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Keepsake Jewelry Supplies: Canada

Keepsake Jewelry Supplies: Canada

This list is ideal for anyone in Canada looking to purchase keepsake jewelry supplies to make breastmilk and memorial jewelry. Ordered by category it’s almost a one-stop-shop of the things you’ll need to succeed making keepsakes for your growing clientele. Prices are correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change. Version française à venir!

The UK version of this list is here, the USA version is here and the Australia version is here.

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment

Probably the most important on the list because most of us are making keepsake jewelry to support our families. A little bit of resin dust now and again might not seem like that much of a bad thing but you have to look towards the future. If you put in place a good code of conduct now and insist on safety, you’ll be thankful later. Coming soon: a blog on keeping yourself and your family safe as you work with multimedia! So here are a few of my favourite safety items and where to find them.

Gloves
Nitrile disposable non-powdered gloves are essentials! You’ll need to change your gloves often due to the hazardous and super sticky nature of resin. As into reusability and eco friendliness, it’s almost impossible to keep gloves for more than one session. They gunk up, split and the stickiness can ruin a perfectly de-moulded piece so change them often and neutralise it in other ways of recycling and reducing plastic. Flea markets might be possible for a supply of gloves but personally, if I’ve run out I buy .
Gloves In A Bottle
Gloves In A Bottle are great for adding extra protection to your hands under your gloves and up your arms, especially if you’re using epoxy resin. If you rest your forearms on the work surface and it has some resin on it, make sure you use Gloves In A Bottle on your arms to protect them
Zinc barrier cream can protect your arms and hands in the same way, in case the gloves slip or get a hole in them

Respirator and Glasses
Respirator and glasses set I highly recommend you protect your eyes and lungs with a but I don’t always wear mine
Disposable dust masks should, at the very least, be worn while drilling and filling resin and you should never do this around children and pets
Clothes
Hair elastics in abundance if you have long hair. It’s good to keep it back and not be worrying about finding a band. I keep a dozen in my studio on a hook next to my face mask
I try to wear denim jeans to protect my legs from any spills and sharps dropping down
A heavy duty canvas apron is perfect. Joanna at Isabel Necessary put my logo on some aprons which feels really professional and sets a good image.

Sending Kits

Small shipping boxes are brilliant for posting out your sending kits and we recycle these when they’re not ripped
Some labeled 3ml pots to your clients for hair, ash and cord. You’ll send them back to your clients along with their order and they will be kept for a lifetime, a century or longer. The contents of these pots will be precious so don’t worry about the environmental issues of disposable plastic. I’ve found these aluminium 5ml pots that would look fantastic if you’re creating a luxury ethical eco-friendly brand
Heat and freezer-proof plastic tubes for breastmilk, 10ml is great. I would mark a line at 5ml and one at 7ml with a Sharpie and ask the client to fill between the lines. A storage rack is great for keeping your tubes neat in the studio

This size clear Ziplock bags are essential for the breastmilk tubes which sometimes leak, and we found we must tell clients to keep the two milk tubes in one bag and the hair pot in another because we’ve had back hair soaked in milk before!
Sealable cellophane bags for other elements, even ashes sometimes leak so they need hygiene bags too to make sure nothing can escape and fall out of the box
A ton of fine tip Sharpies… I can’t keep enough of these around and they’re essential for marking the breastmilk tubes, ash pots, bags, labels and metalworking. The supermarket CD pens wash off in the pressure cooker.
Cheap ring sizers are perfect if you’re selling rings and clients just send them back with their kits. Every six months or so we invest in a new batch to cover the ones that weren’t returned but in general clients are great. We send instructions with the kits which the clients return as well.

Organisation

plastic takeout tubs which perfectly. You can store them on a shelf, a shoe rack (Home Bargains and IKEA are great here)
10 drawer organizer cart like this are perfect for storing orders or tools!


I literally found mine outside someone’s house, knocked on their door and asked if it was ok to take it. You don’t need to spend money on everything; try to make do and mend. My containers and drawers are all labeled with Brother labels, I got it on eBay second hand and it saves us time, but you can write them out by hand. The Works sells rolls of labels and don’t forget to keep all your label backs, they’re perfect for working hair on!

When a new order arrives in the post I write out a label and print it twice. One for the container and one for the shipping box
I use highlighters to colour code my orders, then use the same colours to mark them on spreadsheets.
I keep a tablet in front of me and we all use Google Drive which is free and super eco friendly. The tablet was a big investment but I think I’ll save much more in the long run in time and effort, it’s great for sending proof photos and checking orders on websites, Etsy, Facebook messages…

Breastmilk Preservation

Breastmilk tubes – we send each client two tubes for their milk marked at 5ml and 7ml for the client to add milk between the lines, with their name and order number written on the sides and lid. When they arrive we pop them in the freezer and every few weeks we take one tube for each client to preserve.
Milky Mama Magic Magic Dust™ is great for preserving breastmilk if you don’t have your own preservation method
Plastic pipettes to add preservative
Optiphen plus is our favourite, which we used to buy in bulk from the USA (there are many different chemicals that artists use, please see the blogs)
An electric pressure cooker is perfect for heat treating the milk and it’s ideal if you buy one with a steaming rack, which keeps the tubes propped up. Once each tube is completely cooled we sort the tubes into their order containers and what’s left is kept in a cupboard

Moulds

Of course we think our moulds are the best but you can pick up cheapies on Amazon to practice resin work. When you’re selling high quality keepsakes you have to make sure your moulds are replaced as soon as they begin to cloud so you don’t lose shine
Cheap pendant moulds that don’t need drilling are fun and a great way to show locks of hair and flowers
Little gemstone moulds are great for casting ash and umbilical cord, which can have silver bails attached or be cast in a larger setting of clear resin
The rose moulds are super cute and are perfect if you want to glue on some little silver necklace findings (nobody wants silver plated – see Findings below!)

