Freeform Resin Jewelry: Make Fairy Wings (or Leaves, or Flowers, or. . .) Using Wire and Resin

29 Feb 2012

I finally got over my fear of possibly "wasting" supplies with resin gone wrong, and now I'm hooked! I've been resin-ing all kinds of things--bezels, old pocket-watch cases, even backless shapes (thanks to that little trick of backing them with packing tape and then removing it when the resin has cured). Hooked, I tell ya!

 
Cynthia Thornton's Woodland Wings necklace
I finally decided that I didn't really care if there might be mistakes or bubbles in the resin. The same way a few scratches and dings on my beloved car Violet don't make her any less adorable, a few little mistakes in resin won't (hopefully) totally ruin my resin jewelry designs. After that little revelation, I was free to create with resin. And oh my, I sure did. My favorite project so far is these resin fairy wings.

I've had a fascination with wings as long as I can remember. I own costume fairy wings, and numerous sets of feathery angel wings hang on my Christmas tree each year. I pick up seashells that look like wings on every beach I visit, and recently I was inspired to make wire and resin wings by Cynthia Thornton's Woodland Wings necklace in Enchanted Adornments. She used tissue paper as a base in the wire to make hers (it literally disappears in the resin--brilliant!), but I had to experiment a bit. The wire, lace, papers, tulle, and organza I used were all scraps and project leftovers. Some of my resin wings were made with tissue in the middle, some with tulle, some with lace, and some with nothing at all. Next I'm going to try iridescent cellophane and maybe some of that vellum that has glitter in it. Scrap drawer, here I come! Here's how I made them.

Make Resin and Wire Fairy (or Angel?) Wings

 
Materials:

various types and gauges of wire
wire cutters and pliers
old wire cutters or scissors
resin supplies of your choice
packing tape
toothpick or pin
optional inclusions: tissue paper, vellum, or iridescent cellophane; feathers, tulle or organza and lace scraps, glitter, seed beads, dried flowers, etc.

Steps:

1. Bend wing shapes with wire. Leave tails long enough to create loops or bails for hanging or make those shapes first and then form wing shapes. Be creative, making some that are pointed, some rounded, some with curvy or scalloped edges. No two wings are alike, so don't worry about that. Play with shapes and sizes to create interest.

 

2. Use thinner gauge wire to add details to the wings, like veins in a leaf. Add swirls, zigzags, curlicues, or just wrap wire back and forth to resemble feathers. These added wire designs give support to the middle of the wings and also provide a base for attaching tissue paper, lace, etc., later.

3. When your wire wing shapes are finished, press them as flat as possible onto a piece of sticky-side-up packing tape, which is taped down onto a plate or piece of cardstock so you can move it around easily. If you're going to add lace, tissue paper, or ribbon, press it onto the tape inside the wire wing shape, too.

4. Fill the wire wing outline with a thin layer of resin. Be sure to pierce any bubbles with a toothpick or pin immediately, before the resin begins to set. Allow the resin to cure according to package instructions. My UV resin cured under the UV light in about 10 minutes.

5. When that layer has partially cured, add glitter or other sparkly inclusions if you choose, then add another layer of resin. Repeat this process until the wings are to your liking. I flipped mine over after they were cured and did an extra, thin layer of resin on the back, just to balance their thickness and to create a shiny, smooth, domed surface on the back, so they'd be pretty from both sides when they dangle in jewelry.
6. File or cut away any excess resin with heavy-duty scissors or old wire cutters. Wear goggles or glasses when you do this--the shards can fly off and they're sharp! You might also want to sand a bit after you cut to remove sharp edges.
Voila! You have resin fairy wings. Use jump rings to attach them to a necklace or ear wires, or you could wire or solder them onto the back of a mixed-media fairy pendant.

 
WireLace resin wing
Resin Wing (or Petal, or Leaf, or. . .) Variations
I also made a wing (or petal?) shape out of an inch-long scrap of silver WireLace, simply by pulling the middle "open" and leaving the ends relatively "closed" and then coating it with resin. It worked beautifully, though I should have put a jump ring through the lace before I added the resin.

You could tint the resin green (or add greenish inclusions) and make leaves instead of wings. I made some smaller wire petal shapes and am combining them into a flower. 

Also, you could use some real feathers in and/or on top of the resin to make angel wings instead of fairy wings (angel wings need feathers, right?).

