Making resin paperweights is a creative and fun craft project you can do at home. Besides, they enable you to embed anything in resin. Thus making them an incredible gift idea for someone you care about. Best of all, you can make many paperweights at once or along with other projects like resin phone cases and give them out on various occasions.
Also, if you’ve not played around with epoxy yet, resin paperweights is a good project to start with. But where do you start? Relax! Continue to read this guide and I’ll tell you everything you need to know to master this task.
Supplies You’ll Need to Make Resin Paperweights
- Clear casting epoxy
- Mold release spray
- Resin paperweight molds
- Stir stick
- Items to embed
- Mixing cups
- Measuring cups
- Painter’s tape
- Paper towel
After gathering all the necessary materials, carefully read the epoxy resin instructions. Then ascertain you’ve all the materials you need.
Preparation before Getting Started
1. Personal Protection
Before you start working with epoxy, always wear a pair of gloves. It’s also good to wear a respirator to protect yourself from the fumes produced by uncured resin. I would also suggest that you wear work clothes or an old apron to avoid damaging your clothing.
Still, as part of personal protection, make sure the room has enough ventilation. If not, open the doors and windows. Alternatively, you can use a fan to increase air circulation in the room.
2. Cover the Working Surface
3. Determine the Amount of Epoxy You’ll Need
Resin paperweight molds come in different shapes and sizes. In other words, the amount of epoxy needed for this project will depend on the size of your molds.
To estimate the amount of epoxy you’ll need, fill your molds with water. Then put that water in the measuring cup. Let’s say the molds fill up with one cup of water. In that case, you’ll need a half-cup of hardener and a half cup of resin.
4. Clean & Dry the Molds
Now that you have a rough estimate of the epoxy you’ll need, clean the molds. To accomplish that, soak a paper towel in cooking oil or petroleum jelly. Then use it to scrub the inside and outside of your resin paperweight molds. Afterward, use a clean towel to pat out any excess petroleum jelly.
Lastly, spray the molds with the release agent and leave them to dry completely. However, if you’re using silicone molds, you can skip this step. That’s because silicone castings are flexible. Not to forget that epoxy doesn’t adhere to silicone.
Steps of Making Resin Paperweights
1. Measure & Mix up Resin with Its Hardener
Measure equal amounts of resin and hardener using separate measuring cups. Then pour them into a clean mixing cup at the same time. Stir them together with the stick until the mixture attains a gel-like consistency. This process can take about 2 minutes.
2. Pour the mixture into the Mold
Pour the epoxy mixture into the prepared molds right away until each mold is 1.3 full. Remember to pour the solution slowly to avoid trapping bubbles in the mixture. Also, this ensures that you don’t get any epoxy on the mouth of your molds.
3. Leave to Cure
Now, allow the solution to cure to a jelly-like form. In other words, don’t allow the solution to cure completely. This can take about 15 – 60 minutes. However, that may vary depending on the room temperature.
If you notice any bubbles, this would be a great time to pop them with a lighter.
4. Add the Inserts to the Center of Your Molds
At this point, you can put your decorations at the center of the molds. But first, pour a small amount of epoxy over the previously poured solution. Then center the inserts in the molds in an upside-down position. That way, the bottom of the molds will act as the top of your paper weights.
Also, don’t embed the objects too close to the edges of your molds. Otherwise, they may not harden correctly.
5. Pour the Second Layer of Epoxy
Before you start the second pour, clean and dry the mixing and measuring cups. Once you’ve done that, mix another batch of epoxy using the same steps as the first batch. Then pour the epoxy over the top to fill your molds.
If the inserts float in the epoxy, press them down with the stir stick. Remove the stick and leave your paperweights to cure. However, if the mixture has bubbles, pop them with a lighter.
6. Let It Cure
Set your paperweights aside and leave them to cure completely. One thing you need to note about this stage is that different pieces have varying curing times. That will depend on factors like mold size and the type of resin. Other factors that will affect the curing time are the quantity, heat, and humidity of the workspace.
Nonetheless, most resins cure completely after 24 to 72 hours. To know if your paperweights have dried fully, check if they’re smelling like resin. Trust me, epoxy smells, especially in its uncured state. Hence the need to work in a well-ventilated space in the first place.
7. Un-Mold Your Paperweights
Once your pieces have dried completely, gently remove them from the molds. In most cases, resin pieces come out of the molds easily, especially if they’ve cured fully. But if they’ve hardened completely, you’ll have a hard time removing them. If that’s the case with your paperweights, give them more time to continue hardening.
8. Clean Up & Polishing
After removing the resin paperweights from the molds, gently cut of any excess and sand the back to make it uniform. Then finish up the edges accordingly and wipe off any imperfections with a paper towel.
If you want to polish your pieces, use some resin polish and a soft cloth. But never use sandpaper since it will match the finish created by the molds.
Now set your paperweights on some papers and start enjoying them!
The best thing about paperweights is that you can customize them to suit the needs of the recipient. For instance, you can embed various decorative items and even add any color. That’s why they’re a great gift idea for your nature-loving friends, co-workers, and family members. And since you now know how to make them, go ahead and give it a try!
1. How do you enclose items in resin paperweights?
To enclose items in resin paperweights, fill your mold halfway with clear epoxy resin. Then carefully arrange your items at the center of the mold. Lastly, fill the mold to the top and leave it to dry.
2. Can you put fresh flowers in resin paperweights?
No! If you put fresh flowers in paperweights, they’ll turn brown and rot since they’re organic. So, if you want to embed flowers in your resin paperweights, dry them completely first.
3. How do you prevent flowers and leaves in resin paperweights from floating?
Flowers and leaves tend to float when used in resin pieces. To prevent this, pour epoxy in layers.
Pour the 1st layer and let it sit for some time. Position your leaves on the mixture and hold them with a chopstick. Then pour the 2nd layer until the molds are full. Now, lift the chopstick and leave the resin to dry.