UV Resin

Our UV Resin is the best I’ve found. Other UV resins smell awful in comparison. I now think UV resin is vital for keepsake jewelry because it’s fast, meaning you can concentrate on one client’s order at once, not pour a dozen and wait days for it to cure. It works at low temperatures (I remember winters waiting forever for epoxy resin to cure, now I can finish an order in one sitting)



48w Low Heat LED UV Lamp is perfect for keeping pieces from overheating and uses less energy than a standard bulb lamp

cocktail sticks are perfect for removing bubbles. I know some people use a lighter to get them out but that only works on open-back moulds, such as cabochons. The ideal way to remove bubbles is to work at night with artificial light and let a piece sit for a few minutes to allow them to rise, before adding powders and other elements. The pieces won’t begin to cure until the UV light’s on. If you want to keep a piece liquid while you cure something else, face the UV lamp away from you or even put a cardboard box over it (don’t forget it!)
Resin sparkle mixes and other colours. Mica has been shown to often be child-mined, so to stay safe go for plant based and synthetics or mica that’s guaranteed to be child mining-free (like ours). Craft shops sell edible shimmers that are perfect with resin
Titanium dioxide is a white UV stabiliser which helps with breastmilk preservation but be careful: a tiny little bit goes an awfully long way

Epoxy Resin

Little Windows® Brilliant Resin for Jewelry is the best rated epoxy on the market and comes with the best reviews in the resin jewellery groups. It’s the resin recommended on Amy’s Breastmilk Jewelry E-Course (click here) and used by breastmilk and memorial jewelers all around the world. It’s a great option if you want things to cure slowly and it’s more cost effective. I know a lot of artists who swear by it but you would also need lollipop sticks, mixing cup and scales

Visit the Little Windows® website here (they’re based in the USA) and the fantastic Fran has given me a 15% off code for you all KEEPSAKERSAVE15 so pop that on at the checkout. Fran ships by USPS and I think her tutorials and blogs are really inspiring. Keep an eye out for my own epoxy resin blogs coming soon! Nikki

Finishing

Needle files will remove a bit of resin at a time
A Dremel-style rotary tool is perfect for filing off bits of resin, metalworking, polishing etc
Pearl drill for spheres – we ruined so many stunning items by drilling them off-centre with a rotary tool and you can learn from our experience. If you want to fully drill a sphere you’ll need one of these!
1mm Micro Drill Bits can be used for half drilled pearls where you glue in findings
Cotton buffing wheels are nice and gentle on plastic and metal, but you should try to make sure your resin pieces don’t need polishing. The best finish comes from a nice shiny mould. You can use your UV resin to apply another coat to any piece or just dome where you’ve drilled

Findings

Bead Inserts from us. You have to be careful because lots of inserts online say they’re solid sterling silver and are 925 stamped, but are just silver plated base metal. The price should give you an indication. If in doubt and you can afford to lose one, scratch it and put it in water for a few days. If it’s base metal it’ll rust.
Domed Head Pins are for fully drilled spheres and covering the pouring spout. Use our cost calculator to work out what to charge and try to offer your clients the choice of two, but no more than that or they might become overwhelmed
Ring settings like this one sell very well, and rings are the second most sought-after setting at Tree of Opals after our charm beads. This solid sterling silver setting is pretty and gives you an idea of what can be done. We usually make at least two resin cabochons and choose the best for the piece

Please let me know if you notice any of these links don’t work or need adjusting, or if you’ve got any suggestions. You can comment below or email us on info@keepsakersupplies.com
Nikki x

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AliExpress Buying Guide

AliExpress buying guide for memorial jewellers

This AliExpress buying guide is ideal for anyone in anyone in the world to purchase keepsake jewellery supplies. Ideal to make breastmilk and memorial jewellery using UV or epoxy resin. Ordered by category it’s a great way for new starters to get the supplies they need at the lowest prices, so long as you’re happy to wait.

The UK buying guide is here, the USA buying guide is here, the Australia buying guide is here and the Canada version is coming soon. Hopefully I’ll add versions for the rest of Europe when possible.

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment

Probably the most important on the list because most of us are making keepsake jewellery to support our families. A little bit of resin dust now and again might not seem like that much of a bad thing but you have to look towards the future. If you put in place a good code of conduct now and insist on safety, you’ll be thankful later. Coming soon: a blog on keeping yourself and your family safe as you work with multimedia! So here are a few of my favourite safety items and where to find them.

