Casting with epoxy is a lot of fun. Until it isn’t. Despite your efforts, you’re not getting the effect you expected and you’ve got a mess on your hands. And you might be thinking, ‘Why does this work for other people but not for me?’
Here’s what I know from my 15 years of casting with epoxy.
Epoxy resin wants to make beautiful art. It’s our job to give it the loving, nurturing, mistake-free environment to let that happen.
Unless of course, you like learning the hard way.
In that case, here are 10 ways to mess up casting with epoxy.
Option 1: Measure your resin and hardener haphazardly.
Don’t worry about resin directions. It’s not like they’re precisely written to make sure your resin cures. So if a resin kit says measure 2 to 1 by volume, simply guess. And don’t use resin mixing cups, either. The lines on the cups to get accurate measurements are overrated anyway.
Or, you can learn how to measure and mix epoxy resin to avoid sticky, uncured resin.
Option 2: Mix your resin and hardener — good enough — together.
I mean, all those swirls and waves in epoxy don’t mean anything. And they certainly don’t mean that your resin is undermixed. Besides, you love fixing sticky resin.
Or, you can know when you’re resin is fully mixed.
Option 3: Fail to learn the details about the resin you are using.
All resin details are the same. They all mix the same way. They all cure the same way. Whatever you did with the last resin you used totally works for this one too.
Or, you can learn details like mixing ratios, cure times and best uses in this resin buying guide.
Option 4: Give yourself too little time to work with epoxy.
You’ve got 30 minutes. That’s plenty of time to prep a resin mold, mix and color resin, add it to the mold, get out bubbles and clean up. And besides, you love that last-minute rush of resin curing in the mixing cup before you’ve used it all.
Or, you can do things, like sealing papers, when you’ve only got a little bit of time to dedicate to casting with epoxy. Then come back when you’ve got an hour or more to spend with epoxy resin.
Option 5: Don’t get everything you need together until after mixing the resin.
Don’t try to plan ahead. Once you mix resin, you’ll remember everything you want to add to it. And besides, you can press that resin curing pause button, so you’ve still got all the pot time you need.
Or, you can use a resin supplies checklist to make sure you’ve got everything you need before starting your resin project.
Option 6: Pick a project that is over your skill level.
It doesn’t matter that you’ve never tried casting with epoxy before. You’ll be a master from the beginning. Pick the craziest, most complicated, complex project you can think of. You’ll get it perfect the first time. Besides, you’ve got endless time and resources.
Or, you can learn what every resin beginner needs to know.
Option 7: Overlook other things that can impact your resin casting.
As long as the resin is right, nothing else matters. Don’t worry about room temperature. And having a level resin surface. Overrated! The resin will know it’s unlevel and fix itself of divots and fish eyes.
Or, you can make sure your room is the perfect warm hug your resin needs.
Option 8: Choose any resin for your project.
All resins are the same. If you don’t believe me, ask anyone at the big box crafting store. They’ll tell you that any resin works for casting. (and then ask what casting with epoxy means)
Or, you can arm yourself with the knowledge of how to choose the best epoxy for your project.
Option 9: Add anything you want to color resin.
Resin doesn’t care what you add to it. It cures no matter what! And it will look the same regardless of what you add to it. Resin is pretty easy like that.
Or, you can learn how to color epoxy so it looks its best.
Option 10: When something goes wrong, blame it on the resin.
Operator error never happens when casting with epoxy. That’s why you can’t find resin troubleshooting articles. Nothing ever goes wrong.
Or, you can learn about the five things you need to know before crafting with epoxy.
Ready to avoid the disasters of casting with epoxy?
Then you’ll want to get your copy of Resin Fundamentals. Stop spending hours reading and watching videos only to feel just as confused as when you started. Instead, the vital details to guide you to making something beautiful in only a couple of hours. Even if you have no experience. Buy the ebook now, and get a download link in minutes.
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2022 Resin Obsession, LLC
35 thoughts on “10 Ways To Ensure Your Next Casting With Epoxy Is A Disaster”
Not paying attention to the place you’ll be mixing and curing the resin.
Is the area you’re mixing and the area you’re curing (if they’re different) cold or warm? Is it away from drafts and damp?
