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Resin Fail: What Not To Do

Today’s post is about common mistakes when casting clear resin. I’m sure that many of you who have experimented with resin crafting know exactly what I’m talking about. I can’t even tell you how many resin pieces I have had to fix, coddle and baby into something worth saving, or flat out throw away over the years. So, in the course of my various failures, amid all the cursing and gnashing of teeth and banging of fists, I have come up with a short list of things NOT to do when it comes to resin casting.

1. Do NOT skimp on sealer.

If you are casting resin over paper or any other porous material, you will need to use something to seal it off from the resin; to essentially make it watertight. If you skip this step, your paper will simply dissolve into the wet resin and become really yucky and greasy looking. If there is print on the backside, you’ll see right through it and lose your intended image entirely. I have had this happen with comic book pages and ended up with a double image of the next comic page. No good. We don’t want that.

The right way? Always apply at least (3) three coats of Mod Podge or (5) five coats of Elmer’s Glue to your paper images. I recommend Mod Podge because it is thicker, but you can also use Elmer’s; just make sure you apply more coats to account for the thinner consistency. Note: Lots of thin coats are best, as opposed to a few thicker coats. Now, I have gotten impatient in the past and did only 2 coats, or even 1 thick coat. DO NOT DO THIS. Once you pour your resin, that’s it, there’s no going back! Once you have that greasy spot in the paper because you skimped on glue, it’s done. Your piece is ruined. So take the extra step and make sure your image is properly sealed before you jump to the resin pouring. You’ll be glad you did.

2. Resist the urge to touch your resin “To see if it’s done”

Again, I’m saying this because I’ve done this. And guess what? If it wasn’t done? You just ruined it. Good job. Now it’s trash. Lol, just leave it alone for at least a day and a half before you even look at it. You’ll be glad you were patient.

3. Do NOT pour directly from the stirring cup

This was a big noobie mistake of mine, and it’s something I’ve gradually taught myself to avoid. This isn’t so much of a problem if you are working in thicker molds, but if you are pouring resin either into shallow bezel charms or working in smaller molds, you definitely don’t want to pour right out of your stirring cup. Why? Well, for one it can be difficult to control where the resin will go when using this method. Because you have a big stream of resin coming out of a cup, and because it is flowing quickly, it can be far too easy to get overflows or to end up with drips outside of where you actually want the resin to go.

The right way? Use a popsicle stick or other flat tool to dip small portions of resin out of your stirring cup, and let it drizzle into your smaller mold or bezel piece. Always be sure to scrape the bottom of the stick along the edge of your stirring cup to remove any potential drips from the underside. Working carefully in this way, you can avoid a big mess! Also important: Always make sure to cover your work area in tin foil or some other tablecloth in case you do drip a little. Messes happen, and resin can ruin your furniture and/or clothes… and/or.. pretty much anything else it comes into contact with. ;B

4. Do NOT try new inclusions on an elaborate piece before testing them first

So you’ve got a really cute sticker you think will be the finishing touch on your resin piece? If possible (i.e. if you have multiples of the sticker in question) test it on a throwaway piece first!

Some things just don’t play nice with resin. So say you’re on that final layer of your 6 layer masterpiece and you decide to throw something cute in as the cherry on top. But, surprise! That cute cherry on top just reacted strangely to the resin and has now dissolved into a goop pile. Your entire piece is ruined. This fate might have been prevented with a little product testing.

The right way? If you are trying out something new, test it out on a throwaway piece before embedding it into your masterpiece. Things that I know for a fact don’t work well in resin: Rhinestones that are made of anything other than cut glass. Go right for the Swarovski, folks. You’ll be glad you did. Cheap plastic rhinestones will just turn to a dull spot in your resin because they dissolve on contact. Epoxy stickers? Unless you test them out and find them successful, don’t do it. Depending on what type of plastic is used in the stickers, they will either float to the surface of your resin or curl up into a ball of goop upon contact with it. I have had some few work, but most don’t. Any of those thick “puffy” stickers are the ones I’m talking about. If you can, it’s best to test it or avoid them entirely. Also test out any kind of food inclusions like sprinkles or any type of sugary candy. Some will just dissolve.