Gloves
Box of 1000 gloves You’ll need to change your gloves often due to the hazardous and super sticky nature of resin. Unfortunately, for reusability and eco friendliness, it’s difficult to keep gloves for more than one session. They gunk up, split and the stickiness can ruin a perfectly de-moulded piece so change them often. There are plenty of other ways of reducing, reusing and recycling plastic. I usually buy my gloves from market stalls and car boot sales, usually around £2 or you can offer a fiver for three boxes which often works. If I’ve run out I find poundshops often have cheap thin gloves but they’re not as good.
Barrier cream
Barrier Cream can help protect your hands and arms so even if your gloves fail, there’s a little protection there from the resin
Zinc oxide cream can also work, or the powder can be mixed with some water but I’ve never tried it. You probably won’t need a barrier cream if you’re working with UV resin but I find epoxy gets everywhere
Respirator and Glasses
Respirator I highly recommend you protect your lungs working with resin dust but I don’t always wear mine
Disposable dust masks should, at the very least, be worn while drilling and filling resin and you should never do this around children and pets – at the time of writing, face masks aren’t available due to the coronavirus pandemic, so I’d highly recommend making your own…
(Use this pattern on Etsy if you want to DIY. Of course I’m unable to take any responsibility as to their effectiveness, but they are better than nothing. I’ve even personally handwashed disposable masks.)
Safety goggles are great too to protect your eyes from dust, especially when milling resin from charms and pearls (they can be fast and lodge in your eyeballs!)
Clothes
A thick waterproof canvas apron and I try to wear denim jeans to protect my legs from any spills and sharps dropping down. Joanna at Isabel Necessary put my logo on some aprons which feels really professional and sets a good image.
Hair
Hair elastics to tie back your hair. Mine disappear so I buy a hundred at a time, half for me and half for the kids. Mine live on the peg board and I grab one before any resin or metalwork
Hair bands to stop the strays falling down

Studio Organisation

Peg boards are great for holding orders that are in cellophane bags, for hanging supplies and keeping your workspace clutter-free. 

peg board organisation using old mobile phone boxes
peg board organisation using old mobile phone boxes

Plastic takeaway tubs are great for organising orders on shelves. There’s no right or wrong way to organise them but these work perfectly for breastmilk drying. You can store them on a shelf, a shoe rack. Great for storing epoxy resin pieces whilst they cure
Shelving units that are open are best for drying, and make sure you use a spirit level to get it all even if you’re curing epoxy. You can keep supplies in nice containers on the shelves too
Rolling caddies are great for storing a small amount of supplies in small spaces
Storage units like this are perfect for keeping the takeaway tubs. I literally found mine outside someone’s house, knocked on their door and asked if it was ok to take it. You don’t need to spend money on everything; try to make do and mend.
Tool storage stand like this for keeping pliers, ring sizers etc
Desk organiser for equipment

Label printer are great for keeping things neat
Regular labels work too if you want to hand write them, and don’t forget to keep all your label backs, the shiny side is perfect for working hair on! 
Highlighters for colour coding labels for the kits you’re sending out or when an order arrives – I’ve always done blue=breastmilk green=ashes orange=hair pink=cord/placenta.  I use the same colours to mark them on spreadsheets on Google Drive which link to the orders on our website, but you could link to the conversation on Facebook with the client, or the Etsy purchase etcSending Kits for Breastmilk/Ashes etc



Small postage boxes are brilliant for posting out your sending kits and we recycle these when they’re not ripped
Some labeled 3ml pots for your clients’ hair, ashes and cord or for a higher-end look that’s plastic-free you can use small aluminium lip balm tins
Heat and freezer-proof plastic tubes for breastmilk, 10ml
Clear sealable bags in 10x15cm are essential for the breastmilk tubes which sometimes leak, and we found we must tell clients to keep the two milk tubes in one bag and the hair pot in another because we’ve received hair soaked in milk before!
Plastic-free cellulose bags are great too if you’re trying to minimise plastic. They don’t work for breastmilk, but are great for the little pots for ashes/hair/cord. We’ll be adding a blog soon on minimising single-use plastic in keepsake jewellery if you’re worried about that. Even ashes and placenta powders sometimes leak so they need bags too to make sure nothing can escape and fall out of the pot into the box
Ultra fine CD pens… I can’t keep enough of these around and they’re essential for marking the breastmilk tubes, ash pots, bags, labels and metalworking.
Cheap ring sizers are perfect if you’re selling rings and clients just send them back with their kits. Every six months or so we invest in a new batch to cover the ones that weren’t returned but in general clients are great (ask them to return it in the instructions). Please note, these are in US sizes but you will find that some of your ring blank suppliers sell in US sizes anyway (such as ZDP on Etsy)
Printer paper for the sending instructions with the kits which the clients return as well (you can reuse them). Sample instructions coming soon!
Printable labels in A4 are great for shipping labels too

Breastmilk Preservation

Heat and freezer-proof plastic tubes for breastmilk, 10ml like this, we would send each client two tubes for their milk marked at 5ml and 7ml for the client to add milk between the lines, with their name and order number written on the sides and lid in waterproof pen. When they arrive we pop them in the freezer and every few weeks we take one tube for each client and preserve a batch.
Storage for the test tubes like this rack
Plastic pipettes to add preservative (you are responsible for testing and purchasing the preservative at your own risk, please use care)
An electric pressure cooker is perfect for heat treating the milk and it’s ideal if you buy one with a steaming rack, which keeps the tubes propped up,
This silicone rack might fit and would help the tubes stay upright. Once each tube is completely cooled we sort the tubes into their order containers and what’s left is kept in a cupboard

Preparation of Elements

Pestle and mortar is perfect for ashes, umbilical cord and breastmilk and you don’t need an expensive brand, just a white one. I sterilise it in between use with a plastic-free antibacterial wipe and recommend buying a different pestle and mortar for each element (you could paint the outside with nail polish such as blue for breastmilk, green for cremation ashes and pink for umbilical cords)