Resin is very sensitive to temperature and moisture, even moisture in the air. Some resins are more sensitive than others. The optimal temperature for the room where you’ll be mixing, pouring, and curing is mid 73-75 F (23-23.5C) and not very humid. If it’s a lot colder than that, the resin will develop bubbles more easily while mixing and pouring and the resin will cure a lot slower. Bubbles will be harder to get out because they won’t want to rise to the top quickly. If it’s a lot warmer than that, the resin pot time will be reduced, dramatically if it’s significantly warmer. If the room is damp or humid, the resin may not cure correctly. Some brands of cured epoxy resin will feel like they have an oily residue on them when they’re cured in a location that’s too damp or humid, especially if it’s on the cold side of that mid 70sF and damp as well (like in a room in the Pacific Northwest winter rainy day in a room that doesn’t have good insulation). A resin piece cured in a location that’s too cold might also never feel fully hard but will have a slight rubbery feel. Uneven temperature, such as in a drafty location, can also cause an uneven or bad cure.
Is the area you’re curing level?
A level curing location is important for casting in molds, casting in a bezel, and for doming. If your spot to cure isn’t level, then the resin, like the liquid it is, will find its own level and either slope or slop over the side.
Does your resin piece have to be moved from the spot you’re mixing and pouring to the spot you’ll leave it to cure?
Just like with a location that’s not level, if you have to move your piece from mixing and pouring area to curing area, if you tip it, the resin will spill over the side or break that dome just like the liquid it is. If possible, fill to just below the rim before you move your piece to the curing location and then pour in the last bit of resin. For doming, it’s best to not move the piece at all after you put that perfect dome on.
Can the curing area or piece be covered while it is curing?
Even in the cleanest house, dust, dander, hair, and any other little annoying debris can fall into your resin while it is curing and forever become a part of your piece. Anything that can cover over your piece while not touching the resin can be used as a cover. I use clear pot liners I found at a dollar store, ‘dead’ food storage containers (ones which are stained or damaged, never use them for food again if you use them even once anywhere near resin), a plastic storage bin, a box. Your cover can also help to keep your curing area warmer than the rest of the room if you can trap some warm under it with the curing items.
Did you think about the possibility of spills and slop overs?
Having your resin piece become a permanent part of the location you were curing or the card you put it on to be able to move it is a disaster. I cover my curing location and every single curing ‘pad’ with a bit of wax paper or parchment. Resin doesn’t stick to either. I also use a drying mat (from Resin Obsession, of course) to elevate bezels and other doming projects.
Did you think about the place to cure the resin before you started to mix?
Thinking about the cure has to be part of the preparation before you start mixing.
Fantastic information on ‘planning for the worst, expecting the best’. I just purchased my resin, inks, glitters, bezels and molds to start experimenting with resin for the first time. While I appreciate the info, now I have even more trepidation that the first pour will be a disaster! The article and Rijacki’s follow-up reply has given me a lot to consider before that first pour. Wish me luck!
Hi Robin, you have the knowledge now and clearer expectations on what resin can and cannot do. I little bit of ‘fear’ will go a long way to make sure you do things right!
Thanks for adding your thoughts as well. Lots of things for resin crafters to consider!
I have one to add. I accidently took a xanax before I started. Do not do this because dipping your pieces instead of pouring the resin does not work. lol
Medication before creating can lead to very interesting results 🙂
I have been working with resin for over 12 years. I found the best way to measure is to use a digital scale. I use a 2 to 1 resin, measure resin first then add hardner. Mix for 2 to 3 minutes, let set for 5 to 10 minutes, then mix again for 2 to 3 minutes. Let rest again for 5 minutes. Works best for me.
You have great experience in this.
I want to start a resin project.
can you help me with what type and brand of resin should iuse?
Here’s a good place to start: https://www.resinobsession.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/resin-choices-april-2016.pdf
I realize these replies are from 2016, but hopefully someone will respond 🙂
I’m confused about the post recommending a digital scale to measure resin… the info I’ve always read said to measure by volume and never by weight since one is heavier than the other…
Am I crazy or is there a certain resin that is supposed to be measured by weight? Or maybe I have misunderstood the post… Can someone clarify this for me please! 🙂 thank you so much!!
Hi Misty, you are not crazy. Epoxy resin directions (which vary from resin to resin) almost always say to mix by volume not by weight. Some resin artists prefer to use a scale and measure by weight so you don’t have to worry about only pouring the amounts that graduated cups are measured for. You are correct in that when using a scale, one component (usually the hardener), weighs more than the other. Not only will you use up one component quicker, if you are using more hardener than you need, your resin mix will have a shortened pot time.
I would like to try a seaglass window project. Could you recommend a resin that you think would work the best. I have never used resin before and am feeling very intimidated. Thank you.
