Posted on 2 Comments

How To Make A Hair Charm Bead

How To Make A Hair Charm Bead Pandora Hair Charm

This video will show you how to make this resin lock of hair charm bead from start to finish. We’re adding rose petals for their sentimentality. You can read more about working with hair in our lock of hair jewellery making blog here (click).

Please watch to the end where there’s a competition to win some of the supplies featured in this video, our bestselling medium charm bead mould, two pairs of gloves, two rose petals, label backing paper, cocktail sticks, orchid purple resin sparkle mix and a pair of solid sterling silver large charm bead inserts

You’ll need the following supplies:
a safety mask or nail tech masks
vinyl gloves
our medium charm bead mould
rubbing alcohol
a rag
lock of hair
label paper
UV resin
cocktail stick
rose petals
orchid purple resin sparkle mix

you’ll also need a:
rotary tool
carbide rotary burr bit
E6000 vegan glue
a pair of large charm bead inserts

I like to use an LED UV lamp to save energy and make sure the pieces don’t get too hot. This one has a 99 second low heat setting


Firstly, put on your gloves. Sometimes I like to double up with gloves but working with a lock of hair is fiddly so just wear one pair. Take some rubbing alcohol and put it on a rag, take a charm bead mould and wipe it over. Don’t forget, it’s better to replace a mould when it’s starting to get dull than spend hours trying to get a perfect shine back on your finished piece.

There’s no need for a clear layer with a charm bead or pearl because dust doesn’t settle in the mould. Take the label backing paper and a cocktail stick then prepare the lock of hair. Some clients will send hair from a loved one who has passed away, please ask them to never send in the whole amount in case it’s lost in the post. Ask your client to tie the lock with a little bit of cotton and place it in a well-labelled bag. If they send it in tin foil they may fold it over which creases the hair and makes it harder to work with

Divide the lock of hair into two, use the larger piece for your first attempt and if for any reason this turns out badly you have some hair left to work with. Place it on the label backing paper and check it for irregular strands and you can send these back to the client with the remaining hair. Now take some clear UV resin and pour a dot on the corner as the first dot coming out will often have a small air bubble, then pour a small amount of resin over the hair

Use the cocktail stick to smooth it out, making sure the hair is completely saturated with resin and remove any bubbles. Cut the edges of the hair at an angle so they look neat


Use the cocktail stick to carefully pick up the hair and put it on your mould, then gently tease it in. Be careful not to poke the mould with the cocktail stick or you’ll get dots on the finished charm beads. This part can be very fiddly and takes practice so don’t worry if you don’t get it right to begin with. Perfect the technique with your own hair and that of friends and family.

Once the hair is in, slowly move it around to remove any air bubbles trapped in the strands. They will look like silver grains and if you gently push on them from behind the hair they will come through to the back.


Squeeze a dot of resin out, as the first dot may have an air bubble, then very slowly fill the mould completely with resin to the very top. Prepare any petals by cutting them a little smaller. They must be completely dry. These were a gift from my husband, whose hair I’m using today, so they weren’t perfectly dried.

Usually I dry flowers and petals surrounded by silica gel in a bowl placed on a reptile heat mat. If you’d like to see a video with some drying techniques please let me know in the comments below. Gently poke your petals into the resin-filled mould. You will get a lot of air bubbles which you can remove with patience.

This technique would not work with a translucent or transparent mould, only water-clear so that you can see what you’re doing. When all the air bubbles are gone you can add a drop more resin so the mould is completely full


Change your gloves, then using a fresh cocktail stick add a small amount of resin sparkle mix on top of the mould. Press it into the resin, focussing the colour around the centre of the mould and trying not to mix it around the petals or near the hair. Again it takes a lot of practice and perseverance to get the colour in the right place. Remove the bubbles by pressing the sides in and teasing them out with the cocktail stick. Push out some of the excess resin around the pouring spout. You’ll learn the perfect amount to leave in meaning you don’t have to build up the charm but you don’t have too much excess to remove