Pestle and mortar (click here)

Moulds

Our moulds are the best (but I’m biased, of course) and when you’re charging clients money to preserve something special, it’s worth investing in some good moulds. Water clear moulds mean you can see exactly where you’re placing elements, and check for air bubbles. When you’re selling high quality keepsakes you have to make sure your moulds are replaced as soon as they begin to cloud so you don’t lose shine
Pendant moulds that don’t need drilling are fun and a great way to show locks of hair and flowers
Little gemstone moulds are great for casting ash and umbilical cord, which can have silver bails attached or be cast in a larger setting of clear resin
Mould dets like this are really fun to try out too

Resin

UV resin by Qiao Qiao, this brand is the best I’ve found. Other UV resins smell awful in comparison (occasionally you can get a bad batch of this but I check them before sending). I now think UV resin is vital for keepsake jewellery because it’s fast, meaning you can concentrate on one client’s order at once, not pour a dozen and wait days for it to cure. It works at low temperatures, I remember winters waiting forever for epoxy resin to cure, now I can finish an order in one sitting even in the British winters



48W LED UV Lamp with a low heat setting like this one is perfect, uses less energy than a bulb lamp and looks nice in my studio
Epoxy resin has its pros and cons too and many artists prefer it. I used to use Axson D150 Rigid exclusively after heartbreak with other brands (EcoResin for one). Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, weighing is more accurate (sometimes quantities by weight are a little different to volume – ask the company for advice!)

Cocktail Sticks are perfect for removing bubbles. I know some people use a lighter to get them out but that only works on open-back moulds, such as cabochons. The ideal way to remove bubbles is to work in the dark and let a piece sit for a few minutes to allow them to rise, before adding powders and other elements
Mylar flakes (opalescent) we make are blends of ethical mica, plant based glitters and opalescent flakes, holographic and ghost pigments
Resin pigments and mica powders, craft shops like Hobbycraft sell edible shimmers that are perfect with resin. Please be careful because mica can come from dubious sources and there are many reports of young children being forced into labour in the mines in India
Titanium dioxide is a white UV stabiliser which helps with breastmilk preservation but be careful: a tiny little bit goes an awfully long way, and your resin won’t cure if you add too much, even epoxy resin. Because it’s classed as a white pigment, you really tell your clients that your jewellery contains this.
Bullseye spirit level makes sure the space where you’re drying is totally level

Finishing

Needle files will remove a bit of resin at a time and are a great budget option but need a little time to use
A Dremel-style rotary tool is perfect for filing off bits of resin, metalworking, polishing etc. Get one with a flexible driver and a stand so you don’t have to hold the whole machine during use
Carbide burr bits for removing extra resin
Cotton buffing wheels are nice and gentle on plastic and metal, but you should try to make sure your resin pieces don’t need polishing. The best finish comes from a nice shiny mould. You can use your UV resin to apply another coat to any piece or just dome where you’ve drilled
Drillbits for drilling pearls with a rotary tool
Pearl drill for drilling spheres/orbs

Measuring

Digital calipers for measuring everything from moulds to casts, findings and settings, and metalsmithing
Digital scales for weighing parcels and resin

Shipping

Small postage boxes are brilliant for posting out your sending kits and we recycle these when they’re not ripped, but for shipping orders I prefer to use a new box. Once you have established branding you might want to think abut getting some printed
Polishing cloths for your clients to polish silver settings. They offer good prices on AliExpress for branded polishing cloths and jewellery boxes

Thank you so much for reading and don’t forget, if you have any issues with any of the items you purchase from this list I’d love to know so that I can edit it. I can’t take any responsibility for third party retailers/sites such as Etsy, Amazon or AliExpress but at least I can modify the blog. Prices are correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change. Please let me know if you spot any broken links, or you’ve had an issue with any purchase.

Some people prefer not to order from China because of quality concerns, or time it takes to arrive, worries over workers’ conditions and pay, or consumers want to support their local communities. I totally understand this and applaud anyone who buys local. However, a lot of the products you find for sale in local market places and websites will have been imported. So you are paying a little more for speed. That’s totally up to you, this blog is aimed at people who don’t mind Chinese cheapies and don’t mind the wait!

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.

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Supplies List: Australia

This list is ideal for anyone in Australia looking to purchase keepsake jewellery supplies to make breastmilk and memorial jewellery. Continue reading Supplies List: Australia

Posted on 25 Comments

Supplies List: USA



This list is ideal for anyone in the USA looking to purchase keepsake jewelry supplies to make breastmilk and memorial jewelry. Ordered by category it’s almost a one-stop-shop of the things you’ll need to succeed making keepsakes for your growing clientele. Prices are correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

The UK version of this list is here, Australia, Canada, other EU countries (coming soon) and non-EU countries (coming soon).

