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  • Writer's pictureChristie

My Experience with 2-Part Resin Casting, UV Resin Casting, & an Easier Alternative

My Experience with 2-part Resin Casting:

I have very little experience with resin, but wanted to share a bit about my experience using different types of resin. A few years ago I tried the 2-part epoxy resin. I didn't particularly enjoy the process for a few reasons.

For one, it required a lot of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) due to the nature of the chemicals. It also requires precise measuring and takes a very long time (in my opinion) to get to a finished state. This type of resin casting requires a lot of waiting which isn't my favorite thing. Also, I was constantly worried that I'd accidentally spill it.

Below are the items I made with the resin. I have them up as magnets on my refrigerator now. Despite technical imperfections (Like a key flipping upside down in the drying process) I am happy with how they turned out but will probably not use this type of resin again.

Experimenting with UV Resin:

Just recently, I learned about UV resin, which still has some of the cons of the traditional 2-part resin, including the need for PPE and the fact that spilling it could ruin the surface that you spill it on. Even still, I was excited to find a resin that can be cured in a matter of minutes, and didn't require precise measuring and mixing. Here is the resin that I used.

I already had a UV light, so after the resin came in, I put on my PPE (gloves, safety glasses, and a vapor fume respirator mask) and gave it a go.

For my first project I purchased open bezel pendants. These pendants are open on both sides. I liked the idea of a see through pendant since I already have one from another artist that I wear all the time.

In order to ensure that the resin didn't seep through the back, I learned that it works best if you stick the pendant to a piece of tape making a back to keep the resin in place.

My first try:

The first time I poured the resin onto the mold, it seemed to do fine but I got bubbles, which I attempted to blow away with a heat gun. Unfortunately this process didn't work well because in the process of getting rid of the bubbles it also melted the tape. I quickly placed the pendant under the UV lamp to cure it and since the tape melted, the resin seeped under the pendant essentially ruining the cast.

My second try:

I went into my stash and pulled out pendants that already had backs so I didn't have to worry about resin leaking out, and this time tried using pressed flowers, gold leaf, and Swarovski crystals. I didn't realized that the crystals would lose their luster but that makes sense since the facets were no longer defined after being submerged in resin. It also ended up pulling some of the color out of the rhinestones which wasn't attractive. There were also bubbles that I didn't get out of the resin. You can see how that turned out in the picture below. It's the one on the right.

My final try:

My third try pendant is the one on the left in the picture above. For my final try today, I went back to the backless pendants and adhered it to the tape. After that I filled it simply with pressed flowers and gold leaf in different layers. This one ended up slightly better but I'm still not totally happy with where everything is placed and with how much gold leaf I used. The resin also stuck a bit to the tape and caused a weird -what looks like - an air bubble or a crack where I added a new layer. I attempted to dome the bottom by adding a thin layer of resin to the bottom to camouflage it but it is still pretty obvious.

My Final Thoughts:

Although I can see the potential that there is to resin casting, I realize that the process of resin casting is not something that I enjoy, or even a process that I would enjoy even if I got really good at it. I generally am not a big fan of hobbies that require hazardous and potentially very messy chemicals, and resin falls into both of those categories. That being said, I am glad to have tried it, and if I really need to use the skill in the future I will be able to pick it up again.

An Alternative to Resin that I enjoy More:

One product that I discovered which I enjoy more is called Mod Podge Dimensional Magic. It gives a similar look to resin, but is water based and non-toxic. No need for PPE when you're using this stuff! That being said, you will not get a rock-hard texture like you would with resin, and it dries a bit thinner if that makes sense. I also want to say that I don't think it's quite as clear as resin when it dries.

The picture below is of a pendant I made using Mod Podge Dimensional Magic. Keep in mind that some of the color seeped out of the paper I used at the back of the pendant, so it's unintentionally tinted a blue color. You can see that although the items inside are fully coated it is still thin. It might be able to be built up more in layers, but I personally haven't tried it yet.

If you are also hesitant to use resin, but like the idea of having your own customized pendant necklaces with that resin look, I would say try using Mod Podge Dimensional Magic first. This would also make a great project if you have slightly older children as opposed to using resin.

Future Plans:

Anyway, I know things have been quiet from me lately. Here lately I've been getting into gardening, and as with all hobbies, it's making me think about related crafts. I could do a whole separate blog post about those, so I think I'll save that for another time. I've honestly got more ideas for things I want to do than I have time for. :)


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