Insect jewelry preserves and showcases the intricate colors and curiosities of the insect world. You can create statement pieces like pendants, rings and bracelets by encasing beetles, bees, ants and butterflies in resin. Although the process involves several steps, it is nonetheless simple to do. In about one day, you can create a one-of-a-kind conversation piece at home.
You can either purchase dried insects to use in your jewelry, or you can collect them yourself in nature. If you purchase dried insects, they may be packaged in a folded up position. Re-hydrate them in order to open them up and fully display them in your jewelry pieces. If you want to capture live insects, use the proper tools for collecting and killing them. When collecting live insects, be aware of local regulations and ecological etiquette.
- Get permission before collecting insects from private property or from a public place, such as an arboretum, zoo or park.
- Do not damage plants when collecting.
It is illegal to collect insects from the grounds of a federal facility or national park without a collecting permit.
Encase the Insects in Resin
Things You'll Need
- Craft casting epoxy
- Resin jewelry mold
- Wax paper
- Plastic measuring cup
- Wooden craft stick
- Plastic condiment dispenser
- Hair dryer
- Large plastic bin
Before beginning, protect your work surface by covering it with wax paper.
Following the manufacturer's directions, mix the craft casting epoxy. Use a plastic measuring cup and a wooden craft stick to measure and mix the substances.
Put the mixed craft casting epoxy into a plastic condiment dispenser for easy pouring.
Pour a thin layer of casting epoxy into the mold.
Lay your insect into the mold. Decide which side of your finished resin piece will be the front. In most cases, the bottom of the mold ends up being the front of the piece, so you will need to lay your insect face-down in the mold.
Pour another layer of resin on top of the insect.
Follow the manufacturer's instructions for adding layers of resin. Some manufacturers require you to let the first layer set before adding the filler and the second layer. Also, some brands require a different mix of ingredients for subsequent layers.
Once the molds are completely filled, blow them gently with a hair dryer to remove any bubbles.
Let the resin cure for at least 24 hours. Cover the molds with an upside-down plastic bin to prevent dust from becoming embedded in the resin.
After 24 hours, remove the resin objects from the mold.
If you have difficulty popping them out, put the mold in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Make Jewelry Pieces
Things You'll Need
- Eye pins
- Chain nose pliers
- Wire cutters
- Open jump rings
Hold the loop of your eye pin with your chain nose pliers in one hand. Trim the other end of the eye pin with your wire cutters so the length is appropriate for the depth of the resin object.
Hold the looped end of the eye pin with the pliers and hold the other end over the flame of a lighter for 5 seconds.
Continue holding the looped end of the eye pin in the pliers and insert the other end into the resin object.
Open a jump ring with the pliers and thread it through the loop of the eye pin.
Make a variety of different jewelry pieces with the charm you have just created.
- Thread a chain or cord through the jump ring to make a necklace.
- Attach the jump ring to the links of a chain for a necklace or bracelet.
- Attach the resin charm to dangling earring findings.
You will only be able to insert an eye pin into the resin object within the first 24 hours of making it. After that, it will have cured too much and become too hard.
Other Methods for Making Jewelry
If you let the resin cure too long or you just don't want to insert eye hooks into the charm, use industrial permanent craft adhesive to attach it to jewelry findings.
- Glue a bell cap to the top of the charm to attach it to a necklace.
- Glue the resin charm to clip-on earring findings, ring forms or pin backs.