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment

Probably the most important on the list because most of us are making keepsake jewelry to support our families. A little bit of resin dust now and again might not seem like that much of a bad thing but you have to look towards the future. If you put in place a good code of conduct now and insist on safety, you’ll be thankful later. Coming soon: a blog on keeping yourself and your family safe as you work with multimedia! So here are a few of my favourite safety items and where to find them.
Gloves
nitrile disposable non-powdered gloves You’ll need to change your gloves often due to the hazardous and super sticky nature of resin. As into reusability and eco friendliness, it’s almost impossible to keep gloves for more than one session. They gunk up, split and the stickiness can ruin a perfectly de-moulded piece so change them often and neutralise it in other ways of recycling and reducing plastic. Flea markets might be possible for a supply of gloves but personally, if I’ve run out I buy them from hairdressing supplies stores

Artguard Barrier Cream or Gloves In A Bottle are branded barrier creams that can help protect your hands in addition to gloves, or you can go for good old fashioned…
Calamine lotion is made of a zinc oxide solution that provides a barrier on your skin. I used to use it on my hands and lower arms in case they get dirty or I get resin on them, when I used epoxy resin, as I’m allergic to it and this helps. Now, I only work with UV resin. If you develop an allergy to epoxy resin, please stop using it at once and switch to UV resin


Respirator and Glasses
Respirator and glasses set I highly recommend you protect your eyes and lungs with a but I don’t always wear mine
Disposable dust masks should, at the very least, be worn while drilling and filling resin and you should never do this around children and pets. At the time of writing, face masks aren’t available due to the coronavirus pandemic, so I’d highly recommend making your own using this pattern on Etsy. Of course I’m unable to take any responsibility as to their effectiveness, but they are better than nothing. I’ve even personally handwashed disposable masks.
Clothes
I try to wear denim jeans to protect my legs from any spills and sharps dropping down
A thick cotton apron is perfect. Joanna at Isabel Necessary put my logo on some aprons which feels really professional and sets a good image.



Sending Kits

Bubble mailers are brilliant for posting out your sending kits and we recycle these when they’re not ripped
Some labeled 3ml pots to your clients for hair, ash and cord
Heat and freezer-proof plastic tubes for breastmilk, 10ml


This size clear hygiene bags are essential for the breastmilk tubes which sometimes leak, and we found we must tell clients to keep the two milk tubes in one bag and the hair pot in another because we’ve had back hair soaked in milk before!
Cellophane bags are a better option for hair and cremation ashes as they’re plastic-free and really inexpensive. You need around 4×4″ to 4×6″ to contain your clients’ pot with the ashes or hair etc. They aren’t suitable for breastmilk as they would leak, but we use them at Tree of Opals in our kits for everything else



A ton of fine tip Sharpies… I can’t keep enough of these around and they’re essential for marking the breastmilk tubes, ash pots, bags, labels and metalworking. The ASDA CD pens wash off in the pressure cooker.
Cheap ring sizers are perfect if you’re selling rings and clients just send them back with their kits. Every six months or so we invest in a new batch to cover the ones that weren’t returned but in general clients are great. We send instructions with the kits which the clients return as well.

Organisation

plastic takeout tubs which perfectly. You can store them on a shelf, a shoe rack (Home Bargains and IKEA are great here) or buy a 10 drawer organizer cart like this, which are perfect if you’re colour coding with highlighters.


I literally found mine outside someone’s house, knocked on their door and asked if it was ok to take it. You don’t need to spend money on everything; try to make do and mend. My containers and drawers are all labeled with Brother labels, I got it on eBay second hand and it saves us time, but you can write them out by hand. The Works sells rolls of labels and don’t forget to keep all your label backs, they’re perfect for working hair on!

When a new order arrives in the post I write out a label and print it twice. One for the container and one for the shipping box
I use highlighters to colour code my orders, then use the same colours to mark them on spreadsheets.
I keep a tablet in front of me and we all use Google Drive which is free and super eco friendly. The tablet was a big investment but I think I’ll save much more in the long run in time and effort plus (corny bit sorry) we owe it to the planet to

Breastmilk Preservation

We send each client two tubes for their milk marked at 5ml and 7ml for the client to add milk between the lines, with their name and order number written on the sides and lid. When they arrive we pop them in the freezer and every few weeks we take one tube for each client to preserve.
Plastic pipettes to add preservative
Optiphen plus is our favourite, which we buy in bulk
An electric pressure cooker is perfect for heat treating the milk and it’s ideal if you buy one with a steaming rack, which keeps the tubes propped up. Once each tube is completely cooled we sort the tubes into their order containers and what’s left is kept in a cupboard

Preparation of Elements

Pestle and mortar is perfect for ashes, umbilical cord and breastmilk and you don’t need an expensive brand, just a white one. I sterilise it in between use with a plastic-free antibacterial wipe and recommend buying a different pestle and mortar for each element (you could paint the outside with nail polish such as blue for breastmilk, green for cremation ashes and pink for umbilical cords)

Pestle and mortar (click here)

Moulds

Of course we think our moulds are the best but you can pick up cheapies on Amazon to practice resin work. When you’re selling high quality keepsakes you have to make sure your moulds are replaced as soon as they begin to cloud so you don’t lose shine
Cheap pendant moulds that don’t need drilling are fun and a great way to show locks of hair and flowers
Little gemstone moulds are great for casting ash and umbilical cord, which can have silver bails attached or be cast in a larger setting of clear resin
The rose moulds are super cute and are perfect if you want to glue on some little silver necklace findings (nobody wants silver plated – see Findings below!)

