Looking for an innovative way to show off your latest and greatest photos? Try experimenting with personalized jewelry using pictures from your most memorable vacation or outing.
Think: dramatic landscapes, charming landmarks, pets and animals, signage from a great restaurant, or even that one family portrait where everyone miraculously has their eyes open.
For this tutorial, I’m using a photo of an African spotted eagle owl, taken during a recent visit to a raptor sanctuary, along with a picture of a lighthouse, a dead tree on the beach where I live, and a shot of my friend surfing from our last camping trip. Each piece is unique and the possibilities are endless!
Most craft supply stores carry various bezel blanks for resin. For this project, I chose blank pendant and ring shapes, but you can also find bracelet, earring and brooch blanks. If you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, check out Etsy for some unique shape and size options.
To create these eye-catching charms, photos are fit into the blank bezel and covered with resin. These stunning, personalized pendants make excellent gifts and keepsakes. Impress your friends, and feel great about wearing such a fond memory so close to your heart.
What you need
- Blank Pendant Bezels
- Mod Podge
- Foam brush or paintbrush
- Scissors or X-Acto knife
- Leather cord
- Decorative beads and wire (optional)
Step 1: Print photos to match the dimensions of the bezel. Photos can be printed on any type of paper. For this tutorial, photos were printed onto regular computer paper using a laser printer.
Step 2: Cut out images using scissors or X-Acto knife.
Step 3: Place photo on a piece of wax paper to protect your work surface. Using a foam brush, coat your photo, picture side up, with 2-3 coats of Mod Podge. It is important to make sure photo is well sealed with Mod Podge as the resin will stain your photo if it comes in direct contact with the paper. Allow 15 to 20 minutes drying time for each coat.
Step 4: Repeat for the back of each image. Again, carefully seal with 2-3 coats of Mod Podge as the resin can stain the image, even from the back!
Step 5: Apply a thin layer of Mod Podge to the inside of the blank bezel. This will securely anchor the image to the bezel. The objective is to prevent the resin from seeping around the edges and underneath the image. If this happens, the coat of Mod Podge applied earlier to the back of the image should prevent any staining.
Step 6: Insert the picture into the bezel. Make sure it is flat and there are no air bubbles. Let dry 15-20 minutes.
Step 7: Mix the resin as instructed. Be sure to have everything dry and ready prior to mixing, as resin needs to be used immediately. Mix your resin in a well-ventilated area.
Step 8: Pour one layer of resin into the bezel (enough to cover your photo). Deeper bezels may need more than one pour, depending on manufacturer’s instructions. Be careful not to over pour.
Step 9: Remove any air bubbles using a butane lighter or by breathing (avoid inhaling the fumes) directly onto the bezel. The bubbles are released by carbon dioxide.
Step 10: Allow resin to cure, as per the instructions.
Step 11: String finished product with leather cord, add beads and embellishments for a little something extra.
Make it Even Better Tips:
This project is perfect for Instagram and Facebook images, since photos are being printed out in miniature sizes to fit your bezel. Therefore, photo quality is not a limiting factor.
I recommend working on this project in batches to maximize the use of the resin, and to keep moving during the times when you’re waiting on one piece to dry. Once mixed, the resin needs to be used immediately, so be sure to have a variety of bezels and photos ready for use. If not, you may end up wasting a lot of expensive resin.
I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to make sure your photo is completely sealed with Mod Podge before pouring the resin. It is more noticeable in lighter colored photos, but the resin will definitely stain if it comes in contact with your paper. I’ve found the most effective sealant to be Mod Podge Hard Coat.
Do not pour a thicker layer of resin than recommended. If poured too deep, the bubbles will get trapped while degassing. Resin also likes to be warm, in order to release trapped bubbles, so let pendants dry under a table lamp.
In today’s era of digital photography, it’s always rewarding to find physical uses for your photographs, taking them off the screen and onto something you can enjoy. Share your other ideas in the comments!
About The Author
Lindsey Leigh Graham is a beach-loving photographer based in coastal South Carolina. Her favorite subjects are the wildlife and landscapes of the Lowcountry, and she creates decorative and functional pieces of wall art to display her photos. Lindsey frequently contributes to the blog at Treat.com.