Photo charms are charming!

May 10, 2008

When I received my new charm bracelet, I immediately began a search for a photo charm that a picture of Brooklyn could added to and worn on my bracelet. I found some very nice ones, however, the price tags were a bit more than I wanted to spend.
On a whim, I checked out the Etsy web site. It's a site where people sell their homemade crafted items. If you have never checked it out, it's worth your time. There are some very beautiful things listed there for sale. I did a search and found Tamara's Etsy store, Best Beads. (~Tamara also has another Etsy store called McFarland Designs where she sells jewelry she has created. She does beautiful work.~) Tamara was great to work with and I plan on shopping at her store in the future. She had sterling silver charms for sale and a help page about using resin to seal the photo in the charm. I've never heard of using resin as a creative medium. One small Google search on resin opened up a whole new world for me that sparked my imagination and got my creative juices flowing. Do a Google search on resin and you will find all kinds of neat projects you can do with it. I was excited about getting started!  I quickly got busy shopping for the supplies I would need. Some I purchased on line at Creative Wholesale and some at my local craft store. The heat gun would be the biggest expense. It's used to help pop the air bubbles in the resin after mixing. When I did my research on resin, one site suggested using an embossing tool. So, with my 40% coupon in hand, I headed to the craft store and purchased my heat gun for $15, whcih was a much better price than a heat gun at a hardware store. 

The hardest part of this whole project was finding a picture to use, get it scaled down to the correct size and not have it be distorted. I spent over 8 hours trying different things. That's one area where I can't help you much if you want to make a charm of your own. Every computer is going to have different programs for printing pictures and resizing. My suggestion is to use regular paper and take notes about what worked and what didn't. After you get it all figured out, then use your photo paper. I was tempted to not use photo paper because it looked "okay" on regular paper, however, since I had to run to Wal-Mart on an errand, I decided to buy some photo paper just to see if it really mattered. Trust me, it does. I'm VERY glad I reconsidered and purchased the photo paper for this project. 

One of the biggest helps for me was watching the YouTube by FunkyTreasures about working with resin. She has several tutorials with great ideas and tips. When you have an hour or two of free time, check them out. 

The tray of mold in the picture wasn't needed for the charm project. I just wanted you to see an example of a resin mold. The clear spray paint is used to seal the picture before it's coated with resin. It helps prevent air bubbles if the picture is sealed.

The craft glue has been added and all I need to do is slide the picture of Brooklyn into the slit at the bottom of the charm, let dry and then add the resin. 

Supplies needed for the resin. Read and follow the instructions carefully!!! I used the stir stick to carefully add resin to the charm by allowing it to drip and carefully spreading it. It was tricky to not get too much in the charm and have it overflow. Gloves are a must, as are craft sticks for stirring and disposable plastic cups to mix the resin in. When you are done, just toss them all in the trash.  

I put a pan over the charm so no dust and dog hair would get into the resin as it dried. With the left over resin, I decided to try using one of the molds.

After drying for 24 hours, here are the finished projects.  The dots in the sheep picture aren't as noticeable in real life. This is very much a trial and error type of craft. For my first time, I'm pleased.


  1. They turned out really cute, Amy! Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Well, how NICE!!!
    You smartie! I'd never given a thought to making this. Have learned something new. Thanks for sharing it.

  3. Marilyn@A Mixed BouquetSaturday, May 10, 2008

    Very neat project!

  4. My Heart For Him (Jesus)Saturday, May 10, 2008

    I have an etsy shop.

    I don't have any of those cool charms, but I am slowly adding lots of other great stuff. :)

  5. Those charms are absolutely ADORABLE!! Thanks for all the tips on the process; I'd like to try it some day.

    "Hated" the link to the etsy shop though - - - because there are so many rings, bracelets, and a necklace that I neeeeeeeeeeeed, now that I've seen them! : )

  6. Amy, those are darling, and you give the best tutorials. You are a natural born teacher (among the many other hats you wear). :-)


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