Posted on 1 Comment

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
scissors
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

PREPARING THE HAIR

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

PUTTING THE HAIR IN THE MOULD

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.

FILLING THE MOULD

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

ADDING COLOUR

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

CURING THE CHARM BEAD

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

DEMOULDING THE CHARM BEAD

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.

ADDING THE INSERTS

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

LEAVE TO DRY

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

GENUINE SOLID SILVER INSERTS

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 2 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

CURE FOR 99 SECONDS
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 Leave a comment

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 Leave a comment

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.



Posted on Leave a comment

Coloured Core for European Charm Beads

trio of cat fur charm beads with gold leaf and a painted teal core



When working with resin it’s easy to add a coloured core for European charms beads. There are two methods:
1) adding a core of fabric etc to the mould
2) colouring the core afterwards



For any resin work don’t forget to use correct PPE (personal protective equipment) such as gloves etc and see our list of supplies for UK, list of supplies for the USA and more to follow. Make sure you’re working in a nice clean, organised and relaxed environment away from children and pets (if possible… many a cat will sneak into a studio and, well, cats don’t accept orders!)

umbilical cord charm with a rose pink painted core, Tree of Opals solid silver core
umbilical cord charm with a rose pink painted core, Tree of Opals solid silver core

Why Add a Coloured Core?

You may want to include a sentimental fabric for a client, a special patterened background to a lock of hair or fur charm (or breastmilk if you’re adding opaque milk shapes). You may only have a tiny amount to work with and the client isn’t sure what colour they’d like so you can show them different options before they commit by adding colour afterwards. It gives a nice, deep. layered effect to have a different coloured core and you can still add metal leaf, for example, to the resin charm bead. In fact, you can even use precious metal leaf as the coloured core for a guilded look.

1. Adding a Fabric Core

To prepare a piece of fabric, such as a wrapscrap, you need a piece around the size of a playing card. You can pull a thread through to get a straight line to cut. Mix a little PVA glue (Elmer’s glue) with water 50:50 with a lollipop stick in a little measuring pot. I like the ones with the measurements on the side like this which you can use for resin (although if you’re working with epoxy resin I highly recommend weighing it out for accuracy). Soak the fabric in the mixture well and squeeze out the air bubbles, then lay it on a piece of label backing (the kind I recommend for working with hair), which is the perfect way to recycle the backs of your shipping labels.

Once it’s completely dry, take it off the backing paper and cut out a small rectangle. This takes practice to know the perfect height and width for your mould. It needs to be a little longer than the circumference of the silicone core in your mould plus a little overlap. When you’ve got it right, use a tiny dot of superglue to turn it into a little tube then put it in the mould. I recommend making at least two using interesting bits of the fabric. Add resin in the usual way (don’t forget to add any hair first) and any other elements/inclusions. Cure as normal then be careful when drilling off excess. You’ll find it easier if the fabric cylinder isn’t too tall, but be careful it’s not too short or it won’t cover the whole core. It takes practice!

2. Adding a Coloured Core

Sometimes you’ll take a charm bead out of the mould and think that the colour isn’t deep enough, or you might want to add a different colour layer or even to give the client the choice of colour. You might need to widen the hole first because you’re adding another layer, you want it to still fit your client’s Pandora bracelet! Removing some of the existing core of the charm bead gives you a “tooth”, something for the glue to adhere to. Use a good rotary tool and a large tooth cutting bit from the set you use to finish the charms. I like these wood cutting bits because they cut away the resin rather than sanding it, meaning the piece doesn’t get too hot. They work very quickly though so you might want to use the pink sandstone cylinder which comes with your rotary tool (you can buy more sandstone bits here) or a diamond bit like this.

I love to use EcoGlitter like this one, because I don’t want to increase microplastic waste to the environment. You can use mica, which is totally environmentally friendly, but there are so many worrying reports of mica being mined by children that it’s safer to stick with lab-produced mica (harder to find). I’m hoping to come out with some blends soon of ethical, plastic-free sparkle mixes! You can also use acrylic paint for a strong pigment and mix a little sparkle in. Mix your colour/glitter with a small amount of UV resin or epoxy jewellery glue on label paper with a cocktail stick. Carefully paint inside the charm bead in thin, even layers. You can even use two or more colours. To test a colour, just mix with a tiny bit of water and paint it on, take a picture and send to your client. Once you’re happy, go ahead with the resin or glue. Add your core or inserts like usual and your charm bead is ready.





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.

