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Making Resin Butterfly Wings

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Paige's craft issues started young, when nonstop begging earned her first supplies, which were as protected -unused- as a dragon's hoard.

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Gorgeous Butterfly Wings!

Who could resist those images? Who doesn't love butterfly wings? The video is long and really in-depth, and made me feel like I had the knowledge to create these, and although I didn't have many of the things listed in the video, I was sure I could make substitutions.

I was sold, hook, line and sinker.

The Jumping Off Point

Resin on Vellum vs Transparency Film

Having made the commitment to use up the craft supplies on hand instead of buying more to add to the hoard, I immediately ran into an issue- I had no transparency film, but did have vellum, which seemed worth a try.

Printing on transparencies is something many printers won't do- neither my ink jet nor laser would, even if I had the sheets. Out of curiosity, I investigated what it would cost to have Office Depot print these. They don't have it as a standard material, so you would have to first buy and provide them the films- starting at $25 a package- and pay printing cost on top of that.

Because this is only something I'm playing around with, it wasn't worth the cost, and honestly, the vellum worked well enough for my purposes, though it responded very differently on each printer.

The laser printer gave a much crisper result- when it printed correctly. See below for how they came out, side by side. The laser printer, even with fine tuned settings had spots that dropped out, and ghosted off to the side. The ink jet didn't have those issues but the images weren't as sharp- not bad quality overall, but certainly noticeable.

I already had some butterfly wing clip art but did end up going back and getting the ones referenced in the video, because the taller, wider ones seemed better, and at only a few dollars it was worth it as something reusable.



UV Resin vs 2 Part Resin

 UV Resin2 Part Resin

Preparation

Ready straight from bottle

Combine resin and hardener in equal amounts, thoroughly stirring for 5 minutes

Project Size

Smaller projects as it comes in small bottles

Variety of sizes available at different price points

Work Time

Unlimited- will not harden until exposed to uv rays

Varies on brand. Once mixed, the hardener starts working. Most give at least 15 minutes to work with before starting to stiffen.

Odor

Strong

Varies- most art resins have low VOC.

Cure Time

Very fast- 1-5 minutes under UV lamp

Minimum 8 hours to being set, 72 hrs for full cure

My Preferred Resin for Small Batches

For these, I started out using the Ranger Ice Resin, which is made for small batches and comes with tiny measuring cups- the smaller the batch you're mixing, the more crucial it is to have exactly the same amount of parts A and B- uneven quantities will leave you with a sticky mess that won't harden.


This takes about 8 hours to dry enough to handle, 72 hours to fully cure. It does not get as rigid as other craft resins, which can be a positive, particularly in working with jewelry, where you may want to manipulate the piece in different ways.


In this case, I knew I wanted to make the butterflies, but not what I wanted to do with them, so a little flexibility seemed like a good thing!

So Many Variables. So Many Caveats.

On the video, they used Born Pretty powders for fake nails, which I don't have. Investigating exactly what they're made of didn't lead to a specific answer, but experimenting seemed like a good idea since I do have more mica powder and glitter than I know what to do with, literally.


I never accomplished quite the same level of polish as on the main image on the video, but still got some interesting results...and SO MANY butterfly wings to play with. More than could ever actually be useful. But they're pretty, so here goes:

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Differences Between Vellum and Transparency

I tried to peel the images off the vellum and it did not release as easily as the video says the transparency paper did.

In trying to get the wings to be more clear, I attempted to crack and peel it off. The cracking did not work- likely because it's not actually a brittle plastic like transparencies are. But it could be peeled back, with mixed results.

In the above image the upper left hand wing you can see the residue left behind, while on the right the cloudiness of the backs of the wings without peeling it away.

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Glitter on the Back

With the vellum not being 100% see through, the mica powder did not appear the same as the Born Pretty powders did in the image used for the front of the video- or maybe I was doing it wrong since that part wasn't filmed. I attempted to work on the front with both light glitter and mica powder, but they only muddied and hid the image.

However, sealing the front with clear resin and mixing very fine glitter for the back only did allow the shine to come through. The two color schemes that seemed to work best are all white, or trying to match the glitter to the color on the wings.

I tried over and over to use the deep blue Morpho butterfly wing images, my favorites, but that was a complete failure, possibly because there wasn't enough variation inside the design.


Many were absolutely lovely when held up to the light.

Many were absolutely lovely when held up to the light.

In the End, There Was One Major Problem...

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Post Project Assessment- What to do With a LOT of Butterfly Wings?

This actually is the perfect example of my crafting "problem." I saw the video, I loved it, I needed to do it...but I never stopped to ask myself "and then what? What are you going to do with them?"

Therein lies the problem. Nothing. More and more were printed and made to experiment with different looks, and experimentation can be its own reward- but you do end up with a LOT of wings at the end.

The more I made them, the creepier it kind of felt- even though they're not remotely real butterfly parts, I started feeling like the little kid pulling wings off flies and not things I'd actually want to wear.

Also, I hadn't really focused on the idea that they'd only be sort of transparent. The above's video shows a collaboration that includes it being put on a backing and beading around it but that's not something I wanted to do.

My husband suggested a kind of wind chime, but I'd want them to refract the light, and they don't do that. I might be able to make some that do that, but I think the butterfly bubble has burst for awhile.



Did I Mention there were A LOT of Wings?

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This is Part of an Ongoing Series About Finding Ways to Actually Use These Craft Supplies:

Verdict? Should You Make It?

Yes, I'd absolutely make it to play with. It's a great way to get your hands into some resin, and end up with something sparkly at the end!

The project easily scales to whatever size you need- if you want to make a single wing or pair, or try it on another shape altogether. It's an interesting experiment for sure.

My results might have been closer to the image if I'd had all the products she used- in particular the transparency film and resin nail dips- but I was still able to improvise and arrive at a reasonable approximation.

Just...you know...maybe think it through a little better than I did, and have an idea of how you'll use them when you're done.

As for me, I had all those wings and I just couldn't think of anything I wanted to do with them. Part of just project fatigue- I'd been working on them for weeks and was done with it. Part was that it really did start to feel creepy, but I couldn't bring myself to just throw them away, either.

A friend took pity upon me, watching me stare, glassy eyed at what I had wrought and offered to take them off my hands. Whether it was an offer out of pity or not, I'm not proud- I bagged them up and dropped them off. She intends to mount them in a shadowbox or frame, and I'll share it when she's done.

As for me, I still really wanted something with the Morpho wings, and so scaled them up and put them in one of the too-many trays I bought when AC Moore was going out of business. It needs one more layer of resin on the already 4 there, but I got a keepsake out of it after all!

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