Rub-On Design Wood Bangle: Beginner Level

This is a super easy project, but may be frustrating for those who like perfection.

There aren’t many steps, and they’re not very in depth so take your time and do your best!

What you’ll need:

  1. An unfinished wood bangle
  2. Some paint for a base color
  3. Rub-on design
  4. Art sealant

Step 1: Paint your bangle’s base color

If no one around you supplies unfinished wood bangles you can get them on Amazon, Etsy or any number of online retailers.

Ok, so paint your bangle! I chose white. You’ll notice I use white a lot as a base color because it’s always best to work from lightest to darkest with your colors. It’s also great for making colors and designs pop. For this base color I used FolkArt multi-surface satin acrylic paint in color 2894, Wicker White.

Step 2: Prepare your rub-on design

While your base coat of color is drying (make sure it’s fully dry), make sure you have your design ready. I chose flowers so I cut them apart so I could apply them individually in the design I want.

Step 3: Apply your design

Keep in mind that your bangle, if it’s like mine, is curved. This means your design may not go on perfectly (this is the part that will bother those who strive for perfection). If you can manage to make your design go on perfectly that’s fantastic and by all means, do your very best! I on the other hand love the imperfection in mine (which I’m going to show you as we go).

Apply your design according to the instructions, but typically you’ll use a popsicle stick to rub the design from the plastic onto the wood. The plastic is generally pretty rigid which is where the imperfection comes in. You’ll notice in the photos above and in the photo below that there are breaks and missing pieces from my design. I’m okay with this, and didn’t try to fix it.

Step 4: Seal your work

When you’re finished applying your design, make sure you seal your work with an art sealant. You can use a Krylon clear glaze spray paint, an Americana acrylic spray sealer or something similar. Whatever you can find locally, that is clear and can be used on paint is just fine.

Apply the spray coating in a thin layer, allow it to dry before flipping it over and doing the other side. You want it to dry completely before touching it or you’ll wind up with fingerprints in your finished product, and it may stick to whatever surface you have it resting on.

My bangle isn’t quite finished yet as my clear coat seems to be missing and I need more but I will share the finished product with you when I have it fully completed.

But there you have it! Fun, super easy and doesn’t take a lot of time! I hope you like it. Thanks so much for looking for inspiration!

Easy Coasters Using Resin: Beginner Level

“I craft, therefore, I hoard.”

That’s my motto. The full description of my art existence. You’ll see me say it often, I’m sure.

This is a beginner level project, but it does require patience and an understanding of measurements and ratios.

In this post I’m going to go over how to make some easy coasters using some resin, inexpensive wood pieces I found at Michael’s, and some metal scraps I’ve been holding onto. <– That’s where the hoarding comes in. I had no need for these bits and I’ve had them for years… This is why I keep random stuff. I used metal bits, you can use anything you’ve been holding onto and had no idea why you kept it. Ribbon, tissue paper, glitter, grass, small gift tags….. get fancy!

Step 1: Lay out your materials.

Make sure you have everything you need so you’re not scrambling to find it later. This step is hugely important to me because I always forget something. If you find you need something you didn’t know you needed, well that’s just how it rolls and you should go with it. Try not to get frustrated and just grab said item and continue on.

Resin is not cheap. A good resin is going to hurt your pocket a little bit, but it can be useful and last for a good while if taken care of properly. I’m not a resin expert, so I take the easy road and use art resins… This resin I got at Michael’s and it ran me about $35 and some change.

Step 2: Adhere your design pieces to your blank.

Depending on the blanks you bought you may want to sand them first but this step may not be necessary. If it’s rough enough that your decorations won’t adhere smoothly or easily then sanding should be done first.

I like to use Mod Podge for this. it’s not super expensive, but it dries quickly. If you’re using what you have around the house, Elmer’s will work just fine. I’d avoid using any glue that has a 24+ hour drying time like Gorilla glue. I’d also avoid super glue.

Apply your glue in a thin layer, and lay your design down on top of it. If you’re doing a slower design, use a small paint brush and apply the glue bit by bit as you work your design. Remember, Mod Podge dries fast so if you apply it to the entire surface and you are working on a slower design, you’ll have to keep re-applying your glue. Allow the glue to dry before moving on

Step 3: Mix your resin.

Most epoxy resins use a 1:1 mixing ratio. This makes it super easy, because they also come with measuring cups! Depending on the size of your blank, and depth of your design, there is no set amount of resin that I can suggest so you’ll have to use your best judgment. You can always mix more. Resin gives you about 20+ minutes of working time after it’s mixed, so don’t rush.

Mix your resin according to the manufacturers instructions. Stir thoroughly to ensure the mixture will harden properly. Scrape the bottom and sides of your cup to make sure you’re mixing all of it. You’re going to end up with some bubbles in your resin. Ideally, you want as few bubbles as possible but some bubbles are bound to happen. Try to stir fairly slow and smooth to keep your bubbles to a minimum. We’ll deal with these bubbles after our pour.

Step 4: Pour your resin.

Pour your resin slowly and evenly over your design in a thin layer. Use a popsicle stick or something disposable to smooth the resin to the edges of your blank. Make sure all gaps in the design, and around the edges are filled. You don’t need to go down the sides of your blank, but you can if you choose to. I didn’t go down the sides.