Posted on Leave a comment

How to Make Cremation Ash Jewellery: Part 1 of 2




How to Make Cremation Ash Jewellery: Part 1 of 2

The easiest way to set cremation ashes is with resin. You can pour the resin directly into a setting or use a silicone mould. There are pros and cons of each method which we’ll cover in another blog! Cremation ashes are, in my opinion, the easiest element to work with compared to breastmilk and locks of hair or fur. Working with ashes is similar to working with dried crushed umbilical cord or placenta so the advice is pretty much the same for those.

Are ashes safe to work with?

Cremation ashes, whether pet or person, are probably the safest element to work with (in my opinion). Because of the heat involved in turning remains into ashes, any BBV’s (blood-borne viruses) are destroyed. You can’t pick up HIV from ashes, for example, but common sense tells us that we should treat every element as if it may contain BBV’s and harmful substances. Cremation ashes are basically the bone/minerals remaining after all of the water and carbon has burnt away. Sometimes the ashes will contain fragments of brown and black, pink and green, pieces of metal etc. For more in-depth reading see The Analysis of Burned Human Remains (Atlas of Surgical Pathology) (hint: it’s not cheap and you don’t need to buy it… it’s on my millionaire wishlist!)

There’s a really interesting article here from Halldor the Viking on working with bone dust and I like to work with disposable masks whilst making my jewellery and a heavy duty mask when drilling. I remember an episode of the TV show Bones where a doctor gets sick after cutting the bones of someone who died from asbestos cancer. I plan on working with ashes for years so I want to be protected.



View this post on Instagram

After a body has been burned inside the retort (also refered to as cremation oven) there are still pieces of bones left. Usually a magnet is ran through these pieces of bones to pick up metal parts left behind, such as fillings, plates and hip replacements, which can interfere with the grinding process. After the metal parts are disposed, the bones and remnants are put into a grinder, or "cremulator" that uses ball bearings or rotating blades, like a blender. The cremulator breaks down the bone pieces into that fine powder like substance we call "cremains" that you see inside the run. _______________________________ #cremains #cremation #bones #crematory #cremationprocess #skeleton #skeletalsystem #death #dying #afterdeath #funeral #funeralhome #funeraldirector #embalmer #mortician

A post shared by James the Funeral Director (@james_the_funeral_director) on

What to put the ashes in

Some people put ashes into fillable jewellery like wearable urns, lockets and pendants. Some artists create cremation ash jewellery from metal clay or fused and lampwork glass. The most versatil medium and the easiest to learn is resin.

If you’re making a lot of resin jewellery in big batches then it’s cost-effective to use epoxy resin. Lots of people ask me what brand to buy but I always found the unbranded rigid casting epoxy like this one to be best. Sadly EcoResin is a no-go and I nearly lost my business due to dozens of pieces going yellow. Usually, you get epoxy resin in two bottles, part A and part B, which you have to mix perfectly in exact ratios and can take several days to cure. It would be perfect for doing big batches of flower jewellery, such as rose bud pearls.


We mostly use UV resin like the Qiao Qiao UV Resin (I can’t find the name for this brand, but it’s the one that works), you can also use the Lisa Pavelka brand but it’s more expensive and you can’t get the big bottles.  My trick is to buy a 60g bottle and a 200g bottle to refill it with. The little bottles are great to pour directly in your moulds. You’ll also need a cheap gel lamp like this. My hack for the gel lamp is to remove the plastic insert and place the lamp on a sheet of aluminum foil! We want the maximum amount of light to hit the jewellery to cure the resin and you work in layers.

With UV resin it’s easier to keep the resin from getting too thick (which happens with epoxy during its pot life). So long as you keep it away from the gel lamp and the sunshine it will stay liquid and thin enough to work. If your resin is too thick it gets sticky and no longer workable. To prepare a lock of cremation ash I get together what I need so it’s all within reach and make sure I’ve got my protective things on.

Ideally, you will have a small pot with the client’s ash, neatly labeled so you can’t confuse one order with another. I like to work on one ash order at a time so I can’t confuse orders, even if they’re different colours. While the pieces are curing for each stage, you can tidy up your work area, make notes on the order, send the client a photo of your progress etc.

