Making things with resin – What I Wish I Would Have Known

 

making things with resin

I started making things with resin in 2006. Looking back on my experiences working with epoxy, there were a few things I wish I had known upfront about making things with resin. I have no doubt it would have saved me some time and aggravation! Here is what I wish my fairy godmother would have told me:

1. You Are Not Going to Be Good at Working With Resin Right Away.

In fact, it is going to take a few weeks to months to get beyond the “I keep making a mess” stage. When you think about it, this really isn’t any different than anything else, right? We are not perfect drivers the first time behind the wheel, or expert pastry chefs the first time we get in a kitchen. So why did I expect working with epoxy to be any different? There are so many skills to learn and build upon that I failed to realize it wasn’t something I was going to get right in the beginning. I am glad, however, that I liked it enough that I kept playing with it and working with resin! Otherwise, I would have lost out on learning such a creative medium!

If you are new to all this, this book will get you started with the basics to make resin jewelry.

2.  Don’t blame it on the resin.

In other words, the reason something didn’t work is most likely my fault, i.e. operator error. Resin is not very forgiving of mistakes. While it may be tempting to blame mistakes on the resin itself, in my experience, it is almost always my fault. I have learned the hard way that improper or incomplete techniques (as insignificant as they seemed to me at the time) can result in a disaster.

Here are some other reasons why your resin didn’t cure.

3.  Keep a journal.

There were so many things that I tried doing, and I couldn’t remember what I had done later when I went to demold castings. AACK! I learned that when working with resin, writing everything down in a journal made it much less frustrating when I wanted to recreate (or not recreate!) something later. I found it was important to write down everything, no matter how insignificant it may seem at the time. Details about temperature, humidity, pot time, etc. were invaluable learning tools, in the beginning, to help me know where I went wrong when working with epoxy.


4.  Pick Your Crafting Spot Carefully Because You and It Are Likely to Get Messy
.

I thought I was careful, but somehow I managed to get drips, ink stains, glue, and all kinds of glittery, cured resin stuck to my crafting area. Make sure you pick somewhere to craft or paint where this isn’t a big deal (or least be creative with how you’re going to handle drips on your kitchen counters…)

5.  Good lighting is essential

You have got to see what you’re doing when you’re working with epoxy! Whether it’s measuring or looking for bubbles, a good, bright light (I prefer LED) will make things so much easier.

We believe working with resin should be fun and easy from the beginning.  If you found these tips helpful, then you will want to learn more resin fundamentals to get you to resin pro status in no time!

Unpublished Blog Posts of Resin Obsession, LLC © 2021 Resin Obsession, LLC

Like this post? You may be interested in  How to cast resin into a silicone mold

110 thoughts on “Making things with resin – What I Wish I Would Have Known

  1. Don’t EVER wear anything you don’t want to get resin on. lol. I have gotten it on soft fuzzy pajama pants, one of my favorite tank tops and a few shirts. A pair of jeans. I thought I was careful. OH, and if you have long hair, it’s a good idea to pull it up in a ponytail or clip. I end up dipping my waist-length hair into my resin quite often. Usually after it’s poured into a mold.

  2. Here is a good question for you. Sometimes when I do a project my resin comes out sticky. Now I know that there will be times when this happens but here is the odd part. I mix a batch and use it. Some of them turn out fine! Perfect in fact! But some of them, no matter how long I let is cure, never harden. Same batch used at the same time with the same materials. So what happened there?

    1. Sometimes you don’t mix a big enough batch. You can always pour a new batch of resin over the sticky one!

    2. Hello. Whether I am painting, powder coating, dipping or resin casting, I usually do the final cure by setting the piece in the afternoon sun, sometimes for two afternoons. Let it get good and warm, let the UV bake it and the wind blow over it. Things tend to cure harder. In the winter I set them in the window.

      In humid weather, right after the pour, if they are small pieces I put them in my fruit and vegetable dehydrator (one dedicated for this purpose and also for drying 3D printer filament).