UV Resin

Our UV Resin is the best I’ve found. Other UV resins smell awful in comparison. I now think UV resin is vital for keepsake jewelry because it’s fast, meaning you can concentrate on one client’s order at once, not pour a dozen and wait days for it to cure. It works at low temperatures (I remember winters waiting forever for epoxy resin to cure, now I can finish an order in one sitting)

I bought one 60g bottle three years ago and just refill it from 200g bottles now. You’ll see in the videos the label has long since disappeared. I’m often asked if you should be concerned about yellowing and I have only ever had one bad batch of this resin, it smelt really strong and I think it was a fake. It shouldn’t smell at all, and don’t forget you mustn’t let it get too hot or cure it for too long. A maxumum of five minutes total on any visible layer, on a low heat UV setting. If it’s still sticky, it needs to be wiped over…


48W LED UV lamp is a perfect piece of equipment for working with UV resin. It’s cooler than regular UV bulbs but stronger so it cures better, cooler and faster. The LED lights save so much energy compared to bulbs for everyone who is energy conscious


Toothpicks are perfect for removing bubbles. I know some people use a lighter to get them out but that only works on open-back moulds, such as cabochons. The ideal way to remove bubbles is to work at night with artificial light and let a piece sit for a few minutes to allow them to rise, before adding powders and other elements. The pieces won’t begin to cure until the UV light’s on. If you want to keep a piece liquid while you cure something else, face the UV lamp away from you or even put a cardboard box over it (don’t forget it!)
Synthetic mica powders and other colours. Mica has been shown to often be child-mined, so to stay safe go for plant based and synthetics. Craft shops sell edible shimmers that are perfect with resin
Precious metal leaf looks lovely behind hair, mixed with ashes, cord or placenta, or subtly overlaid on breastmilk jewellery for boobie awards
Titanium dioxide is a white UV stabiliser which helps with breastmilk preservation but be careful: a tiny little bit goes an awfully long way

Epoxy Resin

Little Windows® Brilliant Resin for Jewelry is the best rated epoxy on the market and comes with the best reviews in the resin jewellery groups. It’s the resin recommended on Amy’s Breastmilk Jewelry E-Course (click here) and used by breastmilk and memorial jewelers all around the world. It’s a great option if you want things to cure slowly and it’s more cost effective. I know a lot of artists who swear by it but you would also need lollipop sticks, mixing cup and scales

Visit the Little Windows® website here (they’re based in the USA) and the fantastic Fran has given me a 15% off code for you all KEEPSAKERSAVE15 so pop that on at the checkout. Fran ships by USPS and I think her tutorials and blogs are really inspiring. Keep an eye out for my own epoxy resin blogs coming soon! Nikki

Finishing

Needle files will remove a bit of resin at a time
A Dremel-style rotary tool is perfect for filing off bits of resin, metalworking, polishing etc. They’re not too expensive, under $30 for one with the stand and flex shaft and a few bits, but they go very fast even on the lowest setting. A more professional option if you’re doing a lot of drilling would be 
A professional adjustable grinder which comes with a foot pedal. The one on this link is the least expensive and you’d still need a stand and all the attachments but you might already have them if you’re upgrading or you can buy them separately
Pearl drill and a power cord for it, for spheres – we ruined so many stunning items by drilling them off-centre with a rotary tool and you can learn from our experience. If you want to fully drill a sphere you’ll need one of these!
0.8mm drill bits can be used for half drilled pearls where you glue in findings
Cotton buffing wheels are nice and gentle on plastic and metal, but you should try to make sure your resin pieces don’t need polishing. The best finish comes from a nice shiny mould. You can use your UV resin to apply another coat to any piece or just dome where you’ve drilled


Findings

Charm inserts from Amazon, Rio Grande, Halstead Beads etc and we suggest the 5mm inserts. You have to be careful because lots of inserts online say they’re solid sterling silver and are 925 stamped, but are just silver plated base metal. The price should give you an indication. If in doubt and you can afford to lose one, scratch it and put it in water for a few days. If it’s base metal it’ll rust.
Head pins are for fully drilled pearls
Pearl caps mean you can finish a pearl by covering up the mould’s pouring spout (the bit you’ve cut and filed off while wearing a mask!) but also show your own style to clients. I loved this one and would definitely buy it as a customer but look around silver (and gold) suppliers as your confidence grows. Rio Grande do some amazing 14k gold settings that you can attach to your keepsake jewelry when your resin skills are perfected. Use our cost calculator to work out what to charge and try to offer your clients the choice of two, but no more than that or they might become overwhelmed
Rings like this one sell very well, and rings are the second most sought-after setting at Tree of Opals after our charm beads. This solid sterling silver setting is pretty and gives you an idea of what can be done. Just glue a 12mm cabochon made with a matching 12mm mold into it and tell your clients you can replace the resin if it’s damaged. We usually make at least two resin cabochons and choose the best for the piece

USA supplies list for keepsake jewelry making, breastmilk jewelry, cremation ashes jewelry and lock of hair jewelry
USA supplies list for keepsake jewelry making, breastmilk jewelry, cremation ashes jewelry and lock of hair jewelry

Please let me know if you notice any of these links don’t work or need adjusting, or if you’ve got any suggestions. You can comment below or email us on keepsakersupplies@gmail.com
Nikki x



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Supplies List: United Kingdom





This list is ideal for anyone in the UK and Europe looking to purchase keepsake jewellery supplies to make breastmilk and memorial jewellery. Ordered by category it’s almost a one-stop-shop of the things you’ll need to succeed making keepsakes for your growing clientele. Prices are correct at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.

The USA version of this list is here, Australia, Canada, other EU countries (coming soon) and non-EU countries (coming soon).

