Embedding items into resin has been a very popular trend that has continually grown over the years. We have definitely noticed as of recent that this trend has expanded into adding flowers, leaves, etc. into the resin too. But is putting something ‘living’ going to work in resin? Well the simple answer is yes.
Flowers can be put into resin, however there is definitely a process and many techniques to be able to achieve a gorgeous finish with the resin. Because flowers contain moisture – and moisture reacts with resin – it is very important to draw all that moisture out of the flowers prior to adding it to the resin to avoid a number of reactions. Some reactions include: micro-bubbles, colour bleaching, rotting or just damaging the flower itself, to name a few.
So how do we avoid these things from occurring? By drying the flowers. Now there are a number of ways to dry flowers, however when working with resin there is really only 1 best method; Silica Beads.
What is Silica Beads (or Silica Gel)? Silica Beads are small white beads that act as a moisture absorber. This is commonly seen when you purchase a new pair of shoes or a bag, and you have a tiny little sachet of balls that says “DO NOT EAT”, well those same little balls are just a type of Silica. Most Silica gel or beads will contain a few coloured beads also. These are referred to as indicator beads. Indicator beads are there to tell you when there is too much moisture and the Silica is ready to be dried before being used again.
So how do you use Silica Beads then? First off, you are going to remove your flowers from the water source. Hanging the flowers upside down to dry or giving them a thorough pat down with a towel/cloth will suffice.
Once that outside/ visible moisture has been removed, it’s time to layer with Silica Beads.
You want to begin with an air-tight seal container, removing the lid and pouring some Silica Beads to the bottom of the container. Next you want to lay your flowers within the Silica.
Top-Tip: Lay the same types of flowers together for the best results. Try avoid ‘mix-and-match’.
Once your flowers have been laid out within the Silica Beads, you can then pour more of the Silica on top of the flowers. This will need to be done with extreme care as the flowers will be brittle and fragile. You do not want to cause damage or breakage to petals when pouring on top.
You want to continue filling until you can no longer see the flower/s. Once everything is completely covered, its time to tightly seal the container lid and store in a cool/ dark and dry place for 3-4 days, or longer depending on the type of flower/s you are working with (i.e roses may need up to 7 days).
Top-Tip: It is very important you use a container with an excellent seal, as you need to avoid moisture entering the container and rotting the flowers.
After a few days, it’s time to remove the flowers. Gently tip out the beads, into another container and slowly remove the flowers from inside. (Do not throw the beads away! They can be reused) Then with a small brush, gently dust the flowers to remove any remaining beads that are stuck to the flowers.
Once the flowers have been cleaned up, they are ready to use in resin!
– Do not use a container that you would use for storing food. Ensure you have a container dedicated to the Silica beads, as the silica may also absorb pesticides from the flowers which will leach into the plastic.
– It is important not to ‘Over Dry’ the flowers in the Silica. The longer you leave the flowers, they will begin to lose their vibrant colours and will also begin to wilt. Ideally 3-4 days will give an ample dry, however it is best to check and add an extra day if they are not 100% dry.
– Flowers can also be hung upside down and dried over a week or so, to remove moisture. Whilst this is an excellent method to ensuring very dry flowers, the flowers will unfortunately still discolour and wilt. However, if you are happy with the way they look, they can still be used in resin.
– Alternatively, flowers can be pressed and dried by laying the flowers in between pages of a book and applying pressure to the book. This process will take a longer amount of time as this will not only dehydrate but also press the flowers and make them almost 2-Dimensional.