What is Resin Gel Time and When Does it Happen?

what is resin gel time?If you have ever wondered what is resin gel time, I can tell you that it’s not about making jelly. The gel time of resin is only one step during the curing process, but it’s a crucial one.

Why is resin gel time important?

Let’s say you are creating resin projects in layers and want to minimize the lines or seams between layers. You want to apply the next layer of resin while the previous layer is in the resin gel phase. While you can let your resin completely cure, then add another layer of resin, you’re going to see a line between layers.

When does the gel time of resin happen?

Hold up, partner. Before we talk gel time, we first need to talk about a resin’s pot time. This is the amount of time you have to use the resin mixture once you mix it with the hardener. This time varies from resin to resin. You should find it in your resin kit instructions. Gel time should occur shortly (relatively speaking) after a resin’s pot time expires.

For example, the Resin Obsession super clear resin‘s pot time is 20 to 25 minutes. Its gel time occurs between 30 and 40 minutes after mixing. Once again, though, resin gel time varies from resin to resin.

What does resin in the gel time look like?

Once you mix your resin and hardener, you should notice a gradual thickening of the resin. There will come the point where the resin is very thick and very slowly returns to its expected shape when disturbed. When the resin is thick and doesn’t flatten out again, this is a resin’s gel phase. Towards the end of the gel phase, the resin will become stringy when trying to stir it. Eventually, the resin mass will solidify and harden.

When a resin is in gel time, you will notice it feels warm, especially if you have it in a thick pour. This warmth is typical and is what helps the resin to cure.  Don’t disturb your resin project once it enters the gel phase. You can introduce bubbles that are difficult, if not impossible, to remove at this point.

What should you know if you are going to apply another layer of resin to one that’s in the gel time?

The heat is additive. The heat from your first layer is going to combine with the heat of your new layer. You need to be aware of how hot your resin could get so that it doesn’t overheat and cure too quickly.

What’s the best way to know what is the gel time of resin?

The more you work with a particular formula of epoxy, the more you’re going to find out exactly how it behaves. Take plenty of notes detailing how you used it along with its pot time. That will give you a starting point to know when a resin’s gel time can happen.

When creating your resin project, keep some mixed resin in your cup. You can check the resin in the cups to see if it’s in the gel phase without disturbing the epoxy resin you poured.

Have more questions about resin gel time? Let me show you how the Resin Obsession super clear resin changes from a fluid to solid through the end of its gel time.

Frustrated with your resin results?

It can be defeating to spend an afternoon on resin projects only to make something sticky and full of bubbles.   It’s why I wrote the ebook Resin Fundamentals.  I’ve taken my sixteen years of resin successes (and mistakes!) and condensed them into the essential details you need to know to make something amazing with resin. Buy the book now and download the PDF to read today.

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2023 Resin Obsession, LLC

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18 thoughts on “What is Resin Gel Time and When Does it Happen?

  1. Hi lam trying to inset a large pine cone into resin which is going to be 20cm deep what resin would you recommend for this project and will l be able to pour allay once into my mould

  2. I purchased a hard Craftin Cast mold, because I loved the shapes, I cannot find anywhere else, I bought the Castin Craft mold release and applied it as in your video (several attempts) I still have to freeze it to get them out. My main prob is they are matte and not the clear gloss resin spray, extra gloss plastic spray paint nothing gives me the super clear high gloss resin finish, I cannot seem to “glaze” with resin, I either get bare spots, add too much bulk or have foam or brush strokes if I use a tool. Any suggestions? I’ve watched every you tube video I can find.

  3. Hi Catherine I am a little bit confused about layering so that there will not be a line. The the lines are killing me! Do I put in the mold the regular High gloss and then I add the gel between layers? Or does the project have to be all gelled? I’m trying to make larger items than jewelry (balls, ashtrays, candy dishes, pyramids etc). I’ve watched this over and over but I don’t seem to make the connection. TIA

    1. Hi Janet, you want to wait until the layer your poured is in the gel phase, then pour a new layer of liquid resin.

  4. This will help me in the reverse. I want those lines but gives me ideas on how to control them. Thank you!

  5. Very informative Katherine. Could you clarify about being mindful of the resin curing too quickly when you add your second layer. Does that mean it should be a thin layer, a thicker layer? I’m not really clear on your explanation so it won’t overheat and cure too quickly. Thanks.

  6. Hi, Katherine!
    Probably a dumb question. I poured some coasters, single layer, about 3/16 inch thick. After 3 days, resin is still bendable! Should I try another layer, or will they eventually harden? Thanks!

  7. Hi, I have Resin Obsession Deep Pour Casting Resin and am wanting to do multiple layers of different colors. What is the gel time for this type of resin if poured in small (3oz) layers into a silicone pyramid mold?

    1. Hi Amanda, at a volume of 3 to 5 ounces, it will take the resin about 20 to 36 hours to reach gel time, depending on the thickness of the pour.

  8. My 12yo daughter is making a candle holder but she ran out of resin. The bottom layer has now cured and its still in the mold. Does she have to sand it to stop a line before adding the last layer, and how can this be achieved while still in the mold? Thanks

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