After completing your resin projects, you might decide you want a shinier finish. Good news! You can polish resin, and I’m going to teach you how.
Do you have a hard-curing resin or a soft-curing resin?
This is important because soft-curing resins will make crumbs and can melt. So how do you know how hard your resin has cured? Determine the type of resin you used for your project. Polyester and polyurethane resins cure quite hard. Casting epoxies, like our super clear epoxy and deep pour resin cure hard — like the hardness of glass.
💡 Pro tip: If you can dent your cured resin with a fingernail or if it softens with body heat, it’s NOT a hard curing resin.
How do you know if you are using a casting resin?
Hard-curing resins: Polish with a buffing wheel and compound
Use a cotton buff and polishing compound appropriate for resins. (like Fabulustre). Let the buff spin, use it to pick up the compound, then press onto the resin to polish. You can use a Dremel tool or flex shaft for small projects like charms. A large buff makes quick work of polishing something larger like a resin bracelet.
Keep the piece moving, meaning you do not want to buff any one area for more than a couple of seconds. Don’t press the piece into the buff. Let the buff do the work. Run it over the resin, but don’t use too much pressure. Go over the entire piece as necessary. Wash with soap and water to remove the polishing compound residue.
⚠️ Important: Wear safety glasses and keep hair tied back when using any tool that rotates.
Here’s a video showing how to polish resin with a buffing wheel:
Soft curing resins: Polish by hand with polishing compounds
Because soft-curing resins can melt, you must polish them with a ‘lighter’ touch. This is a good time to use polishing compounds meant to be used by hand. The Novus polishing kit works great for this.
Follow the steps to use the liquid with the polishing cloth to get a shiny finish. While your resin may not get as shiny a finish as using power tools, it does achieve a shinier finish than without buffing. You can see how to the Novus polishing kit here:
So what other options do you have to get a shiny finish on resin jewelry and crafts if you don’t want to polish it?
1. Recoat with another layer of resin. While it can be messy, another layer of resin will give your resin project a glossy finish.
2. Spray with a couple of light coats of clear, polycrylic spray. Make sure your surface is smooth, then apply lightly to your resin surface. Recoat as necessary.
3. Buff with automotive wax. While it won’t give you as shiny a finish as the other options listed above, it’s a quick fix.
I’ve got a comparison of six different polishing options for resin here:
Want to learn more about crafting with resin but overwhelmed with knowing where to start?
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