This is How to Make a Wood and Resin Pendant, a complete tutorial on making a broken wood pendant with epoxy resin in between the pieces. Inside this step by step guide you will learn everything you need to know to do the same exact process in your shop. Enjoy.
Broken Wood and Resin Pendants
The broken wood design with epoxy resin is a new and interesting look. Creative woodworkers and jewelry makers are taking their designs to the next level with more genius than ever, and this new design is no exception.
These designs look extremely complex, but they are actually pretty easy to make. Once you have the blank made, the process is not much different than if the piece was just solid wood.
All the work is done on the front end, and the rest of the process is normal. I’ll show you everything you need to know, including my secret to breaking pieces of wood so they are very splintered, which is a hallmark of the look.
Making Your Exact Resin Pendant
This tutorial is for a hanging pendant with the resin in the middle. You can make any shape you like following these directions, so don’t feel limited.
It’s the principles that are important, not the actual design.
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That being said, if you want to make something that looks a little different, you absolutely can do that. Read the rest of the tutorial so you understand the steps, and then when you make your blank, make the style you are interested in making.
The majority of my tutorials work the same way. The concepts are the the most important, and you can modify the design to meet your needs. This one is no different, and I encourage you to make the wood and resin pendant that you really want.
Tools and Materials Needed:
- Wood for your pendant, which should look really good because it’s the focal point.
- Two part epoxy resin, and colorants if you want to tint the color.
- A vise or another way of breaking the wood.
- Masking tape for making a dam.
- Ruler and pencil for measuring and marking.
- A saw for cutting out the blank and shaping it.
- Belt sander or palm sander. A sanding block and sandpaper will work too.
- Hand drill or drill press for making the hole for the cord or chain.
- Several grits of sandpaper, going into at least 400 grit, and 0000 steel wool.
- Buffing setup is optional, but it will make polishing the resin much easier.
Step 1 – The Secret to Breaking the Blank
The whole secret to this look is the splintered end of the wood. You can’t just cut the piece and add epoxy. The look will not be the same, and the entire design is based on that broken and jagged wood.
Thankfully, if you have a vise, you can create splintered pieces of wood pretty easily.
Cut a piece of wood that measures about 3/4 inch by about 3 inches long. The thickness can be anywhere from 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch, and from any species you like.
Breaking the wood will show you just how much of a splintered wood look you can get. Woods that are more dense or less dense may have a little different effect. The more types of wood you break, the more you will learn about how each one works.
Arrange some blocks in your vise to create a large amount of force in the middle of the piece of wood. Then, crank your vise handle to tighten and break the piece.
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Be careful when you do this, because the pieces can go flying when the wood breaks, and that’s not good for your eyes and face. Wear some protective gear, and work carefully to avoid an injury.
Step 2 – Evaluating the Broken Blank
Look for nice, jagged edges, tall and low points, and good texture. The more you get from the breaking of the fibers, the better the look.
You may need to break a few pieces to really see the possibilities. That’s ok. It’s actually more than ok, because you can then choose the best one and move forward in the tutorial with the most interesting looking piece.
Since this is brand new territory, the more pieces you can break, the more you will understand how to manipulate the look.
Plus, you will get more piece to work with, and you may even end up combining some of the together from different breaks to form a perfect piece for your resin pendant.
See Also: How to Make String Art
Step 3 – Orientation and Making a Tape Dam
For the pendant, arrange the pieces so they look like they blend together really well, with the jagged edges facing each other.
Then, when you like the look, place the stack on a piece of wide painters tape. This sets the distance, and keeps the pieces from moving. Wrap the tape up the sides of the broken wood, and tightly press it against the surfaces.
Add more tape if needed, and create a trough around the wood with an open top. This masking tape dam will hold the epoxy in place while it cures. It’s important for several reasons, and you should take the time to make it right.
Masking Tape Dam Tips:
- Press the tape against the wood really well to prevent leaks.
- Use good quality tape that will not pull away after a while.
- Leaks are your enemy, and they waste epoxy.
- Use as much tape as you need to get the job done.
- Tape is cheap, epoxy is not.
- Leave the top open wide so you can pour the epoxy straight in.
- Don’t bend your wooden pieces, because you can flex the dam and alter the shape.
Step 4 – Mixing and Coloring Epoxy
To make this exact pendant, you need to use clear epoxy. However, you can use any kind that you like provided you can see through it.
Remember, the whole point of the splintered wood is that you can see it in the final look. If you were to tint your epoxy dead black, you will not see the splinters.
If you are adding color, follow the directions on the dye, and tint the epoxy before pouring. I recommend a longer open time epoxy if that’s the case. It will give you more time to work, and more time to pour.
Epoxy Pouring Tips:
- Mix the epoxy in a tray, or something you can easily pour from.
- Don’t violently mix the epoxy unless you want a lot of bubbles.
- Mix thoroughly so your epoxy sets up correctly.
- Don’t tint the epoxy too dark, but a faint color would look cool.
- A piece of paper with the ends folded up makes a great mixing tray and pour cup.
- If you want to use five minute epoxy, you can, just work with a purpose.
- Longer setting epoxy like 60 minute is easier for the beginner on this project.
See Also: Woodworking Tips Cards – Two Part Epoxy
Step 5 – Pouring the Epoxy into the Dam
Since epoxy is really thick, you need to pour carefully, and slowly. The reason for pouring a little on the slow side is because the bigger bubbles won’t be able to rise up if you bury them too deeply.
