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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.

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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.