How to suspend an object in clear resin?
July 18, 2005 7:09 PM   Subscribe

Last month I saw the Space Invader show in Los Angeles at sixspace and was struck by one of the types of pieces he had on display: tile mosaics suspended in transaparent blocks of resin (as in this picture). Anyway, I'm wondering how to do it myself - I'm not going to copy one of his pieces, I just want to make a present for my little sister. The tiles are suspended exactly in the center of the block, and yet there aren't any weird mold lines or bubbles or anything - nothing to suggest they were made in two stages. I'm guessing the resin he used was Alumilite Clear. Does anyone have any idea how to make something like this? Would I have to pressure mold? Would it be possible to make a mosaic and then take it to a professional and have them encase it in a clear block? Help!
posted by symbebekos to Media & Arts (8 answers total)
when i was a wee chile (a long time ago) it was fashionable to make paperweights of some horrible plastic chemical stinky stuff that you could colour and add bits to. as long as you didn't wait too long between one layer and the next, you could build up layers without any apparent line afterwards.
posted by andrew cooke at 7:18 PM on July 18, 2005

Seconded; this is how they make soap with dinosaurs in it and whatnot.
posted by metaculpa at 7:40 PM on July 18, 2005

[imagines really, really big soap...]
posted by five fresh fish at 8:02 PM on July 18, 2005

[can't stop laughing]
posted by michaelkuznet at 8:51 PM on July 18, 2005

Stained Glass is often done this way solder-free.

Yes, the Alumilite looks like it could work, but I've never worked with it.

What I've done before is to set out what I wanted to cast inside a rectangular form, and then pour watered-down clear epoxy over it.

But that doesn't accomplish the suspension effect of having the material in the middle of the cast object. Not really sure how to do that without potential disaster.
posted by blasdelf at 11:05 PM on July 18, 2005

You could use epoxy or resin and build a form, pour in about 1/2 amount, let it set up a bit, add your center material, then pour in the rest of the resin/epoxy. Also, you could suspend the center material with fishing wire. This would require some trial and error, though.
posted by plemeljr at 7:09 AM on July 19, 2005

metacupla has it right, I think - google "embeds in soap"
posted by agregoli at 7:28 AM on July 19, 2005

I would suggest using a polyester resin, which is probably the stinky stuff andrew cooke was referring to. The nice thing about this is that no heat/pressure is required to set it (unlike acrylics), it is relatively colourless (although colour can be easily added), and can be moulded in regular plastic containers or custom-made silicone moulds. You simply add the catalyst, partially fill the container, wait for it to harden somewhat, add the item to be suspended & then using newly mixed resin, fill it the rest of the way up. We used to create all kinds of wacky suspended items in the plastics shop - suspended bugs & spiders make very alarming jewelry.

The process is, however, extremely stinky and should be done in a very very well ventilated area - like outside. The fumes can cause health problems with prolonged exposure.
posted by id girl at 10:00 AM on July 19, 2005 [1 favorite]

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