Everyday Tim Holtz UV Resin

UV RESIN 101-GETTING STARTED

A couple of months ago I discovered a new product called UV (Ultraviolet) Resin. After reading the description for the product I quickly ordered it. There were a few things that captured my interest with UV Resin.

The first was that it didn’t need to be mixed.

The second is that it dried quickly with a UV light. (Shorter drying times would allow for expedited experimentation with layering).

The third is that it is “non toxic.” 

I have been experimenting with traditional resin since the early 1990’s. What I discovered is that you MUST be careful with the medium. My hope for UV Resin was that it would be easier to use. For the most part I was correct, but there are some things that you should know before you dive in…

UV Resin Is Great For Small Projects

UV Resin is a great option for smaller projects such as jewelry & small collage art pieces.

Do You Get Bubbles In Your UV Resin? Yes!

Bubbles, bubbles and more bubbles…the ever-present hazard for the resin artist. The answer is yes but there is FAR less of them than what you get with traditional (24-48 hour cure) resin. No worries, this is a simple issue that can be fixed easily with the following tips.

Tip 1: Use only thin layers! For the most part, this will keep air bubbles from forming. But, still keep a lookout for them!

Tip 2: invest in a heat gun. These are essential for working with any type of resin. I have both an industrial heat gun and a less powerful embossing heat gun. Both work well. The main difference is the industrial heat gun is better for large projects.

With both types of heat guns, it is important that you move quickly, never hold in one place for very long…ever! The entire process shouldn’t take more than a second or two. Please wear glasses, gloves, a face mask and work in a properly ventilated space. 

I noticed a burning smell caused by the interaction of the UV Resin and the heat generated from the heat gun. This burning smell is not present with standard resin. My suggestion is to keep the heating to an absolute minimum, a few seconds max. 

Tip 3: let the resin sit for a few minutes and check for any additional bubbles that might pop up. Resin by nature is self-leveling so there’s a possibility that more bubbles will form.

Tip 4: watch those embeds! Any objects that you add to the resin may create air-bubbles. Press the embeds down flat, into a paper-thin layer of uncured resin.

Soft UV Resin versus Hard UV Resin

I used both, I prefer the hard resin for jewelry. Why? I preferred the glass-like finish of the hard resin. I had trouble getting the soft resin to cure completely, it felt tacky to the touch.

UV Lamps & UV Flashlights

When choosing a UV Lamp its important to keep the wattage and the size of the interior in mind.I purchased three, and only one of them did the job! I started with a small 9-watt UV lamp that came with a gel nail startup kit. This first lamp’s interior was too small and the wattage wasn’t powerful enough. Then I tried a UV Flashlight. I didn’t like holding the flashlight over my piece for extended periods & I was concerned about my exposure to the UV. Next I found the MelodysusieSol 1 UV Nail Lamp. I’ve been happy with this lamp because of the large interior & the time controls (120s, 180s, or 30 minute). In addition it has 4, 9watt bulbs that will cure your piece quickly. Another great feature of the Sol 1 is the sliding tray. This was handy for curing multiple pieces of jewelry at once. 

UPDATE: JUNE 2020, THIS LAMP IS STILL WORKING GREAT!

Tip: when I’m curing my pieces I like to have the machine in another room, not on the desk where I’m working. Use the 120 sec., or the 180 sec. setting, this way you won’t overcook the resin and damage your UV lamp.

Tip: make your own removable trays! I like to cover thin pieces of balsa wood with clear packing tape.

How Long Does It Take To Cure UV Resin? It’s Fast!!!

There are several factors that will affect how long it will take to cure your resin masterpieces. Size, thickness and the type of embeds will affect how long it will take. For my small jewelry pendants it took about 120-180 seconds between layers. For the larger collage pieces with thick layers (max dimension 5 X 5”) it was a bit longer (with the MelodysusieSol 1). You will just have to experiment and see. , I assume that different climates could affect curing times as well. 

Can I Use Natural Sunlight Or, My Oven? Yes, but…

Technically you could dry your pieces in the sun but, it would need to be uncovered and in the direct sunlight. Therefore, you run the risk of having things blow into your pieces. This happened to me! Because of this experience, I recommend you keep your pieces small so that can use your UV lamp. What about using your household oven? Some UV Resins can be cooked in an oven, but the baking “fumes” make me nervous. 

Do You Need to Seal Your Images & Other Paper Ephemera With UV Resin? YES! YES!

Printed Scrap-booking Paper 

SEAL WITH CLEAR PACKING TAPE!

If the size of the piece is small enough, you can seal it with clear packing tape. Once you’ve “sandwiched” your image/s with packing tape then you will be ready to roll!

Images Printed From An Inkjet Printer

This is a riskier option because the ink used in our home printers is highly UNSTABLE. The following steps will help you achieve better results-please keep in mind that there will be a certain level of trial and error. You may still have a few accidents.  

Step 1; Print on glossy photo paper

Step 2: “sandwich” your image between two pieces of clear packing tape.

Other Papers-Glossy Stickers, German Paper Scrap, Magazines Pages

SEAL WITH CLEAR PACKING TAPE

Antique German Paper Scrap-Hummingbird Traveler Studio
So Many Choices!!!

