Tag Archives: relief carving

Another long absence but I’m back!!


Remember when on the last day of December, New Year’s Eve, when you’re sitting around with your family and waiting for the new year to come, the discussion always heads towards “I hope next year is better than this year!”

Well, it hasn’t been so far.  Actually, it’s been one step left of brutal.

The first of the year kicked off with a massive snowstorm that hit the New England and then I deployed to the Midwest for four months.  The time within the four months consisted of:

1.     Unyielding snow storms and bone chilling cold that didn’t let up.

2.     Complete homesickness being away from my husband (and my dogs) for so long.

and the worst one…

3.     My precious father passed away before our eyes.

Needless to say, I haven’t been feeling all that creative and crafty lately.  However, as it is said, “when God closes a door, he always opens a window”; a window opened after being consumed in the fog of loss and grief for my Dad.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still hurting but a spark of my former self has returned, thanks to my husband, friends and family.

The first shot in the arm was that I decided to go back to college, thanks to the provocation of my friends.  I’m 6 weeks into my first class and I’m pulling a 98.2%; not too bad for an old lady such as myself.  The second is that it’s come to my realization that I’ll be eligible for retirement in the next 4 – 5 years and that I’d better start laying the foundation for what I’m going to be doing once retirement happens.  Knowing that once retirement occurs, my hubby and I will escape into the wilds of somewhere but a concrete fact remains that we are both technology geeks so wifi will be there…so I’m returning to the world of blogging.  I don’t know what I’m going to do with it but it’s time to give it a go again.

So, for my loyal followers that wondered what happened to me, I’m back and will do everything I can do stay relevant again.  Please forgive me, it’s been a really tough year…


Resin Inaly in Wooden Box


my resin inlay experiementAfter much consideration and thought, I had found myself in a rut.  I enjoy crocheting and knitting but it’s not that fun to do when it’s hot as hell outside and oppressively muggy inside.  I enjoy creating the wooden boxes, that I’ve blogged about previously, but that project had also run it’s course.  Woodburning and painting was fun but “been there, done that”, I needed to find another direction to take my crafting…I was in a rut.

While surfing around the net one night, I stumbled upon the art of working with resin casting on You Tube.  The techniques documents were primarily for jewelry (pendents and bracelets mostly) and while it’s completely charming to imbed candy into clear resin and wear it around your neck for eternity…it really wasn’t my thing.  Then I found a video of a man that would put colored resin inlays into the neck of guitars; while interesting…I don’t play much anymore so that didn’t help either.

But I had a moment of enlightenment; is it possible to inlay colored resin into wood, or better yet…a wooden box?

So my quest for knowledge began.  I looked up everything I could on the internet about resin, casting resin, molding resin and coloring resin.  Again, it was mostly geared towards making jewelry (other than my wedding rings, I rarely wear it) so I began looking for resin inlay techniques for wood.  Amazingly enough, all I found was a single Acrobat document that was produced in 2009 for a woodworking magazine.  I was pretty much on my own for this one.

I began gathering the supplies that I would need to start my experiment; luckily I already had most of them (paints and colorants) but purchased the actual resin and mixing cups from a craft store.  The syringes were a bit tricky (thank God I don’t look like an intravenous junky) but I found a pharmacist that sold me 16 syringes for 10 cents a piece because they were expiring their useful date for medical use and they were going to be pitched anyway.
useful things for casting and coloring resin

I had a little wooden box, that I’d purchased for a dollar,  that had a lid that was about 1/2 inch think and perfect for my inlay experiment.   I got into my vast supply of clip art books and found a simple dog paw pattern that fit nicely on the lid.  After transferring the clip art onto the lid, I used a Dremel to cut a recess of about 1/4 inch into the lid (I didn’t want to cut through the top because the resin would run out).  After the cutting was finished, I made sure that the lines were clean so after the excess resin was sanded off, a clean inlay would remain.