  3. @Heather, my first two concerns are that the resin is either not being measured accurately or mixed properly. I would make sure I was doing those very well each time.

    1. I had this issue in the beginning too. You have to scrape the sides all around your container, scrape every area of the container over and over to make sure there is no part that wasn’t mixed, don’t forget to scrape the stir tool several times too. Then the two most important things to remember is measure exactly and stir, stir, stir, stir, stir. I stir my little 2tbs. for at least 3 minutes.

  4. I wish I would have know that high humidity and old resin affect the curing process. A humidity gauge and a dehumidifier and using resin that is no more than six months old fixed the problems. But it was very frustrating and discouraging to have so many setbacks and to have to experiment so much and do lots of research to figure out what was causing the issues.

    All of my resin mishaps taught me the value of stick-to-itivness and that patience and persistence always pay off… Every time you “fail”, you are one step closer to succeeding!!

  5. well..my fingers always get tacky.
    and once i had the wrong kind of resin.
    It started to get hot! I love the amber kind of resin for steampunk things.. I finally found the true teacher;-) (yeaah) no more smoke for me:D*cheers*

  6. Can anyone please tell me if I can make a mold From glass? If so will I need to break it in order to get it out? Does anyone have any creative suggestions for making home made molds. I want to make necklaces Pendants. Any house hold item ideas? I have been using ice trays, jello molds and cookie cutters.
    Thank You

    1. Without getting too technical, there are two basic types of clear casting resin. Epoxy and polyester. I am allergic to epoxies. We mould fridge magnets in the trays that are used for mixing paints. Nice little domes. I polish them well with wax polish. You can use anything for a mold if you polish it a few times each time you cast. Plastic is slightly more flexible and easier to get yhe item out.
      Hope that helps. (I buy resin from fibreglass material supplier – not craft shops)

      1. I was thinking of using the soap moulds for silicone moulds. There are so many designs that are interesting and the right size for pendants. I was thinking the starfish design and put in some small seashells and other mermaid things. What do you think?

    2. Silicone molds is what I use. Ice cube shape ones , Wilton candies molds, cake decorating molds. As long as it’s silicone your good!😃 but I only use it for the resin molds never for making treats or anything w/food afterwards. They pop out out really easy… best of luck !!

    3. You can buy silicone mold making kits, but look up diy silicone molds, you can make your own cheaper from silicone caulk by squeezing it out in warm water and pressing your item into it. You can also get silicone molds cheap on Amazon or in craft stores for making resin jewelry, or for cake decorating, which also work for silicone.

  7. I completed my first craft with resin, tile coasters. It came out perfect (yay). The directions said 72 hours to cure, does anybody know if a wet glass or a hot cup will stick to it after the 72 hours?
    thanks

  8. @Tammy, If it is completely cured at 72 hours, nothing should stick to it. However, some cured resins can’t handle the heat of a hot cup.

  9. What is the best resin to use for clear pendants? I want to capture dried flowers in it, and I’m worried about melting and color. What brand/type would you prefer? The more detail the better (I’m a newbie)

    1. Yes, I have learned the hard way to mix very accurately for at least two minutes. Make sure no water droplets make it’s way into the resin or mold and use a mold release. Also, do not drop powder pigment into the mold and pour resin on top to mix later. Don’t put gold flakes on the bottom of the mold and pour resin on top. It doesn’t cure very well and stays sticky! Also, put resin bottles in warm water to help resin thin to mix well, and release air bubbles. To not go through a lot of plastic measuring cups, I purchased some plastic disposablecups from the dollar store and measured and poured 1/8 c water (marked it) and another 1/8 cup (marked it again). Now you have a disposable “measuring cup” with a 1 to 1 ratio.

  10. I wish I knew that the $25.00 batch of resin would go hard in the bottle in Texas if sitting on the shelf in your home in the dead of summer for a few weeks. Texas summers are not ideal for making resin..it sets up as you start mixing you have to hurry no time to figure out a design you better have it ready for resin. Dremel sanding for a nice clean edge?? Where?? All mine turned out just wrong and beat up looking :S Will try again at another date..I did learn a lot from all the batches of mistakes. And will never get another big bottle of resin again that I have to mix myself. Next time I’m going small!!

