fill the smaller hearts. I had two clear heart molds that I was going to add a screw in the back. The third clear mold I was only making a half heart as I had a hardware piece that says "open" that I want to embed in it.

Here you can see that the resin has shrunk (or settled) quite a bit. I had filled the solid hearts to the brim and they are much lower now.

For the bigger hearts, I used EnviroTex Lite. I went to the store and bought some more alcohol ink. I mixed up two cups of resin and added alcohol ink until I liked the color. I poured it in. Here you can see my fancy system for adding the screws. I wrapped a wire around the screw and set the wire across the opening. These hearts will be pretty heavy and I wanted more than just glue to hold them in place.

I left them for two days to make sure they were thoroughly hardened, especially since they were in an enclosed container.

It took a bit of effort to get the hearts out of the mold. I used a small hammer to help release the resin from the sides of the mold, and then basically pried the two sections apart with a metal palette knife. Here they are! I don't mind the air bubbles as I think it they look pretty cool. If I had glued the mirror pieces to each other, I could have tapped the mold on the desk to release some of the bubbles, but since they were all loose, I didn't want them to get jumbled.

So here I thought I was done, and then I see the name and address of the heart manufacturer embedded in the resin of each heart (upper left corner of each).  I do not recommend this as resin dust is not good for you, but I went outside (and wore a mask) and sanded each one so the words were gone. I then lightly sanded the whole front side just to make sure it all would look the same.

I then mixed up a small mount of clear resin and spread it over the front of the hearts with a wooden tongue depressor, I made sure that I spread any drips that went down the back side. I used my plastic heart mold with a hole as a stand to hold each heart. (I think that since the letters were recessed and not raised, I could have probably skipped the sanding and just poured another layer of resin to fill them in. I will probably try that next time but I wanted these hearts ASAP for my project and didn't want to have to do another batch).
I love how shiny they are now. They weren't this shiny out of the mold. I am going to find all the resin hearts I made previously and add a layer of clear resin to them.

The two bottom hearts in the picture above are from the "liquid water" resin kit. It took three days for this stuff to harden. I think it still could use more time, as the screw kind of squished into the heart when I as trying to get the heart out of the mold. I just pulled the screw out.  These molds were way more difficult, I really had to hammer it to get it to release. Since I took the screw out, I could stick my finger in the opening and push the resin away from one side of the mold. I am going to give the other full heart more time to cure.  I will be adding a clear resin coat to the half heart with the "open" hardware and maybe the other two as well.



  1. Not sure I understand what caused the mosaic look inside. Is this like a collage technique enclosed in a designated space? I think I missed something in the instructions. Also not the same color of red.

  2. I had broken pieces of mirror in the heart molds before I poured the resin. There are lots of pieces so the are light and dark spots depending on how thick the resin is in front of the mirror pieces.