Thursday, January 25, 2007

Working with resin for the first time

I wanted to get this down before I forgot everything. I went to an open studio at Valley Ridge Art Studio in Muscoda, WI, with Harriet Reese. I am so happy that she was able to come up with me. It was an informal workshop on resin charms.

The resin that we used was the Colores resin from Rio Grande. That was good stuff - no smell. Make sure you always have adequate ventilation. You need resin, hardener, measuring cups, wooden sticks, and little plastic bottles with a tip for pouring. Rio Grande sells the bottles separately from the tops. You don't need the bottles with the tip if you are not working on small stuff. I would just pour from the measuring cup.

Rio Grande does sell resin kits. It is on pages 728 and 729 of their current catalog. Separately, the things I used were
Clear epoxy resin: 638-976
Thick hardener: 638-977
mixing cup: 638-992
bottle: 638-991
cap/tip: 638-990

There is thick hardener and thin hardener. I bought the thick hardener at the recommendation of the Rio Grande person. You would have to ask them the difference. I am not sure which hardener we used at Valley Ridge.

Have what you want filled with resin ready to go before mixing up any resin and hardener. The resin mixture will start to harden. You will not be able to pour the mixture later in the day. It is best to do resin in small batches and just keep filling up your bezels. You can use objects with no backs. Just use some packing tape or glue a picture to the back. Make sure that you create a good seal or the resin will leak all over the place. Small metal objects will float to the bottom of the resin. Make sure your picts are glued down completely - edges too - or resin might get caught underneath and your picture will not appear flat. Anchor objects with a little glue or it might be moved from the flow of the resin.

The ratio for the Colores resin is two parts resin to one parts hardener. The hardener is a lot thinner. I would pour the hardener into the measuring cup first. The hardener can kinda slosh out. You can pour the excess back into the bottle if too much comes out. Since the resin is much thicker, you can control the pour more.

You will need to use the stick and slowly stir the resin and hardener until it is well mixed. Don't mix too quickly or you will get a ton of bubbles. Once well mixed, then pour the mixture into a bottle with a tip - if you are using it.

Slowly pour the resin mixture to the very top of the bezel or whatever surface. I also added one or two extra drops. The resin will pit a little when it starts to dry. Yes, you can add more resin to it to fill it out. Do not pour too much in or it will leak over the edges. Better to add more once it starts to cure.

TIP: avoid moving the resin filled objects while it is hardening. I noticed that every time I picked up a resin filled bezel and moved it to another spot, I would get new bubbles.

You will get bubbles in your resin. Use a small torch (like for creme brulee) or those fireplace starters. Wave it over the bezel and it will pop the bubbles. If it is a stubborn bubble, then aim the flame closer to the bubble. Be careful to not set the surrounding area on fire. There is also the possibility that you can burn the resin. Do not keep the flame on the resin too long or this will happen. It did for me. You live and learn.

TIP: Wear short sleeves so that your sleeve will not accidentally hit the resin filled bezels. Yes, I did this.

Do not take the tape off the back of your piece - if it has no back - until it has completely hardened. Even though the top might be hardened, the middle may not and can leak through the bottom if the tape is taken off. It can take 2 or 3 days depending on temp and humidity. Until it completely hardens, you can put a flame to it briefly to erase any fingerprints or mistakes you have made.

The most frustrating thing for me is the dust/dirt/fuzzies that get caught in the resin as it dries. You can't see it really unless you look up close, but it bugs me anyway.

Comments welcome. Please put your email address in the body of your message if you want a reply.


Sandy said...

You are such a teacher! Thanks for the clear explanation of using resin. I love the little bottles. Looks like you and Harriet had a great time.

Anonymous said...

Belinda, great explanation of resin! You probably saved me a LOT of trouble, since I just bought resin and plan to do it soon. Now I don't have to "reinvent the wheel"--Thanks.


Sara said...

Hey Belinda,
Those look fabulous. I've always wanted to play with resin. Your instructions (and great outcome) may just push me to actually do it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for taking the lead on trying out the resin. I have a resin in the studio w/ a bottle of hardner. I totallllly forget the ration to use. LOL
Looks like I'll be calling Rio Grande soon. Curious... what kind of molds did you use? Latex? Rubber? etc....
Mary Lou

Vintage Peggy said...

I have been wanting to try resin for a while, your blog has spurred me into action! thanks Vintage Peggy

Janet said...

Thank you for such clear, detailed instructions for doing resin. I love the little vials in a previous post. They are just so pretty....even if you did cook one of them! :-)

DJ said...

Hi Belinda, I'm going to try resin with scaled down prints of my paintings, and stumbled on your blog during my search for charm blanks. Your bottles are lovely. I have ordered the Rio catalogs, but unable to find blanks on their site. Do you know of a source for deep charm/pendant blanks? Thank you for your willingness to help and great tutorial!