In my last post I talked about my first batch of DIY resin suncatchers, which were made with epoxy resin poured on laser-printed transparencies. In this post, I’m moving on to my more complicated attempts.
What I did this time was cut out the basic designs on the laser cutter, then pour resin in the gaps. This had actually been my original plan, except I realized as I was designing the ones for my friends, there was no way they’d look good cut out. But this time I designed them specifically to be cut. I then printed the same design on transparencies. The idea would be that I’d set the wood cutout on top of the transparency and then pour the resin over it, then peel off the transparency, leaving the color behind. I only ended up doing this for one of them, though; with the others, I decided to color the resin with acrylic paint and pour it in directly.
Using the transparency method sort of worked. It would have worked better if the transparency image was higher contrast; as it was, it was hard to tell that the image was meant to be autumn leaves, and I didn’t end up liking the colors.
As for coloring the resin with paint, that worked quite well, except that mixing up the resin in tiny batches and then pouring it into each little hole in the wood took way longer than I’d thought, and the resin ended up getting too thick to work with. Once it gets thick, it’s like pouring cold honey, and the bubbles are impossible to pop.
The one that turned out the best was this one for my brother. It’s based on a photo I took several years ago of some high power lines with birds on them. It ended up PERFECT until I poured on a final coat with resin that had sat too long. The bubbles ended up ruining the whole thing. I tried sanding it down, and that kind of worked, but I just couldn’t get all the bubbles out.
These two bugs (a stag beetle similar to the one I used for my laser cut table design, and a moth based on an Art Nouveau design I’d seen online) turned out the best, and really I was just being picky when I decided that they were failures. I had been choosing colors at random and I decided that while I like the rainbow color effect, it was too garish to give to my parents.
As it was coming up on Christmas, I quickly printed out a few other designs on transparencies with the thought that I’d go back to the suncatcher method I’d used for my friends’ gifts. Except I used a different brand of transparency film and thus learned that resin only sticks to toner printed on SOME types of transparency film. So I ended up telling my family that the handmade gifts would be delayed by probably a month or two.
At this point, Michael’s decided to stop selling craft plywood, just to be an asshole, so I switched to chipboard instead. This is great because it’s much cheaper, but not so great in that it’s not nearly as sturdy. Coated in resin, the end result is lighter but flexible, which can be a pro or a con. I designed one based on the Webb telescope for my father, and cut this one out of cardboard.
With that done, I had two suncatchers left to make. In fact, I haven’t made them yet. But I have ideas about how to improve on the design, and assuming that works (and even if it doesn’t!) I’ll probably do another post on the topic.