  11. The tip about keeping a journal is a great suggestion – especially for when goof ups happen. Also, one thought on a batch that never cures…I had this happen to me and I think it was because I re=used a measuring cup that had moisture in the bottom.

  12. @Jennifer You can use liquids thats called acetone to get the resun away!! Resin is made of what you use at the nail technician, acrylic nails. Let it soak until its soft. @craftycreature use silicone to make your molds with.

  13. I keep looking for molds..there arent any in the stores & I hate shopping online, so I decided to make my own. So here I go on another adventure..what mediums are ok to use? I use enviro-tex, and have been wondering before I try to reinvent the wheel, are cake/candy molds ok to use? What should I be making the molds out of? Silicone? Are there other mediums I can work with, like clay? If so what kind of clay and can you offer any tips if there is no known source to buy in person?

    1. I use some candy molds for resin art. Just make sure they are flexible. I also do a lot of wood and resin art together. I make most of my own molds using 1mm thick plexiglass. It can be cut easily using a sharp craft knife then glued together with a fast drying glue. For large molds I use and reuse a piece of linoleum flooring for the base of my molds and use hot glue to make sure that no resin leaks out from under my plexiglass molds. It’s a little more work but well worth the technique. Try it out on something small until you get the hang of it.

      1. Hi can somebody give me some advice, I have been making cases but when they are cured and set I take them off there mold but the inside is not as shiny as outside any tips please

  14. @Mahealani, candy molds aren’t appropriate for resin casting as they aren’t flexible enough. I would suggest making sure the molds are made from silicone.

  15. silocone ice cube trays work well (make sure they are the flexible ones!). If you really want to make you own molds there are a couple of options – the easiest is the two part silicone putty – you just squish the two colors of putty together until they are all one color, then press in an item… twenty minutes later you have a mold! Alternately, you can get a liquid silicone rubber molding compound at many hobby shops. This is much messier, takes longer, and is very exacting on measurements… however the molds are much more detailed and will provide a shinier finished product (if the original was shiny) – with the putty I get a matte finish even when the original was shiny.

  16. in the beginning using easy craft resin i was having a blast, then i started to make things everyday. Now that i bought the $80 bottles mixture (the really large one), I’m not sure when it started but i started having the worse breakouts on my fingers. Even if i wore gloves i would start getting these itchy bumps all over my hands 🙁 i even did however manage to spill some on my clothes also, and it left a terrible itchy burn on my stomach that left a scare for about a month!! Im not using resin everyday now, but Im really praying its just this mixture??? Any ideas of organic mixtures i can use instead?? these rashes are really painful, I get these tiny little water bumps, and my hands will itch all night long. The only thing to make them feel better is an ice pack to cool the skin. Any one else with this problem??? Im really sad because this hobby was becoming a beautiful obsession!!

  17. @Amanda, I would suggest speaking to your healthcare provider about this. Unfortunately, rashes and reactions can occur when using resin.

  18. Safety, safety, safety. I also got rashy bumps on my hands. This can be prevented by wearing disposable gloves. Also, Ice Resin is 3 times the price of others, but it dries crystal clear every time. Every. Single. Time. You still have to mix it properly, but you can’t go wrong with it. Back to safety. While many resins have an odor, Ice Resin does not. That does NOT mean you should wear a mask. You still need a carbon mask. It’s pricey, hot and uncomfortable, but it’s an absolute must.

  19. to be honest after reading all the discouraging remarks..
    i am no longer intrested in resin.ive spent so many wasted hours watching the videos and reading all the stuff at resin obsessed,to find that maby one out of100 times you,may get a good product…shamecause this really looked fun and getti g messy i liked that.

