When I was a child my Grandparents would go down to Florida yearly. It was always to escape the frigid Canadian winter and they would be gone for several weeks. They came back one year with a special gift for me, it was a small dark bottle and I opened it to find shark teeth. My Grandmother had collected them from the beach.
I was fascinated to learn that sharks had multiple rows of teeth in their mouths and every time they lost one there was another tooth behind to take it’s place. I would often look at them and admire the different sizes, colours and shapes. As time past I forgot about them and they somehow made their way into our basement. Recently my Mum was reorganizing and found them. I was so excited. This time I didn’t want them to repeat a fate of sitting in a basement for years, but what to do?
Jewelry was what I came up with, so I did a little internet exploring and hit the craft shop. I bought a two part resin kit and looked around for something to use as a mold. This was the truly hard part, the teeth aren’t uniform, they have varying sizes and thicknesses. If something looked like the right size, it wouldn’t be the correct depth. On a whim, based on FX makeup tutorials on Youtube, I thought about Model Magic and the possibility of using it to create my own custom mold.
Here’s what I used:
- Model Magic
- Ice cube trays or any other malleable container in the desired shape
- Smooth objects to create molds around (I found that the resin will pick up every detail on any object you use to create a mold out of)
- Popsicle sticks for stirring the resin
- Old Medicine containers – to keep each part separate and they made it easier to measure (it’s important to have equal volume of each part)
- Paper plates – to help contain the project mess
- Plastic wrap – found this was helpful and easy to peal anything off of in case of overflow (taping in flat to the table probably would have been very helpful in retrospect)
- Objects to set in the resin – optional
- Two pairs of pliers
- 150 grit or higher Sand paper – smooth the edges
- Chain – you will need clasps if you aren’t reusing an existing necklace chain
- Jump rings
- Loop posts
- Earring hooks
Back to the workshop I went and molded and mixed and poured and waited. The end result, repeated disappointment. So I would come up with something else and try again. I used a lot of items from around the house to try and create Model Magic molds, toys, containers, bottles. I also tested with buttons to see what point I should try and add the teeth. To have the item in at the start meant that the resin didn’t cover it completely. So I waited until it had been in the mold for 10 or 15 minutes and then placed the buttons in. That gave me the look I was going for. Adding objects will displace some resin, try not to over fill your molds.
One of the things that I noticed was the amount of bubbles trapped in the resin in my first attempts. The directions tell you to stir one part for two minutes and during that time I was really stirring. Once I held back and went slow the bubbles reduced significantly.
I trip to the Dollar Store proved the most promising when I picked up two ice cube trays with silicon bottoms and diamond shaped reusable ice cubes. Then it was back to more testing and waiting. Progress was made this time.
Although things were still not perfect. The ice cube trays were impossible to get anything out of unless I cut of the silicone bottoms and peeled them away from the resin, they also left a cloudy look. By a happy accident I happened to discover that a thin layer of resin over top of a fully dried piece would restore the clearness.
The ones that worked the best were the diamond shaped reusable ice cubes. I pierced a couple, drained the fluid inside and cut them into two pieces just past the middle mark. The diamonds came out crystal clear each time.
In case of an overfill or a rough edge, you can use sandpaper to buff them smooth. It’s messy and easy to scratch the resin, so be careful. The mold will also need to be kept level, which can be tricky since they need to sit for 24 hours. I found that using the Model Magic as a base for the mold to sit on kept everything flat.
Since I was going to be putting a clear coat on the front of each piece once it was set, I decided to do one more coat on the back as well and add the loop posts at that time. I really thought about which way the loops should be facing in order to only need one jump ring to connect the pendant to the chain and still have the pendant hanging the correct way. For the necklaces that meant the loops needed to face the front and for the earrings they needed to face the side.
For the biggest tooth I thought that using two loops would make things interesting. This tooth is my favorite and I’m slightly disappointed that the resin is still a little cloudy in some places around the edges.
I used two pairs of pliers to open and connect the jump rings to all the pieces. I have more details of my method from when I made the Sweater Clips, you can find that project here.
I’m really pleased with how these turned out. I hope to get a lot of use out of them once the weather gets warmer here. I’m always worried about getting necklaces caught in coat zippers during the winter.
If I were going to make anymore I’d love to experiment with mixing colour or metallic materials into the resin. I’ll have to do some research on what kinds of products are suitable for mixing with resin.
Have you tried making your own jewelry? What did you use and how did it turn out? I’d love to hear from you.
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