5. When doming, do at least 3 separate pours to avoid overflows

And here we come to the very thing that prompted this post. I did this today. And I had a very frustrating evening as a result. I’m still pretty new to bezel charms and doming resin. I used to work exclusively in molds, but recently started working in bezels, and I really love them. That being said, they can be really annoying because they require more precision than molds. With a mold, you can fill to anywhere below the edge of the mold and get a perfect piece. However, with a bezel, you must fill to JUST the right level, or it’s no good. So here’s how to do it.

The first pour is just to create a base level of resin to fill most of the bezel. Let that sit for several hours until it is solid enough not to flow when tipped to one side. Now comes your second pour. The second pour should bring the resin level to the edge of the bezel, BUT BE VERY CAREFUL ON THIS STEP. Resin tends to expand slightly as it cures, so if you go too far up the edge, guess what’s going to happen? Your resin is going to overflow and create a sticky mess on the back of your bezel. So you get something like this:

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Sad Bones is sad.

These particular charms have built in loops at the top, which causes them not to lie flat when set on a table. So to make them level, I laid each one on top of a coin, in this case a nickel. Yeah. That nickel and the charm are now best friends and never want to part from one another’s company.

The right way? To avoid this resin tragedy, I recommend being super careful with your second pour and leveling off your pour at the edge without creating a dome in this step. Leave your charm for another couple of hours, and then come back for a third and final VERY thin layer of resin, probably just a few drops. Just enough to create that all desired dome effect. Then don’t touch it, don’t move it, don’t even look at it for at least a day. Tada! You’re done.

I hope these tips will be helpful to some of you in your future resin crafting adventures! Just remember there is always something to learn and you never stop making mistakes. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes (and the mistakes of others!) to make your craft even better every time you do it.

Much love and happy crafting!

~ Laura

Now with more goggles!

Hi friends!

Okay, so I obviously failed at my planned update on Sunday. :[ It’s finals week for me and things have been super busy; so I apologize for the lack of update. Not wanting to just leave you guys hanging entirely, I decided I would do a quick post to show off a few new things I made this week. Ready? Here we go!

GOGGLES! I finally have goggles back in my shop! <3

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So, some of you may know I used to do a ton of steampunk costuming. Anyway, I used to make these goggles years ago and I always really enjoyed making them; so I decided to start playing with them again. I feel like sometimes people are really scared to use color in their steampunk, but I love adding a pop of color to an otherwise brown leather and brass colored assemble. And, protip! Flatback pearls make perfect  faux rivets. No power tools required! Maybe I will do a tut on these one day. Would you guys be interested in something like that?

Anyway, I’m super happy to have goggles back in my craft life again. They’re so fun to make and are a great head or neck accessory. Because as everyone knows, real steampunks don’t actually wear goggles on their EYES. That’s silly. :P

All of the goggles pictured are available for purchase in my Etsy Shoppe, for those interested.

Until next time!

~ Laura

Cyborg Seamstress 2.0 – Bezel Resin Charms

HELLOOOOO FRIENDS! And welcome to the new and improved Cyborg Seamstress blog!

Okay, so a lot has happened since my last post. I’ve moved back to South Carolina, gone back to school, and am currently in finals week of my last semester of college. Crazy! I’m graduating next week! So, while there hasn’t been much time in my life for cosplay and crafting lately, I have been missing it a bit and I’m looking forward to getting back to craftiness as soon as school is done. I’m actually doing a huge anime show in June, so I have lots of prep to do between now and then. So with all this in mind I said to myself, “Self, you have this cool blog. That you’re not using. So you should totally use it.”

