I think it’s important to see that not all projects turn out perfectly, and I’m learning through this process that sometimes ‘good enough’ is excellent in relative terms. Today’s experiment with gem casting was definitely one of those moments. This process failed in so many ways, but I ended up with a result I can pass off in photos and I’m alright with that.
This project actually came about on a whim; I was walking through Michael’s looking for some leather working supplies when I spotted a gem mold near the Mod Podge and adhesives. Knowing I would need gems for a cosplay I’ll be premiering at Wizard World Cleveland next February, I decided to pick it up and give Mod Podge mini melts a try. Couldn’t hurt, right?
….except for the tiny problem of not having the right glue gun at home. I did have plenty of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, though, and knew it would do in a pinch.
I carefully filled my gem mold, trying my best not to get any air bubbles. Even a dab hand with these products can fall prey to air bubbles, and they’re not always easy to banish.
Unfortunately, I did get a few, but they were near the surface and unlikely to be easily visible once my gems were painted and on a costume. Stress kills, people – as I’ve already said ‘good enough’ can be your best friend.
After nearly 24 hours curing, I popped (almost) all of my gems out of the mold. You can clearly see that the pearl strand broke in pieces on me, and that it and the individual pearl ended up uneven and with fairly large air bubbles. It happens, and I certainly won’t cry over it. I’m going to paint them anyway just to experiment with colors.
You’ll also notice that I had one wee baby which was not done curing. I’ll give it some more time and paint it at a later date.
This is my big failure out of the batch–I pulled it out of the mold before it cured fully, and ended up with an unusable piece of junk with uneven edges and fingerprints all over it.
Shortly after taking this picture, I inspected it closer to see if I could potentially sand it down and use it for … something. Sadly, it cracked in two and met its maker [Insert obligatory Rose Quartz joke here…]
I decided to paint with nail polish as it’s quite versatile–I can cover a lot of ground with very little product, and I have full control over how dark it turns out. It’s also quick drying and, honestly, I am all about working with products I already have in my house rather than making a random night trip to my local craft store. I tried to select some fun “jewel tones” from my collection. It also doesn’t hurt that Julep and Square Hue both offer nail polish which is cruelty free and 5-free.
I’m surprised by how much I like the emeralds. I’ll likely add another coat of color and a top coat and to play around with defining some of the facets. Considering those two were the gems I really needed for a future cosplay, I’m quite pleased.
I absolutely adore my little teardrop gem which is somewhere between a ruby and a garnet. The pearls were a disaster, but I’ll continue playing around with filling the mold evenly and perhaps leave them to cure a bit longer so the strand doesn’t want to separate. I do think I picked a wonderful color for the black pearls, though.
Ultimately this project was a little frustrating and a lot of fun, which is all I can truly ask for. It’s called cosplay for a reason–as long as I’m enjoying it, I don’t need every single detail to earn me a gold star.
I’ll continue to experiment with gem colors, and I promise to do something in future with those Mini Melts. Can’t let a good craft item go to waste!