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Resin Basics: Which resin to use for specific projects + step-by-step guideline

Updated: Sep 16, 2020



You would like to get into the art of resin, but you don't know which resin you can use to realize your dream project? Before you get started and venture into the first projects, you should know the fundamental differences. Because not every resin is equally suitable for a project. In this post I would like to address the two most important areas of application of resin that you should definitely know:


Resin type number 1: for thin coats or artwork


These resins are often called laminating resin, top coat, coating resin or resin for art. What all these resins have in common is that they can only be applied about 1-2 cm high. Their consistency is often like honey and they‘re therefore quite suitable for applying to a surface. The time it takes for the resin to harden is between 4 and 24 hours, depending on the resin brand. These products can also be used to create works of art directly on canvas if the resin is colored beforehand. For example beach pictures, geodes or abstract pictures.



Resin type number 2: for casting objects



You will find this type of resin under the name cast resin or casting resin. These synthetic resins are rather thin, like water, and therefore have the advantage that air bubbles can escape more easily. They are suitable for casting deeper objects in silicone molds or for making tables (like rivertables), where you use a huge amount of resin at once. The hardening time for these resins is between 12 and 72 hours. Enough time for air bubbles to completely escape. Casting resins are also designed in such a way that they do not heat up so much, which is what makes casting large quantities possible in the first place.



As a little guide to make your decision, I would like to give you an insight into which types of resin I use depending on the project. This is not meant to be a product advertisement, they are just my personal favorites after many experiments with the medium resin itself. I was also able to gain experience in many product tests with a wide variety of resins from different manufacturers. Everyone can of course use other resins according to their personal preferences and availability and choose their own favorites. However, the workflows are universally applicable (of course you have to check the respective manufacturer's information if you use other products).


The coating/art resins:


Here I would like to introduce two different products that I use for different areas of application:


Faux Rizzle Art Resin UV+ *


This resin is my personal favorite. It is a coating resin that can be processed in layers up to ½“ (1.27 cm) at room temperature. The end product is heat-resistant up to 500° F (260° C), which is why I like to use it for coasters and trays. When cured, it is rock-hard, crystal-clear, UV-resistant and very scratch-resistant. In terms of consistency, you need to get used to it at the beginning as it is very viscous, almost gel-like.






This consistency allows you to achieve extraordinary effects, such as marble effects, 3D flower coasters (coasters with flower patterns), foamy waves and much more. Geodes can also be created very nicely with it, as the resin can be applied very precisely. If you would like to decorate tumblers, you will be very satisfied with this resin due to the consistency. The resin can also be used to dome pieces of jewelry, photos or pictures.



Further information:


  • Mixing ratio Hardener:Resin 1:1 (ml) per volume

  • Mixing ratio Hardener:Resin 84:100 (grams) per weight

  • Layer thickness: up to ½“ (1.27 cm)

  • Heat resistant up to 500° F (260 ° C)

  • Working time 30-45 minutes

  • Hardening time: up to 24 hours

  • Resin products are fully cured after 30 days, then they reach their full heat- and scratch-resistance


Safety:


Faux Rizzle Art Resin UV + does not contain any harmful solvents or VOCs (volatile organic compounds), which means that there is no emission of toxic vapors during normal use. Therefore, this resin is one of the “healthier” resins for the user and, according to the manufacturer's information, it can also be used without a respirator if there is sufficient ventilation. However, I myself use a respirator when working with resin (no matter which brand) because I cannot guarantee adequate ventilation at my workplace and because I am a safety fanatic. It is of course up to you how you handle resin. However, nitrile gloves are an absolute must when handling, in order to avoid skin contact. You can wear two pairs of gloves on top of each other - this makes it easier for you to change gloves if you have to work quickly.


Faux Rizzle Nouveau *


FauxRizzle Nouveau

Faux Rizzle Nouveau, as the name suggests, is a relatively new product with a different formulation. The resin was also developed for people with resin allergies. Anyone who suffers from an allergy can hope that this product will enable them to work without discomfort. With this resin, both components (hardener + resin) are similar in consistency, which makes mixing and pumping out of the dispenser easier. The working time is longer compared to the previous resin and the curing time is shorter. The end product is 30% harder and therefore more scratch-resistant than most other resins. The temperature resistance of the fully-cured end product is also 500° F (260 °C). Faux Rizzle Nouveau can be applied in a layer thickness of up to 100 mil (0.25 cm) and contains components that make the resin more resistant to UV radiation.


