How to Preserve Flowers in Resin
Once preserved in resin, flowers will last longer than a lifetime. Consequently, many hobbyists choose this relatively inexpensive method to preserve dried flowers from special occasions. But even insignificant flowers are beautiful when preserved in resin. Resin can be shaped by a number of different molds to create beautiful pendant jewelry, paperweights or a variety of other crafts and gifts. Once you get the hang of it, you may even be able to start your own small craft business.
Dry your flowers. First, cut back the stem so that it is no longer than 1 inch long. Fill a shallow tray with a 2-inch layer of silica gel crystals. Carefully place the flowers, bloom down onto the silica gel so they are not touching. Then completely and carefully cover the flowers with more silica gel. Put the air-tight lid on the tray. The flowers may take anywhere from three days to one week to dry completely--check them frequently. When they are dry, remove them and brush off any clinging silica gel with a small paintbrush.
Spray the dried flowers with dried-flower sealant and allow them to dry completely.
Measure and pour enough resin into a mixing cup to create a base layer in your mold. This base layer will mark where the top of the flower sits in the mold. Let the resin sit until air bubbles begin to form.
Measure the correct amount of catalyst (use the measuring syringe) add it to the resin. Mix the solution well, once, with a wooden craft stick. Allow it to sit for a minute or so and mix again. The amount of catalyst needed will be dictated by the manufacturer. However, the general rule is 1 percent by weight, but it can be increased to 2 percent by weight to accommodate very small amounts of resin.
Pour enough resin into the bottom of your mold to form a base layer. Then cover the mouth of the mold with a sheet of paper to keep the dust out. Leave it to harden to a jelly-like consistency. This will take roughly 40 minutes at room temperature (around 70 degrees F).
Add a few drops of fresh resin to the top of the base layer to help flower adhere to base layer (otherwise, the flower may float in the resin). Then place the flower, bloom-side down onto the base layer.
Mix another batch of resin and catalyst. If your mold is small, you can mix enough to fill up the rest of the mold. Larger molds should be filled with resin in sections (allowing each section to dry for 40 minutes as before). Otherwise, the solidifying resin will build up too much heat and develop cracks.
Cover the mold with plastic cling wrap to keep the air out as it dries. Otherwise, the bottom layer will develop a tacky surface.
When the resin in the mold has fully cured--about one week--remove the resin from the mold.