How to Make Cremation Ash Jewellery Safely

1. Make sure you’re not working round kids and pets. Even if a resin has low fume it can still cause a reaction. I’ve heard of people not only having reactions from contact with resin (like me) but having trouble breathing. Even for yourself you need to take care. The tools and equipment you have in your studio aren’t suitable for being around children and they tend to want to “help”. Older children could sit on another table if you’re doing something without chemicals and heat (wire wrapping, for example). I appreciate it is hard, and I’m writing this blog today because my son is home poorly so I’m working online while he watches cartoons. Later on we’ll have a nap together so that when his dad has him tonight I’ll have the energy to go in the studio. I’m also planning a blog soon on working with di

2. Wear proper PPE (personal protective equipment).
I like to wear a thick coating of a barrier spray like the 3M Cavilon or No More Gloves. Then I know if I’m struggling and have to take off my gloves, my skin’s got some protection. I tried Metanium but it made my work marked and I managed to get some on my silverwork which gave it a nasty coating of dull titanium! Then I double up on nitrile gloves and pop on a face mask.


Resin Lock of Hair Jewellery

Our best selling items are our charm beads. They take a bit of practice and a special mould and knowledge of filing, doming and attaching hardware called inserts, also known as grommets and washers. Pearls are popular, they are spheres made with 10mm moulds but can be bigger or smaller, and need to be drilled and attached to pearl cups. Rings are a little less complicated because you can pour the resin into a ring cup, or make a cabochon (a “stone” with clients’ elements) and fit it into a ring with crown settings. I’ll write more blogs soon on settings and explain the differences between the three main style of setting resin rings, how to drill charm beads and pearls.

I recommend using a water clear mould, or at least translucent. You’ll need water-clear to work 3d pieces in UV. You can use an opaque mould for flatbacks but it is more difficult and you can’t re-mould it if you want to add a layer of clear resin afterwards.

silicone sphere moulds (left to right) blue RTV opaque, platinum cure translucent, water clear silicone sphere moulds (left to right) blue RTV opaque, platinum cure translucent, water clear

If you’re using UV resin, cure this as your first layer then fill the mould with more resin and any colours and additions. Sometimes we leave the resin completely clear and when the piece is cured we add a coloured core or background. You can add colour and shimmer, glitter, precious metal leaf, mica and even natural colourants like beetroot powder (although these tend to fade quickly in the sun). You will find your own style and clients will choose you because they like your work.

In the next blog I’ll explain how to mix the ashes in with the resin and more detail on different kinds of moulds.

Other Media to Make Lock of Hair Jewellery With

You can fill little glass bottles like these with a lock of hair and dried petals and opalescent flakes, sealed with jewellery glue. You then screw in an eyelet.

Glass vial jewellery, thanks to Colorized for the photo Glass vial jewellery, thanks to Colorized for the photo

cremation ash jewellery part 1 here and part 2 here

how to make breastmilk jewellery part 1 is here, part 2 is here and part 3 is here

I have more tutorials and blogs planned for the future including umbilical cord and placenta jewellery, how to make *trigger* baby loss keepsakes, metal clay jewellery and silversmithing.  Also some blogs on being clean, parenthood, veganism, charity work, travelling and various other interests.  Most of my blogs are written in notes on my phone when I don’t have internet access (the school gates, the car) or when I’m nursing our son Bastian and I love the chance to share my creativity even more.



For classes on resin you may be able to find something local but I learnt all resin and most silversmithing from YouTube tutorials. We’re planning videos showing you how to make and use silicone moulds, open bezels and pour-in bezels as well as some studio safety. You can read about Fairtrade Gemstone Ethics here; if you’re adding precious stones to your work and Nikki is soon to be visiting a friend’s gemstone mine in Tanzania at the same time as delivering menstrual pads with their charity Project Kidogo.

Spellings – this blog is written in the United Kingdom so my spelling is in English. I’ll try to add alternatives after but our spelling of jewellery is correct here.  Mould (UK) mold (US).  

This post contains affiliate links that should work in the USA, Canada and the UK, meaning when if you buy one of our recommended products I receive a small amount of earnings which comes in handy on Amazon for our two children’s books. Aqui hablamos español, on parle français, hier spreken we nederlands, tunasema Kiswahili hapa, and føroyskt, but they love to see all languages.



how to make lock of hair jewellery blog by Nikki Kamminga of Tree of Opals






Posted on Leave a comment

Making Umbilical Cord Jewellery



How To Make Umbilical Cord Jewellery and Placenta Keepsakes

The first piece of keepsake jewellery I ever made was with the placenta from my son Bastian. I added a little epoxy resin from a Pebeo kit (like this one) to a small flat heart shape in a silicone letter mould I’d bought at the Poundshop (Dollar Store).


