Common resin crafting terms
Have you ever felt like there is a lingo to working with resin that you just don’t quite understand? I get it! I felt the same way when I first started. Here are definitions to some common resin crafting terms so you can feel confident right away knowing what all these terms and phrases mean. They are important to make sure you understand your resin products and how to use them!
RESIN CRAFTING Terms beginning with letters A through F
Accelerator: An additive to speed up the chemical reaction between the catalyst and resin.
Air Bubble Void: Air entrapment that has occurred either on the surface or within the casting.
Air Vent: A small hole designed as part of a master mold, to prevent entrapment of air bubbles when casting.
Bezel: A jewelry finding that has a rim that can hold the resin. May also be referred to as cups.
Casting (process): Replication process by which a liquid material is usually poured into a mold, which contains a hollow cavity of the desired shape, and then allowed to solidify.
Casting (object): A cured resin piece.
Catalyst: Causes the resin to solidify. Sold in a separate container from the resin, but usually sold in a kit with the resin. Made to specifically match the resin with which it is intended for use.
Cavity: Depression in a mold; space inside wherein a casting medium is poured.
Cure (process): The reaction that occurs between resin and hardener to allow it to fully set or harden.
Cure Inhibition: When a contaminate prevents resin from curing as expected.
Cure Time: How long it takes for resin or silicone to completely cure.
Curing Agent: A catalytic or reactive agent which when added to a resin causes polymerization; synonymous with hardener.
Curing Temperature: Optimal temperature for curing.
Demolding: The process of removing a model or casting from a mold.
Demolding time: Period at which the casting can be demolded. May require more time to fully cure (cure time).
Doming: Process of using resin to create a resin dome on a surface. Also refers to a resin suitable for this process.
Embedding: To encapsulate an object or other finding in resin or other casting material.
Epoxy: Class of synthetic thermosetting polymers containing epoxide groups. One of the most widely available resins.
Exothermic: A chemical reaction that causes heat production. A necessary reaction for the resin to cure.
Findings: Parts used to make resin castings wearable as jewelry
Flash or Flashing: Excess material attached to a molding or cast product, caused by leakage of the material between the two surfaces of a mold.
RESIN CRAFTING Terms beginning with letters G through P
Gel Stage: The semisolid stage between when resin turns from a liquid to a solid. At this point, the resin can no longer be worked with.
Gel Time: The time it takes to reach the semisolid stage. The resin will be tacky or sticky when it reaches this point.
Hardener: A substance added to the resin to cause it to cure. May also be referred to as catalyst.
Inclusions: Anything being added to the resin. This can be colorants, found objects, art and craft items, or jewelry findings.
Inhibition: The failure of the resin to cure properly.
Keys: A depression in one part with a matching protrusion in another part used to bring mold halves or sections into alignment when joining together so the two halves will not shift.
Master Model: An exact duplicate of a model, used to make numerous molds. Saves the actual model from the damage during mold making.
Mix Ratio: The proper proportion (either by weight or volume) of resin and hardener (oftentimes referred to as Parts A and B) to be combined.
Model: An object or pattern that serves as the template for a mold. Models can be anything made of wood, plastic, wax, clay, metal, plaster, bone, rock, etc. A model can be any shape, pattern, or texture you want to reproduce.
Mold Release: A compound applied in a thin layer to the surface of an item, either a model or mold, to allow the subsequent resin casting to be demolded.
Mold Shrinkage: The amount of size difference between a casting and its original model.
Molds: A negative of the master, a form, in which castings are made by pouring into the mold a liquid material which will produce a copy (replica) of the master. Molds can be made of different materials, but in resin crafting as most commonly made from plastic or silicone.
MSDS: Material Safety Data Sheet. Provides information on product components and how to work with it in a safe manner.
Open Time: See pot time.
Parting Line: A mark on a master where the sections of the mold will meet.
Polyester resin: Generally mixes with drops of hardener based upon the volume and thickness of the casting. Bad odor.
Polyethylene: A firm, but flexible plastic that has natural chemical release qualities that make it perfect for resin casting molds.
Polymer Clay: A sculptable material based on the polymer polyvinyl chloride (PVC). Can be used as a model for resin casting and mold production.
Polypropylene: A flexible plastic that has natural chemical release qualities that make it perfect for resin casting molds.
Polyurethane: A synthetic resin that cures very hard. Also comes in forms/kits that cure very quickly. Moisture sensitive. Mold making versions also available.
Pot time: The amount of time you have to work with the resin to get Parts A & B mixed thoroughly and applied before it gels. May also be referred to as pot life.
Pressure Casting: Most commonly refers to the process of putting a casting in a pressure chamber attached to an air compressor. Air is forced into the pressure pot, which shrinks bubbles so that they cannot be seen by the naked eye.
Pressure Pot: Chamber used for pressure casting.
RESIN CRAFTING Terms beginning with letters R through Z
Resin: A common term, defining a class of organic substances that may be natural or synthetic, which can be thermoplastic or thermosetting. Used in conjunction with hardeners to form a semi-solid to a solid substance. Can be mixed with fillers, stabilizers, pigments, and other inclusions to form a final design. Our resin buying guide details resins and which one is right for your project.
Rotational Cast: Referred to as spin-casting or slush-casting; a process where a small amount of casting material is poured into a mold. The mold is then either rotationally spun by hand or machine to coat the entire surface of the mold. This process is continued until the casting material has begun to gel leaving a hollow cavity that may be filled with a lower-cost material.
RTV: Room Temperature Vulcanizing. This refers to a rubber material that cures completely at room temperature. Most common for making poured molds.
SDS: Safety Data Sheet. Contains information on chemicals, including composition, potential hazards, and safe use instructions.
Sealer or Sealing Agent: A glue or aerosol sealing agent. Necessary for porous models before using as a mold template or for porous inclusions that will take up a moisture stain when placed into resin.
Shelf Life: The period of time a product can be stored and remain suitable for use.
Shore Hardness: A measurement of the hardness of different materials.
Silicone: A rubbery type resin that usually has resistance to temperature, water, and chemicals, making it ideal for mold making.
Silicone Putty: Silicone compounds that can be kneaded together by hand. Ideal for a wide range of impression type mold applications for Casting Resin and Epoxy, wax, baking, chocolates, ice cubes, soap, plaster, air dry clay, concrete and low melt metals. Great for making quick molds.
Tensile Properties: Ultimate Tensile Strength is the force, measured in PSI, needed to stretch a material until it breaks.
Tensile strength: Tensile strength measures the stress required to pull something to the point where it breaks.
Thermoplastic: Resins that will (re)melt when heated. Can be repeated many times.
Thermosetting: Resins that will set permanently after heating. These are the resins we use in jewelry making and crafting.
Undercut: Any indentation or protrusion in a shape that will prevent its withdrawal from a one-piece mold.
UV Resin: A one-part resin that requires ultraviolet or sunlight to cure.
Vacuum casting: Process where resin is placed into a chamber and the air is removed with a vacuum pump. Air bubbles are forced to come to the surface and evacuate.
Viscosity: Refers to how easily a substance will flow. A material, like water, with low viscosity, will flow easily. A material, like peanut butter, with a high viscosity, will not flow easily.
Eager to get started crafting with resin but overwhelmed with where to start? I felt the same way when I started creating with resin. It’s why I wrote the book, Resin Fundamentals. I share everything beginners need to know to have success with resin. It’s what I wish someone had shared with me about resin!
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