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I am looking for a way to do the following. 1. Arrange a pattern of semi-precious stones. 2. Embed it in a transparent medium so that it can be hung up, say in front of a window.

Someone suggested I use ClearCast epoxy in a silicone mold. I sort of like this idea, but the problem is that if I just pour epoxy over the stones, the whole thing will have exposed stones on one side. I'd like to have it smooth on both sides. Another thing that occurred to me is to lay the stones on a sheet of glass, and then pour the epoxy over that, but I don't know how well that would work. How well would the epoxy bond to the glass? Also, what would be a good way of keeping a rectangular shape on the sides?

Another option would be to do two pours. After pouring onto the stones and letting it harden, I could turn it over and then pour a second layer. Any ideas on how well the second pour would bond to the first, and also would I expect a visible fault plane in the middle?

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. Feel free to alter the tags.

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  • How large were you planning on making this. Sounds really heavy. Your mounting hardware will need to be accounted for as well. – Matt Feb 13 '17 at 14:39
  • @Matt I'll probably start small (e.g. 8"x8") to see how it turns out before trying to make it bigger. – Jim Conant Feb 13 '17 at 16:24
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Another option would be to do two pours.

This would be what I would have tried/suggested with epoxy resin. Make the first pour and let it harden. Do your best to try and remove bubbles during both pours obviously. You don't want to pour to fill half but slightly less then that so your object appear suspended in the middle of the finished piece. This will be harder to accomplish if your objects are of greatly different thicknesses. What works against you here is that most epoxies are self leveling.

Once the first pour has hardened you can start the next one. Depending on the contours of your rocks you will need to be wary of trapped air bubbles. You could either put the rocks in first and pour or place the rocks mid pour. The ladder should mitigate the epoxy moving your rocks around during the pour.

The two+ pours method is used frequently with painting to create the illusion of 3 dimensions. One example is this video showing the artist filling the bottom of the box with resin and a painted goldfish.

Video thumbnail
Emil Hauge - Painting 3D fish

While looking for something else I found another video showing how to make a rock embedded coaster with resin and a silicone mold. Seems to line up with the suggestions given above. Only difference being the rocks were set before the first pour cured completely. If you want your rocks to be suspended it might be better if you wait until it has hardened.

Also, what would be a good way of keeping a rectangular shape on the sides?

Using some sort of mold would be your best option. You see them commonly used in resin jewelry. Large rectangular molds do exist. A cursory search found a 7 inch square mold that was 3/4 inches deep.

I saw someone use a mini red solo cup as a mold and it worked perfectly. You would need to test your resin first to see how it reacts. Not all resin products are created equally.

I am not sure of other materials or home brew options for molds. It would have to be something non permeable. This could easily be another question.

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  • Great idea to do two pours! This should give a more uniform appearance than using glass on one side. – Jim Conant Feb 13 '17 at 18:53
  • @JimConant You are welcome to mark whatever answer you want with the checkmark but, in general, I would suggest waiting. Sometimes that discourages others from answering. – Matt Feb 13 '17 at 19:56

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