Resin is a fantastic medium to work with if you have the right space and equipment for the material. With resin you can create resin art items from a mold, seal jewelry in a beautiful glossy clear coat, blend different glitters and pigments, and explore many different methods of creative expression.
You can find a variety of different types of resin, both online and in stores, when looking to begin resin crafting. The type of resin you may want to work with will depend on the craft you have in mind, your experience level, the tools and materials you have to work with, and the effects you want to achieve in your project.
There are three general types of crafting resin: UV resin, epoxy resin, and polyurethane resin. In this post, I'll explain the differences between the three main types of resin and ideally help you choose which of the different kinds of resin may be best for your project.
Which Resin is Right for Your Project
While reading about the different types of resin, consider the below factors when choosing which type is right for your project:
- How long of a working time do I want?
- How long of a cure time do I want?
- How large is my mold/piece?
- How deep will my resin pour be?
- What do I want to mix into my resin?
- What equipment do I have available?
UV resin is different from the other two types of resin as it does not require two components to be mixed so that the curing process begins: it consists of only one component that is cured, or hardened, by UV light.
When working with UV resin, simply apply the resin to the mold or surface you have chosen to use. Once the resin is placed how you would like it to be, you will need to use a UV light to begin the curing process. I have had more success using a UV nail lamp, which can be found on Amazon for under $20, instead of using a UV flashlight or natural sunlight. The amount of time the UV resin needs to cure under the UV light depends on the resin brand, the thickness of the resin coat, and the size of your project.
UV resin may not be the best material option if you are looking to use a lot of mix-ins, like glitter, pigment, and other items, in your project. These mix-ins may block the UV light from curing every nook and cranny of the UV resin you apply to your work or fill your mold with.
Does not cure unless exposed to UV light
Does not require mixing two separate parts
Fastest curing resin available
Long working time
Difficult to create a smooth second layer
Limited shelf life
More expensive per ounce
Need a UV light to cure
Can’t use too many mix-ins
Epoxy resin is my go-to for use in molds. This type of resin requires you to mix two parts, the proportions of which vary depending on the brand of resin, before pouring the resin into a mold. Epoxy resin kits will include both parts required for curing epoxy resin. Mixing times will vary, but the goal is to mix the two parts fully so that the resin is clear and no opaque “wispies” remain in your cup.
After mixing the two resin parts fully, you can add your glitter, pigment, or anything else you want to have in your finished piece. You can also separate your mixed resin into smaller cups for multi-color pours. Depending on your project and technique, you can find resins with working times of 2 hours to up to several days.
Depending on the type of project you plan to create, you may want to pop bubbles in your resin using a high percentage alcohol spray or a small flame. If your resin pour is deep, a pressure pot may be the way to go to ensure any air bubbles trapped below the surface are minimized.
Longer working time
Many varieties available
Easy to find
May yellow in sunlight
May not set properly in a high-humidity environment
Polyurethane resin is often used to cast molds and cures to a very durable finish. Unlike epoxy resin, polyurethane resin is cured using heat. I have found that crafts much more often use UV resin or epoxy resin when creating resin work.
Becomes heat resistant when cured
Great flow properties and easily mixed
Little shrinking during the curing process
Not as adhesive as epoxy resin
Very sensitive to moisture
Unpleasant odor when curing
May be negatively affected by UV light
Personal Protective Equipment
Even when used in crafting resin is a chemical that may cause negative side effects. I highly recommend using disposable gloves and a respirator when working with resin. As well, you should work with resin in a well-ventilated area.
Which resin do you think is right for you, or if you already resin craft, what are some of your favorite resin tricks?