How to clean your silicone moulds after a resin pour

How to clean your silicone moulds after a resin pour

Before pouring the next lot of resin in your used mould, it is important to thoroughly clean the mould from your previous pour. Here are our top tips on how to remove the existing, cured resin from your silicone moulds:

- Peel the large bits of cured resin off with your fingers 

- Use blu tack or masking tape to pick up the small bits of resin stuck in the cavity 

- Use a compostable antibacterial or wet wipe to remove the final bits of resin on the top of the mould (not the cavity)

Hindsight will thank you for properly cleaning the mould before casting new earrings - trust me! 

February 03, 2022 — Lauren Holder
Have a bar of sticky, stringy clay? Try leaching

Have a bar of sticky, stringy clay? Try leaching

Ever opened up a polymer clay bar, started conditioning it and found it to be really stretchy and sticky? Some clays are susceptible to being really soft (like Cernit metallic), or sometimes they may be bars of clay fresh from the factory.

To make the clay less soft, try a technique called leaching.

1. Roll out your soft clay into a slab about 1 to 2 millimetres thick, trying to maximise as much surface area as possible.

2. Place the slab in between two pieces of regular printing paper and put something heavy on top of the paper like a thick book. If you don’t have something heavy to put on top of it, you can sit on it too. The oils in the clay will absorb into the paper and make the clay less soft.

3. Please note that some clays leach faster than others, so be sure to regularly check the clay throughout the leaching process. Some clays can take less than 5 minutes, like this Cernit metallic, whereas others may take more than an hour.

4. Now your clay will be less sticky and ready for conditioning. 

Alternatively, if you have a couple of months up your sleeve, leave your clay on a dark cool shelf and the plasticisers in the clay will start to firm up, leaving your clay a lot less sticky. 

Are you a visual person? Head to our Instagram reels page and you will find a video of this technique in action! 

January 24, 2022 — Lauren Holder
Why is my polymer clay sticking to everything?

Why is my polymer clay sticking to everything?

Do you ever get to a stage when rolling out your polymer clay where is starts sticking to *everything*? Your hands, your rolling pin, even the surface you're rolling the clay out on? 

This is happening because the clay is becoming overheated through continued manipulation from your hands and rolling pin. Here are our tips on how to return the polymer clay to a non-sticky condition:

  • Put the clay to the side for an hour or two and don't touch it. This will allow it to cool down.
  • If you're under a bit of time pressure, place the clay in the freezer for 10-20 minutes to allow it to cool down. 
  • If your clay is naturally sticky, like a fresh bar of Cernit polymer clay, use a technique called leaching to remove some of the moisture from the clay. This will result in it being less sticky. We have a blog post coming out next week teaching you how to leach polymer clay.
  • If you are working in a warm environment, turn on an air conditioner to cool the room down. 
  • If your hands are naturally clammy and warm, cool them down before conditioning your clay by putting them in cold water or placing them around an ice brick. 

Sticky clay can be very frustrating, but following one or a couple of these tips will return your clay to a workable condition in no time! 

January 17, 2022 — Lauren Holder
What does Hypoallergenic actually mean?

What does Hypoallergenic actually mean?

The word 'hypoallergenic' is thrown around the earring making industry left, right and centre. This post explains why this term is being used incorrectly and why you shouldn't sell your earrings as 'hypoallergenic' to your customers.

What does it actually mean? Hypoallergenic means something is unlikely or less likely to cause an allergic reaction.

Often makers and suppliers (not us) use the term hypoallergenic to describe their earring posts. Let me explain why you should not use this word when advertising your finished earrings to customers. 

Every single person in the world have their own unique allergies. When it comes to earring metals, someone may be allergic to titanium, another to nickel, and another to surgical steel. Unless you ask each of your customers if they have an allergy, you won't know what they are allergic to. 

For this reason, it is important to inform your customers about what metal your earring posts are made of, but do not state that they are hypoallergenic. If you state incorrect facts about your product and then your customer ends up with an allergic reaction, you may be held liable - yikes!

If you are looking for a high quality metal that is commonly used amongst makers for earring making, we recommend 316L Surgical Steel or 304 Stainless Steel. Discover our quality earring posts & backs, hooks and hoops here.  

January 09, 2022 — Lauren Holder
TIPS / RESIN DOMING FAQ

TIPS / RESIN DOMING FAQ

Our community of makers have come forward with some great questions in relation to doming with resin. We have answered them all here.

Best doming resin?

Our stocked JustResin DiamondCote or ArtCast Slow Set Resin are our two top recommendations.

Does resin bubble? If so, how do you remove them before it's cured?

Yes, when mixing resin bubbles do form. Our tips to remove and minimise bubbles are heating the resin in warm water or the sun before pouring and mixing the resin, let the resin sit for 5 or 10 minutes after mixing the two parts together, use a heat gun or lighter to pop the bubbles once the resin has been applied to the surface.