Tim Holtz Paper Dolls

No sealing required! Win!!

Thinking about using your stash of Antique Ephemera? Don’t Do It!

Always experiment with the copies of these little jewels. When I first started working with resin I would cast original antique pieces. Unfortunately, I lost many of them.

The First Layers Of UV Resin Are Crucial!

Step by Step-Creating Your Masterpiece

It’s essential to start with “paper thin” layers of resin. In my early experiments I started with a thick layer of resin and I had problems with large air bubbles forming while the piece was being cured. In addition, I had issues with the resin not curing at all. Not good!

Step 1; Start by anchoring your image to whatever you have chosen to build your piece in. Superglue works well. Cover the entire base with it and, press the image firmly into the glue. After the glue has completely dried, then go onto the next step.

Step 2; Seal your image with a thin layer of resin. A craft brush is helpful to move the resin around. Quick tip: Keep the brush clean with baby wipes.

Step 3; Add your glitters and then seal with a thin layer of resin. Less is more, clumps of glitter can create air pockets. If your glitter flows out of place once you have added your resin, you can use a toothpick to move the glitter back into place.

Step 4; Add your sequins or other embeds, then seal with a thin layer of resin.

Step 5; Fill, continue with thicker layers…not too thick!.

Products & Other Useful Tools

All products and tools used in this post have been purchased with my own money. I have tested and approved of all of the products and, tools that I’m listing below. This is not a sponsored post. If you choose to use one of the links below I will receive a commission on anything that you buy. 

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. 

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THE MELODYSUSIE (SOL 1 UV) LAMP)

https://amzn.to/2WNmvcO

The Star of the show! I love mine! UPDATE: AS OF JUNE 2020 THIS MACHINE IS STILL WORKING GREAT!

DÉCOR ROM-UV HARD RESIN

https://amzn.to/2Xg8g4O

CRAFTERS HEAT GUN

https://amzn.to/2USjJoq

TIM HOLTZ IDEA-OLOGY PAPER DOLLS

You might be able to find them at Simon Says Stamp or at your local craft store.

TIM HOLTZ METALLICKRAFT PAPER

https://amzn.to/2Kl0ctf

I like to fill my back ground with this paper, it really “pops” with the addition of the UV Resin.

JEWEL PICKER-great for placing sequins & Beads

https://amzn.to/2FbMV1Y

MEMORY KEEPERS GLASS CUTTING MAT-easy cleanup

https://amzn.to/2MO1A9L

I hope you liked this post! More importantly, I hope that it has inspired you to create! 

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  • Avatar
    Krystal
    November 28, 2019 at 2:38 am

    Hi. I found your article to be very informative. And I needed that. The only craft I do now is the acrylic keychains rounds and I use epoxy. It is so time consuming and feel I needed to move to something quicker. So I don’t think a lot of this would apply to me. I plan on ordering the resin you listed. My only concern is I have read several reviews on most UV resin and they speak about yellowing over time. Your thoughts on the matter. Thank you in advance for reading this.

  • Jennifer Primeaux
    Jennifer Primeaux
    November 30, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Thank you Krystal for leaving a comment. There are few answers to your question. I understand your concern for yellowing resin, I have seen it in some of my older pieces made with traditional 48 hour cure resin (only the ones left in the direct sunlight). The UV Resin that I use in jewelry and bottle caps is different from that. So far I have seen zero discoloration, but I haven’t had these pieces for a decade or more. However, I feel more confident that they won’t yellow because UV Resin is similar to the substance that is used to patch a cracked windshield.I’m wondering if those comments are from people who are using old resin, meaning they opened the bottle and then used it over an extended period? I always close the cap on the bottle moments after I pour, and I keep it stored in a darkened cabinet.

  • Avatar
    Cathy
    July 10, 2020 at 4:40 pm

    Thanks for all the great advice and suggestions and recommendations! Could you tell me what, if any, protective equipment I need for working with UV Resin? Mask? Gloves? Well ventilated area? Sorry if you have touched on this in your blog…I didn’t see it.

    Have a great day!

    Cathy

  • Jennifer Primeaux
    Jennifer Primeaux
    July 10, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    Hi Cathy! It’s my understanding that UV Resin is a similar material to gel polish.You should wear gloves, protective eye goggles and work in a well ventilated area. In addition, I like to have my jewelry curing in another part of the room because of the rays of the UV lamp. This is why I don’t recommend the UV Flashlight…it makes me nervous being so close to the eyes.Also, have baby-wipes available to clean up anything that might get onto the skin. I always recommend that you read though the safety precautions listed on the UV resin that you purchase. Thanks for posting! Have an awesome day!

  • Avatar
    Penny
    September 15, 2020 at 8:59 pm

    So glad to have learned of your website. Looking at all of your amazing projects, I think we could be best friends! I love anything vintage – crystals, pearls, glitter, bling, and all of the old fashioned things that are just luscious! Love everything you’ve done and wishing I could make all of it! LOL!

  • Jennifer Primeaux
    Jennifer Primeaux
    September 16, 2020 at 1:43 pm

    Penny, Thank you! Do you like old fashioned Halloween? I’m working on some projects now, and I hope to have them up soon. Have a great day, thanks for posting a comment. Have you seen my youtube channel? I have some project videos on there too.