I took the finished heart and stuck it on some wide clear packing tape and placed a bronze open bezel around it. I covered it in resin and waited several days for it to dry. It’s still perfect and I like to wear it on a simple waxed cotton cord choker, sometimes with a charm bead either side. I took it on live national TV in April 2017…
placenta and umbilical cord jewellery on This Morning in March 2017 placenta and umbilical cord jewellery on This Morning in March 2017

As you can see, Philip Schofield doesn’t seem so keen but Holly said the pieces were “really pretty”. In the first photo, the piece on the right was that first one I ever made. I had heard about placenta jewellery in my encapsulation group and people were talking about stirring the ground powder into resin. Someone had asked how to keep it in a heart shape without the grains moving around and sinking but I started watching YouTube videos obsessively.

I considered doing resin-only pieces but thought they looked a bit tacky. I didn’t know where to buy crown settings and cabochon moulds and certainly not how to set a bezel with a rubover like I do now. Use the tools available to you and your skill to make what you think is pleasing and communicates what you intend to with the piece, and customers will find you and love your style. Don’t worry if you don’t have the technical knowledge yet; that’s what the learning process is for!

I put everything on the dining table, much to The Viking’s dismay. Looking back, that probably wasn’t the best of ideas. Ayla was two and Bastian was just three months old. After a few weeks I got some orders through our Facebook page and

If you’re making a lot of resin jewellery in big batches then it’s cost-effective to use epoxy resin. Lots of people ask me what brand to buy but I always found the unbranded rigid casting epoxy like this one to be best.  Sadly EcoResin is a no-go and I nearly lost my business due to dozens of pieces going yellow. Usually you get epoxy resin in two bottles, part A and part B, which you have to mix perfectly in exact ratios and can take several days to cure. It would be perfect for doing big batches of flower jewellery, such as rose bud pearls.


We mostly use UV resin like the Qiao Qiao UV Resin (I can’t find the name for this brand, but it’s the one that works), you can also use the Lisa Pavelka brand but it’s more expensive and you can’t get the big bottles.  My trick is to buy a 60g bottle and a 200g bottle to refill it with. The little bottles are great to pour directly in your moulds. You’ll also need a cheap gel lamp like this. My hack for the gel lamp is to remove the plastic insert and place the lamp on a sheet of aluminum foil! We want the maximum amount of light to hit the jewellery to cure the resin and you work in layers.

With UV resin it’s easier to keep the resin from getting too thick (which happens with epoxy during its pot life).  So long as you keep it away from the gel lamp and the sunshine it will stay liquid and thin enough to work.  If your resin is too thick it gets sticky and the hair won’t move around. To prepare a lock of hair piece I get together what I need so it’s all within reach and make sure I’ve got my protective things on.

example of the ideal amount of hair to send for lock of hair and fur keepsake jewellery from Tree of Opals example of the ideal amount of hair to sendexample of the ideal amount of fur to send for lock of hair and fur keepsake jewellery from Tree of Opals example of the ideal amount of fur to send

Safety Making Lock of Hair Jewellery

1. Make sure you’re not working round kids and pets. Even if a resin has low fume it can still cause a reaction. I’ve heard of people not only having reactions from contact with resin (like me) but having trouble breathing. Even for yourself you need to take care.

2. Wear proper PPE (personal protective equipment).
I like to wear a thick coating of a barrier spray like the 3M Cavilon or No More Gloves. Then I know if I’m struggling and have to take off my gloves, my skin’s got some protection. I tried Metanium but it made my work marked and I managed to get some on my silverwork which gave it a nasty coating of dull titanium! Then I double up on nitrile gloves and pop on a face mask.


Resin Lock of Hair Jewellery

Our best selling items are our charm beads. They take a bit of practice and a special mould and knowledge of filing, doming and attaching hardware called inserts, also known as grommets and washers. Pearls are popular, they are spheres made with 10mm moulds but can be bigger or smaller, and need to be drilled and attached to pearl cups. Rings are a little less complicated because you can pour the resin into a ring cup, or make a cabochon (a “stone” with clients’ elements) and fit it into a ring with crown settings. I’ll write more blogs soon on settings and explain the differences between the three main style of setting resin rings, how to drill charm beads and pearls.

To prepare the hair, take an even lock and place it on some shiny paper, like the type labels come on. Pour a little resin on top and make sure it’s soaked in. Sometimes we cut the paper to make each end of the hair even. Then use a toothpick to pick up the hair and place it round the edge of the mould. Make sure there’s enough resin on it or you’ll get microbubbles that leave lines around the edge of the finished piece. I recommend using a water clear mould, or at least translucent

silicone sphere moulds (left to right) blue RTV opaque, platinum cure translucent, water clear silicone sphere moulds (left to right) blue RTV opaque, platinum cure translucent, water clear

If you’re using UV resin, cure this as your first layer then fill the mould with more resin and any colours and additions. Sometimes we leave the resin completely clear and when the piece is cured we add a coloured core or background. You can add colour and shimmer, glitter, precious metal leaf, mica and even natural colourants like beetroot powder (although these tend to fade quickly in the sun). You will find your own style and clients will choose you because they like your work.  

