Rice really?

A few friends visited my workroom the other day. They have been many times, sometimes to choose things, sometimes to give me a hand and mostly to have a catch up. They know alot about my work and have been in my room when I've poured resin to make my pendants, earrings and whatnot. This time they were surprised to see several small tubs of rice on and near the resin trays and were facinated to see this new process.

Of late dry rice has been one of the most useful things I've found use for in a long time.

Below is a photo of one of the new cufflinks I have begun making. I explained the problems I had in sourcing the right bezels (the part where the design and resin sits) in a previous post. I ordered lots of samples from several companies but I wasn't happy with the quality until I found these. I'm not sure if its clear in the photo but the fitting is angled at the back of the bezel. This led to another problem - how to sit the cufflink straight so that the resin can be poured into the bezel evenly to give a level finish. The cufflinks need at least 48 hours to dry so there can't be any movement during that time.
 I tried all sorts of methods including constructing a wooden rack, this looked like the solution until I over poured the resin and glued the cufflinks solidly to the rack, rendering it useless. A friend lent me a ring display board - you know the black velvet display boards where the rings are pushed into slots? This didn't work because of the angle of the cufflink finding. I tried moddelling clay - this was ok but only for making one or two pieces, not really viable for making 10 - 20 pairs at a time. After much searching around I found a photo of resin jewellery drying in rice. Well, I thought that would never work, so I dismissed it until I couldn't find any other way.
 It works a treat! When I have set the design in the bezel I push the cufflink into the rice so that the bezel sits just proud of the surface. Its important to move the grains of rice around the bezel to keep the cufflink straight, then I pour in the resin a drop at a time. In most batches there will be a piece where I've over poured the resin and it will have run over the sides of the bezel. Often this means the piece can be repoured because the resin will run into the rice - not onto the metal of the cufflink. The picture below shows how when the piece is lifted out of the drying tray the resin has set in the rice making it into a little sculpture.
 The rice can be snapped off the cufflink. So much easier than all of the other methods I tried!
The little Shepherds have been facinated with these little piles of set rice, they've featured in quite a few lego games!
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