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.
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
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)
DÉCOR ROM-UV HARD RESIN
CRAFTERS HEAT GUN
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
JEWEL PICKER-great for placing sequins & Beads
MEMORY KEEPERS GLASS CUTTING MAT-easy cleanup
I hope you liked this post! More importantly, I hope that it has inspired you to create!
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