Start with a light drizzle, and allow the epoxy to flow into all the tiny crevices in the wood. Pour like this until the epoxy level reaches the top of the blank, and then slow down. Tap the piece against the bench lightly a few times and see if your level lowers. If it does, add a little more epoxy to top off the pour.
Make sure to over pour the cavity, and get some on top of the wood. It’s easy to sand off later, and you would rather have more than less.
Leave the blank to fully cure overnight, and place it on a flat surface. You don’t want the epoxy to shift as it sets up and leave a shallow spot. This is the same as when your glue up shifts after clamping. It’s not good.
Make sure the piece is in a safe, level place, and then you can let it cure out overnight.
Step 6 – Evaluating the Epoxy Pour After Cure
Being new to pouring epoxy, you will inevitably end up with a some gaps in some of your early pours. This is ok, and and an easy fix.
If you do see any voids in your pour, just tape the piece again as needed and add more epoxy to fill them. Repeat the same process from the last step. Tape up the area, mix your epoxy, and drizzle it into the opening.
Allow the piece time to cure, and you can come right back to the next step. Epoxy is very forgiving, so don’t worry that you ruined your blank. You didn’t, and you can keep moving forward.
See Also: Printable Woodworking Tips Cards
Step 7 – Roughing Out the Blank
After your epoxy is cured, and you don’t have any voids to fill, it’s time to rough sand the blank down to shape.
The goal of this process is to remove any excess epoxy, and to get the bank back to the shape it was before breaking it in the vise.
Flatten all the faces on the belt sander, or sand by hand. Flatten the edges, and create a nice long rectangle from your blank. If you shape is different, work the shape back to the look of the original blank. The only difference is the epoxy, but it will sand just like anything else.
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Step 8 – Planning Your Design
The tapered end will reveal the beautiful layers of the blank, and the rounded and will look nice as the bottom of the hanging pendant.
Draw right on the blank with a pencil. Get your idea on there as fully formed as possible before making any cuts. It’s much easier to erase something at this stage than it is to change the look after you make cuts.
The more you can plan the better, so make this count. Look at pendant designs you love one more time, and make some good decisions before going to the saw.
Step 9 – Drilling the Lanyard Hole
Measure and mark out the placement of the hole, and make sure that it makes sense with your design.
Once you have the placement figured out, then drill it with a hand drill or on the drill press. Either way you do it, just make sure that you drill through as straight as possible, and make a big enough hole to get your chain or rope through the hole.
See Also: How to Make a Wood Pendant Necklace
Step 10 – Initial Carving and Shaping
Use this part of the process to take away as much as you possibly can.
The more you can do with the saw, the less you will have to do by hand. Sanding can be brutal when you have to do it for hours. The more you can eliminate on the saw, the less you will have to shape and sand the piece by hand, which will save you a lot of time.
After the saw, move on to the belt sander, or any other way you decide to shape your pendant. That can be files, a sanding block, a wire wheel, or any method that you are comfortable with.
Shape the piece, and get it down to final size. Switch to finer sandpapers, and smooth out the surface. Get the wood down to about 400 grit before moving on to any polishing steps or final sanding to bring back the clarity of the epoxy.
See Also: How to Make a Flat Top Wooden Ring
Step 11 – Making the Epoxy Look Clear by Hand
When you get down to 400 grit, you will still have a hazy look to your epoxy layer. This is because it’s scratched, and you need to continue to smooth out the surface.
Keep going into finer and finer papers, and into steel wool as well. You will see that after each grit level, the surface improves. You will have to go well into the fine grits to get the polished look of the epoxy back, and if you can, I really recommend buffing.
Even if you can’t get a nicer buffing setup right away, you can buy a buffing wheel and compound for your drill. These are about $20 with the arbor, and they are the low tech version to get you started.
Sanding the blank by hand to a polished level will take time, but you can do it. However, for $20 you can skip to the head of the line and knock it out in about ten minutes. This is they best way for the beginner, and it’s less frustrating.
Step 12 – Buffing the Pendant to a High Sheen
The Beall Buffing System is what I use in my shop to make my smaller projects shine, and you can do the same thing on this pendant.
All you do is make contact with the spinning wheel, and the compound polished the surface to reveal the clarity in the epoxy. The entire process takes seconds, and it’s almost like a magic trick the first several times you do it.
Work your piece against the spinning wheel and make sure to get all surfaces. The look will deepen, and the sheen will rise as you work. Keep the piece moving, and be careful not to lose your grip.
If you lose the piece, it can be thrown across the shop and shatter on impact. It’s also good at breaking car windows if you are in the garage, and can feel like someone shot you if it slams into your foot. Be careful, and hold on.
Epoxy Resin and Wood Pendant
The most interesting part about this project is that you can look into the opening between the pieces, and there is a lot to see.
The different levels, different colors, and the rough look are a great contrast to the smoothness and feel of the piece. It’s almost like the pendant should feel different than it looks, which makes people even more curious about the way you made it.
This same process can be modified for other projects with resin and wood too. All you need to do is take the lessons you learned here, and apply them to your next project.
Think of more ways to combine these materials, and you can have a lot more fun woodworking projects to do in the future.
Your Next Step
If you would like to learn more about woodworking, and you enjoy the way I explain things on my site, then you will love my books.
My new book is called A Beginners Guide to Woodworking, and it’s a gigantic volume full of great woodworking tips, tricks, inspiration, and ideas.
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In this Notebook You Will Find:
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You can see them in my Book Store, and they are all on Amazon.
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