If you are on any social media sites and follow any craft related pages or blogs, the chances are you’ve seen some amazing creations using casting resin. Resin is the perfect medium for making your own jewellery pendants, earrings, dioramas and so much more. You can colour resin, cast things into it, shape it… the possibilities literally are endless! And the best part is, it’s now even easier to do yourself in the comfort of your own home.
The two most popular types of resin are: 2-part epoxy resin & UV resin. Epoxy resin is the most common, it consists of two chemical compounds that need to be measured precisely and mixed together. It sets very hard but does take quite some time to cure (harden); usually 12 hours or more. It’s also extremely smelly.
But there is now an amazing alternative, which is even easier to use (and less offensive on the nose too) called UV curing resin. It’s used in the same way as epoxy resin, except there is no need for measuring or mixing. All you need to cure UV resin is ultraviolet light. The fastest way to cure UV resin is with a UV lamp but you can also leave it out in the sun. Lamp curing takes approx. 3-6 minutes, whereas natural sunlight takes 30-60 minutes.
So what do I need?
Whichever type of resin you chose to use, the first thing you need is a silicone mould, pendant frame or cabochon. You can make these yourself (although it is a little tricky and time consuming) or you can buy a variety of shapes and sizes.
If using UV resin, the other thing you’ll need is a UV light (or plenty of direct sunshine) mini nail lamps work perfectly and are fairly inexpensive.
As for inclusions, (the things you put into your creations) you can use pretty much anything as long as it isn’t perishable or wet.
• Candy usually works though, as do dry foods like dried beans or rice.
• Hollow objects like pressed flowers or shells may create air bubbles (which you can pop with a pin when the resin is still liquid)
• Fabric and paper need to be coated with a sealer; you can use glue or varnish before casting or they’ll turn transparent, which can be a nice effect on its own.
If you’re in doubt about whether you can put it in resin, research it! Someone has probably tried something similar. You can also colour resin using resin colourant, note that it is highly pigmented though, so a little goes a long way.
It really is easy to get started, pick your mould and have a think about how you’d like your creation to look and gather your materials. Pour your resin into your mould, then add any extras. Sometimes adding things into your resin can create little air bubbles but you can pop these with a pin, also tapping your mould gently on a hard surface will bring any other bubbles to the surface.
If you are using a metal pendant frame, you’ll need to stick the frame to a piece of tape first, this makes a seal under your frame, so the resin doesn’t leak out. These rolls of blue tape have a special finish so they won’t ruin the surface of the resin when cured; you could use ordinary sticky tape, but the adhesive may give an uneven finish.
If you’re using a cabochon or silicone mould, all you need to do before beginning, is make sure your mould is clean, free from any dust or debris and dry.
Be aware that the resin will start to cure quite soon after pouring so you’ll want to work fairly quickly. Once you’re happy with your design just pop it under the UV light (if using UV resin). Most small UV lamps are designed to turn off after 1 minute so you may have to turn it back on once or twice to complete the curing process (depending on the thickness of the resin). Lightly touch the resin to check its fully cured before removing from the mould. If you chose to use a pendant frame or cabochon, please note the resin isn’t designed to be removed from these.
With epoxy, place the mould somewhere safe to cure for 12-24 hours… it’s that simple.
If you are casting something a little heavier into your resin such as a metal shape, try putting a thin layer of resin in your mould and curing it first, then add your item along with more resin. This lifts the object from the base of the mould and adds some dimension to your project.
So, what are you waiting for? Why not stock up on supplies and let’s get casting!
DitzyB Craft Supplies & Workshops, +350 200 44665 www.DitzyB.com