Nature supplies us with an abundant quantity of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. These foods are often replicated in plastics and other materials to create jewelry pieces. Rather than wear plastic replica orange slice earrings, you can actually wear the real things. You can use fruit and vegetable jewelry as a statement about going green, being vegetarian or just enjoying nature's bounty. The process requires several days, from start to finish, and yields a piece that will last a lifetime.
Things You'll Need
- Craft resin mold
- Craft resin
- Vinyl, latex or nitrile gloves
- Craft resin mold release
- Plastic cup
- Wooden craft stick
Thinly slice the fruits and vegetables you'd like to use, and place them into a dehydrator. Dehydrate slowly, on a low setting, for one to three days, depending on size. Dehydrating the pieces too quickly can cause them to pucker, shrivel and wrinkle. Some fruits and vegetables dehydrate better than others, so you may have to experiment with different slices at different settings until you find what's right for you. Remove the slices from the dehydrator when there is no moisture left.
Choose a resin mold that matches the size of both the jewelry you want to make and the fruit or vegetable pieces you will be using. The pieces need to fit in the mold well enough to be completely submerged in craft resin.
Protect your work surface by covering it with newspaper. Wear vinyl, latex or nitrile gloves to protect your skin from the resin.
Coat the inside of your mold with mold release. This keeps the resin from bonding to the inside of your mold and makes it easier to pop your jewelry out once it's cured.
Use the plastic cup and wooden stick to combine the resin with its hardening catalyst. Follow the package directions carefully, as you'll need to stir the resin and catalyst for a specific amount of time, usually two minutes.
Brace your mold so that it won't move as you pour in resin. Fill the mold to the halfway point, then wait until the resin cures to a jelly-like consistency. This usually takes about 20 minutes to an hour, depending on type of resin and temperature.
Place your dried fruit or vegetable slices into the mold. Press them into the mold gently to force out any air bubbles. Fill the mold with resin until it reaches just below the top edge.
Allow your resin to cure and harden for 72 hours, and then release it from the mold.
Use a small drill to bore a hole into the top of your piece. Add jewelry hardware or findings to make your piece into whatever type of jewelry you're interested in, such as a necklace or earrings.