Compared to Art Resin UV +, the resin is not as thick and gel-like, it has the viscosity of honey. When pouring the colored resin, you can create very appealing works of art thanks to its consistency. I like to use it for the clear covering of pictures, trays or coasters. But also for smaller silicone molds and jewelry molds, it is easier to get into the "corners" of the silicone mold.



Further information:


  • Mixing ratio Hardener:Resin 1:1 (ml) per volume

  • Mixing ratio Hardener:Resin 90:100 (grams) per weight

  • Layer thickness: up to 100 mil (0.25 cm)

  • Heat resistant up to 500° F (260 °C)

  • Working time 45-60 minutes

  • Hardening time: less than 24 hours

  • Resin products are fully cured after 30 days, then they reach their full heat- and scratch-resistance

Safety:


Faux Rizzle Nouveau was developed as a hypoallergenic resin, the ingredients BPA (bisphenol A), nonylphenol and benzyl alcohol are not present in this newly developed resin. Like Faux Rizzle Art Resin UV +, it does not contain any harmful solvents or VOCs (volatile organic compounds), of course you should still ensure adequate ventilation and nitrile gloves when handling the resin. Although it is the “healthiest“ resin on the market, a respirator can be worn to be on the safe side. However, this is only my personal recommendation.

Application examples for both resins:


  • High-gloss sealing of surfaces

  • Coating of artworks made with other media: acrylic pouring, acrylic paint, pastel colors, alcohol inks, chalks, charcoal, inks, textured media, photos, collages - Attention: the surface must be free of grease and dust, seal twice with spray varnish beforehand, oil paintings should be completely dry (takes up to 1 year)

  • Abstract art using resin pouring techniques

  • Resin Beach Art, Geodes

  • Casting in flat molds, e.g. coasters

  • Pouring in deeper molds when working in layers (always pay attention to the layer thickness)

  • Decoration of trays, furniture, tables

  • Floor coating, coating of countertops


Resin workflow (Faux Rizzle Art Resin UV + and Nouveau):


The resin is mixed in a mixing ratio of hardener: resin 1: 1 by volume. You can get a cheap plastic measuring cup and a spatula to mix the components well. For smaller quantities, you can also measure the resin with the scales. But be careful: the mixing ratio is not 1: 1, because the resin is heavier than the hardener. For Art Resin UV+ the ratio is 84g hardener to 100g resin by weight and for Nouveau it is 90g hardener to 100g resin.

you should also determine the amount that you need for your project.


There is a formula to calculate the needed resin amount:


  • Canvas length (cm) x width (cm) x 0.158 = required amount of resin (hardener + resin) in ml

  • Example: 35cm x 35cm x 0.158 = 193.55 ≈ 200ml resin (100ml hardener + 100ml resin)


It is best to round up the result a little in order to have some resin in reserve.


Step-by-step instructions for resin (for wall art, trays, coasters)



Mix the resin


  • Provide plastic containers, cups and stirrers

  • First fill in the hardener component, then the resin

  • Stir slowly for 3 minutes

  • Scrape the sides and bottom of the container while stirring

  • Then divide the mixture into smaller cups

  • The mixing cup can be turned upside down on a plastic bag to harden

  • Clean the spatula with a paper towel

Coloring


  • Start with a small amount of paint, ad more paint if necessary

  • Use one mixing stick per color

  • Mix for 3 minutes per cup, prepare all cups and colors

  • If you only want to use clear resin, this should also be stirred again for 3 minutes in a clean mixing cup

The pouring


  • Pour colors onto the painting surface as desired (e.g. wooden panel), level the surface beforehand with a spirit level

  • Spread the resin with a plastic spatula or heat gun (never more than 200 ° C)

  • Torch the surface to get rid of bubbles

  • At this point you can apply decorative stones, glitter, etc. to the resin

  • Allow to harden for 24 hours, protect from dust with a box

Finish


  • Place all cups upside down on a plastic sheet, clean plastic stirrer with a paper towel

  • The resin can be peeled off the cups and spatulas after 24 hours, the artwork has hardened and is touch-dry.

