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Topic: Resin help - getting a buoyant object to stay down?  (Read 1414 times)
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« on: June 10, 2013 01:38:20 AM »

So I've been dabbling in epoxy resin pendants lately, using silicone resin molds and putting things like living moss and pine cones and other little living trinkets in there.

The only thing so far that has alluded me are mushrooms. I've tried twice now to put mushrooms in the molds, but the things are so damn buoyant they just instantly float to the surface, causing them to burst open after it's dry and, inevitably, decompose inside the pendant.

My first attempt, I tried putting a lubricated tuperware lid on top of the molds, but that only served to create a lot of excess resin on the backs of the molds which, when peeled off, just destroyed the mushroom caps within. Second attempt, I tried to soak them in resin before hand, gently moving them around to try and get the air bubbles out of the gills, but it didn't really help.

So my plan C, is to fill the mold only half up, let the mushroom cap "float" on top of that for two hours or so, until it's no longer a liquid, then fill the rest of the mold up, effectively letting the resin cure in two separate parts.

Anyone have any experience with that, who could tell me how that might work out? Anyone have a better idea to help me keep the little mushroom caps down?
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« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2013 04:03:25 PM »

I think Plan C is the way to go. I've only tried candy and sprinkles and yes, I fill just the first third of the mold, let sit, and then add the imbedded stuff, wait some more, and then add the last bit of resin.

There are some good tutorials on YouTube.

Good luck - I'm going to take a nature walk and start collecting goodies for more pendants.

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« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2013 03:46:00 AM »

plan c is an option, and you could do thinner layers.  One of just resin to get a base in, then a thin layer to set the mushroom in, let that set to glue the mushroom in, then layer to surround.  Working with resin is an act of patience, but working in the thinner layers is how you can get those layered dimensional collages. 

Have you also tried just gluing the mushroom down on one layer of resin before pouring the next also?   That will work as well, to hold light elements down and keep them from floating.  Just a thin dab of a clear drying glue, let it dry well, then layer the resin on.  I use mod podge to seal my paper, and to glue them down so they don't float in my bezels, or molds.  Or UV cure resin too if you want a fast resin option

« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2013 01:43:44 AM »

Thank you for all the help everyone. I've tried it again, and was slightly more successful, but apparently two layers was not enough, and I still woke up the next day to find the mushroom caps poking up out of the surface. I guess I was too hasty again.

It really just comes down to a fight between the drying time of the resin, and the rapid decomposition of the tender little mushrooms. Ah well, I'll get the hang of it eventually.

At least I now have a metric ton of throwaway pendants for me to experiment with.

Edit:: Wanted to say that I have finally had some partial success, after five attempts, and wanted to share the process.

The mushrooms I use have to be fresh, like pick them, bring them inside and immediately start mixing the resin. I'm not sure if that's the case for all variety of fungi but the type I'm using (Panaeolus foenisecii or "Common Field Mushroom") decomposes so quickly that this has to be the case.

I mixed the resin in the smallest possible container I could find, in this case a small plastic dixie cup with the top half cut off. After mixing the resin, I submerge the caps of the mushrooms I'll be using in the resin, hold it down with the stirring stick, and gently coax out some of the air from the gills by blowing into slowly with a straw. Once the mushroom is a little less buoyant I pull it out, put it in the mold, drizzle a little less than half the volume of the mold's worth of the resin on top of them, then let them rest (after messing with them to get some of the air out from under the caps with more straw blowing). After about three hours, heaven willing the mushrooms haven't rotted to a depressed state, I pour the rest on and let it cure. After it's cured properly and popped out of the mold, in most cases I have to use a toothpick to add a very thin layer to the back of the mold, and let it cure another 24 hours.

They still seem to find a way to collect a few air bubbles around the top of the cap, and they still seem to want to shrivel and compress a little bit within the resin, but for now, at least, they're in there.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013 08:30:27 PM by Squiver » THIS ROCKS   Logged
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2013 09:18:05 PM »

I don't recall you saying what kind of mold you used, but if it's possible maybe you could do your entire piece "reversed"? As in, do it all backwards so you're placing the mushroom in upside down (gills upwards) so when the air bubbles come out they're easier to get rid of. Let us know if you end up having success with your project! I'm curious if the fresh mushroom's moisture would end up doing anything to the resin to cause it to not cure right or become cloudy, etc.
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