Seated at a large table in her Huntington Station home filled with containers of intricate clock gears, Vivi Sun looks like an intense watchmaker as she carefully handles the pieces she has chosen for her project.
But Sun, 45, isn’t a watchmaker. She’s among a growing number of DIYers on Long Island who’ve become hooked on all things epoxy resin because of the one-of-a-kind glasslike designs they can create ranging from coasters, tumblers, dog tags and keychains to elegant jewelry, trays, furniture and more.
They’re all over social media, with many DIYers like Sun making a business out of crafting. Sun specializes in earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets and men’s cuff links made with clock components encapsulated in resin.
Ariana Boroumand, 23, of Middle Island, designs resin trays to hold jewelry and other items.
"I started resin during the pandemic," she says. "I just love how the medium is — a liquid that turns into a solid. It’s a piece of art but you can make something you can utilize."
WHAT IS RESIN?
Resin is a sticky, flammable organic substance exuded by some trees and other plants that starts as a liquid and can be poured into various molds to create a solid cast that forms over approximately 24 hours when left untouched.
"It’s one of the mediums that blew up on TikTok during the pandemic," says Bryce Krzenski, 26, a Southampton native who created a resin trinket dish in which she preserved the first flowers her fiance ever gave her. "It’s a great way to create your own memories of things."
Epoxy resin, the most commonly used type of resin for crafting, is a specific type of two-part resin, according to Katherine Swift who runs craft site resinobsession.com. Because it's the easiest to measure and mix, it's an ideal choice for beginners.
"There’s just nothing else like it," Krzenski adds, "you never know exactly how it will turn out, and each piece is unique."
Krzenski’s father taught her to use resin when it was sold largely in marine shops for use on boats but otherwise could be difficult to find. "Michaels was maybe selling one type and it was very expensive, but now there are more options," she adds. Customizable molds are available too.
Sun, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology who studied jewelry design, says she started working with resin about 10 years ago and found watch components the perfect match for the medium.
"I want to include more colors in my jewelry, not just silver and gold," Sun says. "I found that by using resin as a medium I can include colors and unconventional materials." Sun sells her pieces on Etsy and her most popular collection, Frozen Time, features vintage watch components.
"It is a style known as steampunk," she explains. "By taking apart a vintage wristwatch and immersing the movements piece by piece into resin, it is like creating a painting with watch gears. My steampunk design does not have a rough edge, not bulky, but clean, elegant."
Shari Wagner, 61, of North Babylon, says that for her, making resign designs is an "addiction" and "stress reliever." She started with trays about three years ago, has added paintings to her repertoire, and made resin jewelry in a workshop held at Let’s Craft in Westbury.
One of her more creative designs is a 22-inch resin map of Long Island.
"I felt it was very unique and gave the most incredible glass finish," Wagner says of resin. She normally uses a "very high-quality" epoxy resin that takes 48 hours to dry, but notes a UV light was used at Let’s Craft for quick drying.
Kate Lavoie, 37, of Seaford, who makes lots of "glitter" glasses, pens and tumblers, says resin definitely requires patience for drying time and other reasons. "I probably watched close to 100 different YouTube tutorials," Lavoie says. "I wouldn’t say it’s easy."
CHECK OUT THEIR WORK
- Bryce Krzenski, 26, of Southampton: Sells online at merakibybk.com.
- Vivi Sun, 45, of Huntington Station: On Etsy and at vivisunjewelry.com.
- Ariana Boroumand, 23, of Middle Island: Owns Resin Design by Ariana, and her pieces are sold through Etsy, Instagram and Facebook.
- Shari Wagner, 61, of North Babylon: Owns the company Bamboozeld and sells her products on Etsy and at bamboozeld.net.
- Kate Lavoie, 37, of Seaford: Sells her Kay Mac Kreations on Facebook.
TRYING IT YOURSELF
Source: Ariana Boroumand of Middle Island, owner of Resin Design by Ariana
What You’ll Need: A well-ventilated area, level workspace, disposable gloves, silicone mat or disposable plastic covering, 1:1 ratio epoxy resin, silicone mold, heat gun/blow torch, measuring cups, mixing sticks
1. Prepare your workspace. When working with epoxy resin, safety is key. Make sure to have disposable gloves, and work in a well-ventilated area. Use a silicone mat or a disposable plastic covering to protect surfaces from spills. Be sure to check your workspace is level to ensure your resin piece cures properly.
2. Mix your epoxy resin. Depending on the size of your mold, determine how much resin you will need to mix up. When using 1:1 mixing ratio, you will need to measure half hardener and half resin. Once measured, use a mixing stick to mix both solutions together slowly. Make sure to mix in the same direction for 3 to 5 minutes. Mixing slow and steady helps to avoid unwanted air bubbles.
3. Add your design. Mix in any pigments, inks, or glitter you may want for your design, or place any flowers and other objects in the mold.
4. Start pouring. Pour your mixed resin in the mold to create a colorful design or to submerge and cast any objects within it. Use your heat gun to lightly and carefully hover over the piece to get rid of any air bubbles.
5. Let it cure. Most epoxy resin takes 24 hours to fully harden, but it varies.
6. De-molding. After 24 hours has passed, your piece will have hardened within the mold. Epoxy resin sticks to every surface besides silicone. Slowly and carefully pull your piece away from the mold.