Now that you’ve smoothed out your resin and it’s even and lovely, let’s tackle those bubbles! This is easy, just make sure there is no hair in your face. Lean close to your design and gently breathe on it. Yes… that’s it. Just gently exhale over your design and you’ll see your bubbles start to pop. You may not get all of them but that’s ok! Some people use a straw for this step but I prefer not to. It’s the heat that pops the bubbles, not the air flow. The breath is cooler if it travels through a straw first. Professionals may use a blow torch. If you’re not a pro, I recommend passing on the torch. If you want to give it a go, do it in your driveway, garage, somewhere with a fire proof floor and away from anything flammable. Be smart. Fire is dangerous. Don’t do it in your house if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing.

Step 5: Let it rest.

Resin requires about 12 to 24 hours to cure. Set your coaster aside and let it rest for at least 24 hours. I think a bunny hair floated into mine… but it’s just for me so I’m not really concerned.

After 24 hours, just gently touch the edge of your design. Does it feel sticky? I hope not! If you’ve mixed properly, you should have a solid piece now. If your mixing was slightly incorrect, you will end up with a non-cured, sticky piece. This isn’t good because it’s not usable in this state. If this is where you’re at, mix a new batch a bit more carefully and go through steps 3 and 4 again right over top of your last layer.

You can also add another layer of resin if you want a thicker visual, or to work a layered design!

If your design uses dried flowers or something with heavier texture, you may need to do multiple pours anyway to achieve a smooth surface.

I hope you enjoyed my simple coaster project and that something amazing comes out of it! Be creative in your design. tissue paper, dried flowers, glitter… give it all a go! You never know until you try.

Polymer clay: Brand Pros and Cons

I like to get to the point as quickly as possible, so this is not a terribly detailed post. It’s basic information to help you make a decision.

Brands

So there’s a few different polymer clay brands that are common. I’m sure there is more but I’m going to touch on the 4 main ones that are easily accessible.

Premo! Sculpey, Cernit, Fimo and Kato Polyclay.

I’m a lover of Premo! and Cernit but I have some Fimo and Kato so I can show you the differences.

Fimo, Kato PolyClay and Cernit probably shouldn’t be purchased on Amazon. The pricing is all over the board and way too high. If you can find a multi-pack, cool. But I find that buying those clays from an art retailer is best.

Okay let’s go!

Sculpey

  • Premo!
    • Pro: Soft but not super soft. This clay has good pliability, and holds details well.
    • Pro: The manufacturer specifies more clear baking instructions. This makes it easier to prevent burning, and saves you from having to google it.
    • Pro: Available at major art stores
    • Con: Because it’s softer than the other 3, you need a softer touch when manipulating it.
    • Bake time: 275F for 30 minutes per 1/4 inch (6mm) of thickness
    • Price: $2.79 on average for a 57g package
  • Sculpey III
    • Pro: Softest clay, most pliable
    • Pro: Really great for those who want to work with clay and have hand and joint issues.
    • Pro: Available at major art stores.
    • Con: Fingerprints are really visible.
    • Con: Doesn’t do well with thin details (becomes flimsy)
    • Bake time: 275F for 30 minutes per 1/4 (6mm) inch thickness
    • Price: $2.79 on average for a 57g package

Fimo

  • Pro: Clay hardens pretty fast when it’s just resting. This is good if you want to preserve details before baking.
  • Pro: Available at major art stores.
  • Con: Harder than Premo!
  • Con: Hurts your hands at first
  • Bake time: 230F for 30 minutes (thickness not specified)
  • Price: $3.49 for a 57g package

Kato PolyClay

  • Pro: Clay hardens pretty fast. Again, good if you want to preserve details before baking.
  • Pro: Color saturation is great. Blends well.
  • Con: I haven’t seen this clay in any art store near where I live.. doesn’t mean they’re not carried, my locale just doesn’t have it.
  • Con: Harder than Fimo (at least it feels like it to me, though they’re pretty close)
  • Con: Also hurts your hands for a bit when you first start working with it
  • Bake time: 300F for 10-30 minutes (thickness not specified) <– I don’t like this. 10 to 30 minutes is too broad in my opinion. Burnt clay stinks and it’s not an ideal situation to end up in. It can ruin your final product.
  • Price: $2.79 for a 56g package

Cernit

  • Pro: Great for natural textures and colors.
  • Pro: Holds details really well
  • Con: Also haven’t seen this clay available in art stores around where I live.
  • Con: Has a tendency to crumble before it becomes soft enough to mold.
  • Con: Much harder to work with than the other 3 brands.
  • Con: Can be really hard on your joints. I don’t recommend this brand if you have arthritis or other joint issues. Or at least use a clay softener.
  • Bake time: 230-265F for 30 minutes (thickness not specified) <– I find that baking it at the same temp and time as Premo! works really well.
  • Price: $4.19 for a 56g package

I made a simple rose with each clay so you can see them side by side.

Cernit, Kato, Fimo, Premo!

Conclusion

They all appear the same visually. The Premo! and the Fimo were the easiest to work with. The Kato and Cernit required more work to make the clay pliable to the point I could mold it, even this simply. Now… all of that being said… if you want really stable detail before baking, my recommendation so far would be the Kato.

I’m going to continue to work with these clays and see if my opinions change. I only used them briefly in the past so this will have more intent. I will update this if I need to. but for now, I hope this helped!

I’d love to hear your opinions on which clay you prefer and why!

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