Thinking about diving into resin classes? Who isn't? It's the latest trend, super fun to work with, and provides beautiful show-stopping results (but notorious for flopping without supervision) so how do you make sure your resin class is a complete success? Read on as we spill the beans on working with resin and things you can avoid to make sure your resin sets!
Bubble, Bubble, Toil, and Trouble
Got bubbles in your work? Sometimes the piece you work on lends itself to bubbles, so if you love them and their look, leave them be. Lots of people (and youtube) will tell you to just run a blow torch over it, and whilst this will certainly quickly remove some of the surface bubbles it won't work for ones deeper into the piece often released as it cures.
Aesthetics aside lots of bubbles can cause other issues. From curing problems to leaving large pockmarks in your resin as deeper bubbles pop - simply put, the easiest way to avoid dealing with them is to not put them in your resin to begin with.
Where you can, even if you have and know how to use a blowtorch, try not to stir copious amounts of bubbles into your resin to start with. Our tip is to ensure that once your pop stick hits the bottom of your cup (and you start to stir) don't lift it off the bottom unless it's ready to pour. If you have very large bubbles and can see them, then pop them before they cure, they will result in pockmarks on the surface that are very large and allowed to pop while it cures.
Just eyeball it
This is the number 1 killer of resin art (and why your teacher will insist on checking your resin before pour). When you inaccurately measure and mix your resin you will have a sticky result that won't set and is very disappointing. Sometimes this will be only in spots of your resin, other times it will be the whole surface of your board.
For some of our resin classes, we pre-pour it in advance, which for the most part eliminates the issue. But not completely as it can reappear when you are pouring your hardener into your resin (if it is not all transferred you can throw out your ratios). We recommend using a measuring cup and weighing your resin (each part into the same cup direct) when you are working at home to be sure you keep to the ratio of resin and hardener required for the chemical reaction to occur correctly.
Avoid the pox
The same air bubble pockmark issue can show up when the pigment used to color your resin is inaccurately measured, this can show as soft spots in your work, pockets of liquid pigment colour suspended in your pour, one or many large pockmarks, or lots of small pocks. Each type of resin you work with will have a ratio of pigment to colorant as part of their SDS. The ones we use in the studio have a 10% threshold, meaning your resin may not set if you add more than 10% of the total volume. Another soft spot culprit when it comes to pigment is inaccurately mixing your colour pigment into your resin (make sure it's mixed thoroughly or you will get sticky patches after cure)!
Sir Mix a lot
When it comes to issues in setting resin, mixing is one of the biggest places where the process falls down. From Bubbles to pigment, inaccurate measurements to simply not combining the contents of the cup thoroughly you will find most of the variables come into play when it comes time to mix them all.
If you don't mix the chemicals properly your resin will fail - be sure to spend time scraping the edges and bottom of your mixing cup as you go, keeping the tip of your paddle pop stick below the surface of the resin. Be thorough and mix for at least 5 minutes until you notice signs that your resin is ready to pour. Things to look out for is a chemical smell that starts to occur as the chemicals are mixed, your resin will cease leaving trails as you stir and will start to look stringy by comparison and clear to look at, towards the end of the process you may even feel heat in your cup as you stir.
Preparation is key
The oils on your hands repel resin, so it's important to make sure you prep the surface of your work properly to avoid the resin repelling during its cure. Wipe coasters down with an alcohol wipe in advance, prime boards and use gloves when you touch your work. Be sure to set up your workspace well so that you are not trying to find space halfway through your pour to do what you need to do.
Last tips, make sure you know and work to your pot time on the resin you are working with, during your class (your teacher will tell you it), that you understand how to look after your board afterward and that you have an idea of colours and styles you might like to copy in class before you arrive.
Finally don't forget to listen carefully to the safety instructions and ensure that you stay safe and have fun with resin art!