Updated: Oct 12, 2019
My relationship with resin is a love-hate relationship... I love creating new pieces, it's fun and you can literally create anything from jewelry to coasters to tabletops... on the other hand... it made me scream in horror so many times!
I want to share with you a few things I've learned while working with resin so far (I'm sure I can still learn loads, resin surprises me on a regular basis haha)
1. Don't use more than you have to.
This might be obvious but when I was first started my adventure with resin I poured and poured and poured freshly mixed resin until all empty spaces on the coaster were covered... feeling proud I covered my coaster nicely, I went to make a tea and a few minutes later resin gracefully dripped of onto my poor desk. I used waaay too much although it didn't look like it while I was still working on my coaster. Pour just a bit, smudge it all over your piece and if blank spaces appear - don't panic, let your piece dry and then cover it with the second layer of resin after first one cures.
2. Don't be afraid to pour more than 1 layer.
I don't think I ever created a coaster with only 1 layer of resin. Let it dry, then add another one and if needed even 3rd one. It's better to use not enough resin than too much. Subsequent layers will fix all your blank spots.
3. Stay away from your art pieces while they're curing.
I can't count how many times I destroyed my pieces because I just haaaaaddd to check if they were cured yet. Guess what - if it says on the bottle to wait 12 hours, you should wait 12 hours, don't be like me - don't stick your fingers into resin earlier ;)
4. Always follow instructions on the bottle.
Different resins are supposed to be mixed in different proportions, some should rest before you use them, some should be used straight away. Always, aaaaaalways do what it says on the label.
5. For smaller pieces use more hardener than it says on the bottle.
Wait, I just told you to follow instructions no matter what... well that's an exception ;) If you're working on smaller pieces, for example on jewelry - use tiny bit more hardener than resin, otherwise it might not cure properly. I use about 10% more hardener than it says on the bottle. It could not be applicable to all resins out there but if you've noticed your resin is kinda soft even after 48 hours... not enough hardener might be the reason.
6. Make friends with a torch or a heat gun.
In the beginning, I read plenty of horror stories about resin catching on fire, so I really didn't want to use heat gun (not to mention torch) to get rid of bubbles. I thought... it's fine, they'll go away after few minutes anyway. WRONG. Many of my early coasters ended up with holes where the air bubbles burst after the resin was already far into curing. It made me sad and mad. Not a great combo. Mind you, I sometimes leave air bubbles on purpose in jewelry pieces because I think it looks pretty :) But anyway, don't be afraid to use a heat gun or torch to get rid of bubbles (right after pouring resin), just make sure you don't heat it up for too long. Oh and having a small fire extinguisher at home is always a good idea ;)
7. Make sure your molds are cleaned properly after each use.
I'm serious. Don't leave bits of resin in molds and clean it thoroughly after each use. Don't let it get dusty as well, anything that stays in the mold will end up on your next piece. Something I learned pretty late as well - if surface of your mold is shiny so will your pieces be, so it's important to make sure mold stays sparkly clean!
8. If you're covering coasters/paintings with resin do it in a big plastic box.
Even if you use the perfect amount of resin, some of it might drip off and chances are you will never ever be able to pull it off unless you want to destroy your floor or desk (see the picture in point 1). If you pour over plastic container even if something drips, you can easily remove it after. No harm done. Not to mention peeling resin of plastic box is very satisfying haha.
9. If mold is big and you're doing a thick piece - layer resin.
Don't pour all your resin in one go if pieces are over 1.5-2cm thick. Layer it, otherwise it might not cure properly :( Leave at least 12 hours between layers (unless it says otherwise on your resin bottle).
10. Protect your lungs! (and other body parts)
I started my adventure with resin from the hardware store, it was good, cheap and sturdy but it stank so bad... and let's be honest it was seriously toxic. There are brands of art resin though that are non-toxic and safe for you. The one I'm using now if from resin4decor and I honestly see a difference. One - it's beautiful and clear, two - I don't feel like fainting after half hour of working with it. You could and probably should invest in a special mask if you're going to work with plenty of resin pieces, I don't own one yet... but I'm sure I will have to invest...
Also: always wear gloves! You can wash resin off when it's still fresh but why risk it right? Use gloves, old sweater that you don't mind destroying, open windows and enjoy your resin :D
Hope you enjoyed reading this blog post,