And here I am. But the thing is, I don’t cosplay much anymore. I do way more crafting and jewelry making for my product line than I do crafting for my own costumes. Plus, people are all the time asking me how I do my resin casting. So I figure I might as well do some blogging about crafting and such, and share my pretty stuff with you guys. With that in mind I have completely recreated this blog, with a new focus on crafting and jewelry design rather than costuming. I’ll probably still blog about costumes too when I get around to it, but it’s just no longer the main topic here. Anyway. You get the idea.

I should jump in here real quick to say that if you’ve ever seen my jewelry before, you’ll note that my style has changed dramatically from when I first started. I like to think my jewelry has “grown up” a little as I’ve gone along.

So here goes. Resin jewelry for grown ups, I guess. Lol. <3

I made these bezel charms with doming resin a little while ago:

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And since people have asked about my resin method, I’ll do a quick little how-to. Using a bezel setting like this (which you can get at most major craft stores or online):

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Step 1) I cut out the image I want to embed. Sometimes I’ll use comic book clippings, and sometimes I print my images out from my computer. So you take your print out and cut the image to the shape of your bezel. Using Mod Podge:

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(You can buy Mod Podge at most craft stores including Michael’s and Joann Fabrics. It’s in the glue aisle. I prefer the Matte style for this task.)

Step 2) Use the Mod Podge to glue your cutout into the bezel setting. Apply 3 or 4 coats of Mod Podge to seal your image. Don’t forget the edges! Otherwise the ink can run when it comes into contact with the resin.

Step 3) Once your glue is dry, mix your resin. Using a wooden stick or some other small dipping tool, ladle small portions of resin onto the image. You want to be very careful here, because you only need a very small amount of resin, and it’s easy to get overflow.

Step 4) Let the resin set overnight.

Step 5) If you want a real doming effect (and trust me, you do) you can go back in with another small portion of resin and drip drip drip a tiny layer on top of what you’ve already done, until it’s aaaalmost too much. The resin will hold together like water and create a dome. Again, beware of overflows. Let it set overnight to fully cure again, and you’re done!

Thanks for checking out the new blog! Be sure to subscribe to get new blog posts in your email, or just check back for new posts every Sunday!

~ Laura

Chatty Crafty

I’ll be vending at Chatty Crafty in Chattanooga, Tennessee this Saturday and Sunday! Come visit us at booth #43 where I will be selling alongside Pretty Pop Designs.

Also check out our friends Jellykoe at our neighboring booth!

See you there!

Metrocon this weekend!

Hi everyone! I’m getting ready for Metrocon this weekend, so I thought I should make an update regarding the panels I’ll be presenting during the show!

No-Sew Cosplay: There are many ways of creating a successful cosplay without ever sewing a stitch! This panel offers a variety of tips and tricks on creating your favorite cosplay with no sewing required! Discussion includes handouts and accompanying photo presentation with question and answer period to follow.  (Friday at 3pm – Panel Room 20)

Steampunk Costuming with Outland Armour: Learn the basics of creating the steampunk look in daily wear, as well as full on costumes, in this one hour presentation. Topics include tips for assembling outfits from found items, sewing suggestions for creating your own pieces, and props building. Question and answer period to follow discussion. (Friday at 4pm – Panel Rooms 13-14)

Japanese Street Fashion: What’s hot in Japanese street fashion today? Join us for a discussion and show-and-tell of today’s looks in lolita, fairy kei, and other styles now popular in Japan. Audience participation: Mini fashion show to follow our panel! Show us your outfits and win a prize! (Saturday at 2pm – Panel Room 18)

Also be sure to come see me in the Artist Alley, along with Lindsay of Pretty Pop Online and in the Dealer’s Room with Outland Armour!

My costume lineup for the con is here:

And here’s a quick preview photo of all the products I’ll be selling this weekend!

Wish me luck getting all my madness done! See you guys at Metrocon!

~ Laura

Alexander Mcqueen, costume plans, and SPWF

Hi everyone!

