If you missed the first part of this series, you can find it here

So, you've got your goods, and you're ready to pour some resin - well, hold up a minute there partner, there's some very important prep to do first.

First, print out your images, or draw/paint them. Because I use black and white images a lot, I usually print them out on matte photo paper to make the blacks really pop. But realistically any white paper will do. However, I would caution against using double sided images like comic book pages in resin - it's nearly impossible to seal them so the other side doesn't show through. They're perfect if you want to put them under a cabochon, but I haven't been able to get them to work successfully in resin.

Two black and white drawings

(Image shows two black and white drawings)

Next step is sealing any paper inserts - and when I say sealing, I mean coating them until they're more acrylic polymer than paper. Just coat the SHIT out of those suckers! Because I use images with a lot of white space, I've gotten into the habit of starting with two coats of white nail polish on the back of my images. Allow the polish to dry for at least an hour between coats, and then a couple of hours after the second coat. If you're using photos, you can probably skip this step.

Next up, grab your sealant and a brush (preferably not a particuarly special brush because it might get wrecked) and just go to town on the front of the images. Try and keep the coating as even as possible, but it's not a big deal if it's not perfectly even. Now, when you do this, the images might (will probably) curl up like so.

Several pieces of paper curled up

(Image shows several pieces of paper, some of which are curling)

That's okay! Don't sweat it! It's just what happens when the sealant soaks into the paper, which for our purposes is a good thing. They'll either flatten out as they dry, or later when we glue them down, so it's not a problem.

Leave this first coat to dry for a couple of hours, then come back and do another one right over the top of the last one. Then leave it to dry for another couple of hours - preferably overnight if you have the time.

Once the second coat is dry, you'll need to cut your images out. Personally, I use a set of tapestry sissors, but that's because I'm absolutely rubbish with a craft knife. If you're not, go ahead and use one of those bad boys. When you're done carefully, ever so carefully, cutting around all the tiny little edges, your table should look something like this.

Several pieces of paper with debris from cutting them out

(Image shows several pieces of paper, with rubbish left over from cutting them out)

Just a heads up - if you do this reguarly, no matter how carefully you sweep up the debris, there WILL be little tiny scraps of paper floating around your house. Sorry, it's just part of the whole thing.

You'll notice I've put the cut out images on a piece of plastic - in this case a zip lock bag. That's because things are about to get MESSY.

Next you'll need to pick up your little cut outs and coat them yet again with sealant. Be sure to get as much on the edges as possible by running the brush tip along the edge. Get it on the back, the front, the edges, alllll over. Coat the paper as thoroughly as you can.

A hand holding a tiny piece of paper, covered in sealant

(Image shows a closeup of a hand holding a tiny piece of paper, covered in sealant, and a brush)

You WILL get sealant all over your hands, so if you're particuarly adverse to that you can wear gloves. I don't bother, as you can see from the above picture. A good wash with soap and water will get it all off anyway.

Once you're done sealing your paper, put it down on the plastic and leave it alone for at LEAST a couple of hours - preferably overnight. 

While you're waiting, you can get the backgrounds for your inserts ready. This is remarkably easy - just take the base of your choice and pour nail polish into it. That's right, take the lid off, and just let it flow! It's best to pour out a good splodge into the middle of where you want the background to be, and then swirl it gently like you're swirling pancake batter in a frypan. 

Just a few notes on different types of polish you might want to use - as I said before, glitter polish is easiest to use. You can just pour it in, swirl it round, and it settles nice and evenly. Shimmer polish can be slightly trickier - if you just pour it in it tends to dry with "waves" through it where it swirled. You can go with that - sometimes it looks quite pretty - but if you want a perfectly even shimmer background you're better off pouring out a plain creme background, letting that dry overnight, and then painting a coat (or two) of shimmer over the top just like you were painting a nail. As I mentioned last time, if you want a plain creme background you're better off going with darker colours - lighter cremes, especially pastels, react quite annoyingly with the resin and can go green  or yellow and icky. 

Once you're done swirling and/or painting, your bases will need somewhere to dry overnight. Most bases have a chain loop built right in, so you'll need to put your bases on the edge of a table or similar with the chain loop hanging off the edge so it sits level.

Pendant bases hanging off the edge of a table

(Image shows pendant bases hanging off the edge of a table)

Now, you're going to want to leave your bases and your paper to dry overnight. And by overnight, I seriously mean at LEAST 24 hours. If you try and pour resin over nail polish that isn't completely and utterly dry it'll react, and won't cure properly. If you try and pour resin over paper that hasn't dried properly, the sealant will float off in gross flakes and the resin will sink into your paper, making awful dark spots. (I might have done both these things previously. At once. It was Not Good)

Once everything is dry, it's time to get the glue out! Grab your Micro Krystal Klear, cotton tips, or a disposable brush (because the glue WILL wreck the brush) and stick all your little bits of paper down against the backgrounds. 

This might seem obvious, but if you're trying to stick paper to a very glittery background you'll need to use a good glob of glue because the surface dries quite bumpy. Conversely if your polish background is less glittery, or not glittery at all, use a much thinner layer of glue. The gluing process, much like the sealing process will get messy. You'll get glue EVERYWHERE. I know I do.

Two bases with paintings glued into the centre of them

(Image shows two bases with paintings glued into the centre of them)

Don't fret too much about excess glue. Wipe off as much of it as you can with the pointy end of the cotton tip, but don't panic if you don't get it all. Leave the glued bases to dry for yet another 24 hours - if you're in a SUPER hurry you can narrow this down to 12 hours, but 24 is safer. 

When the glue is dry, take a minute to clear the excess glue off the images and background. The easiest way I've found to do this is either very VERY gently scraping a nail over the area I want to clean off, or just wiping firmly with my thumb. 

Once everything is dry and clean, you're ready to pour! (finally) Tune in next time for the final installment!