Hi! I have learned a ton about resin since I first starting working with it. At first, I thought “this is easy, I can do this!” but quickly I discovered that resin is not a quick material to master. Not only have I learned the techniques on how to work with resin but I have learned some life skills as well.
Not only have I learned how to respect resin but it has also taught me patience, and how to let go of control. Once I understood what it was teaching me, that resin will do what it wants to do, I began to love working with it!
I have created a list of my top 10 resin tips for beginners who are starting to learn how to work with resin. This list is from my own personal experience, my failures and my successes. Learning is an ongoing journey and I hope this article helps you learn how to enjoy this medium as much as I do!
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My Top 10 Resin Tips for Beginners that I Have Learned While Working with Resin
Believe it or not, safety is one of the most commonly overlooked steps when working with resin. I know I wanted to jump right in and start creating but I quickly learned that I needed to read up on the safety measures so that I could enjoy this medium for years to come. Here are a few basic safety guidelines to review before you start working with resin:
- Well ventilated area. It is crucial to work in an area that has good circulation and/or open windows. Some resins emit fumes that can be toxic.
- Gloves. Yes, there is a thing called resin allergy. Wearing gloves is the easiest method to help with ongoing and prevent future skin conditions while working with resin.
- Respirator. Protecting your lungs is a top priority. Wearing a respirator provides consistent protection to your lungs while working with resin.
- Clean spills immediately. Don’t let resin sit on your table or floor. Use paper towels to scoop up as much as possible then use denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol to clean up any remaining residue.
- Safety goggles. Not only do goggles help prevent unexpected splashes from touching your eyes, but they prevent you from touching your eyes. If you are like me, you will touch your eye without thinking. Getting resin in your eyes is dangerous. If you do get resin in your eyes, flush with water repeatedly and seek medical attention immediately!
- Apron. Aprons are great to help prevent resin from getting on your clothes and then absorbing and touching the stomach. When you are working, you can get easily focused on your process and not even realize resin has been touching your belly for 5 minutes or more!
Prep Your Surface
This is one of my least favorite steps with working with resin. Why? Because it is boring.
During one of my first projects, I neglected to prep my surface and I ended up spending an excessive amount of time, in the end, cleaning up my surface. This was painfully hard to do especially once I realized I could have avoided this extra work if I spent the small amount of time in the beginning to prep. Prepping your surface means to take the necessary steps before you start to work with resin. This can mean taping off the bottom of your surface to catch the drips, placing plastic sheets in the surrounding area to collect resin run-off, or securing your home-made mold with an extra layer of silicone to ensure the resin does not leak.
Plan Your Design
Planning your design doesn’t have to be complex but it is helpful to have some details worked out before mixing your resin. You have a limited work time with resin and if you spend that time trying to figure out colors or layout, you will be wasting your resin and hurting your pocketbook. Here are some helpful things to consider in your planning stage:
- What colors are you wanting to use? Open the jars and bottles of your colors to be sure they open, that the color is still “fresh” and useable and that you have enough to use for your project.
- What embellishments will be added? Rocks? Gems? Stickers? Sand? Open the containers to make sure they open and take a glance to make sure you have enough product for your project.
- Are you stocked with basic tools to work on your project? Paper towels, stir sticks, cups, prep tape…
- Are you able to leave your project in the work area for 24 hours or more? If not, do you have another area where you can work? Don’t forget, the resin needs time to work its magic.
Follow Manufacturer’s Directions
One of the biggest mistakes beginners make with resin is not reading the manufacturer’s directions. Each brand of resin is created differently and has different mixing directions. They also have material data safety sheets available with the purchase or on the vendors website. Taking the time to learn about your resin before you begin working with it will make all the difference in your final result!
Blending Pigment Powders
Pigment powders, although super fun to work with, can be a little tricky. It is important to be very careful when working with the powder, you do not want to inhale it. Some powders recommend to wear a mask when working with them.
The easiest way I have found to mix pigment powders into resin is to place the desired amount of powder into your cup and then add a small amount of resin. Mix the resin and the powder until it is thoroughly mixed and becomes a paste. Then, add your remaining resin.
Resin is an expensive medium to work with and the cost goes up if you have to keep your replacing tools. One of the tools I recommend purchasing is silicone mixing cups to mix your resin.
These cups are awesome!!! You can mix the clear resin using the measuring guides on the side. After your project, let the cup sit for at least 24 hours and then pretend like the cup is a mold and peel the resin out. Super easy! No more wasted plastic cups filling up our landfill!
Another useful tool I found was a paint mixer. This tool is a game-changer for me when I have to mix large quantities of resin. Attach it to your drill and then allow it to mix your resin in a large silicone cup. Super easy!
CAUTION: I would not recommend using this if you are concerned with air bubbles. This method will create a lot of bubbles!
Another tool you can reuse is your disposable gloves. I have created an informative blog post about how to clean your disposable gloves and I have made a demonstration video for our YouTube channel.
Measure Your Molds
This might sound a little odd but I have found measuring how much resin your mold can hold to be a great time and resin saver! One way to do this is to measure your mold and then enter the measurements into a resin calculator, like the one on the Art Resin website.
An even easier way to measure your mold is to fill up a measuring cup with water. Make a note of how much water in ounces is in the cup. Pour the water into the mold until full. Make a note of how much water in ounces is left in your measuring cup. Subtract the two numbers and that is how many ounces of resin your mold needs. TIP: Now that you know how many ounces your mold hold, on the side or the back of your mold write that number with a sharpie. Your future self will thank you!
Clean Your Molds!
Cleaning your molds is not only easy to do but necessary. In most cases, mild soap and water is all that is needed to clean your mold from excess resin bit and pieces. For stubborn areas, try using isopropyl alcohol to clean the mold. Be mindful not to scratch or scrape your mold. You do not want to damage the surface.
Don’t Demold too Quickly… enjoy the process!
Resin will teach you patience. All too often I am very anxious to demold my resin pieces but I have learned the hard way to wait. Resin needs time to work its magic and if you rush the process you will risk ruining your project. In my rush to demold in past projects, I have left fingerprints in my resin, deformed my resin, had dust fall into my resin by lifting the box too early, and pressed valleys into my resin I could not fix. All of these things ruined my project and I wished I had been more patient.
Another thought on demolding. When it is time to remove the resin from the mold, work slowly. Pull the resin away from the mold. This will help the mold not tear and will help the mold to retain its shape.
Save Your Heat Gun From Resin
This is a tip that I wish I knew when I first started using resin! I have successfully applied resin to the control switch on my heat gun and all over the handle, lol! I had to clean out the control switch, which was not easy at all.
Here is the tip: Before reaching for your heat gun, wrap the handle with a piece “Press N Seal” wrap. This will help prevent resin transferring from your gloved hands to your heat gun ensuring that it will still be functional for your next project!
What is your favorite resin tip?
I want to hear from you! Comment on this post or CONTACT ME and let me know!