This Victorian drawing of a stag gives these cufflinks a vintage feel and will make that special someone feel like laird of the manor! Make sure you coat your images on both sides in white (PVA) glue so the paper doesn’t absorb the resin. Taken from The Big Book of Jewelry Making (£14.99, available from www.thegmcgroup.com)
1) 2 x 11⁄16in (17mm) square-tray cufflink blanks
2) Pale-colored card
3) Two-part, pour-on, high-gloss resin
White (PVA) glue
Oil-based modeling clay (Plasticine)
Mixing pots and sticks
1 Source an image of a stag’s head from the Internet and scale it to size so it will fit inside the cufflink blank. Copy the image and then reverse it so you now have a pair of images. Print it out onto the pale colored card.
2 Cut out each image slightly smaller than 11⁄16in (17mm) square so that they fit comfortably inside the cufflink blanks. Coat each image with white (PVA) glue back and front, then leave to dry.
3 Stick each image into the base of each cufflink blank, again using a small amount of white glue.
4 Prop each cufflink blank so the tray containing the image is completely horizontal. This is easily done using soft modeling clay, such as Plasticine.
5 High-gloss resins usually come in two parts: the actual resin and the hardener. Following the instructions on the packaging, mix equal parts of each thoroughly and pour the mixture into each tray of the cufflink blanks (see resin technique below).
6 The consistency is very thick, so you can be generous with the amount you pour in because it does slightly shrink back when it cures. Blow lightly on the surface to pop the larger bubbles and leave to dry thoroughly.
Think about how to “pair” your chosen images for each cufflink. Simply reverse them for a subtle difference.
Any small bubbles in your resin will disappear as it dries out.
Resin is a liquid plastic that usually comes in two parts: the resin itself and a hardener (sometimes called an accelerator or catalyst). Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to get the best results, but these tips will apply to most types of resin.
Working with resin
1 Make sure your work area is well ventilated, dry, and damp free. Cover the work surface in newspaper and ideally wear plastic gloves and goggles when mixing.
2 Get your mold ready before you start mixing. Molds must be clean and free from dust or grease. If need be, prop your mold upright using soft, oil-based modeling clay.
3 Have at least three disposable cups and mixing sticks handy for measuring and mixing your resin. Most types of resin stipulate 50% resin to 50% hardener. In this case, pour the right amount of resin for the project into the first cup. Mark a line on the outside where the resin rests. Then pour into the second cup.
4 Pour your hardener into the first cup up to the drawn line on the outside. Then add this to the measured resin in the second cup. Mix thoroughly with a disposable stick. The third cup is useful if you are adding color to your resin. If resin has different mixing ratios you can draw measurements onto the side of your first cup as a guide.
5 When thoroughly mixed, your resin will contain lots of air bubbles that will eventually disappear during the curing process. Pour your resin into the mold so that it slightly overfills—using its surface tension to keep it from spilling—and leave for at least 24 hours.