I’ve been on a quest for the perfect glowing necklace for years, and I think I’ve finally cracked the code. This necklace uses tech from Adafruit, all soldered up into a tiny little package, diffused with an epoxy resin cabochon and set with silver plated copper wire. It’s stunning, y’all.
- 4+ hours of battery life
- USB Rechargeable
- 2″ across
- Comfy leather backing
I’ve written a full tutorial on the electronics build over at Adafruit, you can find it here. I want to go into a bit more detail about the resin and wire wrap part of the build here as well as recommend some product links in case you want to make your own.
Epoxy Resin Cabochon
I did a LOT of experimenting with my resin stones. Here’s what I learned.
I’m using a 2″ jewelry / cabochon mold I found on Amazon, which as since been discontinued. I’m being careful with it, because I couldn’t find a replacement source with a quick internet search. But it’s getting a bit scratched up inside so I’m on a quest to find a new one! I’ll update the blog when I do.
Epoxy Resin Type
I tried three different types of resin for these cabochons: EasyCast (from Michael’s). Deep Pour Epoxy (leftover from my Dragon Sconce project), and Table Top Epoxy (left over from my Ocean Resin project). I found the Table Top Epoxy gave me the brightest colors and the hardest cure. It also cured faster than the other two. You can see the difference in the photo above — the stones on the right were the Table Top Epoxy.
Epoxy Colors & Mix-Ins
For the colors I used a combination of alcohol inks and white Mica powder. The alcohol inks give gorgeous vibrant colors and are easy to mix and swirl, but they are transparent so do NOT diffuse the LEDs at all. I made a few cabochons with only alcohol inks and you can see the individual LEDs right through. Not the look I was going for.
The white mica powder is the key to diffusion. I tried gold mica as well, but that blocked the light entirely. Swirling in some white mica right as the resin starts to thicken up gave me the best results.
Plus, adding the mica swirl makes the necklaces look lovely even when they’re turned off.
If you’re going to get into resin crafts, you’ll need a lot of accessories — things like gloves, mixing cups, mixing sticks, measuring cups, etc. It can be a nightmare to track it all down, so I made an Amazon Wishlist with all the stuff I use to make reordering easy. Yes, it’s a bit of an investment at the outset but once you’ve got everything ready to go, the actual resin casting process becomes incredibly fun and satisfying.
Resin Art Shopping Cart
This is another crafting rabbit hole that I’m delighted to find myself falling down. There are a lot of kinds of wire available and so many fancy pliers to bend it with! I thought it would be a whole lot harder than it actually is. I’m really still a beginner at wire wrapping, but I’m collecting supplies and hoarding wire like a tiny dragon. I love it.
My favorite new discovery is square wire. Square wire! I never considered that wire could come in any shape but round. The beauty of square wire is that the pieces lie neatly next to each other and don’t roll around. They give a very tidy finished look. Good wire wrappers can lay 4 pieces of square wire next to each other and you can’t tell that it isn’t a solid piece of metal. Neato.
I really like using a combination of square and round wire. The square wires go in the middle of my bezel to outline my pendant, and the round wires go along the edges to make pretty swirlies and curlies.
I’ve gone as small as 21g (though that’s pretty thin for a pendant) and as large as 16g. I’d say starting with 18g would be a good happy medium.
You’ll want to get a few different colors, I suspect. 🙂
Also, pliers! You’ll need at least two pairs, as well as a pair of flush cutters. These flush cutters are my favorite tool in the whole wide world, I use them for EVERYTHING.
Wire Wrap Tutorial
I found this wire wrapping tutorial on Instructables and it explains the basics really well. There are also a ton of videos on YouTube if that’s more your jam.
I also made a Pinterest Board of ideas for designs. My designs never come out exactly like the pictures, but that’s all for the best – originality is more fun. Even if you start out by copying elements you like from someone else’s design, be sure to add your own twist and make it something that’s uniquely yours.
LED Necklaces for Sale
I am planning to list a few of these necklaces for sale over on my Etsy shop in the next week or two so stay tuned!