Resin is resin, right? There are so many resin formulas out there. How are you supposed to know what to use in the battle of resin vs. epoxy?
Let’s start by exploring what resin is
Resin is a unique chemical mixture that has been a part of nature for a very long time. It is a liquid mixture that, under certain conditions, will harden. This happens when you mix resin with hardener (two-part resins) or expose it to ultraviolet light (UV resin). And you may already be familiar with nature’s resin — amber.
So, what’s the difference between resin and epoxy?
Epoxy is a specific type of two-part resin. Epoxy resins are the most commonly used type of resin for crafting and creating art with resin. They’re perfect for resin beginners because they’re the easiest to measure and mix.
So if you had a resin vs epoxy battle, there wouldn’t be a winner because epoxy IS a type of resin.
Huh. So what other types of resin are there?
These resins have a short working time. Polyurethane resins only give you a few minutes to mix and pour before it starts drying.
Polyester resins cure very hard. But you need to know how you’re using it before you mix it. The amount of hardener you add varies on the thickness of the pour. Plus, they’re really stinky.
Both of these resin types are fun to craft with once you’re beyond the making messes and mistakes phase.
⭐️ BONUS: If you want to know more about these two kinds of resin, read this: What are the different resin types?
How will you know if a resin formula is an epoxy resin?
You should see this information on the resin kit label or product description. You can also review a resin’s safety data sheet. Most importantly, if you aren’t sure, ask. Using the wrong resin means you might make something ugly, sticky, and full of bubbles.
How do I know which epoxy resin is the best one for my project?
When understanding resin vs epoxy (versus any other formula), it’s much like buying paint for your house. There are many epoxy resin formulas to choose from.
But ultimately, here’s what you need to know:
There is no ‘one size fits all epoxy resin’. We can all agree that we want the best epoxy resin. But first, you need to visualize the specifics of what you want to create.
Are you trying to coat a surface or fill a mold?
Surface coating resins are also known as doming resins.
They mix thick and self-level. You’ll want this resin type if you want an even, glossy coat of resin over a painting, countertop, tumbler, or another surface. But, their stiff consistency is why you shouldn’t pour doming resins in depths greater than 1/8 inch. It’s difficult for all the bubbles to release before the resin starts curing.
Your other choice is to use epoxy resin for molds which are known as casting resins.
They mix very fluid and release bubbles quickly. You can pour them in depths as deep as two inches, and they cure bubble-free. Casting resins are what you want to use when creating resin river tables, paperweights, and other large resin statuettes. But, they don’t self-level. If you pour them on a flat surface, they’ll leave dimples.
⭐️ BONUS: There are other differences between these formulas too. If you want to know more, read about the differences between casting resins and doming resins.
How much resin do you want to use at one time?
Epoxy resin formulas also differ in how much you can mix at once. Mix up too much, and the resin heats up too quickly. Mix too little, and it may not get warm enough to harden.
How do you mix epoxy resin?
Epoxy resin kits come with specific mixing instructions. They typically mix by volume with a particular amount of Part A (the resin) with a particular amount of Part B (the hardener). Obey the directions and don’t deviate from the ratios. If you do, your resin may not cure.
⭐️ BONUS: If you are new to the resin vs epoxy battle, here’s how you mix resin and hardener in five easy steps.
How long does it take resin to cure?
Curing times are also specific to the resin kit. Some epoxy resins can cure in as few as eight hours, while some may need two to three days. Your resin instructions will detail the resin drying times.
Of course, it’s hard to cover everything you could need to know when buying a resin. Here are the ten questions you should have answers to before you buy a resin.
So now that you know what’s the difference between resin vs epoxy, where can you buy the stuff?
Resin Obsession has several epoxy resin formulas to help you create something one of a kind. Plus, you’ll get help from me. (an actual resin expert) Not some rando in a cubicle who’s never used resin.
Besides, I only sell the supplies I use myself.
And if you aren’t 100% sure which resin you need, it’s cool. We’ve got a resin quiz to help you answer that question. (and it’s free)
Ready to use resin but hesitant about getting started?
I get it. No one wants to waste an afternoon on something you only share with the trash can. It’s why I wrote the book Resin Fundamentals. I’ve condensed my sixteen years of resin experience into the vital facts you need to know to succeed with resin from day one. Buy a copy of the PDF ebook now, and it’s yours to read in minutes.