Other Media to Make Lock of Hair Jewellery With

You can fill little glass bottles like these with a lock of hair and dried petals and opalescent flakes, sealed with jewellery glue. You then screw in an eyelet.

Glass vial jewellery, thanks to Colorized for the photo Glass vial jewellery, thanks to Colorized for the photo

cremation ash jewellery part 1 here and part 2 here

how to make breastmilk jewellery part 1 is here, part 2 is here and part 3 is here

I have more tutorials and blogs planned for the future including umbilical cord and placenta jewellery, how to make *trigger* baby loss keepsakes, metal clay jewellery and silversmithing.  Also some blogs on being clean, parenthood, veganism, charity work, travelling and various other interests.  Most of my blogs are written in notes on my phone when I don’t have internet access (the school gates, the car) or when I’m nursing our son Bastian and I love the chance to share my creativity even more.



For classes on resin you may be able to find something local but I learnt all resin and most silversmithing from YouTube tutorials. We’re planning videos showing you how to make and use silicone moulds, open bezels and pour-in bezels as well as some studio safety. You can read about Fairtrade Gemstone Ethics here; if you’re adding precious stones to your work and Nikki is soon to be visiting a friend’s gemstone mine in Tanzania at the same time as delivering menstrual pads with their charity Project Kidogo.

Spellings – this blog is written in the United Kingdom so my spelling is in English. I’ll try to add alternatives after but our spelling of jewellery is correct here.  Mould (UK) mold (US).  

This post contains affiliate links that should work in the USA, Canada and the UK, meaning when if you buy one of our recommended products I receive a small amount of earnings which comes in handy on Amazon for our two children’s books. Aqui hablamos español, on parle français, hier spreken we nederlands, tunasema Kiswahili hapa, and føroyskt, but they love to see all languages.



how to make lock of hair jewellery blog by Nikki Kamminga of Tree of Opals







Posted on Leave a comment

Freelance Advice

Freelance advice from Keepsaker Supplies

This Freelance Advice blog was originally posted on our sister site Tree of Opals.

Recently I became friends with Tania through a natural parenting group.  I’d posted about how well things were going with our au pair from France; she had been babywearing and was enabling me to continue breastfeeding.  Tania got in touch asking for a bit more info about having one and we got chatting.  A while later she invited me to speak at a workshop for parents looking to get back into work and she sent me some questions she thought mums might ask of me.

We met up for a coffee in Bristol beforehand and went through the questionnaire.  My face burned with embarrassment as she told me how helpful the answers were and on the day of the workshop I spoke to a handful of new parents.  Here’s some of my advice:

Freelance Advice

What was the trigger for you deciding to become self employed?

I’d been self employed before but failed a few times.  I wanted to make a bit of extra money for the family with a profitable hobby but didn’t really intend on it becoming a big success.  At first I didn’t believe in myself but when I started to I decided to go all in and make my business work

When did you actually start making money?

Straight away in fact, word started to spread throughout my friend network and all of a sudden I was being asked for prices by friends of friends.  I have had to work really hard to catch up ever since and every penny has gone back into the business.  I haven’t borrowed a penny, it’s all come from sales.

How did you know your business idea would work?

I’ve seen a handful of other businesses doing breastmilk jewellery that are really successful.  There are hundreds of thousands of babies born every day and that’s a lot of new breastfeeding mums so my business will always be sustainable.  It was something I wanted for myself but I wasn’t keen on what was being offered already and I prefer to do things myself and I’m creative.

How do you manage childcare when working?

At the start I worked when I could get five minutes which isn’t easy with two under threes!  My mum helped a lot and still does, and my husband got used to looking after our baby when our toddler was in bed.  I was exclusively breastfeeding at that point but as soon as Tiny Boy went onto solids and dropped his daytime feeds down a bit I started thinking of childcare.  My mum lives 90 minutes away so she can’t pop round on a daily basis so we chose to get an au pair. Sleeping arrangements mean we are a bit cramped but it’s temporary until I can sustain full-time childcare.

How much money did you need to set up your business?

