This past winter one of our favorite reads was Chirri & Chirra: The Snowy Day where two girls have a lovely fantastical winter adventure. Chirri and Chirra, hanging out with some woodland creatures in an igloo, play with frozen marbles that have flower buds in the middle, then later take a hot springs bath and drop the marbles in to the water only to watch the buds melt and the flowers bloom! It’s gorgeous and basically I KNEW when we read it in the drab and cold winter that, come springtime, I would make our own real flower glass marbles. And so we did!
All of the flowers we used were freshly picked.
A couple things to note:
- Some flowers wilt fast so you do not have much time before getting them in to the resin mix.
- Any blue or pink or purple flower lost its color almost immediately upon contacting the resin mix. They turned colorless. Yellow flowers seemed to do just fine.
- An alternate method to keep the flower color in tact would be to use flower press first, and then later cast the dried flower in the resin. I have not tried this yet.
Resin Casting Supplies
- 2 Part Casting Resin (16 ounces was more than enough for all the cabochons you see in my photo above)
- Cabochon silicone mold (I liked the ability to created different sizes and getting this big mold piece seemed the most cost-effective to me)
- Extra mixing cups and stir sticks (The casting resin linked above only comes with 3 cups and 2 stir sticks)
How-To and Some Tips
This is NOT a kid-friendly process. Epoxy resin is not something to mess with. My kids helped collect the flowers and then just watched me do the resin mixing and pouring.
That said, this is not really a difficult process, just something that requires a little attention to detail and patience.
- Have all your supplies ready before you start. I would even have everything ready before going out to pick some flowers.
- Mix the resin according to instructions EXACTLY. Your mixing ratios need to be spot on. The curing process is also temperature and moisture dependent. If you get the ratios wrong or under-mix the resin or it is too hot in your work space then the resin will not fully cure and you will have a sticky result (not solid and glass-like).
- Work in small batches! I worked with just 2-3 cups total of mixed epoxy resin at a time, filling 4-8 molds, depending on the size of flowers I had.
- Cover your mold with an upside-down plastic bin so no dust gets attached to your cabochons as they cure. Read your resin instructions but it takes approximately 24-48 hours to cure fully.
- You do not need to fill the entire mold. Note that the flowers will start to float to the top so if you have a lot of resin in there the final effect of the domed half-marble will not be as clear if your flower is now at the bottom of a massive half dome.
- The smaller molds actually turned out the clearest (less bubbles), so I would fit your flower in to the smallest mold possible.
- For cleanup: use vinegar. It works like a charm to clean the mold and cups for re-use. Or you could just toss the cups you used and start with a fresh set the next time you do some casting (this is what I did).
- Vinegar also cleans the resin off your holds should you get any. You could also work with gloves.
- If your finished cabochons have minor sticky parts or parts where the plant material sticks out a bit, you can cover these areas in clear nail polish to finish it off!
That’s it! you can also look at other shapes & molds available (making flat pieces instead of half domes). These could be added to necklaces and earrings to make jewelry which could also be fun!