What's the best heat gun to remove bubbles?

Hot Devil or Scanpan Butane Blow Torches are the top recommendations from our resin community on Instagram.

Why does the resin shrink and pull away from the outsides of my domed piece?

Shrinking is a result of a chemical reaction that occurs when certain resins cure (specifically UC resin). You are using the wrong resin for doming if this is happening. You need to use a resin that is specifically made for doming such as DiamondCote or ArtCast Slow Set Resin. These resins will not shrink when you dome with them.

Tips for someone new to doming?

Take your time with the process, do some research on Google before starting and invest in resin that is made specifically for doming like DiamondCote or ArtCast Slow Set Resin

Should you sand before or after resin doming?

Sand after doming, otherwise you'll end up having to sand twice in case there is resin spillage. 

Is resin safe? 

It is imperative that you follow safety measures when using resin as it does release toxic fumes. You need to wear a mask, goggles and gloves to avoid any skin exposure. Sit in a well ventilated room like a garage with the door open. As long as you practice these safety measures, you will be fine. Don't let it scare you from playing with resin as it is truly a wonderful medium.

What is the best tool to use to apply resin to the surface of what you are doming?

This is a complete person preference. I [Lauren] use paddle pop sticks but haven't tried any other method. Others swear by a syringe. See what works for you!

Can I use UV light to cure JR DiamondCote resin?

DiamondCote does not requires UV light to cure  It cures itself over a 7 day period. It can be touched after 24 hours.

How do I keep my resin from peeling off my clay when I drill holes?

Peeling happens when the resin is not cured enough. It is important to allow a full length curing time before drilling (look at the resin instructions to find this information). Drilling the hole from the back of the polymer clay piece stops the resin from peeling on the front. Placing masking tape on the resin and drilling over the tape is also a way to prevent peeling and cracking. 

What do you do if resin drips over the edge of the polymer clay?

Once the resin has cured, you can sand any resin spillage off the sides of your pieces.  

When doming, does it cover the sides?

Doming only covers the top of the polymer clay (or whatever surface you are applying the resin to). It does not cover the sides... but never say never!

Have you got a question that hasn't been answered here? Send us an email and we would love to help you out. 

July 02, 2021 — Lauren Holder
TIPS / HOW TO CLEAN BRASS CHARMS

TIPS / HOW TO CLEAN BRASS CHARMS

Ever wondered how to make your brass components shinier after a bit of wear and tear? Or how to remove the tarnish off raw brass? 

All you need is lemon, baking soda & vinegar.🍋 Mix these ingredients together until a paste is formed. Apply the paste with a soft cloth in the affected areas and let it sit for ain it’s or two. Rinse with warm water and dry with a micro fibre cloth- your brass components will look brand new.

P.S. This is also a great little trick to pass onto your customers if they ever run into this little problem! 
June 29, 2021 — Lauren Holder
Blog series / Wholesaling your products / Products

Blog series / Wholesaling your products / Products

So, you are wanting a clearer direction on how to enter the world of wholesaling your handmade products and you have ended up here – brilliant! This blog series is packed full of valuable information [tested by me personally] to help you reach a new and exciting stage of your business. To avoid overwhelm, we are breaking this series up into separate stages. First up we need to talk about the core of your business, which is your product.

Identifying your product 

Before even considering wholesaling your products, you must clearly identify your product. Be definitive with which products you are going to wholesale and make sure you have enough supplies to make an adequate amount of those products.

If you are a start-up [which is likely you are], it is better to focus on delivering one product and delivering it properly. Some handmade businesses can get caught up in the excitement of starting a business and decide to release many products. This is not the way to go. Start with one product, nail it, and then think about expanding your range. So, you must decide which product/s you are confident in selling wholesale.

Should you make to order or have stock ready on hand?

A tough question handmade business owners must consider is whether or not they should make their products to order, or to have stock ready on hand. This is a decision that you must make based on your situation. There are many factors that you should consider, including how long it takes to create a product, the cost of making the product, if you think the product is going to be a popular seller, etc.

If the products are quick and easy to make, it makes sense making them to order [then there is no risk of you making them all in one colour when the stockist in fact wants them in another colour]. If the products are time consuming, it is perhaps a safer option to make them ahead of time [alternatively, just inform the stockist that production time will simply take longer].

Stockists often buy in large quantities and it is very common for them to want five or more of a SKU. It is recommended you have plenty of supplies or pre made stock on hand for this very reason. If they order more than what you have available of a product, you are missing the opportunity to make a higher profit!

How often do you need to update your product lines?

It is recommended that you update your product lines 3-4 times a year. Perhaps changing them around a bit for each season [eg colours]. Customers will lose interest in your products if you do not change them or introduce new items. 