A little over £300 from a child tax credit payment (sadly they stopped when I registered as self-employed but we are better off all in all).  I used it to buy the basic equipment and my website domain which was enough to make some example pieces and establish a shop.  Luckily my husband is a web developer who taught me the basics and the rest is self-taught.  We also help other small businesses with websites but for now I’m focussing on jewellery so we only do word of mouth referrals

What are the three things you would say you need to do when starting a business?

  • Trust the power of social media like Facebook and Instagram, you might need and learn to use them properly as a business but there are plenty of blogs about that (I made a Pinterest board with my favourites).  You don’t have to pay but if you do, they make the best advertising platforms (Instagram ads was debuted in November 2015, I’ll let you know how it goes)
  • Register with the HMRC… I’m frightened of that sort of thing so I hired an accountant straight away on a friend’s recommendation; Natasha who owns Busy Books is another local working mum who really understood my needs and has saved me money already
  • Ask friends, family and relatives for their support, ask them to buy from you or recommend clients or engage in your social media posts.  Word of mouth will always be a great tool which is why you should treat every customer and potential customer like a VIP, even the ones who frustrate you… especially the ones who frustrate you!

How do you know how much to pay yourself?

So far, I haven’t taken anything out of the business because all the things I’ve bought have been to support it.  While it means I’m sort of working for free, I know that I’ll be making a real profit next year with a really great workshop and brand.  I love doing what I’m doing and I feel more fulfilled than I did looking after the little ones every day

How do you say no to business

Last week I had an email asking for a piece that I no longer offer since I stopped doing silver plated.  I’ve refused (politely) and recommended they find something else.  I suppose I could have offered them a custom slot, which I charge for to dissuade time-wasters (a genuine client is happy to pay and will respect you more for your time) but the email caught me off guard.  That was on Monday morning and they placed an order for another piece on the Wednesday evening*.  They will be getting a product that I’m happier to make because it’s a good quality setting and although my profit margin is lower on it, it’s something I’d rather be known for.  Stand your ground

How to use your time effectively

  • I keep my studio neater than I ever thought possible; if I don’t have to hunt for something then it’s much easier.  It seems to double every month, growing from a corner of the dining table to taking up half of the loft room and everything’s labeled or I wouldn’t have a clue!
  • I charge a small amount for custom order enquiries as I found it makes the pieces more desirable and gives people a level of respect for my time and the process involved
  • I’m very strict with clients, insisting they send their orders in labeled with their order number so I can tell at a glance what I need to start next.  I have 18 plastic lidded tubs that are labeled for each client and I only work on one or two at a time.  I’ll choose a couple of pieces to work on that need the same type of resin, mix it up, degas it and add any colours then work on each client’s piece.  I always have a few moulds ready to use up any leftover resin to reduce wastage, save time and invest in the craft fairs I’ll be doing soon
  • I don’t have any time constraints but I find if I’m getting too tired and work slows down, I nap.  If I’m bored I switch to something else.  I have a few different projects going on that I can switch between.  To manage my supplies, I will try to work on a few pieces at once with one lot of resin (which takes up to quarter of an hour to prepare).  Sometimes I’ll go out to a coffee shop to work on my laptop for a change of scenery

Where do you get your inspiration from?

  • I’m lucky to be part of an exclusive group with the top keepsake artists in the world and we support one-another to keep learning and coming up with new ideas
  • Etsy – I look at what other jewellers and artists are doing, but not to copy, only to be inspired.  I’ve just started reading Steal Like An Artist which was recommended by one of my keepsake colleagues and it explains how to do it
  • My clients are always challenging me to make something different, and I encourage that.  This week I’ve done a totally custom design for one of the mums who donated breastmilk to Small Girl two years ago.  It’s involving a lot of work but I taught myself to make blanks for mouldmaking out of modelling clay and I’ve already had an order request for another custom mould
  • I’ve got a list on my phone of ideas that I want to put into plan.  I rarely look back at it because I find they just start happening.  Sometimes I have to tell myself to wait and focus on what needs to be done now.

What keeps you motivated

  • I might prepare the next customer’s box or look at how many orders I’ve taken, or read my reviews
  • If I have no motivation I don’t take it to heart, I think perhaps I’m not meant to be doing that there and then and I do something else.  It might be switching to a different piece, technique, making something for a craft fayre, using a different media or going to the supermarket

How you juggle a house, kids and business as well as maintaining a social life

We all chip in with the housework because my husband has seen that I’m doing well and working full time.  We have just started doing the KonMari method and I’ve given away nine black sacks full of clothes and toys so far; once the house is a bit less cluttered we will be finding someone to help with the cleaning.  I see a bit less of my friends in person except for breastfeeding group and sling library but I’m always online to chat to people.  We’re going on holiday over Christmas and new year so I can regroup.

