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Basic Resin Casting

In this tutorial, you will learn about basic resin casting - the types of resins, how to measure them and how to work with them. You will also learn about different types of molds and how to mix them.

Basic Resin Casting

What you need

Resin
Measuring Tools
Disposable Mixing bowl or cup
Disposable tools
Suitable mold
Cooking Spray
Straw
Items for Embedding




Instructions

Resins:

Polyester Resin: is a liquid plastic that hardens when a few drops of the catalyst are added to create a chemical reaction. Polyester Resin is durable and is the resin of choice for industrial applications and serious crafters who are experienced in resin casting. This resin is highly toxic and should be used in a well ventilated area using protective masks to avoid inhalation. One main advantage of Polyester Resin is the depth in which it can be poured for larger embed projects. Polyester Resin is cheaper to buy than Epoxy resin as it is generally purchased in larger quantities such as 1lt + tins.

Epoxy Resin: These resins are more frequently used in the crafting and hobby world, they are easy to use with a low toxicity, making them suitable for ventilated craft rooms and work areas. Epoxy resin is perfect for jewelry casting as it has a shallow setting depth, so it will cure quickly when used correctly.

Epoxy resins come in two parts: resin and hardener. The two parts must be mixed in the precise ratio given in the manufacturer’s instructions. Imprecise measuring and mixing prevents the epoxy resin from solidifying or curing. Epoxy resin is also self leveling, giving your project a glass like finish without too much technique. More expensive than the polyester resin but a great way to get started for a small batch of projects.

Always handle resins with care, and follow the proper use that is recommended by the manufacturer.

Pigments and Dyes: These come in liquids, powders and pastes . You will need to purchase color dyes that are suitable for your brand of resin. Dye’s are added during the mixing process.

Molds:

Dimensional Molds: These are molds that create a 3D object, such as a heart shaped pendant, bangle or coaster etc. Latex and Plastic Molds can be purchased for resin casting or you can make your own molds, or use items you have around the home.

Latex molds: These are great to use as the flexibility of them means you can literally POP out your resin cast. You may need to experiment with your resin as some resins require a little extra hardener to cure in a latex mold due to the fact that the temperature of the resin is effected because of the latex.

Plastic molds: You can use store bought chocolate molds, specific pendant molds or other similar molds. again these are great to use due to the flexibility.

Home molds: Ice cube trays work well for pendants, chocolate box inlays are a great source of small rounded molds. You can use any durable (heat proof) plastic item you find in your home. You can also use inflexible molds that can be cut or broken away from the casting, such as a glass jar or plastic lunch container.

Mold Release: If you are using a flexible mold there really is not need to add a mold release agent. However a perfect inexpensive release agent is spray cooking oil. Simply give your mold a quick spray and wipe over and it’s ready to use.

Flat Objects: You can also pour your resin over flat objects such as scrabble pieces, decorated coasters, trays and flat jewelry pieces.

How to mix:

Your resin will come with it’s very own set of instructions which you should follow strictly. Basically you will measure the two parts (as per the instructions provided on your product) together and then pour into your mold.

For mixing and measuring use baking spoons and measuring jugs as these will give you an accurate measurement. Wipe out your measuring tools after each use, making sure you have separate tools for the resin and hardener parts.

Plastic disposable bowls, spoons or cups work well as you can discard them after each use. Do not over mix or your resin will be filled with air bubbles. Let your resin rest for a few moments before pouring to avoid extra air.

Air Bubbles: Can be gently tapped out or use a straw and your warm breath to blow over the bubble, this disperses the soft resin and releases the air trapped underneath the surface. Larger projects use a warm setting on your hair dryer or embossing gun.

Embedding items: You can embed all sorts of items to make your resin exciting, from plastic toys to coins, dried foliage and even cake sprinkles.

Photos and Images: Photos and images can easily be embedded into your resin, it is advised to coat your image and photo with a sealer first to prevent the ink dyes from running in your resin. Using white clear drying craft glue is one way to seal your image, you can also use a spray varnish or other archival sealer. Make sure it is completely dried before pouring.

Cleanup: If you have spilled your image, use a acetone cleaner, such as nail varnish remover or a methylated spirits before it cures. Cured resin can be chipped away with knifes or chisels. The easiest way to clean up resin is not to spill it in the first place.

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Comments

  1. LYNNE BINDEMAN says:

    I reside in South Africa and would like to start with this as a hobby making jewellary but can’t seem to find any distributer in South Africa. I work with pewter and would like to incorporate this with resin.
    Can you please tell me if there are places in our country to buy everything that I need for this new venture?
    Kind regards.
    Lynne Bindeman
    labindeman@gmail.com

  2. Please. Tell me about I can buy resin?

  3. Luis Garcia Lozada says:

    Please

    tell me the instruction in spanish

  4. Interesting points, particularly about air bubbles and how to get rid of them

  5. Some good info here but a little confusing as to know the difference between the two types, one comes in two parts (resin & catalyst) and the other comes…in two parts (resin & hardener) hmm, not quite clear on the differences

    Any advice on the best way to clean resin castings as I’ve heard water clouds it and also how to polish fingerprints and small scratches off the surface without clouding?

  6. Hi,
    I’m not 100% what type of resin to use on this, any help would be great, I’m trying to make a mould that will bond as well as thread, I have a set of old type alloy wheel centre caps chromed/tin, what I’m wanting to do is drill a few holes into the caps, then mount theses into a set of wire wheel knock offs/ spinners, hopefully pour the resin into the caps so this will flow through into the threaded spinner, when set hopefully I’ll be able to remove & replace the spinner when needed, this is not load baring it just a dress up thing, anyone out there that can advise me what resin will be best & tell me how to stop the resin bonding to the spinner, I did think of using spray grease but, would that cause any problems or would it cause a reaction with the resin.
    Please help I’m going out of my mind trying to think of the best waycto do this,
    kind regards Robert

  7. This was an excellent tutorial. Thanks.

  8. thank you so so much- this has been so helpful x jill in south africa xx

  9. Very good information, clear and easily understood. It’s the first time someone has explained (so I could understand it *g*) the difference between polyester and epoxy resin.
    Thanks

  10. How do you pour resin over a flat object and not have it glued down onto the surface you poured it over. I am trying to make magnets out of art on paper that is then glued onto a magnet backing. It worked but some of the resin got on the back of the magnet. The whole thing was messy and then I couldn’t use the magnet.

  11. Hmmnn… great post on resin jewellery…resin casting is perfect for embedding stuffs on your casting… :) we could play with resin casting and have fabulous results…

  12. I want to make a necklace with a real spider imbedded in it. What type of resin would be best for this type of thing, Epoxy or Polyester? Also– I’ve never done this before… I’m a beginner. :) So if you could help me out I would appreciate it.

    -Angela.

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