Before you purchase resin for your next project, here are the questions you should be asking
Whether you are new to resin or have tons of experience, choosing the right resin for your project is essential to having resin casting success. Here are ten questions you should ask before you purchase resin for your next project.
1. I want to make ______. Will this resin work for this?
Nothing hurts worse than buying a resin you think will work for your project only to find out after using it that it was not a good fit. Any knowledgeable manufacturer or retailer should be able to tell you whether or not this specific resin will work for what you want to make.
Pro tip: You should never hear that this resin will work for every situation. There is no one size fits all resin.
2. What is the pot time, cure time, minimum, and maximum mixing amounts for this resin?
This information is essential to know your time and volume limitations when using it. These numbers will let you know:
How long you have to work with the resin, once you start mixing before it starts to cure.
How quickly you can demold castings or have to wait for the surface to become solid.
If you can mix a large (or small) volume without it impacting curing.
You want to be sure the resin will fit your project needs. Having these numbers will also make it easier to compare one resin to another.
Pro tip: For all the resins sold in the Resin Obsession store, we have that information for you in our resin buying guide.
3. What is the shelf life of this resin?
Epoxies generally have a shelf life of twelve months. Polyesters are usually half of that. Polyurethanes are even shorter. My rule is only to purchase enough resin to use completely in half of the expected shelf life.
Pro tip: If you find your resin is yellowing, it might be usable. Here’s what you can do with yellowing resin.
4. Is there anything I should not do with this resin?
Going back to the ‘there is no one-size-fits-all resin’ comment, you might find out that a particular resin is great for doming but too thick to use successfully in molds. You might also find out like in the case of polyurethane resins, you are limited in your coloring options. Once again, a knowledgeable retailer or manufacturer should be able to give you these details to help you before you make a purchase.
5. Is this resin appropriate for my skill level?
This question mostly applies to those new to resin. I never recommend beginners start with polyurethane or polyester resins since they are more complicated to measure and mix. It can also be a little tricky to get them to cast before the pot time expires.
Pro tip: If you are a beginner, we have a book that gives you the resin basics to get you up to speed in no time.
6. Do you have a small quantity I can purchase first?
You might be in love with this resin, but let’s go on a ‘first date’. Only purchase a little bit to start. If it works for what you want to do, then invest in purchasing a larger volume to get a better price.
7. Does this resin conform to ASTM D-4236?
Resins intended and sold for art purposes, by U.S. federal law, must conform to ASTM D-4236. This notation will be included on the product packaging or in the point-of-sale description. This certification means the resin has been reviewed by a toxicologist and deemed appropriate for art use (home, school, or anywhere in between). If you don’t see the notation, ask.
If a manufacturer/retailer says they don’t have the certification and they are trying to sell it to you for art and crafting purposes, not only are they violating the law, but they cannot tell you if their product is safe to use.
8. Can you provide me with a safety data sheet (SDS) for this resin?
As a part of the ASTM certification, an SDS should also be formulated which gives you additional information about the resin such as the ingredients, safety precautions, and how to properly dispose of it amongst other things.
Pro tip: Any manufacturer that won’t give you this information either has something to hide or has not done their due diligence in getting this necessary information together. I would never purchase resin where I couldn’t read and understand the SDS first.
9. What would you like me to know about this resin?
Manufacturers and knowledgeable retailers know their product best and want you to be successful. Each resin has its own quirks and nuances that experienced users can share with you to ensure you have a successful resin casting experience.
10. How do you use this resin?
This is where you can really learn about a resin and if it fits into what you want to do. The manufacturer or retailer should have extensive experience with it and be able to give you their tips and tricks on how to make it shine. If they can’t tell you much, it means they probably don’t have the experience necessary to give you the technical support you need to make sure you have the best outcome possible.
Wondering what else you should know before you purchase resin? Read my tips on what kind of resin to use.
You can purchase resin in the Resin Obsession store including resin beginner kits.
You can watch more about what you need to know before your purchase resin here:
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