Mistakes beginners make with resin

The five most common mistakes beginners make with resin

mistakes beginners make with resin

Originally published October 2016.  Updated April 28, 2018.

Believe it or not, I was once a beginner with resin. So I’m sure you figured that out before now, but I tell you this, because when I started with resin, boy did I make some mistakes. I only wish my teacher at the time had stressed some important things about resin to help avoid problems.

Okay beginners, I’m trying to make up for how I was taught and don’t want you to experience the excitement of your first resin castings turn into sorrow and anger when you find a goupy, sticky, what did I do wrong, kind of mess. Here are the five most common mistakes beginners make with resin.

1. You don’t read and follow the directions.

I get it. You want to get right to the fun stuff. Perhaps you saw a friend craft with resin or you saw a video on youtube. Come on, how hard can this be? Yeah, it can be that hard. Stop and read the directions that come with the resin kit before you ever open the containers. Does your resin mix 1 to 1? Should you mix by weight or by volume? How long does it take to cure? Once you have read the directions, be sure to follow them. Every resin is a little different and has instructions tailor made to make sure you are successful.  Besides, if things do go wrong, a lot of possibilities are eliminated by knowing you did everything exactly as the instructions stated.

2. Measure accurately.

A capful of this. A spoonful of that. I mean, you have seen other people do it in their tutorials. What’s the big deal? Well, it probably isn’t a big deal …. at least some of the time. If you are mixing large volumes of resin, being off by half a teaspoon probably isn’t going to be a dealbreaker. However, if you are mixing only a little bit to cast into a pendant, yeah, that half a teaspoon is going to be a big deal. I like to use measuring cups, every time. Not kidding.  I know they can get expensive, but if you are careful, you can clean and reuse them.  You can see how I like to clean them here:

3. Mix thoroughly.

In the beginning, this is the one I failed at the most. You put the Part A and Part B together, then mix it up. After 30 seconds or so, you don’t see any more swirls and the color looks uniform. What can go wrong? I’m here to tell you that the resin along the side of the cup and your mixing utensil is not mixed unless you make an effort to mix it. I will scrape the sides and bottom of my cup, along with my stir stix, a minimum of three times during the mixing process. And on another note, my personal rule is to mix for 10 percent of the pot time. For example, if the pot time is 30 minutes, I will mix for 3 minutes.

Here’s some more of my tips for getting a good mix:

4. Not choosing the right resin for your project.

Do a little research before you purchase your resin. What do you want to accomplish? Do you need a doming resin? Do you need a resin that cures hard? Do you want something that’s food safe? Sometimes failure comes from asking the resin to do something it is not designed to do. Note: we have a chart on Resin Obsession that explains the pros and cons of the resins we sell along with their intended best uses.  You can read it here:  Resin Casting Kit choices

Like this post? You may be interested in  What to do with yellowing resin?

I also did a Facebook live broadcast breaking down the resins we sell along with their best uses:

5. Overestimating your abilities.

I love helping people with their projects. I share in their vision and excitement of creating something magnificent all until I get to the end of someone’s request when they reveal ‘and I’ve never done this before. Do you have any pointers?‘ Oh dear. While resin is a ton of fun, it does require some skill. While some beginners are instant masters of resin, for most, it takes time to develop skills and to learn how resin works. Imagine taking an archery class. Would you expect to hit the bull’s eye the first time you picked up a bow and arrow? I know I wouldn’t. What I’m trying to say here is to go easy. Start small. You can get this, but get good at the basics first.  If you are a beginner with resin, here’s my roadmap for your success: Resin Jewelry Making – What every beginner needs to know

And by the way, we have a bunch more beginner resin tutorials and articles to help get you up to master status.  😉

What other beginner pitfalls and problems have you experienced?  What were some of your beginner resin mistakes?

 

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2018 Resin Obsession, LLC

63 Comments

Shamair

Bwahahaha! I Ambush laughing so hard because I was guilty of all of this. Started experimenting with resin back in 2007x nothing worked. My resin always came out sticky and in-cured. I got so fed up I put it down for 7 years. I tried again and it worked first try. I couldn’t believe it.

If you’re a newbie please take heed to everything in this post! Be patient, respect the ratios and for heaven sake read the directions…after all you are working with chemicals.

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Gwen

I started playing with resin this year, unfortunately my mistake was thinking it was going to be easy LOL. Found out NO ITS NOT!
Although I have found that some of my mistakes made the coolest looking pieces, I am enjoying the fact that I am getting better and better at it.

