How To: Epoxy Key Chain

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Epoxy-keychains.jpg

This is a beginner friendly tutorial on how to make epoxy resin key chains.


Tools and Materials

xhain keychains for advent calendar 2019
  • paper and sellotape/packaging tape (or laminated paper)
  • plastic straw or wire/ring
  • decorations, glitter, dye...
  • nitril/latex gloves
  • small amount of epoxy resin (10-50g)
  • <100% alcohol
  • paper towels or tissue
  • accurate letter scale
  • small plastic cup
  • toothpick
  • cling wrap or plastic bag
  • hot glue and hot glue gun
  • scissors and cutter knife

Tutorial

  • Time required: 1-3 days
  • Difficulty: easy

Step 1: create mould

mould for small key chain
  • as a base you can use laminated paper or paper covered in wide sellotape (any smooth, shiny plastic tape like packaging tape will also work)
  • use more laminated paper or cover another sheet of paper with 1-2cm wide sellotape and a couple of cm long, depending on the size of the keychain you want to make.
    • cut the paper into a long 1-2cm wide rectangular strip, with one long edge being perfectly straight (i.e. use edge of laminated paper, or use a ruler and cutter knife to cut a straight edge on paper with sellotape).
    • fold the strip into a circle, with the tape on the inside.
    • make sure the two short edges align perfectly, use scissors to correct any angles. Then stick them together with sellotape from the outside. Make sure tape doesn't fold over onto the inside of the circle.
  • place the circle onto the base with the perfectly straight edge at the bottom and arrange it to a shape of your liking. The easiest is a droplet shape as shown in the images. Hold it with one hand and press it slightly down onto the base, such that there are no gaps between the base paper and the mould paper.
  • use the other hand for the hot glue gun and cover the bottom edge of your mould with hot glue from the outside. Apply lots of hot glue and make sure the mould is waterproof (you can test it with water if you like, but make sure it's perfectly dry before proceeding to the next step). Try not to let any hot glue flow between the cracks into the inside of the mould. You can let go once the glue holds.

Hole for key ring, straw method (easier):

  • now take a plastic straw and cut off 1-2cm.
    • if you don't have a straw, you can make one by forming a paper tube and covering it with sellotape from the outside.
    • use the hot glue gun to insert some glue at the bottom end (make sure no glue touches the outside of the straw) and immediately press this end inside your mould where the hole for the keychain should go. Make sure it's not too close to the edge (thin resin edges might break easily) but also not too far away (you still want to be able to insert your key ring).
    • make sure the straw is fully sealed from the inside. Remove and try again if it didn't work the first time.

Hole for key ring, wire method:

  • cut two puncture holes into the top of your mould
    • alternatively you can cut two slits into the mould
  • form a ring with the wire, or beautifully arange the wire such that a U-shaped piece of wire sticks out from the mould
  • seal the holes with hot glue around the wire from the outside
    • close the slits with sellotape above the wires, then seal with hot glue also from the outside

Step 2: creativity

You can now arrange the inside of your mould with objects and glitter. The images show identical glittery stickers, where two stickers were stuck together to create a little diamont flower from both sides. The larger keychains show what used to be leather-earings.
Think about what colours/dye you might want to add to your resin. You can use food dye or any fine powder pigments.

Step 3: mix the resin

stir resin well

For small-scale objects resin is easy to use. For a more in-depth tutorial for larger projects read this.
Epoxy resin is toxic to touch and breathe in!

  • cover the table top with cling wrap or a plastic bag for protection
  • wear gloves
  • remove any resin that touches the skin with alcohol on a paper towel
  • loosely cover the letter scale with cling wrap, without the wrap causing tension (pressing down) on the scale
  • put the small plastic cup on the scale and measure a small amount of resin with the correct proportions (read your suppliers instructions carefully).
    • for my resin thats 2:1, i.e. 10g of product A and 5g of product B.
    • stir very well with a toothpick until all streaks disappear

Step 4: add glitter and dye

You can now add any glitter or dye to your resin. Stir well.

Step 5: pour the resin

Pour approx. 1cm (or until your objects are fully covered) of resin into your mould. You can now reaggange anything that might float around with the toothpick.
When you're done you can remove the gloves.

Step 6: wait 24h

This is the hardest part: wait for the resin to cure. Wait at least 12-24h and don't touch the surface in the meantime "to check".

Step 7: remove mould

Once fully cured, you can now pull off the mould from the base and the mould away from the resin cast. It should be fairly easy to pull or push out the plastic straw.

  • If your resin didn't cure properly, then you made a mistake measuring the amounts correctly, or, more likely, you didn't stir the resin well enough.

Step 8: removing sharp edges

You may find that the edges are rather sharp. You can use a cutterknife and pull it along the edges, or file the edges down. Either way, you will find that the edges look dull and not glossy any more.

Step 9: cleaning up eges (optional)

If you want to make the edges shiny again, you can mix another tiny amount of resin and carefully use a toothpick to distribute a few drops of resin around the front edges. Now wait again for 12-24h for the resin to cure.
You can then turn it upside down and do the same for the back edges. Wait another 12-24h.
If you have any damaged surfaces, you can simply cover them in another thin layer of resin to fix this.

Step 10: done!