Focus On Resin
Thursday, February 28, 2013
We ask four resin artists for their top tips!
Read the instructions carefully and weigh or pour volumes of resin and catalyst (hardener) very accurately. Different brands have different recommended proportions so do be sure you've got the right ones!
Mix gently, but thoroughly. Most resin doesn't set because it's been poorly mixed. You don't want to beat it and trap air; just stir vigorously for the whole of the recommended time, usually 4-5 minutes.
To clear air bubbles, place a lamp above the project, as the bulb gets warm it will make the resin thinner and draw the air bubbles to the surface where they can be popped with a pin.
Place a jug or bowl over your pieces while curing to avoid dust/pet hair drifting and settling in the mix!
The following tips are for Apoxie Sculpt, which is a self-hardening two-part resin clay. Malleable for 2-3 hours after mixing, it requires no baking and sets rock-hard after 24 hours. The clay adheres to other surfaces and itself.
Items that wouldn't withstand baking, for example acrylic stones, beads or delicate materials can be set or embedded in resin clay.
If the resin clay becomes too sticky after mixing, then either place in the fridge for a short while or put some Vaseline on your fingers.
Smooth the resin clay with
a little cold water - this also helps to prevent it sticking to your fingers or tools.
Mix pre-coloured resin clay to make new shades or add a drop of oil or acrylic paint, powder pigment or mica to natural coloured clay.
When using casting resin, it is much easier and more accurate to get the correct mixing ratio using mini jeweller's scales.
If you are having trouble getting something out of a mould (bangle moulds can be particularly tricky), then put it in the freezer for a bit and it will pop out ten times easier.
Don't be surprised that in the winter resin can take slightly longer to cure. When it gets cold the resin can take an extra day or so to become fully hard.
Leave a mixing cup and stick next to a project. Use this to test the state of the resin, which prevents anybody from sticking their finger in and ruining the project!
Experiment with new ways of colouring resin. Epoxy resin will not work with anything that has water in it because it makes resin cloudy. Use dry powders and other dry materials.
Line up several projects to put resin into - then you will have less wasted material. If you have made too much, put it on an acrylic sheet; when it is set you can lift it off and use it in collages.
To find out how much resin you will need, weigh a piece without resin in and one with resin in - the difference will be the weight of the resin and hardener that you will need in future. It is worth keeping a record of weights.
Follow health and safety instructions that apply to the resin that you are using. Always work in a well-ventilated space. Your workroom needs to be at least 18°C for the resin reaction to work properly.