Imagine if Adairs never updated their bedding and everything looked the same every time you went into their shop! You would lose interest, wouldn’t you? It is exactly the same for your brand. Stockists will stop reordering if no one is buying your old product in their shop. 

Confirmation Bias 

When creating new products, something you must keep in mind is confirmation bias. Confirmation bias is the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories. In a non-dictionary sounding way, it means you think the product is good enough to sell when really, it is not that flash and needs some working on. So, when you create a new product, seek feedback from family, friends, social media followers or even ask your stockists what they think! You then avoid wasting time and money on creating a product that people are not going to buy.

In the next blog post in this series we will cover the topic of approaching and finding stockists. 

May 18, 2021 — Lauren Holder
Tutorial / Should I be scratching my earring posts before glueing them to polymer clay?

Tutorial / Should I be scratching my earring posts before glueing them to polymer clay?

An ongoing debate between makers is whether to scratch/sand the pads on earring posts before glueing or to not? Let us tell you more about this topic. 

The earring pad’s smooth surface makes it harder for polymer clay to stick to it. The purpose of “scratching” the earring pad is so that it can adhere to the glue and polymer clay surface. Get what we mean? If you use a glue to adhere your earrings to polymer clay, we encourage you to scratch them a little. You can use an exacto knife or sanding paper to do this [both of which you can find at your local hardware store]! 

If you use another method to adhere your earring posts such as embedding, resin or liquid Sculpey, then it is not necessary for you to sand your posts. Wondering how? Head over to our blog post about attaching earring posts to polymer clay here.
May 06, 2021 — Lauren Holder
TUTORIAL / How to create a howlite marble effect with polymer clay

TUTORIAL / How to create a howlite marble effect with polymer clay

Have you caught onto the latest polymer clay howlite marble effect trend? Honestly, the opportunities are endless with this technique as you can use as many clay and paint colours as you like, meaning you could create a version of it that is unique to you and your business 'cos #DifferentiationIsKey in the handmade industry!

Want the inside scoop on how to create this effect? Keep reading...

What you need [to make a monochrome howlite marble effect]:

  • White polymer clay 
  • Black heavy body acrylic paint (or any other black thick acrylic paint)
  • Sculpey Liquid Polymer Clay
  • Zip lock bag [you're not reading wrong - go to your kitchen and get one out of the draw]
  • Acrylic rolling pin
  • Blade or knife
  • Pressing tool [not a necessity but will come in handy]

Follow these steps:

  1. Using a blade or knife, chop your white block of polymer clay [whichever brand you prefer] up into small pieces
  2. Put the chopped up pieces of clay into a zip lock bag
  3. Add a blob of black heavy body acrylic paint on top of the polymer clay in the zip lock bag
  4. Securely close the zip lock bag and use your hands to start moving the clay around the bag to cover all pieces in the black paint
  5. Once all white clay has been covered in black paint, take it out of the bag and drizzle a somewhat minimal amount of Sculpey liquid polymer clay over it and mix it in
  6. Using your hands, start moulding all of the chopped up pieces of clay together to create a rectangular cane. Using a pressing tool and rolling pin can make this process a lot easier 
  7. Once moulded into a cane, use a blade or knife to cut 3mm thick pieces off the cane 
  8. Line the 3mm cut pieces next to each other and start mooshing [not a word but hopefully you understand what I mean] the pieces together and use an acrylic rolling pin to help bond the pieces together to turn into a slab. 

Alternatively, instead of following step 7 and 8, you can cut the cane into 1mm pieces and place them onto a 2mm rolled out slab [a great opportunity to use your scrap clay as the cut up cane will cover the entire slab]. This method will create more howlite effect overall. 

Are you a visual person and want to see all of these steps being performed? Click here to watch an Instagram reel of us doing *exactly that*. 

May 04, 2021 — Lauren Holder
TIPS / What resin should I use?

TIPS / What resin should I use?

Starting to delve into resin jewellery making but don't know what resin to use? This blog post is for you!

Jewellery Supplies Co. currently offer 4 different types of resins, all which can be used slightly different. You need to make sure you select the right one for your project.

Epoxycast resin is ideal for casting resin [casting is when you fill a mould with resin]. If you have nabbed yo'self some of the Jewellery Supplies Co. silicone mouldsEpoxycast resin is the way to go. Here are some of the benefits of using this resin:

  • Cures at room temperature
  • Anti-yellowing additives [because no one wants their "clear resin" to have a yellow tinge]
  • FDA approved, 'cos safety first 
  • All of the Jewellery Supplies Co. pigment powders and pastes can be mixed into the resin to give it a glorious colour
  • Only $33 for 375g, and trust us when we say that a *little* bit of resin goes a *very long way* [we learnt the hard way, haha]!