I must apologize for the lack of updates on this site! I just wrapped up a 3 1/2 week visit to Philly and New York City which was capped off by a weekend at the Steampunk World’s Fair in Somerset, NJ. During my stay up north I had no internet access, so I’m afraid I’ve been a little less than easy to get in touch with. But, now I’m back home in Atlanta and ready to gear up for more travels soon to come.

One of the highlights of my trip to NY was a visit to the MET museum to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit. O_O It was absolutely amazing, and if you get the chance to visit NY in the next couple of months, you simply must go. The exhibit was set up really beautifully, with tons of cool installations in separate rooms representing the different stages of his career. I am also a huge Lady Gaga fan, so having the opportunity to view the “alien dress” from the Bad Romance video was a highlight for me. Note: the official name of the piece is “Jellyfish.” If you don’t know the dress I’m talking about:

I’ve desperately wanted to create a replica of this dress since I first saw it in the music video, and now that I’ve seen it in person I have a much better idea of how to make it. So… yeah that might be happening next year.

The other great thing I got to see in NY was the Game of Thrones exhibit in the HBO store! We just happened to stumble across this while walking around Manhattan; I had no idea it was there! Several of the actual costumes used in the show were on display inside the store. They were really beautiful and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to see them.

So, I’ve decided to scrap a lot of my costume plans for this year in favor of making a small selection of costumes that I’m really excited about. This is usually what I end up doing, so it comes as small surprise. I was REALLY inspired by the McQueen exhibit, and will be incorporating some of the techniques I admired in his work into my Valkyrie costume for this summer. I have had an idea for a Valkyrie costume in the back of my mind for about a year now, and with the new Thor movie it seemed like as good a time to do it as any. When I found out several of my friends were planning to do other Asguardian characters for DragonCon as well, that pretty much sealed the deal. Also still doing my Siren costume from Tron Legacy, and finishing up a few other little projects; but those are my two big projects for this year.

This weekend I will be at Animazement! Come see me in the artist alley!

~ Laura

Recap and MTAC this weekend!

Hey guys! Just a quick update: I will be at MTAC this weekend in the artist alley, so come by and say hey! I’m excited to offer a new item, sparkly head bows! I’ll also have lots of pixel art jewelry and my usual accessory line. I think I might break out the Lady Gaga costume since this year’s theme is music. Speaking of music, if you’re trying to find my table, just look for the strobe lights and follow the sound of trance. I’ll be rocking out to my own personal rave this weekend! <3

I’m on one panel this weekend – the steampunk costuming panel hosted by John Strangeway, aka Steampunk Boba Fett – It’s at 2pm on Saturday. So be sure to check that out if you’re interested!

I sadly haven’t had much time to keep up with my blog here on a regular basis. So here’s a quick recap of what I’ve been up to since Momocon!

Just a few days after Momocon, which was wonderful as usual; the staff are amazing and always do such a great job organizing this huge event every year; I went to Megacon in Orlando with my friend Ana Aesthetic. It was a rare treat for me, no booth or panels. I just went for fun! Made some new friends! The awesome guys at Slacker and the Man were cracking me up all weekend; super funny, nice guys. Go check out their geek podcast – Slacker and the Man. I hung out with Leonard on Saturday and even made time for a photoshoot or two. I should have some photos of my new Star Trek costume back soon, and then I’ll be adding a gallery for them to the site.

I had just enough time to get home and unpack from Megacon, and then it was time to head north! I had the pleasure of accompanying my friend Brian to Minneapolis, Minnesota for Anime Detour to help run the booth for Yaya Han. We had tons of fun up in the great midwest, and the con was a blast! Again, wonderful staff – They even brought us coffee one day! Everyone was so nice and we really felt like a family even though it was our first time at this event and I didn’t know anyone.

SO. If you’ve been wondering, that’s what I’ve been up to! Keeping busy!

As always, thanks for checking the site guys! Hope to see some of you at MTAC this weekend!

~ Laura

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