More Resin Jewelry Ideas
For more inspiring resin jewelry projects, along with other fun jewelry-making techniques like metal clay, coloring on metal, wirework, and more, Enchanted Adornments is a beautiful book. It's a reader's book, too, because the projects are shared as part of an entertaining story with lovely illustrations. The print book is sold out, but it's still available in digital form! It's like getting two books in one--and it's a jewelry-making book that doesn't have to be relegated to the how-to section of your bookshelf!

Resources
Lisa Pavelka Magic-Glos UV resin and UV lamp
Susan Lenart Kazmer ICE Resin and Art Mechanique bezels
Martha Stewart Crafts glitter
Alacarte Clasps silver WireLace


Featured Products

Enchanted Adornments

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Enter the fantasy fairytale world of Green Girl Studios, where every charm has a story and each piece of jewelry is filled with magic.

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Enchanted Adornments eBook: Creating Mixed-Media Jewelry with Metal Clay, Resin & More

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eBook

With the easy-to-download Enchanted Adornments eBook, youll enter the fantasy fairytale world of Green Girl Studios, where every charm has a story and each piece of jewelry is filled with magic.

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Comments

on 29 Feb 2012 9:51 AM

I can't wait to try this!

TammyJones wrote
on 29 Feb 2012 9:54 AM

Yay! I'm so glad you're going to try it. Everything in my craft room looks like a potential wing to me now :o)

katymom75 wrote
on 29 Feb 2012 11:21 AM

I am very inspired by your adventuresome spirit!  We all have to start somewhere and it looks like you are well on your way!

on 29 Feb 2012 12:11 PM

I've just started experimenting with resin as well. Does the tape become part of the piece, or does it resist sticking to the resin?

TammyJones wrote
on 29 Feb 2012 1:10 PM

Thank you, katymom75!

bethanymathews: The tape doesn't stick to the resin, somehow. Magic, I guess ;o) However, it does leave a sort of film or texture... more like a cloudiness... mine wasn't sticky, so it's not residue, but it's *something* there.... However, it didn't matter in this project because I wanted to put a thin layer of resin on the back as well, to balance out the piece, and whatever that residue or film was from the tape disappeared then, just like the tissue paper did. All resins and packing tapes are different, though, I'm sure, so try once with yours--you can just put a dollop of resin directly on your packing tape and let it cure, then peel off the tape and see how yours turns out. Also, note that regular Scotch tape, like gift-wrapping tape, won't work, or mine didn't. It was either not strong enough or reacted to the resin maybe, but it just didn't stick and the resin ran out around it. Good luck! Let us know how your experimenting goes!

AmandaMade wrote
on 2 Mar 2012 11:13 AM

I haven't tried this yet, but in the past I used the UV resin and cut out a piece of the plastic stencil material and it does peel right off the resin once it's set.  Then, when I had of a foundation built up, I put tape around it and poured more resin in to make a pendant.  It turned out nice.  I don't know if the stencil material is the same as vellum.

sara@119 wrote
on 3 Mar 2012 1:09 PM

I've been thinking about getting into resin for some time and am definitely inspired by your comments -- and these beautiful fairy wings!  Thanks!

on 24 Apr 2012 6:01 PM

I just created a dragon wing and a dragonfly wing with the mesh lace, no resin.  On the dragon wing, I added embossing powder and a couple dots of sparkle paint, added a jump ring and a chain and it was done.  For the dragonfly wing, I added a couple stick on gems.  The wire for the dragonfly wing was 24 gauge, but the dragon wing was heavier, harder to manage for that reason.  The next one will be either 22 gauge or 24.  And there will be more.  The resin was something I hadn't thought of using, but will have to try now.

on 24 Apr 2012 6:06 PM

Vellum is sort of a plastic-y type of paper.  Not plastic really, but not really paper either.  Some vellums are translucent almost.  They're stiffer than paper.  They're expensive, so if you want to try some, and know an engineering buff, ask them.  s all used to be done on it, not so much now to my experience. Mechanical/engineering drawings all used to be done on it.

momomocat wrote
on 20 Aug 2012 4:43 PM

Hi all,

I'm new to this forum but have been a practicing mixed media artist since a wee girl. I am traing to be a jeweler designer and have found a wonderful teacher who is open and encouraging ne to follow my creative stream.

I am fascinated be resin and would like to use it to paint elements of my designs with rich layered color. Does anyone know about doing this? I don't want to full in areas with a solid color, but rather only thin layers. Any suggestions for specific types of resin which would allow me to do this? How long do you think a very thin layer if resin would take to cure before I could proceed with the next one?

Any experiences or ideas welcome!

Thanks,

Annie