Preserving breast milk for jewelry

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Summary:

I’m looking for help to find the right preservatives for preserving breast milk in order to make jewelry with resin.
Hi everyone! My wife and I want to make breast milk jewelry but I’m having issues finding the right preservatives and amounts to use. We will be heating approx 5ml of milk and need a chemical preservative to mix in order to keep the milk from turning bad after months/years in the resin. The idea is to heat the milk with the chemicals until it’s a paste then spread it on wax paper. After it completely dries/(100% free of moisture )the product will be crushed into powder and mixed with the resin to make jewelry. I have optiphen and sodium benzoate. Would these be helpful? I’m no chemistry pro so just looking for opinions! Thanks
 

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  • #2
BillTre
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this project is not fully clear to me.

Components of the milk will be lipids droplets as a part of the emulsion that the milk fluid is.
In the milk liquid, the lipid droplets will be separated by aqueous (water-like) fluid. These little drops have optical properties that give milk some of its look. This will probably be lost when dried down.

Is it your intent to get rid of the lipids also. Not sure how well the lipids will mix with the resin.
 
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this project is not fully clear to me.

Components of the milk will be lipids droplets as a part of the emulsion that the milk fluid is.
In the milk liquid, the lipid droplets will be separated by aqueous (water-like) fluid. These little drops have optical properties that give milk some of its look. This will probably be lost when dried down.

Is it your intent to get rid of the lipids also. Not sure how well the lipids will mix with the resin.
Hi, thanks for the response! Yes I want to completely eliminate all fluid/ anything that can go bad from the breast milk! Our goal is to preserve the milk into a dry powder form that will not mold/turn colors in the future. (We want the powdered milk to remain a white/off white color to be appealing to the eyes) There’s some others online that have discovered a way to preserve it through the pasteurization process that I believe eliminates the bacteria, that would cause it to go bad eventually (unfortunately they will not share their processes) During this they add a mixture of powdered chemicals that help to preserve it. I’m comfortable working with resin and the jewelry making process, I just need assistance with what chemicals would be best to achieve the preservation of the milk.

The only videos online are of the DIY kit nature and do not tell what the included preservation compound is made of. I’ll attach the link so you can better see what I’m trying to accomplish.

thanks!

 
  • #4
BillTre
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Well that was different.
I have never heard of this before.
What I have done is fix, dehydrate and clear biological specimens and then embedded them in resin. This is done with chemicals that can be toxic if not handled properly.
This seems different.
It would be very useful to know what the secret powder is and does. Is does not seem to be any fix that I have heard of. There also seems to be a lot of it, perhaps more than the milk it was added to.

Pasturization does not completely sterilize the milk. It merely knocks down the numbers of active bacteria.
The powder may kill microbes. The resin may have similar properties.
I the process I mentioned above for biological specimens, the fixation process would kill everything and the dehydration process and clearing would remove all the lipids as well as making sure everything was dead.

Its not clear to me what is happening with the lipids (fats).
Small lipid droplets may make an emulsion with the resin (as they do in milk) which might preserve some of the milk's optical properties. These properties are in part based on light interacting differently with the lipid droplets and whatever is surrounding them (watery milk fluid or? resin).
 
  • #5
chemisttree
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Water will react with most resins so the water fraction of the fluid must be “fixed” in a chemical manner. This can be easily done by adding plaster of paris (the hemihydrate of calcium sulfate) and allowing it to harden. The result of this reaction is the dihydrate of calcium sulfate. This is simply gypsum powder like you would find in “desert rose.” It helps that the plaster is a brilliant white just like milk.
The instructions call for grinding the hardened (they refer to it as dry) plaster into a powder and suspending that into the resin. Drying something like this will prevent bacterial growth if kept sealed from atmospheric moisture... like maybe suspending it into some epoxy. The white of gypsum will stay that way for the ages! The resin will darken long before the remaining proteins and fats will cause any problem.
 
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  • #6
chemisttree
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Summary:: I’m looking for help to find the right preservatives for preserving breast milk...

I have optiphen and sodium benzoate. Would these be helpful? I’m no chemistry pro so just looking for opinions! Thanks
Sodium benzoate works best at an acidic pH but your product will be dry so that’s not really a solution for you. The optiphen is a good choice. Its a mixture of 2-phenoxy ethanol and 1,2-dihydroxyoctane. The smallest and simplest of good old detergents these two!
 
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  • #7
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Water will react with most resins so the water fraction of the fluid must be “fixed” in a chemical manner. This can be easily done by adding plaster of paris (the hemihydrate of calcium sulfate) and allowing it to harden. The result of this reaction is the dihydrate of calcium sulfate. This is simply gypsum powder like you would find in “desert rose.” It helps that the plaster is a brilliant white just like milk.
The instructions call for grinding the hardened (they refer to it as dry) plaster into a powder and suspending that into the resin. Drying something like this will prevent bacterial growth if kept sealed from atmospheric moisture... like maybe suspending it into some epoxy. The white of gypsum will stay that way for the ages! The resin will darken long before the remaining proteins and fats will cause any problem.
Thanks for the great information! So just to be sure Im clear on what to do... I should simply add “plaster of Paris” to the raw breast milk while heating it in the double boiler. This should turn it into the plaster that I can then crush into the powder after it’s dry correct? Is there any need for the optiphen still?
 
