Craft time! Today I’d like to share my experience casting items out of Epoxy Resin. I’ve always wanted to try resin casting, and I finally decided to invest in some last October. A lot of my clients had custom commission requests that needed custom transparent gemstones, so I thought resin would be a business investment as well (that and shiny new craft stuff to play with yay)

I’m just quickly going to run you guys with the how-to’s and some tips!

 photo resin1_zps4186ae4e.jpg

Basic Tools:

  • Epoxy Resin. I use Castin’ Craft’s Clear Casting Resin, which costs approx. 700PHP at Deovir. There, don’t ask me why resin-made items are expensive. xD
  • Disposable plastic cups
  • Disposable stirrers. I used ice cream sticks, but in hindsight something smaller is way better to use.
  • Pigments and dyes. I am using Silver Pearl-Ex since I wanted to make a set of silver cogs.
  • Your mold. I am using Lisa Pavelka’s Steampunk sheet.

 photo resin2_zpscf138b8e.jpgFirstly, let me just say reading instructions is healthy and helps lessen your problems. Castin’ Craft had an instructions set in the pack, along with health hazards and such of the resin. This brand’s resin is pretty much odorless, but I still highly suggest opening the windows and working in a well-ventilated area (and not moving towards the cups to sniff the stuff). Also, it’s only suited for small castings, as pouring big amounts of this can cause bad chemical reactions from the resin. So, read the instructions and warnings!

I place equal parts resin and hardener into one cup, and stir for two minutes.

 photo resin3_zpsf22b3fed.jpgI then pour my desired amount of Pearl-Ex into the mixture, and stir again. Then I pour everything into the second cup, and stir again for two minutes. This technique is referred to as “double pouring”… if I remembered correctly. It assures the mixture is well mixed and that air bubbles in the liquid is lessened.

Tip: If you want virtually no air bubbles in your resin, don’t mix it with such a huge stick like the one I used. I found that using smaller stirrers like toothpicks (no kidding) and cake pop sticks are better. The bigger the stirrer is, the more chance that air would get infused into the mixture.

Other pigments to color your resin with are: Acrylic paint (results in solid colors), Oil paint (results in semi-transparent colors), Food coloring (results in semi-transparent colors).

 photo resin4_zps7d20c6d7.jpgI then pour my mixture into their respective molds. I had some extra so I poured them into a plastic mold. If you’re using non-flexible molds like the plastic one, you can rub some Vaseline/petroleum jelly over it first for easier removal of the casting.

I know everything may look like one hot mess over my steampunk mold, but it’s flexible anyway and you can easily peel off the spills once they dry–waay easier then trying to clean up the sticky liquid with a q-tip (I tried).

 photo resin5_zps65e365ec.jpgThis is the end result of the casting after 24 hours. After 24 hours the molds can be safely removed, but I suggest giving it another day to fully cure. They’ll still be semi-flexible within 24 hours, so you can take this as chance to trim off the excess parts. After days, they’ll only get rock-hard, making it extremely hard to do trimmings, or to drill holes in them. You have been warned.

As you can see, they look pretty matte–the thing with resin casting is that the side exposed to the air (AKA the backside of your castings) are the ones that look shiny and crystal clear. You have to pour over more resin onto the front sides if you want them to be shiny as well. Or you can just put some Diamond Glaze over it. (Diamond Glaze! How did I live my crafting life without you all those years?!)

 photo resin6_zps01a725fd.jpgHere are charms which have been glazed over with Diamond Glaze at the front so they’re shiny. OwO You can also encapsulate charms and random things into resin! It’s a popular thing. Some people encapsulate dried flowers or insects. The items also look beautifully magnified once you put them inside the resin. Once my resin is in the mold I just drop and lightly push the charms in them. You can also only partially mix your pigment and resin for cute effects like the ones on the upper two charms–kinda looks like rusty blood. >:3

If you’d like to make custom-resin cast items, you’ll have to build your item prototype, make a mold out of from liquid latex or silicone, and then proceed to casting.┬áPeople have made whole swords out of this method! (but they use a different sort of resin that’s more appropriate for big items) Resin-cast items are more durable than polymer clay, and take days to fully cure, AND take a lot of work / money if you want a custom shape made, but if you’re going to go for the crystal-clear and gemstone looks and won’t settle for anything less, I highly suggest this for you~

Hope this helps~

Aki / kageshoujo