Put your mould under a UV nail lamp for 99 seconds on low heat. This UV lamp is perfect because it’s low energy LED with a low heat mode. Allow it to cool down, turn it over and cure for another 99 seconds, then cool it completely again. Use this time to clear up your work station, put your client’s hair back into their bag and wipe over the work


You should be able to remove the charm bead from the mould fairly easily but if you struggle at all, do it in a bowl of warm water with a little washing up liquid or dish soap and it will slip out nicely. Check for imperfections and pick off any excess resin from around the pouring spout that will come off easily. If the pieces are too big and you force it, you might crack the charm bead. Use a rotary tool with a carbide rotary burr bit and make sure you wear a good quality mask. Remove the excess resin then put a little rubbing alcohol onto a piece of cotton wool pad and wipe the charm bead over to remove any stickiness.


Check the inserts fit nicely and cover the sanding area, then get some E6000 glue which is made without animal ingredients. Use a fresh cocktail stick to apply some glue to the inside of the insert, then apply some to the area on the charm bead that it will cover. Put the insert on and repeat with the other side


The charm beads with our inserts are perfect for most charm bracelets and as you can see here, it fits perfectly on my own Pandora bracelet. You can photograph your cremation ashes jewellery a number of ways
Here’s an example using bogwood and one using a plain white background


One final and very important point to remember is that not all 925 stamped charm beads are solid sterling silver. The insert, or grommet, on the left here with two 925 marks is silver plated but they’re sold online as solid sterling silver

charm bead insert comparison – fake silver plated and genuine solid sterling silver

Our inserts on the right with the heart are solid sterling silver and won’t ever rust. Clients prefer good quality, especially for keepsake and memorial charm beads.

Now relax and do some crafting

Posted on 6 Comments

How to Make a Cremation Ashes Heart Necklace

how to make a cremation ashes heart necklace with palladium leaf, fairy pink resin sparkle mix and gold eco sparkle

Learn how to make a cremation ashes heart necklace with our video

You’ll need these supplies (this is a UK/International list – we have a general list for USA jewelry supplies here and more countries coming soon) the first supplies on the list are available from us

Supplies from Keepsaker Supplies

If you’re a client of ours and would like a sample of cremation ashes, cat fur or umbilical cord, to practice with, please ask and we can include some donated elements with your order free of charge
18mm heart cabochon duo mould
cocktail sticks
fairy pink resin sparkle mix

supplies needed to make a cremation ashes heart necklace
supplies needed to make a cremation ashes heart necklace

vinyl gloves
rubbing alcohol
cotton wool pad
UV resin
diamond file
a heart setting
6mm split ring
silver polishing cloth
burnishing tool
medium weight necklace chain
LED UV lamp
safety mask
or nail tech masks

How to Make a Cremation Ashes Heart Necklace

Preparing the Mould
Firstly, inspect your mould and check for any dust or dirt, or lines and imperfections
Prepare the mould if it’s a little dusty by one of two methods

  1. The first is by wiping it with rubbing alchol and a cotton wool pad
  2. The second is by applying a thin layer of UV resin and then curing. The dust will come off when you remove the resin

It’s better to replace a mould when it’s starting to get dull than spend hours trying to get a perfect shine back on your finished piece

Then, you can remove the cleaning layer

Clear Layer
Pour the first bit of resin on the edge of the mould because it will probably have an air bubble
Carefully put a large dot of resin in the centre of each of the hearts
Tilt the mould around so that the whole surface is covered
Only use a cocktail stick if you have a bubble
Place it under your UV lamp for 30 seconds
This will give you a clear top layer on your finished piece