If you make polymer clay earrings and want to coat/dome them in resin to give them an *oh so lovely* shine, DiamondCote, ArtCast or UV resin will be your best friend. Here is a run down on them all...

DiamontCote is designed for coating applications such as polymer clay, resin art, acrylic pours, mosaics, photographs, prints, timber surfaces, sculptures and more. The benefits of this resin are:

  • 12 hour cure time [you can touch it after this period of time]. Full cure after 7 days
  • Heat is *not* essential to for top coats to remove bubbles, meaning you don't have to invest in additional heat torch equipment - bingo!
  • This resin is made in Australia - who doesn't love supporting local?
  • $55 for a 1L kit [aka a *lot* of resin for an extremely reasonable price]

ArtCast can be used for both resin casting & doming [double whammy]. It is ideal for applications such as jewellery creation, doming, embedding, casting and filling timber voids. The benefits of this resin are:

  • Low to no odour [it is still really important to wear a mask though]
  • Touch dry and de-mould at 24 hours
  • You can pour up to 20mm deep 
  • 400mL kit for $24

Finally, UV resin is a secret weapon used by many polymer clay makers who like to dome their creations *quickly*. When we say quickly, we mean less than 10 minutes - I know, mind blowing! Here are the benefits of this resin:

  • Fast curing, within 1-5 mins, depending on light source and depth
  • It comes with an easy applicator tube, with a screw on cap & small opening point for accuracy [ideal for the delicate polymer clay earrings you make]
  • Superb transparency and hardness 
  • The small catch - for it to cure, it requires UV light [hence the name of the product]. Under a UV light or torch, resin depths of 1-2cm [which is more than plenty for coating polymer clay pieces], it will take up to 5 minutes to cure. Under direct sunlight [pop it beside a window on a really sunny day], it can take up to 10 minutes to cure. The stronger the UV light source, the quicker it will cure - makes sense right?

Have a better idea on what resin you need to use for your project now? We hope so!

If not [that's okay], you are more than welcome to send us an email or DM on Instagram or Facebook to ask us what resin we recommend you use on your project.

May 04, 2021 — Lauren Holder
TUTORIAL / How to attach earring posts to polymer clay

TUTORIAL / How to attach earring posts to polymer clay

We are commonly asked by makers how they should adhere their earring posts to polymer clay. In this blog post, we provide you with lots of different techniques you can follow, test and trial yourself so you can determine which technique works best for you.

I am going to break this down into three segments.

1. Glue - Some makers swear by it, others couldn’t run fast enough away from it. There are lots of different glues on the market, but you will want to steer towards super glue for polymer clay earrings. Common ones used include Loctite super glue, Gorilla super glue gel & Zap super glue. These can commonly be found in local hardwares.

2. Resin - Makers enjoy doming the front of their earrings as well as securing their earring posts with it. They do this by embedding the post with resin, applying it to the entire surface of the back of the polymer clay. Once the resin has been applied, the clay can not cure in the oven again [unlike liquid Sculpey, which we discuss in the next point].

Please note that resin is toxic and requires full PPE gear. Working in a ventilated room is extremely important too. Some people choose to not work with resin simply due to the health concerns associated with it, which is completely understandable, but plenty of makers still enjoy using it as it’s an incredible medium to play with!

3. Liquid Sculpey is becoming increasingly popular. Similar to resin, makers embed their earring posts with liquid Sculpey and then bake it in the oven.

4. Embedding earring posts in the clay is about as secure as an earring can get. If done correctly, there is absolutely no way the earring will separate from the clay. This can be a little more difficult, especially if you are looking for a very clean finish, but like all things, practice makes perfect.

Happy making!

March 21, 2021 — Lauren Holder
TIPS / What you should & shouldn't say in your business Instagram bio

TIPS / What you should & shouldn't say in your business Instagram bio

Your Instagram bio is the first thing a potential new follower looks at to determine what your business is and does. Instagram only allows you to use a maximum of 250 characters, meaning space is limited and you need to really think about what to include. 

What not to include:

- What your favourite food or pet is (eg. coffee and cat lover). At the end of the day, this will not help convert the person viewing your profile into a follower. A sentence like that is irrelevant (unless you have a coffee or cat related business)! 

- Special fonts from font apps. I know it might look cool, but special fonts in your bio make it harder for people to read, especially if they are cursive or bold fonts. 

What to include:

- What product or service your business provides 

- Where you are located if relevant 

- Your opening hours if relevant

- Tell people how they can access your products if you sell them online 

- Offer a promotion or sign up code if relevant '

- A few emojis to add some pops of colour

- Contact details such as your customer service email address

- Provide all of your information in an orderly and easy to read structure, such as dot points (you can use emojis instead of dot points)

 You will be unable to fit everything we have suggested into your bio, but pick the most relevant information and apply it to your business.

We hope this helps! 

February 22, 2021 — Lauren Holder