    1. Aw shucks Brandy. The remarks aren’t meant to discourage you, they are meant to give you an honest perception on what to expect. I suspect if you try it, you will like it enough to work on it to perfect your skills.

    2. Have to agree with Katherine Swift…maybe try a different brand of resin? Resin DEFINITELY takes some time to get right. I have dozens of my original castings that are just horrible, but in a few weeks, I had it down. I followed the mfg directions EXACTLY in the beginning, including warming the resin, and doing a double pour…all that gave me was bubbles. I just measured the resin and hardener exactly and slowly mixed, and then started having beautiful pieces. Do little pours, experiment, and find what works for you. Then again, like all crafts, it’s not for everyone. We all have strengths and weaknesses. In the end…do what makes you HAPPY I say!! Good luck!

    3. I got a 25.00 kit at Michael’s and did a dragonfly and was very successful the very first time! You should try it!

  20. thankyou Katherine and Dee for the encouragment. I went to bed last nite thinking about all the junk jewerly i have collected over the years that would look cool in these resin braclets,sooooo i went back to resin obsession and found that the company is just south of my home! so Im back on the wagon ….lol… plan to order my mold today and play during the rain were expected to get this week. THANK YOUloads for the encouragement!:)

    1. I’m curious to know how you went? I’m a novice but I’ve got resin sitting here already… so I figure I might as well use it or it’s already wasted! I can’t wait!

  21. Hello Im new with resin art. I made my 1st coasters and even if I mixed well and applied to all the surface after a while it started shrinking I applied more and it shrinked again. Result after 72 hours some parts on the surface were not covered. Different parts like left upper corner or center. The surface I let them flat so that wasnt the problem. Any Idea what went wrong?

      1. Unfortunately no brand on the container. My guess is that the store Im buying my supplies imports resin and put it in their own conteiners. However I asked them and they showed me their resin work on coasters and it was fine. They told me I didnt use enough resin. Tried again spilled it everywhere using more but I had good result. Still I m not sutisfied. It might be good for objects with walls around but not for costers. Do you think I should try with another brand?

        1. It’s hard for me to say without knowing more about the resin. My best advice is to follow the directions exactly and make sure you get a good mix.

          1. Thank you for replying to my msg. I will try again and see if it works. If its not I will try with a different brand.

    1. Hey Anna there is what they call “Doming” resin, sounds like this is what you need for your coasters. Hope you’ve had some success! 🙂

  22. The thing that always amazes me is that people do not know that all resins are extremely toxic until cured. Materials that require you to wear a vapor respirator when working with them are nothing to use irresponsibly. Until those vapor leave your area you will continue to breath the toxins. meaning even if your resin is cured but you didn’t remove the vapors in the space you are continuing to breath them. You need to wear a proper vapor respirator, gloves should be worn, you need to make it in a well ventilated space, and by well ventilated I mean a proper exhaust system, with true ventilation, which means not the inside of your house, do health research on the materials, resin is not a safe “craft” material it is in its curing form it is highly toxic. Not to mention if you are sanding the material and the dust is toxic as well. There are lots of materials that are toxic that artists use but if used properly can be worked with, but resins requires a proper set up in order to be safe to use. This should be the number one item on your list.

    1. Thanks for your comments. Safety is something we take seriously here and always recommend customers review the SDS information for the resin products they are using.

  23. I’ve only done a large resin project. I hoped to do some jewelry projects one day. I have some resin several years old until reading some of the posts I thought it would be like new. Should I even try this old resin or throw it out? Thanks for all input.

      1. How do you find out the age of the resin you’re buying? I buy mine on Amazon, and the hardener is clear.

        1. Great question! I’m afraid there isn’t a good way to tell without you seeing it before buying. Read the store reviews as others may have left comments about suspecting their resin purchase was old. You could also message the buyer ahead of time to ask how they rotate stock, although that isn’t a guarantee that they aren’t telling you what you want to hear.

    1. But then again if you already own it you might as well use it rather than just throwing it away. Just make sure you use it on a project where you won’t be devastated if it doesn’t work out! (found objects perhaps!?)