How to use your time effectively, picking the right work and learning to say no to clients

  • Orders come in automatically so I only put the products I want to make in my shop.  If a client wants a custom order they pay for a slot to discuss it.  If it’s something I can’t do, I refund them out of courtesy.  I put my prices up recently when I realised how valuable my time was and I have had more orders than ever since. I still do some affordable pieces and I love to trade gifts, and I don’t charge mums who have lost a baby, because I want my jewellery to be attainable but luxurious too.
  • Early on I thought discounts would get me more work so I could improve my portfolio but I was wrong.  Now I won’t go over a certain level, and I don’t offer them any more unless I want to make a sale there and then so I might offer some money off as an incentive to buy now.  I find that clients who pay less expect a lower quality product and it devalues you.  That being said, if someone asks for money off, I love a good barter!

How do you retain clients? What techniques do you use?

It’s a bit early for me to have much repeat business yet but I’ve had two clients who have re ordered in the past month. Breastmilk jewellery tends to be quite personal so I don’t expect repeats there unless the client has another baby.

How referrals have worked for you

With cremation ash pieces I’m starting to build a name for myself as someone who is respectful and I have no doubt I will have family members of existing clients contact me when they see the pieces in person. I’m always that confident though, or tell myself to be!  I can’t tell you how important it is to treat every customer well, no matter how much money they spend.  It’s always a personal service

If you’d like to know more please leave me a comment below or email info@treeofopals.com

Nikki x

*Since I published this article, the lady in question read it and recognised herself… Needless to say I was embarassed but she was much happier with the new jewellery than she would’ve been as she hadn’t realised the old one was silver plated.  I still think the saying is true: “the customer is always right”, but it’s your job to make sure they’ve got the right info!

Freelance-Advice-Pinterest

Posted on 1 Comment

Making Moulds: Charm Beads

making moulds charm beads for European bracelets like Pandora, charms to be made with resin

Making Moulds: Charm Beads for European Bracelets

Charm Bead Mould Making Tools

Making charm bead moulds is very similar to making spheres (you can read about those here) but a little more complicated. It’s really important to get the right size and shape for the plasticine dots to avoid the pouring spout being too big, too small or too fragile.

Below is a chart of silicone types and you can see we recommend water-clear silicone for charm bead moulds:

silicone mould making chart free from Nikki Kamminga at Tree of Opals
silicone mould making chart free from Nikki Kamminga at Tree of Opals. Click to open then Pin or right click (Windows)/Ctrl+click (Mac) to save.

To prepare your mould masters (the bit you pour the silicone into) you need a few supplies. I use a specific size for our Tree of Opals Charm Beads that fit our solid brandstamped cores, but you can use any size you like. I recommend you buy at least 30 mould masters; glass charm beads, you can use whichever shape you like but try to stick to it for customer continuity.

I recommend getting a digital calliper for high end jewellery for mould making so you can tell clients the exact dimensions of the charm beads.

You can skip a lot of the work here by cutting out little circles of double sided tape and popping the sphere directly on top but the trouble is they tend to move around, and because the silicone around the hole is very thin it can tear easily, no matter how tear resistant your silicone. I like to secure the masters on a little platform that’s the right width and height. It’s a bit fiddly but worth the effort for a decent mould for high quality jewellery.

Silicone mould with too-thin pouring spout
Silicone mould with too-thin pouring spout
placenta umbilical cord charm bead with crystal clear resin and Tree of Opals signature charm core
placenta umbilical cord charm bead with crystal clear resin and Tree of Opals signature charm core

I find any bubbles in my resin come up into the pouring spout with a little persuasion (more on resin another day). For this you’ll need plasticine! Raid your kids’ craft stash or buy some but trust me, Playdoh won’t work. It dries out and the same goes for other mould making clay. Blu Tack is too hard to work. You could try an oven bake polymer clay like Sculpey if you have it, because it won’t dry out, but I think plasticine is a little less expensive.


Using Plasticine in Making Moulds

I take a piece of label backing, because we get through tons of it with our shipping labels and order notes. It’s totally non-stick which helps when transferring the little “dots”. Roll a piece of plasticine out about as thick as 6 playing cards. Precious metal clay artists probably have those already taped up, everyone else don’t worry about buying cards, you’ll find the perfect thickness as you go or you can just get a cheap adjustable rolling pin.