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Azore Harris

I just finished with making a resin piece, and it came out of the mold looking great, except… I have these lines that can be felt and seen when I run my fingers across it. I also have a small indention or what looks like the resin pulled away form the mold. My question is, can I sand the whole piece down making it smoother and then reapply resin to the whole piece? Will this smooth out the piece, also what do you
recommend for shining and buffing my resin pieces?.
Many Thanks.

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Lena Bey

I am guilty of everything in this post. LOL. I just started using resin about a month or so ago. I am usually a polymer clay and wire crafter but decided to expand on my crafting skills. You are never so good as to not make mistakes if you don’t slow down and follow the directions. My biggest mistake was not having a level surface to work on. I would pour my resin and it would just overflow towards the lower end of my workspace. I purchased a small level to level up a small plastic dollar store cutting board and it works out just great!! I made so many messes, I decided I better start getting more instructions on its usage. Now I am proud to say I have gotten pretty good at this, not perfect, but much much better. Thanks for the posting. Excited to see what you have next for us newbies and old heads. LOL.

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Laurie Ann Hunter

How would you recommend that I resin a piece of Yupo paper? Must I glue it to wood or can it be resumed flat? Thank you

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Laurie Ann Hunter

Here is a site that describes it: http://yupousa.com/what-is-yupo/ It’s a nice medium for acrylic painters to use and I’ve confirmed that it will work with resin. I just don’t know how to put it on something flat without the resin adhering to the table Any tips for resining paper products? What would the set-up look like?

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Laurie Ann Hunter

Also, I know that this is a total newbie question but how do you add a second coat? Do you just pour it or do you have to sand it? Thank you for your time!

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Katherine Swift

No need to sand unless you have a blemish you are trying to repair. A second coat will do fine.

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carol

Can I fill a resin piece. I used ArtResin. I poured it on a dried acrylic painting on canvas. It dried with a couple spots that look like no Resin was used in those spots. It was covered when wet.

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Katherine Swift

I would suggest recoating the entire piece with another layer of resin.

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SR Peterson

My first attempts had some of the same issues. (I was trying to coat acrylic paintings).
My advise includes a few other notes that maybe I should have already known, but did not know.
1. Make sure the area is as clean as you can get it.
2. Make sure your work surface is level or you will have loops of resin where it tried to flow.
3. Have a place to pour. I poured outside, and I have had bugs get in the resin (trying to keep odor down). Don’t know how I’ll pour in the winter unless I buy a different type of resin.

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Charlene

I’ve never used resin before. I have a jack skellington mold I want to use. I want to make them into keychains. What kind of resin should I use? Can I add color or glitter to it? Thanks!!

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Sarah

I am trying to make a resin glode with a real flower in the center. I have dried the flower and am using a mold from a clay mold kit. Any tips aside from practice on a non important flower? Thank you!

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Karen

I just tried art resin on my fabric art. It looks amazing except that there are tons of tiny bubbles everywhere. Is this due to the fabric and stitching and therefore uneven surface?

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Katherine Swift

It sounds like trapped air in the fabric came to the surface after you poured the resin. Did you use a fabric sealer on it first?

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Daniel Bernard

I started many years ago as a Painter, All Mediums, On canvas. Most of my work is ABSTRACT. I never considered my self as a Artist, for 20 years I have given my pieces away to anyone that came to my house and said WOW I Love that PIECE! Anyway, I have no been commissioned and sell alot of pieces. The owner at the local art store saw my stuff and told me that I should take it off the strecher and glue it to wood and put resin on them. my trouble is that I cannot seem to get them glued to the MDF board flat enough to get a nice finish. I am currently using ART RESIN and was wondering if there is a lighter weight resin that i could use while my pieces are still on the stretched canvas?

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Katherine Swift

Why not leave it on the stretcher? Use magazines, pizza boxes, etc. underneath the canvas to keep it from sagging when you pour the resin.

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Lori

Be careful where you purchase them! I bought a whole bunch for what I thought was a deal on eBay. I now have a metric crap ton of plastic measuring containers with next to impossible to read, dubious markings. I was a nurse for 25 years and we had sleeves of these beautiful medicine cups that we just used once and tossed. Wish I had asked my manager if I could have bought a case. When will I learn you get what you pay for???