Extra layer


  • After about 5 hours, the resin can be mixed and applied again for a second layer, the first layer should still be slightly sticky

  • After 24 hours, the resin must be sanded for an additional layer beforehand (e.g. with sandpaper, 180 grit)

The casting resin


Faux Rizzle Deep Cast*


Faux Rizzle Deep Cast is the casting resin that I use for larger resin objects and sculptures. Its consistency is very watery and air bubbles can escape easily. It can be poured up to 3“ (7,62 cm) high without clouding, yellowing or air bubbles. For larger objects or for embedding flowers or objects, you can work in layers. Here you should wait about 12 hours before applying a second coat.




Further information:


  • Mixing ratio Hardener:Resin 1:2(ml) per volume

  • Mixing ratio Hardener:Resin 43:100 (grams) per weight

  • Layer thickness: up to 3“ (7,62 cm)

  • Working time: more than 60 minutes

  • Hardening time: 48 hours

  • Resin products are fully cured after 30 days


Safety:


Like the two resins mentioned above, there are no harmful solvents or VOCs. Nitrile gloves and good ventilation are a must. According to the manufacturer, a respirator is not necessary, but can of course be worn for added safety.

Application examples:


  • Casting in deep silicone molds, e.g.:

  • Crystal forms

  • Sculptures

  • Pyramids

  • Spheres

  • Embedding objects: collage material, coins, stones, metal, shells, souvenirs, keepsakes, etc.

  • Embedding of dried flowers, insects, generally all objects that are free of grease and moisture

  • Embedding lights

  • Rivertables




Casting Resin (Faux Rizzle Deep Cast) workflow:


The mixing ratio of the casting resin differs significantly from the previous ones, it is mixed in a mixing ratio of hardener: resin 1: 2 by volume. You can get a cheap plastic measuring cup and a spatula to mix the components well. There is a little trick you can use to find out how much resin you need for your mold: you can fill the mold with water beforehand and measure the amount of water. The mold should of course be completely dried again afterwards, because water and resin do not go well together.

Step-by-step instructions for casting resin



Mix the resin


  • Provide plastic containers and stirrers

  • Fill in one part of the hardener component, then two parts of the resin component (by volume, simply read off the measuring cup)

  • Stir slowly for at least 3 minutes

  • Scrape the sides and bottom of the container while stirring

  • Then pour the mixture to another, clean container

  • The first mixing cup can be turned upside down on a plastic bag to harden

  • Clean the spatula with a paper towel

  • he mixture should be stirred slowly again for at least 3 minutes

  • If you want to color the resin, you can do it in this step. Start with a small amount of color, add more if necessary until you get the desired color

The pouring


  • Level the working surface beforehand with a spirit level

  • First put only a little resin in the mold and use a small stick to spread it in all corners of the mold

  • Then fill in the mold, add objects if you want

  • Consider the maximum casting height of 3“ (7.62 cm)

  • Torch the surface to get rid of bubbles

Finish


  • Place all cups upside down on a plastic bag, clean the plastic spatula with a paper towel

  • The resin can be peeled off the cups and spatulas after 48 hours and the object is cured and can be demolded

Extra layer


  • If necessary, resin can be mixed again after 12 hours and applied directly to the first layer

  • After 48 hours, the object must be sanded beforehand for an additional layer

I hope this article has helped you to choose the right resin for your projects. The step-by-step instructions are also very useful as a guide for beginners in resin art. Just print them out and hang them over your workplace. This will give you a little reminder and allows you to concentrate on the fun part of working with resin. You are welcome to comment on the article if you have any questions or want to share your experiences. I wish you much success and creativity!



Yours, Julia Knoll



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Dr. Julia Knoll

Dr. Julia Knoll is an artist from Ulm, Germany. In 2018 she discovered her passion for "Fluid Art", in which abstract works of art are created from liquefied colors. She very soon specialized in resin art. The mirror-smooth surfaces that can be created with the help of this medium and the possibilities to produce three-dimensional objects make it a unique material in art. Handling the resin in the videos seems child's play, follow her on Instagram for more inspiration with art and resin!

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