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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

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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.

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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

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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