Making resin fruit jewelry is a process that I have been perfecting and refining for what feels like forever.
I have to admit, I am hesitant to put this on a blog. It is like my secret recipe (that hundreds of other random people also know).
P.S. If you don’t feel like investing the time and effort, I sell these necklaces here on my Etsy Store!
It took me 2 years of trial and error to make my fruit pendants look THIS nice and colorful.
Anyway, because this process is so long and detailed, I am going to do this tutorial in parts. Sorry! I know it’s annoying! This project takes 3 days to finish, so this tutorial series will go from Day 1 to Day 3.
Be patient. It’s worth it! I promise. It’s easy to make a big batch of them at a time, and they make really unique gifts. I’m thinking end of year teach gifts, or something little for my group of friends from high school at our five year reunion. Wearing this jewelry is an instant conversation starter. I swear I meet 3x the number of new people when I go out with my kiwi necklace on. These are one of my top sellers at festivals and craft markets.
If you DON’T have the patience or tools to do this, you can always buy a necklace from my online store.
This is what you will need to accomplish this project. Think of it as… a recipe.
NOTE: This is the complete list for the entire finished project.
#1 Fresh Kiwis and Oranges and pretty much any other fruit that looks nice when it is sliced.
Starchy fruits or veggies don’t turn out so well. Blood oranges look beautiful but it’s a toss up as to whether they have that nice red color inside, and starfruit turns out looking very unique. Play around with it! Fruit is relatively inexpensive, and the possibilities are (almost) endless. (I’m kind of cheap, so five dollars for a piece of fruit I am not going to eat feels expensive, but in the long run it’s just five dollars…)
These are easy to come by, but they are a little costly. I’m pretty sure most people use them to make jerky or edible dried fruit, but you can get pretty creative with it. You can even quicken the process of drying pressed flowers if you have the right equipment (I’ve never done this before but I’ve seen posts about it). I borrowed my mom’s round dehydrator (which she uses to make organic dog treats for the most spoiled member of my family…) and it works beautifully. It has circular plastic trays with slatted holes. The best quality ones are typically square with oven-like trays. I’d recommend amazon.com for this! You get the best deals and all dehydrators are relatively the same for the purposes of this craft.
#3 Corn Starch
#4 Boiling water
# 5 Large paintbrush
#6 Wax Paper
#7 Resin & Hardener
AC Moore and Michael’s both carry the resin set that I use. It is specifically made for making jewelry, meaning it is good for about 3 uses and is less expensive than the super serious resin. I would definitely recommend this type of kit for someone who has never used resin before. Seriously. Don’t buy the big tin and separate little resin hardener. You will regret it and most likely ruin your fruit jewelry. If you are more experienced, you know what you like!
#8 Cupcake Silicone Baking Pan
#9 Unimportant Pair of Scissors (ones that can get ruined and you won’t care)
#10 Tongue Depressors or Popsicle Sticks (anything disposable and wooden will do)
Cut each fruit into very thin slices. Do it perpendicular to the grain (like the way someone cuts down a tree). Keep the slices around 2-3 cm thick. It doesn’t have to be exact, but the fruit will take much longer to become dehydrated if the slices of fruit are too thick. The photo also helps to give a better idea of the thickness.
I highly recommend using a serrated knife. It cuts through the skin without morphing the form of the fruit much at all.
Personally I leave the skin of the fruits on the slices for the time being. It makes them keep a rounder shape when they are drying and prevents some shriveling in the end.
Place the finished slices on a towel as you go. This helps to soak up the excess juice and saves a little bit of time in the dehydrating step.
PREPARE CORNSTARCH MIXTURE
I am not completely sure why cornstarch helps keep the color of the fruit, but it totally does! I am a bioengineer, so I could do the ten seconds of research to find out if I wanted to,but I am also a lazy bioengineer.
Take about 1 TBSP of cornstarch and set it aside. Measure out 100 mL of water, and begin to heat on the stove in a sauce pot.
NOTE: I basically guess about the amount of cornstarch to put in. Again, not very scientific but for our purposes this works. I basically heat the water and add cornstarch until the solution is saturated (won’t soak up any more cornstarch powder). Whatever works, right?
After the water begins to boil, add the corn starch a little at a time, whisking to mix continuously. After it’s all added, continue to boil/whisk for 3 to 4 minutes. After this is finished, either make sure there aren’t chunks of cornstarch left in the solution or remove them with a spoon. It’s the soupy liquid that ya want.
Pour the finished mixture into a glass container. Bring it on over to your sliced fruit, along with a large paintbrush. Coat the slices of fruit in the solution, being careful not to drench them. You want them to look shiny & wet but not be sitting in a pool of liquid. Flip them and do the same to the other side of the slices.
Open up your dehydrator and lay your cornstarch-coated fruit slices on the trays. They can be placed close together or spread apart. There is no real science to this part. Just load all of your slices so that they lay flat on the trays.
Once you are ready to turn on the dehydrator, find a place in your house that is both dry and isolated. The machine sounds like an quiet air conditioner, but sometimes even white noise can be disruptive (says my mom who likes to work in the area that I usually set it up in). It also smells a little funky when the fruit is almost ready. It doesn’t smell bad honestly, just kind of weird. It’s faint. Don’t worry about it. I am very sensitive to smells and it doesn’t bother me. Also if you put it in a damp area (i.e. a garage ) the slices of fruit never truly dry.
Turn the dehydrator to heat to 115 degrees fahrenheit. It’s the magic number! I’ve tried a couple of other settings and this temperature is the most successful at preserving the color and also getting the slices to dry sufficiently.
That’s it for Day One! The fruit will take 12 to 48 hours to dry completely, depending on how thinly you slice your fruit. For that amount of time, you can relax!
Just a tid bit of a preview of the next post (because I don’t want to screw up anyone’s
attempt project by accident) :
KNOWING WHEN TO REMOVE THE FRUIT FROM THE DEHYRDATOR: The fleshy part of the fruit will become quite thin and fragile. It may not be completely stiff, and you will have to be very careful peeling them off of the trays. The most important part of knowing they are done is making sure they are not squishy. Yeah very scientific, descriptive term. But you don’t want to feel any cushiony potentially juicy fruit pieces. You want to be able to touch the slice and feel either the tray beneath or the hardened fruit flesh. Super important! Be patient! It takes a lot of time for the slices to get this way, but luckily it’s passive work for you. Just check them every 12 hours.