If you are asking yourself, ‘What kind of resin should I use?’, you have come to the right place.
This is one of the most common questions I get asked. Sadly to say though, there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer, and there are several things to consider. I will walk you through how I look at the process, whether I am creating for myself or helping another resin artist.
Hang with me. I’m going to go off-topic for a moment.
Let’s pretend you need a cake. You head to your favorite grocery store and ask the bakery clerk to help you get one. That person is likely to ask a few questions of you like, ‘Are you celebrating something?’ or ‘Is there a flavor you prefer?’ Do you see how you need an idea of what you want the cake for before you ever buy the cake?
So if you were to ask me ‘What kind of resin should I use?’, I will respond with ‘What are you hoping the end result to be?’
If you’re a beginner, I cannot stress here enough that you need to start with an epoxy resin. Why? Relatively speaking, epoxy is the easiest to work with. It’s the most forgiving of beginner resin mistakes, plus it’s the easiest to mix and measure.
So now you may be asking yourself, “What kind of epoxy should I use?”
Once again, it depends on what you want your final project to look like. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a specific epoxy:
What clarity do you need?
If you want your final project to be clear, you want to make sure to start with a clear resin. Also, realize that clear doesn’t necessarily mean ‘color free’. Some clear resins will cure with a yellow tint, depending on the brand. Know that the clearer and more color-free, the more it will cost.
Are you filling a space or coating a surface?
If you want to pour it into something, like a mold or a space for a river table, you want to use a casting resin. These are low-viscosity resins that release bubbles easily and can be poured in thick layers. Because they are so watery though, they will run off the side or make fish eyes on a surface, so they aren’t suitable for countertops or artwork.
If you want to pour the resin onto something to create a glossy finish, you want to use a doming resin. This kind of coating resin is high-viscosity to make sure it evenly levels after applying to a surface. While some will still run over the sides when adding it to a flat surface, (for example — creating an epoxy tabletop) it will cling to the surface better and give a shiny finish. Know too, that the thickness of the formula makes it harder to remove bubbles. Be sure to have a heat gun handy to go over the surface to pop bubbles.
BONUS: If you’re a beginner and still have questions, this article about the differences between casting resins and doming resins gives you more resin advice.
Awesome! You’ve picked a resin! Now what?
If you’re wondering where you can buy clear epoxy resin, Resin Obsession has you covered! Choose from multiple formulas to help you make something amazing!
If epoxy is so great, why would I use anything else?
You might be in a situation where you need a project to cure quickly. In that case, you will want to use a quick-curing polyurethane resin. These usually fully harden in under thirty minutes, so you can make a project and have it ready to use or wear in under an hour! Unfortunately though, this formula is very moisture sensitive. Any amount of water will make the resin bubble and cure looking like a sponge. It’s also not a resin kit that I recommend for beginners since you only have 1 to 1 1/2 minutes to mix and pour it into your resin molds.
If you’re making another mold project, you might want to try a polyester. These resins come from the marine industry and generally cost less than epoxies. Sadly though, this is also a type that I don’t recommend for beginners. Polyester has a short pot time (generally 8 to 10 minutes) and the surface exposed to air during the curing will remain tacky. After demolding, you will need to sand the sticky side or coat with resin gloss sealer spray.
If the sticky resin wasn’t bad enough, this formula will literally take your breath away because the smell is so bad. I would NEVER use polyester in my house or a space that I needed to occupy over the next 12 hours. When I craft with polyester in my studio, I save it for the last thing in the day. I cast, then leave for the day or I will even cast it outside, weather permitting. If you think you might want to cast polyester resin, here are five things you should know about using polyester resin.
Want more help getting started?
Read our RESIN BUYING GUIDE for a complete breakdown explaining resin choices to make sure you get the right one for your project.
Are you a beginner overwhelmed by all the information out there? It’s enough to make you pull your hair out! That’s why I wrote the book, Resin Fundamentals. I designed it for beginners to help get you from confused to confident in only an afternoon!
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2021 Resin Obsession, LLC