For charm beads you need the dot to be ever so slightly bigger than the opening of the charm. The openings are normally 5mm so I use a 6mm stainless steel hole punch to cut out the dots and put them aside. Cut out as many as you need then prepare your 20ml plastic shot glasses (it’s really important to get the 2cl or 20ml plastic ones, especially if you’re using the expensive water clear silicone, because a 30ml container will need 10ml more resin. If you’re making 20 moulds, that would be an extra 200ml or 7oz or silicone. I prefer not to have too much silicone in my moulds because it gives me a clearer view of my silicone cast and the finished piece is easier to remove.

I used to use an additional single dot on the inside of my own donut shaped charm moulds and letters for other shapes (SL, S, M, L). Now I don’t worry because they’re the only kind I make, but we’ve just started using 11mm spheres as standard instead of 9mm and my new 11mm ones I’ve made for the Mould Making Spheres blog I used a pair of pinking shears to cut the bottom so they look different to my 9mm moulds. Pinking shears are great for making cloth baby wipes and family cloth from rags and have saved me a fortune over the years…

Transferring Charm Bead Masters

Give your charm bead master a good polish with a lint-free polishing cloth like these then use a cheap paint brush to fit inside the master’s core and push it up.  Put the round end of the paint brush into the dot enough to pick it up and transfer it to the shot glass.  Press the dot right down onto the base of the glass and then gently push the master on top of it, without squashing it down too hard.


Please see our blog about silicone to learn how to calculate the silicone volume, weigh, mix, de-gas and pour, and how to finish the moulds off.

Using Moulds To Make Charm Beads

You can see my own charm bead designs here and I spend a lot of money on my brandstamped cores. I’m planning a blog about finishing and setting resin jewellery soon but I just quickly want to say that even if a charm insert/grommet is 925 stamped that doesn’t guarantee it’s solid sterling silver! If you’re getting 50 inserts for $5 they just aren’t, sorry. The charm bead cores you need are 5mm hole ones, which have a lip that’s 1.2mm. Sadly that’s not very thick so you need to be careful. I used to sell inserts with a 3mm lip with a heart on but had to stop due to my chronic fatigue. If you want lots of practice, instead of buying silver plated (it peels off and clients rarely buy it on purpose) you could try brass inserts.

I’m currently writing a series on making keepsake jewellery:
How to Make Breastmilk Jewellery
How to Make Cremation Ash Jewellery
How to Make Lock of Hair Jewellery

Please use the blog signup link below to get an email notification when we post new blogs, and please comment if you have any questions or feedback. Feel free to share this blog far and wide including resin and jewellery making groups (with admin permission of course).

mould (UK) = mold (US) thanks for the heads up Robin! Mwahhh x
calliper (UK) = caliper (US)
jewellery (UK) = jewelry (US)

This blog contains affiliate links which means that we may earn a small commission if you buy one of our recommended products and services, at no extra cost to you. I use these to buy extra books for Ayla and Bastian.

Our links should work for the following countries to find a suitable product. United Kingdom, Canada, Deutschland, France, España, Italia, Japan. If the link does not work please contact me so we can help you find what you’re looking for.





Posted on Leave a comment

Making Keepsake Jewellery: Findings and Finishing

When you’re making keepsake jewellery findings and finishings are the final touch. From pouring resin into base metal, like brass, to setting cabochons in 14ct gold bezel cups, we want to help you set your beautiful jewellery.

Finishing

When you pour resin into a sphere or charm mould you will usually have a “pouring spout” when you remove it

charms in a mould with a pouring spout
charms in a mould with a pouring spout

Pearls

. You can drill pearls with this machine

Our best selling items are our charm beads. They take a bit of practice and a special mould and knowledge of filing, doming and attaching hardware called inserts, also known as grommets and washers. Pearls are popular, they are spheres made with 10mm moulds but can be bigger or smaller, and need to be drilled and attached to pearl cups. Rings are a little less complicated because you can pour the resin into a ring cup, or make a cabochon (a “stone” with clients’ elements) and fit it into a ring with crown settings. I’ll write more blogs soon on settings and explain the differences between the three main style of setting resin rings, how to drill charm beads and pearls.

When you take the piece out of the mould make sure it’s well-cured (five minutes for gel, a few days for epoxy). Then if you have any rough edges you’ll need to sand them down and dome the piece. I love this video by <a href=”https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCR4CoSLbub0dk72UEMU5MYg” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener”>Little Surprises</a>; Ayla and I love to watch her videos together 🙂
<iframe src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/bLafxz0nlL8?start=79″ width=”560″ height=”315″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=”allowfullscreen”></iframe>