Hi Carol, we have a few discussions in our forum that will help you: https://www.resinobsession.com/?s=sea+glass
I’m new to resin and, unfortunately, on a budget so I got a type of UV resin online. It may not be the best resin for the job but it casts well enough. The problem I’m having is the stuff I’m casting moving around and/or floating and because it’s UV resin it cures very fast so I don’t have a lot of time to move it around especially if it moves on my way to putting it in the sun. Any tips on keeping the items in place? And if glue is the answer what glue would work best and will it make it look weird?
I like E6000 glue. We used it in the frame shop I worked in. It dries absolutely clears give it 24 hours to cure before pouring on top of it.
I am eager to start experimenting with resin, and have considered it for a while with cost being the main issue. Learning by trial and error has always been my best way to discover how mediums work, but this can get pricey.
My question is… if I need to cast a large volume, is it ok to do items and colors in smaller casts and then set those into the larger area? Will the 2 (cured and uncured) blend well, or will there be a defined transition?
I’m afraid you will see lines between the pieces.
I’ve seen videos where people sand an object then coat it to hide mold lines. Would sanding help reduce visibility of lines between items?
Not necessarily since the line will go all the way through.
you have three different titles for this article and they contradict each other. resin may be your thing, but writing and grammar are lost to you.
Why so mean?
I am making a version of a shadow box with items from a funeral (flowers, ribbon, photo, funeral announcement). I have prepared the wooden box by staining then sealing it, buy how do I prepare the paper products?
PS I love your response to “Jim”, he was being mean! Lol
Hi Sandra, we have an article on how to prepare papers for resin here: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/how-to-seal-papers-or-findings-for-including-in-resin/
Haha, ye it is very easy to blame the resin for my stupid mistakes, at some point you have to just accept that you need to improve, but it is annoying, after all, resin is expensive!
Hi I’m trying to cast a key using a low viscosity clear epoxy resin.The directions say I must use a 10ml syringe with a k&s 3/32 brass tube to inject the resin into the mold.My question is how do I get the resin into the syringe without having any air bubbles etc?Ive tried but no luck so far.Please advise.
I want to fill cups to look like tea. What do I need? Can I coat a tea bag and lemon slice to add a touch of reality? Can resin glue this together? I have never used resin so I am really limited.
Hi Sheryl, I want to help you with your project, and I think this situation is best suited for a one-on-one consulting call where you and I talk back and forth about what’s going on. A 15 minute consultation call is $20. I do them by video so I can have a chance to see what you are working on. If you are interested, please send a message through the ‘contact us’ page and I can get this going for you.
Hi. I have today had my first go using epoxy. Had my first problem when I poured the mix over the large piece of wood in my mold…..it floated. Omg. Of all the care and planning this is what caused me my 1st problem. So I managed to put some screws on the wood and put a weight on the wood. The wood actually had my house numbers cut out of it. As it cured more and more ‘micro bubbles kept coming out of the wood and I burst with flame on the surface but as it cured and got hotter the tiny bubbles have set in the epoxy like a fuzzing glass of champagne. This wood had been dried indoors for 4 or 5 years.. wondered if you have any thoughts on this please. Regards Don
Hi Don, this is a common problem with unsealed wood — it leaked air into the resin. To avoid this, you should seal it before including in resin. This is what I like to use: https://shop.resinobsession.com/collections/tools-and-supplies/products/castin-craft-gloss-resin-sealer-spray
Hey everyone! New to resin. I have pours that come out great except sometimes I get some lines in the finished product- no texture, just lines that I think are coming from the mold- like they were scratched even though they are brand new. Can I buff these lines out with polish and what can I do to fix these brand new molds? Thanks for your help!
Hi Megan, yes, you can sand and polish your resin pieces. This article explains how: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/how-to-polish-resin-different-ways-of-polishing-resin/
Unfortunately though, there isn’t a good way to repair your molds.
I tried pouring resin over a puzzle I had done. Nothing on YouTube mentioned I had to seal the puzzle first evidently. All the resin soaked into the puzzle and every single line where the puzzle is put together is dark. I threw it in the trash. I also tried to pull resin over a Sandollar. It turns the Sandollar real dark brown. obviously I threw it away too.
Oh goodness, Terri. How frustrating!
How do I know how much resin to use. When it comes to paper I seal them in a clear plastic sleeve
Hi Tom, this article will help you with how much resin you need for your project: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/how-much-resin-do-i-need/