So you've got your bases prepared, the glue and polish all dry, and you're ready to pour - let's go through how to set up a tray of necklaces (or earrings) for a pour. You're going to need a silicone baking tray, in whatever size suits you - I tend to pour quite a few pieces at a time, so I have quite a large one. Silicone is best for this sort of thing because you can just peel any spilt resin off it once it's cured.
Image shows a silicone baking tray
(Side note - if you don't peel the resin off once it's cured and just leave it there, it will degrade the silicon eventually and tear it when you try to peel it off. That's why my tray has holes, so learn from my terrible example)
As I mentioned before, most pendant bases will have an inbuilt chain loop, which means they have to hang off the edge of something to sit level. I use paddlepop sticks, double sided tape, and mounting tape to make little tiny shelves I can line up in a tray. You can get all the supplies for this at most dollar stores or craft stores for very little cash.
Image shows ice cream sticks, a roll of mounting tape and a roll of double sided tape
You'll need to get four ice cream sticks, and line them up two by two - two across, and two thick. Tape them all together with regular sticky tape so they hold nice and steady.
Image shows four ice cream sticks taped together
Then take your mounting tape (that's the spongy one) and cover one side of your ice cream stick construction. Cover the other side with the double sided tape, so you have one spongy side, one smooth side, and both are sticky. Then place the ice cream stick construction in your tray like so.
Image shows ice cream sticks in a silicon tray with double sided tape on each side
As you can see, the spongy mounting tape goes on the bottom. You don't want to put pendant bases in direct contact with this stuff, because it will crumble pretty easily and get stuck to the bases. Ordinary double sided tape goes on the top, because it will hold the bases in place without leaving much debris when you remove them.
Once you've lined up as many little shelves as you need to hold your pieces, place your necklaces on them, pressing down relatively firmly so the tape gets a good grip on them. Remember to leave the loop hanging off the edge.
Image shows pendant bases lined up in a tray
Now, at long last, it's time for the resin! The most important thing to remember when trying to get a successful resin pour is that resin loves warmth. It just LOVES it - it loves it more than Donald Trump likes the sound of his own voice. If it's too cold, your resin will cure with an icky matte scum on top instead of the super shiny finish we're looking for. If you're pouring resin in summer in Australia, you're probably fine. But the ambient temperate is low enough that you're chilly in a tshirt, you're going to need to bring that up. The easiest way to do this is to simply set up a heater, shut the door, and make your room into a heat box.
(If it's super cold, or you're not getting good results, you can also experiment with heat lamps and cardboard boxes. I've never gotten this set up quite right though, so Google is your friend)
Once it's nice and toasty, it's time to mix the resin. Remember to read the instructions on the resin you've chosen carefully, and follow them EXACTLY. If it says 10ml Part A to 20ml Part B, don't just slosh in about ten mil and maybe 25 or so milliltres. Resin is a picky, persnickity baby and if you get the measurements wrong you can get resin that cures bubbly, resin that cures too fast, or resin that won't cure at all. So take your time, double check all your measurements, and read ALL the instructions.
When mixing your resin, be sure to mix it firmly, but also smoothly. You know how when you're beating a cake you just go to town? Don't do that. Do the opposite of that. But also, at the same time, you have to be sure it's mixed completely, so take care to scrape down the sides and mix it for a good long while. For a pour of 45ml, I usually stir for 90 seconds.
Once you're resin is all mixed up, it's time to get out your pipette. Squeeze the bulb so you push all the air out, stick the end in your cup, and the resin should flow up into the pipette.
Once you've got it in the pipette, slowly and gently squeeze the bulb again so the resin flows out into the caivty of the pendant base.
Image shows using a pippette to pour resin into a pendant base
I emphasise, do this slowly and carefully. If you overfill the bases, the resin will run over the edge. Because we've put the pendant bases on a little shelf, the excess resin will just flow out harmlessly onto the tray, but sometimes it flows into the chain loop, and if that happens you're kind of stuffed. It's almost impossible to get it out of that little loop once it's in there, and a pendant without a hole for the chain is useless.
Once you've filled up all your bases, leave the setup alone for 10 minutes. Once the 10 minutes is up, you'll need to come back and check for bubbles. Now, I'll tell you this for free, there almost DEFINITELY will be bubbles. A lot of resin guides I've seen seem to think there's some magic voodoo you can do to ensure no bubbles at all, but if there is I've never found it. It's okay though, we can get rid of the bubbles!
Get your pipette, and squeeze all the air out of it again. Position the opening over the bubble you want to get rid of, and ever so gently loosen your grip on the bulb of the pipette. This will suck the bubble into the pipette, and you can squirt it safely off to the side.
Image shows using a pipette to remove bubbles from wet resin
This takes some practice, and you have to be very very gentle in order to make sure you don't pull out a bunch of perfectly good resin with the bubble. Once you've cleared all the bubbles you can see, leave it alone for another 10 minutes. Once that 10 minutes is up, it's bubble checking time again! Get your pipette, and go to town on those suckers again.
Depending on how fast your resin cures, you might need to repeat this process as many as six or seven times. You want to keep checking every ten minutes until the resin is too solid to easily push the pipette into. Once it's cured that far, you just gotta step back and put your hopes in a great Resin Lord who will ensure no further bubbles form.
Depending on what resin you use, it can take from 24 to 48 hours for resin to completely cure hard. You'll initially get a "soft" cure, where the resin turns kind of rubbery, and then eventually it will get hard enough to be tapped on with a fingernail like glass. If you tap it with a fingernail and it leaves a mark, it's not done yet and you need to leave it alone. But if it makes a nice tapping sound and there's no visible impression, you're good to go!
So that's it, that's how I make my resin pieces. If I've missed anything, or if you have questions, feel free to pipe up!