    1. Whitney that will depend on the type of resin you want to buy and where in the world you live. I started with some epoxy purchased at my local hardware (Bunnings) store and moved along from there, now I buy mine in 20 L drums!!

  24. Somewhat newbie to resins here besides a few small projects but I’m determined to make a riverbed table for my sig other for an upcoming bday. I bought an old nightstand I’m refinishing and planning on dremeling out a river shape into it then filling with the rocks she collects and also would like to do at least a slight glaze on the table with the resin. Is this to big of a project for an amateur? Reading the posts I’m becoming anxious and was so excited about it. Can u recommend what u would use and how u may go about it? Thanks for your great info 🙂

    1. Hi Maggie, honestly, yes, I do think this is too big of a project for an amateur. I think it’s something that you can do once you get comfortable with resin and how it works. I don’t mean to discourage you, but it sound like this is an important project. I want to make sure you get it right. 🙂 Have you read this blog post. https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-frequently-asked-questions/resin-jewelry-making-what-every-beginner-needs-to-know

  25. I got into resin completely by accident but I’m totally addicted now. I wish I’d have known that I should prep my area and get everything I want to use in the project out because some resin hardens fast.

  26. I’ve been doing resin now for two years. Saw on YouTube and thought I can do that! In the beginning my mistakes became magnets for the fridgerator, LOL. I wish someone would have told me that you can use hand sanitizer to get the sticky off of your hands and your work surface. I have finally designated clothes to wear when I’m crafting with resin . Since my jeans a couple shirts, have resin on them. Now if they would just invent something to take the resin out of my clothes that would be awesome! I’ve tried using gloves and I can’t feel what I need to feel.

    1. I know what you mean about the clothes! My favorite pair of shorts has permanent resin drips on them. 🙁

  27. If you dont have a well ventilated area inside and you choose to do it outside but the temperature is in the 80s will the resin still harden?

  28. If ou don’t have a well ventilated area inside and you choose to do it outside but the temperature is in the 80s, will it still work?

  29. O.M.G. … I found this article via Pinterest. And I am GLAD I DID! I’ve read all of the comments on this thread….haven’t even been on any other page…YET. I am the Queen of Unfinished Projects and has been added to the list. A plot twist in the Book of Life currently has crafts on hold. Moving from the Midwest to the Gulf Coast…my head is drowning in resin ideas! It will be months & I mean MONTHS before I begin my resin journey. But I WILL BE BACK! I love how open and honest the Experienced are giving to the lesser experienced. It is greatly appreciated, and even more so, respected. I’m looking forward to the day that I quit calling you “The Experienced”…and start calling you “The Enablers”. Thank you….and yes, I really am just as cRaZy as my post.

  30. I’m just wondering what kind of well-ventilated spaces people use as work spaces? I want to get started but I live in the arctic circle, I guess the freezing temperatures up here in winter would probably affect curing too much to work in my garage?!

    1. Your garage could work provided you have a good way to heat it. As for ventilation, a fan circulating the air is helpful. You can also wear a NIOSH respirator for fumes.

  31. I am a woodworker and I would like to build the twin river tables and other projects .
    Can you help ?

  32. I loved reading all comments. I have one thing to add, which I don’t know why or how it works. I have about 4 to 5 candles (in glass jars) around my resin pouring. It somehow burns off the fumes. Don’t ask me why, I’m not a sientist, but it seems to help some with the fumes. I still wear a respirator.

  33. You can make small molds from polyclay. Make sure you bake the clay according to instructions, don’t use it without baking like I did. I like mixing the two together, like a small flower in a resin pendant. Try it! I think you will love it.

  34. TRYING TO PUT RESIN OVER AN “EASY MARBLE” PROJECT. THE RESIN SEPERATES FROM THE PAINT. SHOULD I SEAL PAINT FIRST? THANKS!

