More Kaleidoscope Pendants
After my last blog post, someone asked if it would be possible to use fabric rather than photo paper to make the resin pendants. I knew it was possible to embed fabric in the cast pieces, but I wanted to embellish the fabric with stitching and make domed pieces rather than cast. After a few “learning experiences”, I think I’ve figured out a way to do this – and I absolutely love the results!
Here are some tips to make these pendants. I assume you already know how to make the kaleidoscopes in Kaleidoscope Kreator and how to print on fabric. I am using the Little Windows resin and you can find instructions for the doming technique on their site.
1. When printing the kaleidoscope from Kaleidoscope Kreator, increase the Brightness in the printer driver by +10 to +15 (in addition to whatever other adjustments you usually make for printing on fabric). You may need to play around with the Brightness value to find what works best for your printer. The reason for increasing the Brightness is that when the fabric absorbs the resin, it gets darker – just like it would look if it were wet. If you print your image at normal Brightness, it might end up looking too dark in the finished pendant.
2. I printed my designs on pre-treated inkjet fabric sheets using an Epson printer with pigment (either UltraChrome or DuraBrite) ink. I did not rinse my fabric to set the ink and I did not have any problems with the ink running when I poured the resin over it. However I have not tested this with other printers or inks, so if you have a different printer, you will want to test to make sure the ink doesn’t run!
3. After printing on the fabric, I removed the backing paper and then stuck the entire fabric sheet onto a full-sheet label.* The full-sheet label serves two functions. First, it becomes the stabilizer for the stitching. I tried many different stabilizers, but found the label sheets to be the easiest and the thinnest. Second, it provides a white backing for the fabric. I discovered that when the resin is absorbed by the fabric, not only does the image darken, but the fabric becomes more translucent and whatever color is behind the fabric starts to show through and affect the printed colors. Thus, pure white is the best backing because it doesn’t interfere with the printed design and it helps to brighten the image.
*You may wonder if instead of printing on pre-treated inkjet fabric sheets, you could simply adhere white fabric to a full sheet label, print on it and then stitch. I wonder the same thing – I just haven’t had a chance to try it yet! In theory, if you are using pigment inks, this should work just fine and would save the step of removing the backing paper from the printable fabric and then sticking it on the label. You may also wonder why I didn’t just use the backing paper as the stabilizer. The main reason is because it is thicker than the label and the thickness does become a bit of an issue by the time you’ve put all the layers together for the pendant.
4. When choosing a thread to use for embellishment, be aware that any thread other than metallic will darken in the resin as if it were wet – just like the fabric does. If you choose thread to match the fabric, it will become very difficult to see in the resin. If you want your stitching to show, then I recommend using metallic threads. Or choose other threads (cotton, polyester, rayon, etc.) that are one or two shades lighter than you would normally choose. That way they should have enough contrast to show up once the resin is poured. (I used all metallic threads in the three pendants shown here.)
5. I print more than one kaleidoscope pendant per sheet of fabric. (In fact, I usually fit four 1.5″ square kaleidoscopes across the width of a sheet.) And I do all of my stitching before cutting the pendants apart. I find it easier to hold a full sheet (or a strip) rather than a little two inch square when doing free motion stitching.
6. Create the back of the pendant. These are not double-sided pendants, but I still wanted the back to look nice. I came up with two methods:
The first (and I think easiest) method is to paint a separate full-sheet label in a color that coordinates with your pendants (or black if you prefer). I used Lumiere acrylic paint and just love the look! I used a sponge to apply it (rather than a brush), but you can use whatever you like. Just paint right on the label and then let it dry. It may curl a bit due to the moisture of the paint. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt the end result!
The second method is to use the same paint, but paint on bright white cardstock rather than a full-sheet label.
The advantage to using the label is that it already has adhesive on it (to stick to the back of the stitched fabric). However, I found that the label I used was fairly thin and the stitching lines showed as “bumps” once I stuck it to the back of the fabric. If that’s not an issue for you, then I recommend using the label. If you’d rather have a smooth-looking back, then you’ll want to use the cardstock. (I used cardstock.)
7. Attach the painted back to the stitched fabric. I usually cut the pendants apart at this point because I tend to have lots of different colors and want different colors for the backs. Cut the kaleidoscopes out very loosely, i.e. leave at least a 1/4 inch border around each one. (You want a little excess when sticking the front & back pieces together.) Then cut out a piece of the backing to roughly the same size.
If you are using the label for the back, just stick it on. If you are using the cardstock, then use a tacky tape sheet to adhere the front & back together. I like to use Treasure Tape sheets for this. It’s important to use an adhesive sheet rather than strips of tape so that there is full coverage. Any areas that are not fully adhered may end up bubbling during the resin pouring. (I’m not sure if you can use glue. I have been experimenting with glitter glue on some other pendants and find that the glue seems to introduce bubbles in the resin. I haven’t experimented enough to know if other glues would work or not.)
8. Use a hard rubber brayer to go over all of the layers and ensure that everything is stuck together really well. Or if you have a die cut machine like Spellbinders, Sissix, Cuttlebug, etc., you can run it through that (without the dies!) to press everything together.
9. Now trim away the excess around the edges. I use a straight edge and rotary cutter (one that I’ve dedicated to paper), but you could use sharp scissors if you want. Then I use sharp scissors to round and/or shape the corners. Rounding the corners is optional, but I prefer the look of rounded corners.
10. Seal the edges with the same paint that you used for the back of the pendant. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to put a small amount of paint on a non-porous surface, use a brush to spread it out to a very thin layer. Then just tap the each side of the pendant in the paint. Check to make sure there is good coverage, then gently tap the corners in the paint as well. I’ve found this is easier than using a paint brush, but you can do that instead if you’d like. Let the paint dry thoroughly before starting the resin process because water and resin do not mix!
11. You’ll need to do two pours of the resin (one for each side) letting the resin harden on one side first, then flipping over to resin the other. I like to pour resin on the back side first – just in case something drips in the second pouring, it will mar the back rather than the front. So, place the pendants face down on the doming tray. Mix and pour the resin according to the directions. Let harden. Then flip the pendants face up and pour a second batch of resin.
12. Drill hole and attach a pinch bail to finish the pendant. (Or simply glue a bail on the back.)
Other ideas that you might want to try:
– Shapes other than square.
– Embellishing with hotfix crystals or beads (before pouring the resin).
– Beading around the pendant (like a cabochon).