  • #8
chemisttree
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Thanks for the great information! So just to be sure Im clear on what to do... I should simply add “plaster of Paris” to the raw breast milk while heating it in the double boiler. This should turn it into the plaster that I can then crush into the powder after it’s dry correct? Is there any need for the optiphen still?
Yes, exactly. How much of the plaster to add and how much optiphen will be your experiment. Use cow’s milk until you are satisfied with it.
If it sets too slowly, add an accelerator.
https://www.usg.com/content/usgcom/.../gypsum-plaster-accelerator.160216.html#!back

If it sets too quickly, try a retarder.
https://www.usg.com/content/usgcom/en/products/walls/drywall/plasters/gypsum-plaster-retarder.html

borax is a good set retarder for plaster and it has antifungal properties as well. Two-fer!
 
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  • #9
did mixing the plaster of Paris and raw breast milk work? Did the plaster alter the natural color at all?
 
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Hallo, ich wollte fragen, ob der Versuch mit dem Gips bereits erledigt wurde?
.
.<mentor allows this post to remain the user now knows not to use German:
Hello, I wanted to ask if the plaster trial has already been done?
>
 
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  • #11
Klystron
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I have no experience using milk for jewelry, but milk in the form of casein is a common ingredient in tempera painting. Tempera paints with various additives have historically been used to decorate jewelry. For your info...
 
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  • #12
hutchphd
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I believe the reason Elmer's glue is made by Borden's (a dairy company) is that it used to be casein glue made from milk. I think it was just acid-coagulated milk with some neutralizing base added to the coagulant. It will dry nicely I would bet. Google casein glue and someone will show you!
 
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  • #13
chemisttree
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I believe the reason Elmer's glue is made by Borden's (a dairy company) is that it used to be casein glue made from milk. I think it was just acid-coagulated milk with some neutralizing base added to the coagulant. It will dry nicely I would bet. Google casein glue and someone will show you!
Now it is polyvinyl alcohol made from hydrolyzing polyvinylacetate. It is referred to as a PVA glue.
 
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  • #14
jim mcnamara
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Casein (milk & lime == milk paint) painted designs on Egyptian furniture from the Middle Kingdom - 3500 years ago, are still in decent shape. I think natron (Sodium carbonate decahydrate) was used as the liming agent.

From metmuseum.org:

main-image.jpg
 
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  • #15
Baluncore
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Hi, I'm very curious if you have found any way to successfully use breast milk into resin jewelry, without discoloration.
I would really like to try this myself, but there is no greater secret on the internet, than the method for preserving breastmilk for resin. Nobody will help me.
So maybe you can tell me your experiences?
 
  • #17
chemisttree
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My experience? It’s waaay too diffucult to get breast milk for me these days! Try milk and follow my advice earlier in the thread....
 
  • #18
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I found this DIY video on it and secret may be there. I suspect there is an additive that maintains the color or they paint the inside of the resin chamber a pearly white color.

 
  • #19
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I assume human breast milk, which has much more fat than cow's milk. A common resin is styrene (I used to build surfboards) and pretty much anything soluble in toluene, like triglycerols (natural fats), dissolves. A small amount of formaldehyde will stabilize the milk proteins. Styrene is toxic to bacteria. Styrene polymer excludes air helping preserve milk. Ambient ultraviolet will yellow plastic and maybe milk, so some UV absorber like sunscreen will stop that, but may interfere with hardening the resin. There is polyester resin liquid with hardner (cross linker) which is clear. Most ofthe others I've used were thermosetting, probably avoid cooking the milk. (Wax is translucent and easy to work with, perhaps.) I've been meaning to do more with natural resins example Amber which has been fossilized for 100,000,000 years. Latex is opaque but white like milk. Walmart has clear epoxy resin. I like the Tempera idea, dry the milk make Tempera then paint a baby picture? Murals in Medieval Italy painted with egg yolks and tempera are still vivid, but the plaster under them is crumbling.
 
  • #20
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Thanks for the great information! So just to be sure Im clear on what to do... I should simply add “plaster of Paris” to the raw breast milk while heating it in the double boiler. This should turn it into the plaster that I can then crush into the powder after it’s dry correct? Is there any need for the optiphen still?
Hi Tyler, I was hoping you could tell me if the plaster of paris and optiphen worked for preserving breastmilk.
 
  • #22
Y
Calling @Ty2828.

@paulamc you might not get a timely response since the member last visited our site 9 months ago.
Yep it works
 
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  • #23
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Did anyone get results? Pls share
 
  • #24
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And where can we find those chemicals?
 
  • #25
Did anyone get results? Pls share
It’s something that you will have to experiment with. No DNA artist will give you their formula and where to buy the items.
it takes us a lot of years to perfect our methods and don’t want backyard artists coming along to under cut us and or methods. Do some research and some experimenting
It takes 6-12 months minimum to see if any of our methods work and wait for any yellowing to occur.
There are ready made powders available on the market
 

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