  35. I want to make expoxy/resin crosses with colored beads as gifts. I would like the crosses to be approximately 3″ high by 1-1 1/2″. These would hang in windows like Sun catchers. Any ideas on molds, where to buy or how to make. I would need to make about 70 crosses 4 times a year. Any and all advice is welcomed. Appreciate all the great info, tips and advice. I too am a fresh at the very starting point of considering this craft. Thank you.

  36. Please take your health seriously and wear gloves and a gas mask that is for organic vapor. After 2 years I now am allergic and get rashes around my eyes and dry patches all over my body. It happens to a lot of people I have found, the chemicals build in your system. It’s a real bummer to put 2 years into something and then become allergic to it. I cant cast every day like I used to. I wish i would have used better protection earlier on.

  37. I am making outdoor sconces for my house a combination of metal and epoxy. The scones are circular and the resin part is an area I left void in the center so it has a rounded surface. I used plastllina for my mold and the stuck glass chunks thru that. I want the glass to stick out but still be trapped by the resin and for the resin to stick to the tin flaps on the sides. I would like the resin to be opaque in the final results. I have purchased envirotex lite 2 part resin for the project. My questions are.
    1. Do I need a mold release on the plastillina or will the resin release From it without.
    2. Can I pour a thin layer of the envirotex with a colorant to make it opaque down first to connect to the tin flaps and let it cure and then pour a clear doming resin around the glass chunks in the rounded area?
    If so how long to wait between pours?

    1. Hi Lyn, I want to give you the best possible answer to your question and it’s the kind of question that I can’t answer properly in a blog comment. I would be happy to set you up for a 15 minute consultation call. If you want to send an email through our contact page, I am happy to respond with prices and availability.

  38. Please tell us how to sign a resin painting or the bottom of a resin coaster to remain permanently? (For the coaster, I considered signing with a Uni-Posca marker on the bottom and painting a thin layer of resin on top of it, but haven’t tried it but it would not work for a painting, I imagine.) Important to show the work is original and handcrafted. Thanks for your response!

  39. I have a leather keychain that has my son and grandsons picture on it. My son passed away almost a year ago. Can I use resin on it to preserve it. Any ideas would help.

  40. Just started making my own version of river tables and the various comments and observations have been enlightening and very informative! In these difficult times, my man shed is now my cave as I experiment with epoxy resins and feel like I am turning into Dr Frankenstein! My poor blue merle collie has to fetch and throw her own ball! To all of you out there – stay healthy is the first priority, look after the elderly in your locality, and never give up on creating art!

    1. i am going to attempt to make my first river table. i have it carved out and now i am getting worried about my first pour. can i make several layers of the mix and pour them on in different times? my plan is to do this on my outside patio. its in the high 80’s . how much time do i need between each pour?

  41. Hello I liked your channel but concerned as to What do you do with the waste product? I think it is not recyclable. Epoxy has exploded like the plastic at one time. great end product but I worry about the future generation will be left with the mess and and problems to go with it. This is not a criticism of the artist. It is a legitimate question- because I am planning to enter the market but holding back to get more information

  42. Hi! I’ve been noticing the last couple of times after measuring my resin and hardener on a scale, there seems to be a noticeable difference in product left in original bottles. I’ve tried this with two different brands and two different scales.. does heating the resin first change the velocity of the product? They do seem to harden properly but I’m confused why the resin or the hardener has more product left in the bottles.
    Thank you for your tips and advice!

    1. Hi Emily, was your resin and hardener kit meant to be measured by weight? If not, while you can measure them with a scale, what you are experiencing isn’t unusual. Resin and hardener don’t weigh the same for the same amount of volume.

  43. Resin Obsession by far is the best site for information and comments. I have many questions, I want to make a comment as a newby. The first time I tried to make a resin project it was a disaster. Watching the videos I thought I would breeze though it.. lol. I had resin everywhere, what a mess, I pick up everything threw it away. Watch more videos, mostly yours.. that you for not having a ton of advertisement. Bought all new things and I’m doing fine. Thank you so much. You are the best

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