Add the Ashes and Colours
Check you have the right colours and double check your client’s name and order number against what they’ve ordered
We ask our clients to send no more than half a teaspoon of ashes
Inspect the cremation ashes and consider grinding them a little finer
Cremation ashes are ground in the crematorium and some are ground finer or for longer than others
The grains will suspend more nicely in the resin if they are very fine
Take a small pinch of your client’s ashes, and place them in a pestle and mortar
Gently grind them down until they’re a little finer
Put them to one side. Somewhere where you can’t knock them over

Pour another layer of resin in, about two thirds of the way up
Use the cocktail stick to add a very tiny amount of ashes
Then your colors. I’m using a fairy pink resin sparkle mix here

Then I add a little bit of gold synthetic mica
Add a little bit of precious metal leaf if you like
This one is palladium leaf
Add a very tiny pinch of ashes
Gently swirl everything around to cover the first layer

If you want lots of depth to your piece then don’t add too much of
anything in the first colour layer
Keep it nice and translucent

cure for 30 seconds

Final Colour Layer
Repeat with another layer of resin almost to the top
Add a little bit more ashes this time along with more colour
This will ensure that none of your necklace is patchy or see-through

Cure for another 30 seconds

Finally add a thin layer of resin to dome the back and then cure for a final 30 seconds
Remove from the UV lamp and leave to completely cool

Clear Up
Use this time to clear up your work station, put your client’s ashes back into their bag and wash your pestle and mortar
I like to use rubbing alcohol on a cotton wool pad then use warm soapy water before drying completely

Preparing The Setting
Check that your heart setting has a jump ring
If not, you can solder one on or use a 6mm split ring like this
Make sure you don’t have any tangles in the necklace chain
Give it all a quick polish with a silver polishing cloth

Demoulding the resin heart
Once the piece is completely cooled you can remove it VERY EASILY from the mould

Check for imperfections then put a little rubbing alcohol onto a piece of cotton wool pad
Wipe the heart over to remove any stickiness

You might need to remove a little excess resin with a flat diamond file
Snap off any excess resin around the edges or use a burr on a rotary tool
Don’t forget to wear a mask doing this
Then wipe off any dust

Setting the resin heart
Put the heart into the setting
Use a burnishing tool to push down the crown points
Check that your necklace chain fits through the jump ring
If not, you MIGHT be able to gently squeeze together the last ring on the chain a little
Then it will usually fit through
If you’re using a very large chain like a Pandora style snake chain then you can attach a bail to the heart setting

Photographing the resin heart
You can photograph your cremation ashes jewellery a number of ways
Here’s an example using bogwood

Let me know in the comments if you’d like to see more videos like this and don’t forget I’ve linked to the blog and all the supplies you need down below
Now relax and do some crafting

**contains sponsored content meaning I may receive a small income based on purchases you make on my recommendations. Some of the products mentioned and linked to are ones my own items for sale

Posted on 2 Comments

Set a Resin Sphere

set a resin sphere - breastmilk pearl resin sphere keepsake jewellery

A tutorial to set a resin sphere, also known as a “pearl” or an “orb” with glue-on, partial drilling, full drilling and wire wrapped settings. You’ll learn what each of these terms mean and also how to cover the pouring spout for a beautiful finish on your spheres or pearls. You can create beautiful jewellery for your clients with their breastmilk, cremation ashes, lock of hair or fur, umbilical cord or placenta.

Here’s my YouTube tutorial How to Make a Forget Me Not Pearl

You will struggle to nicely finish a sphere if the pouring spout is too big, if the mould is dull or overused. We recommend you start with a fresh shiny mould from our selection here (click). We have them from 6mm to 20mm and a full set is available here

Preparing To Set a Resin Sphere

When your piece is fully cured, remove it from the mould. If you’ve used UV resin then give it a wipe over with a high proof alcohol on some cotton wool or white cotton fabric scrap (old kids’ vests are perfect!). You may have a little dip round the pouring spout if you under-poured, in which case add a little more resin to make the surface smooth. Even if you’ve used epoxy resin for your main pour, you can use UV resin to fill this dent.

