One of the best ways to learn about resin is to push it to its limit. Put another way, you want to push it to fail.
Why? I can easily say I’ve learned more from my resin mistakes than any of my successes. Being afraid of not making mistakes is where that comes from. Of course, mistakes will happen.
I admit it. I didn’t follow basic resin rules and made several blunders when trying to test using Resin Obsession pigments in polyester casting resin. While I was able to get the answer I was looking for (Yes, they do color polyester resin!), the finished castings are nothing short of a big hot mess.
Mistake #1: Try to cast resin when you don’t give yourself enough time.
Since I was working with polyester resin, I wanted to do this outside because the smell is so bad. (By the way, if you have never worked with polyester casting resin, here are five things you need to know first.) It was about 4 PM and I knew I would only have about another 60 to 90 minutes of daylight (and warmth) to work the resin. I prepped my individual 1-ounce mixing cups with a toothpick of color from each of the twenty-five Resin Obsession color pigments.
I wanted to have enough polyester resin to put in 25 cups, so I poured as much of the resin as I could into one of my 10 ounce mixing cups.
Mistake #2: Mix more resin than you can possibly use in the pot time.
While it was in the upper 70’s temperature when I started this, I knew it was not going to last as the sun went down. I figured I would pour approximately 1/3 inch of resin into each cup. Note: Polyester resin is different from many other resins in that the amount of catalyst you add is dependent on the thickness of the casting. According to the directions, I should have added 6 to 8 drops of hardener to this resin. I wanted this stuff to get warm quickly to start curing quickly before the ambient temperature cooled off.
Mistake #3: Add more hardener to get things to cure quickly and think there won’t be consequences.
I stirred with the toothpicks already in the cup instead of getting stir stix. The stir stix would have been a better choice here as it would have blended the color into the resin faster and with fewer bubbles.
Mistake #4: Be too lazy or unorganized to get the right tools for the project.
So I didn’t get too far into this to realize that my resin was starting to gel. By the end, I was mixing this like I was making scrambled eggs. I was introducing sooo many bubbles. I hoped I could get them out once I finished mixing.
Mistake #5: Use poor resin techniques and think you can fix it later.
At this point, I had to get my assistant who was taking pictures to get gloves and help mix the colors. Even with that, we couldn’t get to the end before I was dealing with a goopy mess.
This was one of the final cups of resin that I got to mix before it started to gel. (I was only about halfway through mixing the twenty-five cups at this point.) Mixing the color into the polyester resin was like trying to mix the color into Jell-O.
By the way, the cup of resin shown here is fully cured. Yes, it is lumpy and those bubbles are forever trapped in the mess I made.
I was happy to see the colors cast as I expected they would.
These were some of the first cups of resin and color I was able to get mixed well. You can see holes the bubbles left behind on the tops of the resin. While the bubbles were able to rise to the top, the resin was start ed to thicken and couldn’t level out after they popped.
So while they only managed to get to be swirls in the polyester resin before they cured, I think the Resin Obsession bright neon pigments are my favorite. I think these have potential to make great polyester resin coloring agents.
So how about you? What have you learned not to do when casting resin?
Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2020 Resin Obsession, LLC