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Resin art is gaining a lot of attention among hobbyists, with the growing fascination for it leading to tons of videos online, from the simply instructional to the mind-blowingly complicated. It’s easy to see where the fascination comes from – there are few forms of art are versatile or produce such satisfying results. However, getting started with resin can still be intimidating for some people.
If you’re curious about learning more about the craft and possibly wanting to try out a simple project or two, here’s a rundown of what you’ll need to get your toes wet. Don’t worry, it isn’t half as complicated as it looks.
Table of Contents
Pick a project
The best way to begin is to pick a precise starting point. In this case, settle on what you want to create. Maybe you want to cast beautiful paperweights. Maybe you want to make buttons, or bookmarks, or coasters. This is where it’s easiest to get lost, because the versatility of the craft makes you imagine every single possibility at first. But it’s important to pick just one and focus on it, since the end result you want to have will dictate everything else, from the supplies you need, to the kind of resin you use, and even the time you have to allot to the project.
Let’s say you want to start making cute jewelry with deep pour epoxy resin. This is a great starting point, as there is so much scope within the selection that you can really get into the craft and explore while still keeping it relatively simple.
You’ll be surprised to find out that you can make a wide variety of items with deep resin that are meant to be worn. Necklaces, brooches, earrings, and rings are but a few possibilities of what you can create once you really get into it.
Pick a medium
Admittedly, shopping for supplies is part of the fun of creating. A critical part of this is selecting the right type of epoxy resin that you’ll need for your project. Before swiping your card, take the time to read up on the type of resin you want to work with.
For jewelry, you may want to start with a deep pour clear epoxy resin. Unlike high viscosity resins which are mainly used for thinner applications, a deep pour resin’s low viscosity allows you to create many different layers, giving your work depth, shape, and dimension.
Don’t fall into the trap of buying up everything that looks interesting, though. Ease into it. Remember, you can still get more after you use up what you have, and as you learn more about the craft, you make better and better purchasing decisions.
One top tip would be to buy your resin direct from suppliers that allow low-volume purchases, such as Primo Resin, rather than from hobby stores. These suppliers will probably have complete beginner’s sets so that you don’t miss out on anything, and customer service that will be on hand to answer any questions that you might have.
Select and purchase your supplies
Once you have settled on your medium, you can now pick out all the fun stuff that will enable you to create your finished product and bring your resin vision to life. These will consist of the following:
- Molds – these are generally made of silicon and come in an amazing variety. You can even have the custom made. You can find them anywhere hobby supplies are sold, or you can thrift shop through hobby destash groups online.
- Coloring mediums – ranging from brilliantly colored dye powders to sparkling mica, you are definitely spoiled for choice here. Just be aware that your choice of coloring media might affect curing time.
- Decorative items – again, sky’s the limit. You can embed almost anything in resin, from delicate dried flowers to dried insects. Popular choices include glitter, metallic foil flakes, tiny beads, semi-precious gems or crystals, and sequins.
- Tongs, pliers, stirring rods, and tweezers – the stirring rods are for mixing the resin, and the rest of the tools are for placing any items you want to encase in the resin precisely while keeping your fingers far away from the sticky substance.
- Heat gun – this is something of an optional tool. Used to blow across the surface of a resin-filled mold to remove bubbles and encourage curing, they do nothing that a few careful taps and a well-placed poke with a needle won’t do, but are still a good tool to have on hand, just in case.
- Sanding paper or machine – upon unmolding, some pieces may require smoothing, but that may not be something a beginner will want to deal with on their first go-around.
Secure your work space
It’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. Working with resin can get messy, and it isn’t easy to remove from the surfaces that might accidently get splashed or spilled on. It’s probably a wise move to invest in a protective surface for your worktable and gloves for your hands.
Make sure that you are working in an area with adequate ventilation and where you can work undisturbed. If you have pets, restrict their access to your work station. Resin kits include chemicals that are harmful if inhaled or ingested, and there’s no telling what a curious cat or dog will sniff or lick. Likewise, and to prevent accidents, small children should also be kept from your work space.
If this is your first few forays into the craft, wear comfy clothes that cover your legs and arms. This is the perfect opportunity to use old sweaters and jeans that can be tossed or recycled if contaminated with resin or chemicals.
Learn your timeframes
Resin is fun, but it’s not a very forgiving medium. Once mixed, you have a limited time to work with it. Once it sets into a gel-like consistency, that batch can no longer be poured out nor brought back to its workable liquid form.
That’s why it’s very important that you read all the instructions and steps on your resin packaging very, very carefully. If you need to use a timer on your phone, do so.
When you’re ready to mix, have all the materials prepared and at the ready. The time you have to work with a freshly mixed batch isn’t very short – around 30 minutes or so, but if you’re just starting out, you may miscalculate the time it takes to pick out the perfect embellishment or choose a color after you’ve mixed the resin. To avoid wasting your medium, mix your deep pour resin in small batches as you go along.
After you have completed your pour, you will have to endure the wait of a curing period. That’s the time resin takes to set and harden in the molds. This may take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the size of your mold. As it sets, make sure to store the resin molds in a safe place where nothing can disturb it. You don’t want the frustration of unmolding a perfect piece that dust or insects have settled on and become part of your artwork.
After unmolding your piece may need wiping down with a fine cloth or sanding to remove any sharp edges or unwanted drips. You can then proudly display, sell, or gift your finished products.