i feel like i am cheating

Last night I had an extremely productive night. I managed to do two batches of resin application and get two of my three panels done for my street fair booth display I have been working on for a while now. (craigslist adventures and fun with burlap coming soon.)

Aren’t they pretty?  Ohhh, and there’s something in this pic hinting at what they are going to be!

Any-who the main point of this random posting today is to tout the amazing wonders of my new heat gun. The heat gun I got was intended for embossing and super fancy-pants scrapbooking that I will never have enough ambition or patience to even attempt, much less complete. No, no, MY heat gun has other things in its future! But let’s back up for a moment.

Last fall I attended the always wonderful Crafty Wonderland Holiday show. It was fantastic. I gathered cards from other fantastic local makers, artists and crafters. I bought a few Christmas gifts. The hubster even (very sneakily) bought my Christmas gift right under my nose! As I was wandering about in a fog of awe and inspiration, I came across these lovely pendant necklaces that looked very similar to my own. Wait, let me be specific here: if one of my necklaces were next to one of these necklaces, they would NOT have been mixed up. They looked totally different. But they were making jewelry with prints of their own art work set in pendants under resin. Same technique, obviously different out come. Anyways, what really caught my eye was just how pristine their resin was! I mean glass-clear, perfect. I was in awe. I had to inquire just how they did it. I mean, it was perfect! Even what I was considering at the time as some of my best pieces still had tiny little bubbles in them. I was completely impressed. So I asked if they were willing to share their process or at least offer me some tips and what did I get in return? Hello, Helpful!! She not only gave me an extremely detailed step-by-step of what they do (temperature controlled room for 3 days, heat lamps, precise measuring, heat gun, the works) but she also told me that they offer a class once a month specifically focused on resin and getting it just right!

At that point I finally looked up from the perfect jewelry that had me mesmerized and realized who’s booth I was in. It was Collage. A lovely little craft supply store on Alberta. (Looks like they recently opened a second shop down in Sellwood, too.) I have been there before, I knew they taught classes on these kinds of things, and I sorta felt totally oblivious that I hadn’t realized who I was talking to sooner… oh well.

After that, well after the Christmas shopping hangover wore off and I had some time to work on my jewelry again, I ran right out with my Micheal’s 40% off coupon and got my very own heat gun! (You all know that you can get one of those cupons at any time right? Just go to their website and print one off. Totally worth it. I mean it’s 40% ANY one item in the store! Just had to share… I got my $28 life-saving heat gun for $17!!… sorry… back on topic now.)

The heat gun. My newest love. It works like magic. Once you have your resin on whatever it is you are putting resin on, you just flip on your heat gun and lightly blow across the surface and like a swift wave of Hermione’s wand, they are gone. The big ones and the ones on the top go first, and if you are in the right light you can see the surface crackle across as they pop. It’s kinda cool. If your resin is thicker in depth you may need to go in with a toothpick and stir the ones clinging to the bottom free, give it another pass with the gun and they’re gone too! Just that quick. Done and Done! The first few times I worked with resin it took me at least an hour to lay the resin on the pendants then go back through with a toothpick turning each piece in the light just right so I could see all the bubbles and then fishing each one out… while the resin was slowly setting up… getting thicker and thicker on me… getting worse and worse the longer I fought with them. Basically: it sucked. I was frustrated. And riding the border to just going over to the dark side and trying this “diamond glaze” stuff…. Luckily I didn’t. Instead I happened upon the lovely wealth of information at Collage and am happily cranking stuff out left and right, I mean two batches in one night!? I felt like I was cheating it was so easy.

THE Heat Gun and all the fun things I was able to accomplish last night because of it

Last night I was able to do TWO batches of resin, get them bubble free and still have time to make dinner, a new jewelry stand and some serious progress on my booth display! Hooray Heat Gun! And a bigger Hooray for Collage. I haven’t taken any classes there yet, but am considering the metal embossing one coming up (I will keep you posted if I do). Seriously guys, thank you! I suggest anyone in need of craft supplies, crafting tips of any kind, or if you are just looking for a fun new place to check out in Portland give them a visit!

What is that I put resin on last night? you ask. They aren’t quite done yet, and I am still working on how to display/package them, but as soon as they are ready for your viewing (and purchasing) pleasure I will let you know, promise! I’m kinda excited about them.

Also, if anyone has any questions specifically about how I work with resin, what I use, where I get it, or my jewelry making process, just ask me. I am happy to share. I know a lot of people in the craft world have very unique, personalized ways of working that they view as their own and guard very closely, and I understand that for some things. However, if it weren’t for YouTube and Etsy discussion boards I wouldn’t have had a clue as to where to start. So, if you have any questions, just ask, I am glad to share any info I have and, of course, welcome any additional tips you may have!

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