Friday, September 9, 2011

Mario Bros. Coins

Last night in chat at ArtCharms, there was a "challenge" suggested; to make a blog post before tonight. Good as any reason to get going!

For the last month, I've been working on charms for a ( my, I'm hosting ) swap, on the theme of "Video Games". My 14 year old son also joined in. His charms are Mario Bros. coins. Great idea! We decided to make 30 of them, so there would be enough left over to make a fun necklace, too. What a great homeschooling project. 

We talked about different ways to make the coins, and in the end decided on layers of card stock, glued together and painted gold, with a nice clear coat of Diamond Glaze. Kiddo learned to make nice wire wrapped loops, and how to attach jump rings. He painted and glued, ( I did the cutting. ) and they looked great. 

Super, until the last step. The Diamond Glaze reacted with the gold paint, and they turned greenish. So we repainted them gold, this time with spray paint, figuring that the enamel would keep it from reacting. Wrong.  Spray painted again, and tried Glossy Accents this time, since it doesn't say that it's water based. Less reaction, and it took a couple of days. One more coat of paint. 

I ask the Artcharms group for advice. Epoxy resin is the answer. I've never worked with real epoxy before, but I'm game. What started out as a learning opportunity for Kiddo suddenly became one for me as well! 

So, I'm at the grocery store, and I see Superglue makes epoxy that comes in a handy two piece syringe thing, that measures it out evenly. Cool. I buy it. I use a plastic spoon to mix some in, and do a test. It comes out lovely, and smooth and hard, but you can see the detail inside. The yellow color works in our favor. 

We get down to work, with Kiddo measuring out the epoxy mix into the plastic spoon, and me mixing quickly and pouring it on the coins. It hardens really quickly, so I didn't want to make a bunch at once. Little did I know that you can't use the same mixing thing more than once with some epoxy. They all turned out sticky. I put some Diamond Glaze over that, and it took care of that! 

Now the coins are slightly domed on one side. They didn't want to sit still for the other side, and i had some issues with them tipping and spilling and then sticking to the mat, requiring further coats to clean them up. They are getting pretty thick by this point. Coating the edges added more dimension. Now they look like they've been dipped in epoxy...  but it's not bad. Considering that we got them finished the day the last set from the swap arrived, I'm okay with them. Since then, I've learned that there are "art grade" epoxies. My friends recommend the one carried by Little Windows. It doesn't set up so fast, and you can reuse the mixing container.

These are the best ones, getting sent out for the swap. 


  1. Great charms & story, Kia! What fun to create with your son...and I love how you BOTH learned from the experience. I posted to MY blog today, too...great challenge from chat last night.

  2. I was just admiring those coins on Art Charms this morning! They're lovely--so glad you both persevered! And I posted to my blog too--Yay Kitten! Yay Kia! Yay Cris! Come on all you art charmers!

  3. Thanks you guys! We did learn a ton!

  4. Great to see you posted a novel as well! Great job on your charms and stepping up to the challenge to get your blog going! Keep it up!

  5. Great charms, good story!

    I waved to you as we went through Olympia yesterday on the way to Seattle.


  6. I'm loving your blog! You share your adventures and misadventures and what you try when things may not work out as planned. Plus your work is beautiful!
    I LOVE that your son is into making charms with you. And how great for your son to witness Happy Accidents and how when things don't go as expected it's not a bad's opportunity to try new things and often come out even better than planned.