If you’ve got a lip where the spout was where you poured, you can cut, saw or file off the excess. Don’t forget to wear the right PPE when filing resin – a good mask or at least the nail technician style mask. The “holy grail”, for me, in resin work is to just have the tiniest lip on a piece that can be removed with my fingernails. UV resin can be a little bit brittle so if you have too much excess and try to cut it away, you may accidentally lose a chunk of your piece. The safe way to remove it is with a burr drill bit on your rotary tool

rotary tool
rotary tool
burr drill bits
burr drill bits

How to Set a Resin Sphere – The Easiest Ways

1. Pearl Cage Resin Spheres

The easiest way to set a resin pearl is to place it in a ready-made pearl cage. You can get these on various jewellery making websites and there are lots to choose from on Etsy. You need to be careful because they almost all come from China and the price doesn’t necessarily guarantee if it’s solid sterling silver. You can sometimes tell if a British or US seller is reselling by comparing the photos.

This angel wing pearl cage looks like a good option because the seller offers both silver plated and sterling silver (this one is sterling silver).

angel wing pearl cage

angel wing pearl cage

2. Partially Drilled Resin Spheres

As above, you’ll need a nice even sphere, then mark the centre of the pouring hole with a Sharpie and make sure it’s central. I prefer to use a hand drill for drilling just a little bit, for accuracy, like this Archemedes Drill with a 0.8mm drill bit. Again, don’t forget to wear the right PPE when filing resin – a good mask or at least the nail technician style mask.

Archimedes drill
Archimedes Drill

Drill down the length of you need for the setting (you can mark the depth on your drill bit with a bit of washi tape which is also perfect for keeping your metal stamping straight). It’s usually about 4mm deep you’ll need to go to glue on a bail.

Bails are easy to source from most silver suppliers but the difficulty is finding one wide enough to cover your pouring hole to set a resin sphere. A small pearl (6-8mm) will be ok with a small 4mm wide bail, but anything 9mm or larger we recommend a wide bail like this.

glue-on bails
glue-on bails

Use glue to stick on the bail, I like Araldite Jeweller’s Glue, and combine the parts A+B on a little label backing paper (if you don’t regularly use labels, ask at your local Post Office because they have bins full of this stuff they can give you). Apply the glue with the toothpick inside the hole you drilled and around the inside of the bail then push in place. You can wrap the whole thing in a piece of cotton fabric to hold the bail in place whilst it dries.

These are quick and easy to make but the disadvantage is if your client pulls the sphere too hard, it could come apart. Fully drilled spheres are more secure – keep reading to find out how to make them!

breastmilk pearl bunny ears
breastmilk pearl with bunny ears bail

3. Fully Drilled Resin Spheres

Just as with the partially drilled resin sphere, mark the centre of the pouring hole with a Sharpie and make sure it’s central. You can drill the hole by hand/with an Archemedes Drill or with a rotary tool fitted with a 0.8mm drill bit.

For accuracy, especially if you’re working with something irreplaceable like someone’s last lock of their loved one’s hair, you should consider investing in a pearl drill. Whichever method you use, please don’t forget to wear the right PPE when filing resin – a good mask or at least the nail technician style mask.

Wipe the sphere again with some alcohol and cotton wool or white fabric scraps. Then you’ll need a long flat base head pin which will cover some of your pouring area. You can also put the pouring area on the top and add an 8mm bead cap like this one.

Using a pair of bail and looping pliers you can create a beautiful bail to set a resin sphere, through which you can thread a silver necklace chain for your customer. You could alternatively add a 6mm solid silver split ring and a lobster clasp to make a dangle charm for Thomas Sabo style bracelets.

You can purchase silicone sphere moulds from our shop here and by following the links above you can find the right supplies and support our blog at the same time.

This page contains affiliate links meaning we may receive a small amount of commission based on your purchases with no extra cost to yourself.