PPE – Personal Protective Equipment

Probably the most important on the list because most of us are making keepsake jewellery to support our families. A little bit of resin dust now and again might not seem like that much of a bad thing but you have to look towards the future. If you put in place a good code of conduct now and insist on safety, you’ll be thankful later. Coming soon: a blog on keeping yourself and your family safe as you work with multimedia! So here are a few of my favourite safety items and where to find them.



Gloves
Box of 1000 gloves You’ll need to change your gloves often due to the hazardous and super sticky nature of resin. Unfortunately, for reusability and eco friendliness, it’s difficult to keep gloves for more than one session. They gunk up, split and the stickiness can ruin a perfectly de-moulded piece so change them often. There are plenty of other ways of reducing, reusing and recycling plastic. I usually buy my gloves from market stalls and car boot sales, usually around £2 or you can offer a fiver for three boxes which often works. If I’ve run out I find poundshops often have cheap thin gloves but they’re not as good.
No More Gloves (barrier creams)
No More Gloves (£5/100ml) is the branded barrier liquid or you can go for good old fashioned…
Zinc oxide powder can be mixed with some water but I’ve never tried it. You probably won’t need a barrier cream if you’re working with UV resin but I find epoxy gets everywhere
Respirator and Glasses
Respirator and glasses set I highly recommend you protect your eyes and lungs with a but I don’t always wear mine
Disposable dust masks should, at the very least, be worn while drilling and filling resin and you should never do this around children and pets – at the time of writing, face masks aren’t available due to the coronavirus pandemic, so I’d highly recommend making your own…
Use this pattern on Etsy if you want to DIY. Of course I’m unable to take any responsibility as to their effectiveness, but they are better than nothing. I’ve even personally handwashed disposable masks.
Clothes
A thick waxed cotton apron and I try to wear denim jeans to protect my legs from any spills and sharps dropping down. Joanna at Isabel Necessary put my logo on some aprons which feels really professional and sets a good image.
Hair
Hair bobbles to tie back your hair. Mine disappear so I buy a hundred at a time, half for me and half for the kids. Mine live on the peg board and I grab one before any resin or metalwork
Hair bands to stop the strays falling down

Studio Organisation

Peg boards and hooks are great for holding orders that are in cellophane bags, for hanging supplies and keeping your workspace clutter-free. IKEA do wonderful peg boards. My tip is to keep several orders together, use an old mobile phone box

peg board organisation using old mobile phone boxes
peg board organisation using old mobile phone boxes

Plastic takeaway tubs are great for organising orders on shelves. There’s no right or wrong way to organise them but these work perfectly for breastmilk drying. You can store them on a shelf, a shoe rack (Home Bargains and IKEA are great here). Great for storing epoxy resin pieces whilst they cure
Shelving units that are open are best for drying, and make sure you use a spirit level to get it all even if you’re curing epoxy. You can keep supplies in nice containers on the shelves too
Storage units like this are perfect for keeping the takeaway tubs. I literally found mine outside someone’s house, knocked on their door and asked if it was ok to take it. You don’t need to spend money on everything; try to make do and mend.

plastic drawers for storage
Storage units like this are perfect for keeping supplies close to hand

Brother QL500 label makers are great for keeping things neat and , I got it on eBay second hand and it saves us time, but you can write them out by hand. The 29x90mm labels are great all-rounders. Regular labels work too if you want to hand write them, and don’t forget to keep all your label backs, the shiny side is perfect for working hair on! 
Highlighters for colour coding labels for the kits you’re sending out or when an order arrives – I’ve always done blue=breastmilk green=ashes orange=hair pink=cord/placenta.  I use the same colours to mark them on spreadsheets on Google Drive which link to the orders on our website, but you could link to the conversation on Facebook with the client, or the Etsy purchase etc
Tablet in front of me for looking at orders whilst making. I have a Google Drive app on my iPad so I can see the current order sheet, I can rearrange columns etc. Free download templates coming soon! Make sure you get a screen protector because you’ll probably get resin on it. Keep it away from children and pets, it can be your work tablet. I like to listen to audio books whilst working, and Amazon have given me a link for you all to get a free audio book here:



Sending Kits for Breastmilk/Ashes etc

Large letter postage boxes are brilliant for posting out your sending kits and we recycle these when they’re not ripped
Some labeled 3ml pots for your clients’ hair, ashes and cord or for a higher-end look that’s plastic-free you can use small aluminium lip balm tins
Heat and freezer-proof plastic tubes for breastmilk, 10ml
This size clear hygiene bags are essential for the breastmilk tubes which sometimes leak, and we found we must tell clients to keep the two milk tubes in one bag and the hair pot in another because we’ve received hair soaked in milk before!
Plastic-free cellulose bags are great too if you’re trying to minimise plastic. They don’t work for breastmilk, but are great for the little pots for ashes/hair/cord. We’ll be adding a blog soon on minimising single-use plastic in keepsake jewellery if you’re worried about that. Even ashes and placenta powders sometimes leak so they need bags too to make sure nothing can escape and fall out of the pot into the box
First class large letter stamps one for the outside and one for inside of the box
Ultra Fine Sharpies… I can’t keep enough of these around and they’re essential for marking the breastmilk tubes, ash pots, bags, labels and metalworking. The ASDA CD pens wash off in the pressure cooker!
Cheap ring sizers are perfect if you’re selling rings and clients just send them back with their kits. Every six months or so we invest in a new batch to cover the ones that weren’t returned but in general clients are great (ask them to return it in the instructions).
Laserjet printer and printer paper for the sending instructions with the kits which the clients return as well (you can reuse them). Sample instructions coming soon!