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Maria

I use a lot of resin in my work. I’m presently making a large oak dining table and running a river of aqua blue polyester transparent resin. The mistakes I made when I started using large amounts of resin was:
not having the patience to stage it (pouring it all on at once) and this resulted in the resin cracking.
2: not having an absolutely flat surface
3: stirring the resin too vigorously and subsequently creating an unnecessary number of air bubbles which meant spending
4: Doing this in a workshop that wasn’t dust free!
5: Not tightly clamping down a hollow item I was pouring the resin into. This allows the resin to creep underneath said item.

I have though, got a lovely chunk of wood with a natural opaque cracked resin running through it that looks like amber running through a tree. It was a mistake but sometimes mistakes can turn out for the better!

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Hilda Magilow

Hi. Wondering if you can clean up the resin from a glass measuring cup the same as you did from the plastic one. Thanks.

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Paula DeBoer

I want to glue (spray) lace to a canvas and resin over it. I have painted the canvas with acrylic paint. Can I use spray glue to hold the lace in place without causing problems while pouring the resin?

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Katherine Swift

I don’t know. I haven’t used spray glue. I worry that it might yellow with the resin.

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Luanne haak

What is the best tape to use for a clean edge while using resin? Also – when is the best time to pull the tape? Thank you!

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Katherine Swift

I like to use quality blue painters tape. Pull it once the resin has mostly cured. (not completely cured, but formed)

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Cee

HELP!!! I’ve just started using resin on acrylic pours. I’ve got the top of the canvas to come out perfectly, but I can’t get the resin to smoothly cover the sides of the canvas. It’s always ridges or sets in drips even after I’ve sat with it for an hour reapplying it with gloves on. How do I get the sides to be as smooth as the top of the canvas?

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Katherine Swift

Since gravity is working against you (in terms of the side), if your side perfectly flat, the resin won’t want to stay flat either. Without seeing your work, it sounds like you need to turn the painting up and cover one edge at a time with resin. Allow to partially cure before moving to the next side.

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Karen

Hi!
What is the easiest thing to make with resin since I’m a beginner? Maybe a paperweight?
Thanks

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Samar

For the wall art I would like to ask about how to measure the mixed resin for my project? Like how much does a one cup of mixed resin cover?
Is there an easy way to measure?
Thanks

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Danielle

If I want to do those lightbulb flower projects, where you suspend the flowers in a clear fluid in a lightbulb, would I use epoxy resin? I’m a beginner at this, I normally work with wood so Im a bit out of my comfort zone.

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Wanda Klein

A burning question: I still have my mothers hair queue and I want to keep it save. She passed away when I was 11 years old and the hair is almost 50 years old now and it is still beautiful. I think about catching it in resin, but I’m afraid to damage it. I mean, it’s unique and when I spoil it, it’s lost for ever. Can you please tell me what’s the best way to do it ?

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Sheri

I poured my resin without difficulty. But then it cracked down the middle. What went wrong?

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Paul

What’s a good resin to re create plastic model parts like cockpit of a xwing? Or other plastic models? I’m a newbie 🙂
Cheers
Paul

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Alisha

Question please….I’m just beginning resin projects but can seem to get any of the clear ones to come out bubble free, what can I do to make my jewelry peices without a whole bunch of bubbles. I take a lighter to it, I use royal palm resin, I pour slowely, I wait after I mix to let the resin set.

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Christian

Hello,

I’m currently in the works of coming up with an idea for my wife for Christmas. What I want to do is create a board that will be used for Chinese Checkers. We recently obtained a few boxfuls of cedar slabs that came off her late Emaw’s land and I wanted to try to incorporate the cedar wood into the Chinese Checkers board.

My first question is, how can I clean up the cedar (still has moss and bark attached) and seal it prior to pouring resin?

My second question is, what kind of resin should I use for this? It will be an indoor piece, obviously. I was thinking the Alumilite Amazing Clear Cast Epoxy since I don’t want it to scratch considering it’ll be a board game and will be used often.

Also, any suggestions you may have for me will be taken into consideration! I really want to surprise my wife with this for Christmas and would like to do it right the first time around.

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Andrew

Hey all,
Thank you for the article and comments. I just got my first 32oz resin kit and plan to make a Christmas present for my girlfriend. I want to soak in as much information as possible before my first go at it and this article was helpful. Slow and steady seems to be the approach here.

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Andrea

I used the last one you showed to make molds will it work. And I can’t seem to get it to dome in my bevel over glitter. Should I secure the glitter down first. I saw it in a dyi video, and I asked what they put down before the glitter and their response was just because which was not helpful at all, so I ended up ruening 2 pendants

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Katherine Swift

I’m not sure I understand your question. What ‘last one’ are you referring to?

Reply

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