Posted on 2 Comments

Settings for Resin Jewellery: Etsy

crown point heart settings from Etsy

People always ask me the best place to get settings for resin jewellery and the easiest place is most definitely Etsy. It’s a mixture of mass-produced and handmade and if you know where to look, it’s full of gems (in the literal and not-so-literal sense!) My rings and pearls over at Tree of Opals are handmade from scratch, our charm beads and heart necklaces are cast and stamped for us.

1. Quality Findings Market

Quality Findings Market or QFM on Etsy is my absolute favourite. Their solid sterling silver medium heart settings are compatible with our medium heart moulds. Just make sure you keep the edges neat and use a bezel rocker to push down the heart points once you’re happy.

crown point heart settings from Etsy
crown point heart settings from Etsy
breastmilk heart necklace with 18mm medium heart cabochon made with milk powder, pink mica blend and diamond powder
breastmilk heart necklace with 18mm medium heart cabochon made with milk powder, pink mica blend and diamond powder

When I first started using their crown heart setting I was using a China cheapie mould, the pink faceted one with multiple depressions of faceted hearts. The problems with facets are that they’re harder to do another coat on as you lose the definition. Plus opaque moulds are virtually impossible to use with a UV curing resin like this one from the USA or this one in the UK.

2. ZDP Findings

ZDP Findings are another great place in Israel to purchase settings in solid sterling silver, gold-filled and base metal. They’re a family run business and their customer service is second to none! I love
these 14mm round heart point solid sterling silver settings which are perfect for setting 14mm round cabochons. Please have a look at their page for inspiration and remember that crown and heart points are ideal for beginners because they’re easy to push down with your fingers. If you’re using a bezel cup rings like these there are three methods of setting which I’ll cover in more detail in a blog with photos, but you can fill them with resin and cure, you can glue in cabochons, or you can set the cabochons by gluing then rubbing over the bezel with a bezel pusher (I recommend getting a set and finding your favourite to work with, mine is the curved one with the point).

If they have any settings you’d like to work with but can’t find a mould to suit, just give us the link to the setting and we’ll try our best to create a custom mould for you.

3. SilverFindings925

SilverFindings925 are based in the Ukraine and have some lovely, unique and interesting settings ideal for memorial and breastmilk jewellery. Use our 10mm round cabochons made with our 10mm cabochon mould with this
10mm round claw setting silver ring.

solid sterling silver claw ring from SilverFindings925
solid sterling silver claw ring from SilverFindings925

Don’t forget, claw settings aren’t too forgiving so you have to make sure your edges are super-neat! The claws won’t cover up much of the resin, so I find it’s more prone to knocks and scrapes at the edges, but I know a lot of keepsake and DNA artists and their clients love the look. It’s completely up to you, whatever works for your business! SilverFindings925 also sell some pearl dangle earring settings that you could try with our 16mm sphere moulds. Make sure you place the pouring hole at the bottom and dome it carefully, letting the client know the bottoms won’t be perfect.

Setting Problems

I had an issue recently with a solid 14ct gold wishbone setting I’d made where the client complained they could see the doming on the pearl. I refunded them in the end because I should have mentioned this specifically in the T’s and C’s, and it was just before Christmas and I didn’t want to let her ruin my holidays, so don’t forget to keep your business safe by telling clients things like this in advance. Put in your T’s and C’s and product description phrases like “you will see air bubbles in most of our resin work”, and, “pieces are set by hand and you may see small amounts of glue and scratches in the metalwork where this was done”. If the client doesn’t like it, they can order elsewhere but you won’t be losing out on business because these are the people who demand refunds. If they can find someone who can promise perfection, let them go!

You’ll learn which settings work for you, that you’re comfortable working with and which your clients love, but try to keep some back for refunds if you’ve forgotton to mention something like that and the client is being unkind. It’s never worth risking your mental health and joy you find in your work for someone who is just trying it on (and probably expects a refund and to be able to keep it).

Please note, this blog contains affiliate links meaning we may receive a small income based on your purchases after clicks with no extra cost to yourself.