Breastmilk Preservation

Heat and freezer-proof plastic tubes like this, we send each client two tubes for their milk marked at 5ml and 7ml for the client to add milk between the lines, with their name and order number written on the sides and lid in Sharpie. When they arrive we pop them in the freezer and every few weeks we take one tube for each client and preserve a batch.
Storage for the test tubes like this rack
Plastic pipettes to add preservative (you are responsible for testing and purchasing the preservative at your own risk, please use care)
An electric pressure cooker is perfect for heat treating the milk and it’s ideal if you buy one with a steaming rack, which keeps the tubes propped up, but one like this cooling rack might fit. Once each tube is completely cooled we sort the tubes into their order containers and what’s left is kept in a cupboard

Preparation of Elements

Pestle and mortar is perfect for ashes, umbilical cord and breastmilk and you don’t need an expensive brand, just a white one. I sterilise it in between use with a plastic-free antibacterial wipe and recommend buying a different pestle and mortar for each element (you could paint the outside with nail polish such as blue for breastmilk, green for cremation ashes and pink for umbilical cords)

Pestle and mortar (click here)

Moulds

Our moulds are the best (but I’m biased, of course) and when you’re charging clients money to preserve something special, it’s worth investing in some good moulds. Water clear moulds mean you can see exactly where you’re placing elements, and check for air bubbles. When you’re selling high quality keepsakes you have to make sure your moulds are replaced as soon as they begin to cloud so you don’t lose shine
Cheap pendant moulds that don’t need drilling are fun and a great way to show locks of hair and flowers
Little gemstone moulds are great for casting ash and umbilical cord, which can have silver bails attached or be cast in a larger setting of clear resin
AliExpress moulds like this, you get £5 off when spend £45 with the code 10ANSFR 



Resin

UV resin by Qiao Qiao, this brand is the best I’ve found. Other UV resins smell awful in comparison (occasionally you can get a bad batch of this but I check them before sending). I now think UV resin is vital for keepsake jewellery because it’s fast, meaning you can concentrate on one client’s order at once, not pour a dozen and wait days for it to cure. It works at low temperatures, I remember winters waiting forever for epoxy resin to cure, now I can finish an order in one sitting even in the British winters



48W LED UV Lamp with a low heat setting like this one is perfect, uses less energy than a bulb lamp and looks nice in my studio

48W UV lamp for curing UV resin
48W LED UV Lamp for curing UV resin

Epoxy resin has its pros and cons too and many artists prefer it. I used to use Axson D150 Rigid exclusively after heartbreak with other brands (EcoResin for one). Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter, weighing is more accurate (sometimes quantities by weight are a little different to volume – ask the company for advice!)
Cocktail Sticks are perfect for removing bubbles. I know some people use a lighter to get them out but that only works on open-back moulds, such as cabochons. The ideal way to remove bubbles is to work in the dark and let a piece sit for a few minutes to allow them to rise, before adding powders and other elements
Resin Sparkle Mixes we make are blends of ethical mica, plant based glitters and opalescent flakes, holographic and ghost pigments
Resin pigments and mica powders, craft shops like Hobbycraft sell edible shimmers that are perfect with resin. Please be careful because mica can come from dubious sources and there are many reports of young children being forced into labour in the mines in India
Titanium dioxide is a white UV stabiliser which helps with breastmilk preservation but be careful: a tiny little bit goes an awfully long way, and your resin won’t cure if you add too much, even epoxy resin. Because it’s classed as a white pigment, you really tell your clients that your jewellery contains this.
Bullseye spirit level makes sure the space where you’re drying is totally level

Finishing

Needle files will remove a bit of resin at a time and are a great budget option but need a little time to use
A Dremel-style rotary tool is perfect for filing off bits of resin, metalworking, polishing etc. Get one with a flexible driver and a stand so you don’t have to hold the whole machine during use
Pearl drilling machine for making holes through the centre of spheres. This one comes with a transformer which can be expensive bought separately
Carbide burr bits for removing extra resin
Cotton buffing wheels are nice and gentle on plastic and metal, but you should try to make sure your resin pieces don’t need polishing. The best finish comes from a nice shiny mould. You can use your UV resin to apply another coat to any piece or just dome where you’ve drilled

Pearl drilling machine for making holes through the centre of spheres. This one comes with a transformer which can be expensive bought separately
Pearl drilling machine for making holes through the centre of sphere

Measuring

Calipers and feel guide for measuring everything from moulds to casts, findings and settings, and metalsmithing
Digital scales for weighing parcels and resin

Findings

Charm inserts from Ebay, Cookson Gold or Palmer Metals. You have to be careful because lots of inserts online say they’re solid sterling silver and are 925 stamped, but are just silver plated base metal. The price should give you an indication. If in doubt and you can afford to lose one, scratch it and put it in water for a few days. If it’s base metal it’ll rust.

Shipping

Large letter postage boxes are brilliant for posting out your finished orders
Polishing cloths for your clients to polish silver settings
Business cards
Parcel2Go have good prices to beat Royal Mail

You can use this Amazon search box to get prices for any other items you might need:


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