Shaker charms are some of the most entertaining items you can make with epoxy resin. Besides, it’s like having your favorite decorative items floating in oil! Incredible, right?
Well, now imagine being able to make resin shakers yourself!
I know, as a beginner, you may be feeling a bit nervous. Don’t let that worry you though! In this tutorial, I’ll take you everything you need to know about how to make shaker charms.
But first, do you even know what a resin shaker is? Then let me start from there…!
What are Resin Shakers and Their Uses?
Resin shakers are charms or key chains. They are like a small snow globe, but you can use them as stand-alone items/ key chains. More notably, they include glitter, floating charms, or toys inside an oil-filled cavity.
To create a resin shaker, you’ll need a specialty shaker mold. In most cases, these molds are known as ‘backed’ molds. With these molds, you can easily fill the center with charms, shaker oil, and glitter. Thus resulting in an adorable shaker.
Now that you’ve got an idea of what a shaker is, let’s look at how to make resin shaker keychains and the supplies you’ll need to make one for yourself!
Things You’ll Need for This Project
A resin shakerkeychain DIY project is like any other DIY project, the first thing you need is to gather your supplies. In this case, you’ll need the following materials;
- Silicone shaker molds
- Epoxy resin kit
- Pliers, Keychain, Hand drill, Screw
- Water/ glycerine/ shaker oil
- Glitter/ charms/ embellishments/ accessories
- Scissor & Polishing Kit
- Syringe with needle
- Clear plastic film
Steps of Making Resin Shakers
Wear Gloves, Eye Protection and a Respirator
Remember, resin and hardeners are chemicals. Hence the need to protect yourself from these materials. The best way to achieve that is by wearing the appropriate personal protective equipment such as nitrile gloves. Unlike latex gloves, nitrile doesn’t react with resins. A respirator will also make a big difference keeping fumes and dust out of your lungs and safety glasses will also keep contaminants entering you body through your eyes.
Ventilate Your Working Area
Still, as part of personal protection, it’s good to handle epoxy in a room with adequate ventilation. That’s because epoxy produces fumes that can harm your health. To increase air circulation in your working space, open windows, and doors. Also, if the room has a ceiling fan, turn it on. Alternatively, you can use pedestal fans to draw fumes away from your resin.
Protect the Working Surface
Lastly, cover your working surface with a silicone mat, wax paper or sheathing tape, something that resin will not stick to . This will help to protect it from any resin spills that may occur during the project. Moreover, make sure that the surface is free from dirt and other contaminants.
2. Choosing a Mold for Resin Shakers
Silicone shaker molds are the best type of mold to use when working with epoxy. Thanks to their easiness to clean and non-toxic nature. Besides, resin easily pops out of silicone molds when it cures. On top of that, silicone molds are available in various shapes and sizes.
Resin shaker molds can be broadly classified into 2 categories; homemade & commercial molds. But, which one is ideal for your resin shaker project?
Commercial molds are ready-made resin molds that are readily available in the market. They come in various designs and are very affordable. With these molds, you just need to buy a set and start working on your project right away. Thus making them the best option for beginners.
There are more than 200 ready-to-use shaker molds for epoxy you can choose from.
For instance, you can choose animal resin molds. These molds are shaped into various shapes including polar bears, elephants, and alpacas. That way, you can choose your favorite animal and create your resin charm. Afterward, you can turn it into a keychain gift. Also, you can use alphabet silicone molds to create a resin shaker with initials.
As the name suggests, these are custom molds that you can make yourself at home. Thus helping you to create special and customized shakers. Luckily, making a silicone mold isn’t a difficult task. Best of all, this allows you to create any shape you can think of. For instance, you can make molds shaped like flowers, stars, x mas themed shakers, cubes, and hearts. Unlike commercial molds, making your molds will not limit your creativity.
On the downside, making molds is a time-consuming task often involving some form of cutting. Not to forget that homemade molds can be more costly than ready-to-use castings, there is often cutting involved.
Homemade vs. Ready-To-Use Molds: What’s Best?
The type of silicone mold you use can make a difference in your project. For this project, I’d recommend you go with commercial molds and there are many reasons for that. For instance, they’re cheaper, readily available, easy to use, and time-saving. That, however, doesn’t mean that you can use homemade molds to make your resin shakers. It’s all about your choice and preferences. Besides, regardless of the mold type, the steps of making shakers are the same.
3. Measure and Mix Epoxy
After choosing the ideal mold for your project, move to the next step-measuring epoxy! Using separate measuring cups, measure equal parts of the resin and hardener. Pour them into a mixing cup and stir the mixture for 2 minutes. Then leave the mixture for about 30 seconds. This allows a few bubbles to rise to the surface and pop.
4. Pour the Resin Into the Silicone Mold
Now, pour your epoxy resin into each piece of silicone shaker mold. I suggest you pour the resin onto the middle part or base of the molds. Then let the mixture run over the sides until the castings are full. This will minimize the number of bubbles trapped in the molds. After filling the molds, leave them to cure.
