We're always looking for new and creative ways of crafting here at the Gemporia Partnership, so we're very excited to bring you Resin Road.
Across Gemporia and JewelleryMaker, we'll be bringing you some fantastic resin kits, components and tools with which you can create a stunning array of designs with all sorts of beautiful finishes. Creating with UV resin is incredibly rewarding, but very occasionally, it has its challenges. That's just the nature of crafting, particularly in a new discipline. However, to help any budding resin crafters get off to a great start, here are our top 8 helpful tips.
Prepare your workspace in a fully ventilated area where there is plenty of airflow. Ensure your space is clear from anything you don't need for your creations and cover the surface to protect it. By its very nature, resin is a sticky substance, so it's always worth taking the time to protect your floors and surfaces. When your surface is entirely covered, then use a silicone mat on which to prepare your pieces. Resin will not stick to silicone, so you will be able to deal with spillages easily. Make sure that your work surface is flat and level. If the surface is uneven, the resin will slide wherever gravity pulls it and spoil your design. UV resin cures (hardens) quickly, so make sure that you have everything handy that you will be using, such as dried flowers, colourants, glitters and anything else that you will be using. Once your resin is prepared, you need to move quite quickly to either your UV torch or lamp. Avoid working in an area that gets direct sunlight as, due to UV rays in sunlight, the resin may start to cure before you have finished your design. Try not to work too close to a window if it's a lovely sunny day.
2. Moulds and Tools
Make sure that pouring cups and mixers are scrupulously clean and free from moisture, as resin really doesn't like moisture. Any leftover resin from previous pieces will possibly be stirred into the new resin and have a detrimental effect on your finished work. Moisture will affect the curing process and could lead to your finished creation feeling sticky. If you use moulds that are not silicone, then use a mould release spray. Before pouring, give the mould a light spray before pouring in your resin or adding any inclusions.
3. Protect Yourself
Always wear lightweight rubber gloves or finger stalls to keep the resin off your skin. Wear goggles or glasses and use a mask to protect yourself from any fumes given off by the resin too.
4. Mixing and Adding Colourants
UV resin can be coloured with various mediums such as pigment, mica, alcohol inks, acrylic paint, and even eyeshadow and pastel chalks. Do not use nail varnish, as this will detrimentally affect the curing process and result in a sticky finish. However, nail varnish can be used on finished, cured resin. After adding your chosen colour medium, stir the resin slowly, taking care to incorporate the mix from the sides of the pouring cup to the centre. Stirring slowly lessens the amount of air going into the resin, which can result in bubbles. If you have bubbles in your resin, they can be dealt with in several ways. When you have poured gently, wave a butane flame across the surface about four or five inches from the top. Alternatively, use a heat gun or hairdryer and do the same. Bubbles should disappear immediately. If you do not have these tools to hand, then use a cocktail stick to drag the bubbles to the outer edge of your design, and they should pop. When adding colourants, use the ratio of one part colourants to ten parts resin.
If you have an overpour and resin puddles over the sides of your mould or bezel, use a piece of kitchen paper to gently wipe the excess up. If, after curing, you have an untidy rough edge on your design, first try cutting with scissors and then try filing it smooth. If this does not do the trick, then rub the edges of your design onto pre-dampened lightweight sandpaper.
6. Cleaning Utensils and Mats
Once cured, you can peel off excess resin from silicone mats and moulds. To remove from pouring cups, just pop them under the UV lamp or torch until it is fully cured. You can then peel the resin out. After disposing of the cured resin, wipe the container out with isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol).
7. Weather Conditions
This may sound extreme, but leave your resin project for another time if the weather is wet or humid. Resin does not tolerate a damp atmosphere, and it will result in an unsatisfactory cure, and your project will have a cloudy look.
8. Opened Resin
Once opened, your resin will have a shelf life of around 35 to 50 days, dependent on storage conditions. Store your opened resin in a well ventilated, cool environment with the top tightly on. After using the resin, always wipe the nozzle firmly with kitchen paper dampened with isopropyl alcohol to remove any sticky excess resin. If this cures, it will make it difficult to remove the top when next used.
We hope you have fun using your UV resin to create infinite projects and designs, from jewellery to home accessories. Crafting with resin is addictive, joyful and very creative, so above all else, enjoy yourself and have fun!