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2023 Resin Obsession, LLC
24 thoughts on “What Everyone Needs To Know About Resin Vs Epoxy”
You do not address no mix resins for jewelry. You probably don’t carry them but I’m hoping you can tell me something about them because of your experience. Are they premixed? How?
Hi Cheryl, it sounds like you are talking about UV resin. You’re right, I don’t have enough experience with them to share any advice.
I`m new to this craft, but have been in lapidary for many moons. I have hundreds of small gem quality stones that I want to incorporate in resin pendants, maybe up to three quarter inch deep. Could you please tell me what I need to order from you to get me going? I can hardly wait to get going! Thank You
Hi Bob, welcome to the world of resin! Are you wanting to make resin jewelry with molds or jewelry blanks? That will best help me with a recommendation.
well after reading your information, I see what maybe some of my projects did not do well. I mixed so left over products with some new. I didn’t know about the two different kinds of resin. So, I made a serving plater and some placed was sticky after I took it out of the mold.
Your information is great…. I am a beginner and am making gifts..
I’m so glad you found this helpful Shirley!
I want to coat the inside and outside of a resin and champaign cork bowl to thicken the sides and coat the corks a little. Do I want to use doming resin (which I have zero experience with)? I need it to cling on all of the non horizontal surfaces without pooling in the bottom of the bowl.
Hi Scott, yes, a doming resin is what you want to use. We have several size doming resins in our store here: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/resin/resin-obsession-crystal-doming-resin
It’s going to pool though unless you keep the bowl moving like when you make a resin tumbler: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-tutorials/resin-tumbler-diy/
If you are pouring epoxy resin on a table top that is uneven and need more than an 1/8″ to even the top, can you pour a second coat after the first pour is cured? Will there be a noticeable separation line?
Hi Virginia, yes, you can pour a second layer, but you will need to recoat the entire layer, otherwise, you will see seam lines. Unfortunately, you can’t use resin like a spackling paste.
Hi, does the book cover all of the tips/hints that you have on your site? I was looking at the latest ones you have since January of this year and I just wanted to know if I buy the book, are those already in it or do I need to save those too? I haven’t bought anything yet, no molds, no resins, nothing. Just wanting to educate myself before I buy anything. I plan on making earrings/pendants with pictures, so I’m thinking maybe I need the self leveling epoxy? Thanks, Cyndi
Hi Cyndi. Welcome to the world of resin! The book is the fastest way to get started with resin. It fast tracks you with the important items you need to know to get started. The chapters in the book are not available on the blog.
I want to pour resin over a wooden table top and want the sides to be covered as well. Which resin do you recommend? A coating (domed) resin?
Hi Susan, this is the resin you want to use for coating table: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/resin/resin-obsession-artwork-resin
I have read that when using resin you have to be extremely careful and use all sorts of protective gear because of their toxicity. Are the epoxy resins the same?
Hi Vicki, no, unfortunately, not all resins are the same. This article explains more: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-resin-resin/epoxy-resin-safety/
Do resins have an expiration date? I have resin that has turned a little yellow. I’ve had it for about 6 months.
Hi Deborah, unfortunately, resin doesn’t last forever. This article explains more: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-resin-resin/clear-resin-turning-yellow/
I’m going to coat resin on some different shaped vases. Which resin do you think I will need? I figured I probably should use a doming resin. But since most of the vases are fat and then skinny up, I’m unsure of how to calculate the amount of resin I need to mix up and not be wasteful.
Hi Cathy, for a project like this, the Resin Obsession crystal doming resin works great: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/resin/resin-obsession-crystal-doming-resin But you’re right in that it’s hard to calculate exactly how much you need. In my experience, half an ounce of mixed resin coats an average-sized tumbler. That’s where I (mentally) start when I’m working with coating other surfaces like this. Does that help?
I want to pour resin into the top of an old round cheese box that I have laid various pieces of spalted wood on the bottom. I will add handles to make a tray. Which resin is best for that.
Hi Sandy, the Resin Obsession artwork resin works great for this. You can get it in a few different sizes here: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/resin/resin-obsession-artwork-resin
What about coloring your resin projects? How tod on that
Hi, Annie. We’ve got an article on how to do that here: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-resin-resin/how-to-color-resin/