After blowing off the sanding dust, I proceeded to mix the resin (you have to combine it with a catalyst in order for it to harden) and it stunk to high hell.  I didn’t want to just cast clear resin so I had some silver/grey powdered mica that I mixed in.  After I combined the mixture to my satisfaction, I used a syringe to fill the recessed areas on the lid of the box.  I actually overfilled the cut out area because there’s a slight shrinkage upon the resin curing (I’d only read about it…no actual experience in how much shrinkage would take place) and the syringe made it a very clean and tidy process; I intended to sand the resin down to be flush with the lid anyway once it was cured.

After the filling and the curing (I put the box with the un-cured resin under a lamp that put out some heat) and waited for 24 hours.  The next day, I hand sanded the box until the resin was flush and smooth.  The one disappointment I had was that the resin was quite dull and blended with the matte finish of the box, I was hoping for a glossy finish.  Easily solved!  I dug into my collection of paints and finishes and found a bottle of Triple Gloss Acrylic that I painted on to create the shine.

Overall, I’m encouraged and actively working on my next project…of course I will blog about it.  Keep an eye open on my blog; more good things will be posted soon!!!!
Thanks for reading!!!

Emu Egg


First off, thank you to my friends that have commented on my blog!!!  I’m having a heck of a time trying to figure out how to respond to your replies (still REALLY new at this!) so please forgive, I’ll keep working on it.

I’ve gotten such an amazing response to the ostrich egg that I had in my previous post, I thought that it would be a good idea to show the first emu egg that I carved about 5 years ago.

Just a recap of an emu egg:

1.  This egg is not painted.  It is naturally emerald green on the outside with and aquamarine blue layer and a very white layer underneath still.  It takes quite a bit of patience (and a steady hand) to relief carve the image that you see.

2.  The egg shell itself is about .1 mm thick.  I’m lucky I’ve never broken one but it still takes a gentle hand to do.

3.  The egg itself is the exact shape and size of a Nerf football but feels like cool porcelain to the touch.

4.  I buy my egg shells on EBay.  I don’t have a big enough yard to keep emu’s and ostriches.

Okay, now that I have the basic facts out of the way…this is how I do it.  You really don’t have to have any free hand drawing skill, only the ability to trace existing patterns and have a steady hand when using the drill.  That does take some practice.

First, you get an egg.  Like I said, I get them from EBay.  The outside emerald green varies from egg to egg.  I prefer the darkest outside color because I think it compliments the aquamarine beneath it better.  But, I’ve seen eggs that are almost a sage green on the outside to a pale green.  I still like the darker ones.

Then, I decide my pattern.  I own A LOT of clip art books!  I get many clip art books from Dover Publications because the patterns are very clean and they (mostly) come on a DVD.  I prefer the DVD’s because I can size the patterns for my own needs.  I’ve also been known to use free clip art from the net.  I don’t use the copyrighted images that can be found on the internet because I think it’s stealing and respect the original artists for their effort and creativity.

Once I decide on the pattern, I print it out and decide the best way to get the image on the egg.  It’s challenging to get a two dimensional image on a three dimensional surface so sometimes I print the patterns onto adhesive backed paper (full or half page label paper that you can get almost anywhere).

When I get the stickers (that’s what they are by the time I’m done with them) on the egg, I do a rough outline carving of the pattern with the drill.  Once that’s done, I take the cut up stickers off and finish the egg.

I’ve also used graph paper to transfer images; white graph paper for the emu eggs (you can’t see regular graph paper because the egg is so dark) and the standard graph paper for ostrich and goose eggs.

Once the egg is completely finished, I wash it off really well and then allow it to dry completely.  When the egg is blown out, a hole about a 1/4 inch remains at the bottom.  I was advised not to cover it up because you want to keep the air flowing to the inside so it doesn’t deteriorate.  I also spray the outside with a clear, matte finish sealant so dust doesn’t stain the egg when it’s on display. If kept out of direct sunlight, these eggs can last forever!!

So, there you go.  Now you know more than you ever wanted to know about carving an emu egg.  I’m still in awe by the delicate beauty they have when completed.

I hope you enjoyed my entry!!!