Resin is an amazing medium, affording near endless possibilities for created new designs. There does, however, seem to be a blatantly large void in the realms of Internet information on the subject. So I wanted to share some of what I have learned in a series of tutorials on the materials and techniques used in resin casting. I’ll start with the absolute basics…
This first installment is just about materials and supplies. What to use and where to get them.
I recommend starting with EasyCast clear casting epoxy resin. It is great for beginners because it has an easy 1:1 mix ratio. It cures slowly, which is good and bad. Bad because you have to wait a day or more for your piece to fully cure before you can pop it out of the mold. But good – very good, if you need time to fiddle around with colors or inclusions. You have at least a good half hour (depending on local temperature) before the resin starts to gel and thicken.
You can find EasyCast at most local craft stores, some hardware store, and of course online.
2. Plastic Mixing/Measuring Cups & Stir Sticks
You will need plastic cups with graduated lines for measuring. Don’t use wax coated paper cups, as the wax could flake off into your resin. The best part about plastic cups is that they are reusable without a big cleanup hassle. Just leave your mess of resin in the cup, let it cure, then peel the whole thing out.
You can also find wooden stir sticks, or craft sticks at your local craft store or supermarket (Popsicle sticks).
3. Ready made Molds
A variety of ready made jewelry molds are available online.
4. Wax Paper, Gloves, and Paper Towels
Resin is very gooey, sticky, and hard to clean up. You need to protect your work surface and yourself.
Disposable gloves will keep your hand sticky-free.
Waxed paper makes a great work surface – drips won’t soak through, and resin won’t stick to it, so you can just leave all your mess right there and clean it up later after it has dried and is no longer ooey-gooey.
Keep some paper towels on hand to quickly wipe up drips that land where you don’t want them.
5. Heat Tool
This is not necessary, but very useful in removing air bubbles in the resin. Not so critical if you are using glitter or something, but with clear resin the bubbles will show a lot more and you will want to get rid of them.
You can get an Embossing Heat Tool in the rubber stamp aisle of your craft store, or online.
What about a hair dryer? - You can use one, but you need to be very careful. A hair dryer blows more air than heat - if you get too close, it can blow the resin right out of your molds and completely ruin your project. If you really want to try this method, be slow and careful. Make sure your settings are on "LOW" and "HOT/WARM". Begin by holding the hair dryer high above your mold (like 2 feet or a little more above). Turn the dryer on and, pointing it straight down, very slowly bring it down closer to your mold, watching the resin carefully to make sure it is not being blown around. At some point the heat should be able to reach the resin and pop the bubbles.
Dyes & Pigments
Above are the bare minimum, basic items you will need. But what’s the fun in that? You need some color!
There are liquid dyes and pigments made especially for resin. In addition to these, there are a variety of other liquids you can use including oil and acrylic paints - since these are not specifically formulated for use with resin, finding the right types and proportions may be a matter of experimentation.
Well, now that you have all your materials, you’re ready to start casting! The next article in this series will discuss how to mix the resin and how to use your dyes and pigments…
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and found it easy to understand and informative. I have complied all my tutorials, refined them, added new information and pictures, and added 2 complete step-by-step project instructions in this 32-page digital booklet, "Getting Started With Resin Jewelry". For more information, click here.