Thoughts on choosing a resin and resin supplies
Lots of you have asked me what resin products I use for my resin jewelry and crafts. Part of the fun of learning resin is experimenting with different items and finding what works for your specific situation. I do understand, though, that it can be confusing and sometimes frustrating not knowing which product to use or using the wrong product for a project. Today, I’m going to walk you through the resin products I use WHEN and WHY.
Note: These are my experiences. Please use this article as a guide and feel free to share your experiences in the comment box below if something different has worked well for you.
If I’m working with molds, and I need a clear casting, I like to use the Resin Obsession super clear resin. The super clear resin is designed for molds and also casts very clear. The super clear resin also has its own line of resin colorants, so it’s easy for me to color and cast the resin as well.
If I am making something that can be a solid, opaque color, the Alumilite Amazing Casting resin works well. It is a quick cure polyurethane resin that cures opaque white, but can be colored with coordinating liquid colorants also by Alumilite that are specifically made for coloring polyurethane (and epoxy) resin. It also cures hard, making it a good choice for ‘high impact’ items like rings.
If I want to make something that needs to have the brightest, shiniest surface possible, that’s when I pull out the Castin’ Craft polyester resin. This resin is hard enough when cured that it can be polished on a buffing wheel with compound. I have found that is the best way to get a very glossy surface. If you want to try polyester resin, read this article first: polyester resin facts.
For the projects where I need a large, thin glossy surface, TotalCast or Alumilite Amazing Clear Cast resin works well for this. Both work well for creating a glossy surface no more than 1/8 inch thick. You can see how I used Alumilite Amazing clear cast resin to coat the surface of a tile.
If I only need to mold a small item, say 1 1/2 inches in diameter or less and not very thick, I will use the Alumilite Amazing mold putty. Because you only have a limited amount of time to mix and form the putty around the model, I only like to use it for small items. I will also use this if I want to cast a food item, as the mold putty is FDA designated food safe. For larger items that you need to make a silicone mold from, any of the Alumilite silicones will work fine for flat items. If you’re trying to cast larger items with lots of twists and turns (and subsequent undercuts), the high strength #3 is the best choice. The high strength #2 is the better choice if you’re making a two part mold because the cured silicone will be stiffer. If you are new to moldmaking altogether, the Composimold reusable molding material is a great choice. You can use the mold a couple of times, then remelt and pour again to make a new mold. Great for those times when you make a mistake! (and it’s food contact safe as well)
If you’re only going to be using plastic molds, the Castin’ Craft mold release will do just fine. The Ultra 4 parafilm mold release is better suited to silicone molds. Our recently added Petrolease universal mold release works on both, and for me, is my ‘go to’ mold release all the time. It may be overkill on the majority of plastic molds, but for deep molds, like the bangle bracelets and domes, I have found it makes demolding so much easier. If you’re making a two part silicone mold, or will be casting silicone into a silicone mold, the Alumilite rubber to rubber mold release is a good choice. I would expect the Petrolease mold release would be a good choice here as well, but I don’t have any experience with it yet in casting silicone against silicone to be absolutely sure.
For small projects I need to color, I find that I prefer the liquid colorants over the powder colorants if everything else is equal. I find I’m challenged with creating lumps with the powder sometimes, although this technique shown in a video on the Resin Obsession youtube channel works well to keep that from happening. How to mix powder pigments into resin.
Getting a glossy finish
If I want to get a glossy finish on a small surface, I will coat with another layer of the same resin I used to create the piece. If it’s a large item, I will use the resin gloss sealer spray. I like the ‘wet to the look’ finish another layer of resin gives, but find it can be tedious to accomplish on a large surface, especially if it has multiple sides. The gloss sealer spray can be done in a few seconds! If I don’t need a super glossy finish, but just need to shine it up a bit, I will use the Novus polishing compounds. You can see the difference between all of them in this video on the Resin Obsession youtube channel. A comparison of different polishing options for resin charms and jewelry.
What else do you want to know? What has worked for you?