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Topic: Custom Belt Buckles made with Casting Resin (tutorial included)  (Read 4590 times)
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kitkraft
« on: December 29, 2010 01:43:01 PM »

We took boring belts from a thrift store and switched out the simple buckles for our crazy buckles we made using casting resin.



SO DOPE! right?

I included the tutorial here but theres not alot we can do with the layout so if this is hard to read you can follow along with the same instructions (better presentation) at:

http://kitkraft.biz/blog/?p=158


So here's how we did it!  step by step...

Before you begin make sure you have:

    * A Belt with standard style buckle (we found hundreds of old belts at our local thrift store for under 2$ each)
    * Casting resin
    * A Resin molding tray
    * Measuring cups + stirring sticks
    * Latex gloves
    * Pliers
    * Sturdy scissors
    * Hammer
    * Small objects to embed into your belt buckle. (metal, wood, plastic, fabric, glitter, coins, beads, chain, powdered pigments, colorant, sequins, dried flowers, and/or coated photo paper all work great. try and skip anything with moisture and clear things as they will tend to disappear into the resin, example: rhinestones and marbles)

It isnt completely necessary, but we recommend

    * a torch or similar (cigar lighter works too)
    * a c-clamp or spring clamp
    * mold release



Make sure you do this outside. Casting resin requires ventilation, even though its virtually odorless. Put down plastic or a thick covering of newspaper first to catch any drips. Make sure your work surface is level, so that the resin settles evenly. Casting resin (epoxy resin) cures according to temperature. If its 75 F outside, then the resin will stay workable for about 1.5 hours. If its 50 F outside, youre going to have a working time of about 3 hours. The colder it is, the more patient youre going to have to be. If possible, set the trays by a heat source, like a space heater. In the heat of summer, this stuff can cure in as little as 30 minutes.

-----------------------------------

First get started by beheading the belt! Cut off the buckle as close as you can and separate it completely from the belt.



Using your pliers, separate the the pin on the buckle from the frame. Then straighten the pin out flat with an arched tail. It should resemble a cane, or a J. Some pins are harder than others to bend, depending on what type and gauge metal they are.  You can use a hammer to help you get the flat part. Here is an example of two pins out of their frames, before and after transformation



So now that your pins are done and the belt separated, youre ready for the casting resin. Put on your gloves. Mix up a batch of resin, about 1 oz (16 drams if youre using a medicine cup). Make sure you measure equal amounts of the resin and mix thoroughly!



Pour the resin into the mold and let it settle. Let it sit there for about 10 to 15 minutes so the air bubbles can rise out.



If you have a torch, pass the flame over the surface briefly to pop all the bubbles instantly and leave behind a crystal clear surface. If you dont have a torch, just be patient and hope for the best.

Now for the fun part!

Start placing the objects into the resin, keeping in mind that the buckle will be viewed from bottom. Place everything face-down, and make sure that no air bubbles get caught in cracks and crevices. (use the popsicle stick to  push around the objects until the air bubbles wiggle out.) You can check periodically what the buckle is going to look like by holding up the tray and looking at it from below. Just make sure you dont spill it when youre admiring it!



Once you have it all laid out and perfect, let it cure until its sticky (about 1.5 hours in 75 F).

When the surface is no longer liquid (when you cant poke the popsicle stick into the resin anymore), its time to pour the second layer. Mix up enough resin to fill the tray 3/4 full. Depending on the size of your mold, it could be anywhere from 1/2 oz. to 3 oz. You can embed more stuff, add colorant or glitter, or just leave it clear. Then let it cure until its sticky again. (about 1.5 hours in 75 F). You can also torch the surface again to pop those annoying little air bubbles.



Now that the second layer is tacky, lay the pin onto the surface with the arch curving up toward the sky. (if it starts sinking, the resin isnt hard enough yet) Arrange it center-right (or center-left if you prefer to buckle your belt that way). This will be the mechanism that fastens through the belt holes. Next, pour enough resin to cover the flat part of the pin, but not enough to cover the arch. If you look at the surface parallel, you will just see the curve of the pin sticking up out of the resin. Last thing you do is lay the belt face down in the resin. Make sure the end is completely submerged, and it trails out of the mold. You may need to clamp it down if the belt is unruly. Heres what our two belts looked like in their final step



Let this all sit for a good long while. We happened to time these perfectly so that they could cure fully overnight (a 10 hour period in 65 F) The next morning, they were hardened nicely. De-mold your buckle from the tray, (using a mallet or small hammer to gently loosen the buckle from the mold) be patient, even though i know youre excited to see the final product! Once the buckle comes out of the mold, run a knife around the underside edge to remove any excess resin and sharp edges. Now its ready to wear!
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lvl0rg4n
lvl0rg4n says Morgan
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« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2010 09:35:17 PM »

This is really cool! I am almost inspired to wear belts to give this a try.
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torrence
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2010 08:33:08 AM »

Is casting resin available at most craft stores?
These are badass. Do they weigh very much?
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PrincessSandyHands
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2011 12:00:48 PM »

neat idea and good tute -- thanks for the pictures!
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FrederickFenton
« Reply #4 on: March 15, 2011 03:46:35 PM »

The naked cat on a belt buckle has something hilarious about it, very neat nonetheless!
And thanks alot for the tut, you make working with resin look easy.
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More of the stuff I make @ http://frederickfenton.tumblr.com/
rourynka
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2012 12:38:17 PM »

Great idea. And also good to see 50 czech crowns coin on this belt. Haha cool. I'm from Czech rep.
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