DIY resin suncatchers – part 1

A couple weeks before Christmas 2021, I impulsively decided to make resin suncatchers for my friends and family. I had only worked with resin once before, but the end result turned out really nice so I wanted to try it again. I was kind of running out of idea for homemade gifts anyway, so it was a good time to expand my repertoire.

It was … a failure. Resin is REALLY HARD to work with. It’s messy and full of bubbles. It cures faster than you’d expect. And every time you think “I could fix it if I just added a little more—” DON’T DO IT. PUT DOWN THE RESIN. DO. NOT. DO IT.

My first idea, which ended up being the most successful, was to design the suncatchers and print them on transparencies, then pour resin on top. It seemed fairly simple.

I asked my friends for the things they were interested in, and got: pachycephalosaurus, bears, capybaras, birds, cats, and Lovecraft.

The first part worked well. I printed the designs, then cut them out and poured resin on top. I flipped them over and poured resin on the other side. Then I trimmed off the overhanging resin. This is the point where I discovered that the resin doesn’t stick to the transparencies. As soon as I cut into the resin, it delaminated from the transparencies, leaving an air gap inside. You can’t fix that with more resin, and you can’t get glue in there without dissolving the toner.

However, good news! The resin DOES stick to the toner. So it turned out that the trick was to print out the design, pour on the resin (WITHOUT cutting the design out first), and then peel off the resin, taking the image with it and leaving the transparency itself clean. Then I could pour more resin over the image to seal it in.

Thing number two that I learned: resin doesn’t really stick to itself. It still ended up delaminating as I cut through it, and did even worse when I drilled holes to hang them. It also doesn’t always fully stick to the toner, so I ended up destroying half of the ones I made. Luckily I could print as many more as I wanted.

These are 3″ diameter ones that I made as tests. The cat one looks drippy because I dunked it in resin for a final coating and then hung it up.
No matter how hard I tried, there were always little defects in the resin coating. UGH.

Ultimately I ended up with a half-decent batch to give to my gaming group. I hate giving out gifts that aren’t absolutely perfect, but I’d been hinting at these gifts for a week and I couldn’t back down, so I gave them out and people seemed pleased.

Then, with everything I’d learned, I went to make similar suncatchers for my family. And… I failed even harder. I’ll talk about that in part two.

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