What if you want to add colors to your epoxy? There are 2 different approaches you can use to accomplish that. One, you can mix the color and the resin in the mixing cup before you pour it into the casting. Two, you can add color on top of your resin after pouring. Then swirl the color around with a stir stick.
5. Allow Curing and Un-Mold
At this point, give your resin enough time to cure. In most cases, epoxy resin takes about 24 hours to cure fully. However, if you’re using UV resin, the curing time can be as short as 1 to 7 minutes.
To determine whether your resin has cured or not, you can use a toothpick. If its surface isn’t hard, let it continue curing. But if it has cured, go ahead and carefully remove it from the castings.
As I stated earlier, removing cured epoxy from silicone mold is quite simple. However, some edges may come out looking dull. If that’s the case, use sandpaper/ file to smoothen the edges.
Read more about the differences between epoxy resin and UV resin.
6. Drill the Hole to Fill the Shaker and Clean Residues
Using a hand drill, carefully drill a hole in the side/ top of your resin shaker. This hole enables you to add water or mineral oil to your pieces. Besides, this is where you can attach your key chain hardware.
When you’re done drilling the pieces, clean the residues from the inside of your pieces. Otherwise, there will be small resin pieces floating in your shaker.
7. Fill With Glitters & Charms
It’s now time to add charms, glitters, and other items you need floating inside your shaker. After adding your inserts, proceed to place a thin resin layer around the top edge. This helps to secure the clear layer. However, make sure you don’t fill hole with epoxy resin. Let the thin layer cure for less than a minute.
8. Set the Transparency Film
Trace the Shaker Area with a Marker
Before you put a clear film over your shaker, trace its outer edges with an erasable marker. Then proceed to cut the film.
Cut and Clean the Film if It’s Cloudy
Instead of using a plotting machine, I recommend you use a cut file for this task. It will save you a lot of time and it’s more accurate. If the transfer film is cloudy, wipe it down with alcohol and baby wipes. Then dry it using a paper towel.
Place the Film
Grab the film with your index finger and thumb. Then place it down and use your resin pieces to line up the edges correctly. Use your finger as a guide to preventing epoxy from getting where it isn’t needed on the film. If you put the film in the wrong area, take it off and set it again.
Seal the Film
After placing the film, seal it with UV resin or regular epoxy. Avoid using super glue for this task. This is because the glue will make the resin form a white chalky color. More importantly, super glue makes it hard to remove the film if you place it in the wrong area.
To seal the shaker, mix a small amount of resin and hardener. And apply the mixture to the edges of your resin piece with a mixing tool. For best results, let your resin sit for 45 minutes before you apply it. Also, after application let it cure for about 1 hour, then seal the top edges.
Lastly, mix another epoxy and apply it over the film. Repeat this process until you’ve covered the entire piece. Once you’ve done that, you can go ahead and fill your shaker!
9. Fill with Liquid (Mineral Oil/ Water)
The best thing about resin shakers is that you can fill them with any clear liquid of your choice. For that reason, you can either use glycerine, mineral oil, or even water. So, it’s up to you to find the best solution for your pieces.
However, you need to note that different solutions are ideal for various circumstances. For instance, water is perfect when you want a faster flow. On the other hand, mineral oil offers a slower glide.
After choosing the ideal liquid for your piece, add it through the drilled fill hole. To accomplish that, put the syringe through the hole. Slowly squeeze it to fill your shake with water or oil. When the shaker is full, remove the syringe and wipe off the top to remove oil residue.
Use some drops of glue to seal off the fill hole and leave it to dry. Now, shake your charm to see if there are any leaks. If you notice any leakage, repair it accordingly.
10. Attach Keychain (Optional)
If you’re planning to use your shaker as a key chain, drill a screw hole in it. Then screw in your eye screw into the hole. Add a few drops of epoxy where resin meets with the screw for additional coverage and leave it to cure! Afterward, use a pair of pliers to attach the keychain.
11. Coat the Backside and Front
To give your shaker extra protection, coat it with another layer of epoxy. This step is optional, meaning you can choose to leave the film as it is. However, the coat will protect your shakers from leaking in the future.
It is also a good idea as a final step to polish the shaker to give it a high gloss shine.
There are a lot of mistakes that can be made making your shakers, however, you can read on here to see what are the most common mistakes that are made and how you can avoid them.
Once you’re done following the steps above, your resin shaker is ready for use. Shakers are such unique gifts that anyone will certainly love them. Besides, as you can see, making shaker charms is such an interesting activity. So, go ahead and make one for your keychain!
1. How do you fill and seal liquid resin shakers?
To fill your resin shaker, use a syringe or a hypodermic needle. Then use a small amount of epoxy as sealant/ glue to cover the fill hole.
2. What liquid do you use to make resin shakers?
You can either use oil or water, but that will depend on the type of object you’re working with. Just note that oil has a slower flow, while water has a faster glide.
3. How do you prevent resin from leaking?
To prevent your shaker charms from leaking, tape the back of your piece. You can either use sheathing tape or painter’s tape for that. The tape
4. What film do you use for resin shakers?
You can use super clear, thick transparent resin film to seal up shaker charms. Thanks to its glossiness on both sides.