Updated: Jul 11
When working with resins, they’re all different. Each type & brand has different requirements to ensure the sensitive chemical balance created by the manufacturer, will give you best results. Here’s a ton of information for both ArtWorks & Liquid Diamonds &
This information is full of guidance and ideas for optimum results for users of ArtWorks Resin and Liquid Diamonds Casting Resin.
Copyright of Michele Donohue, ArtWorks Resin Canada. All rights reserved.
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Personal Note: This information is updated and added to, as time permits. I have tried to condense a ton of information that I had previously taken notes on for myself to use as a resin artist over the past 4+ years, (from before I started my resin business), plus some I've learned since. I am sharing it with others who may find some benefit to it. Resin in general, can be finicky so having loads of helpful information to learn from, can also help customers be more knowledgeable for best results with our resin products. Nothing is set in stone, or the same for everyone, but extra knowledge of a product like resin does go a long way to helping with successful projects.
All resins are not the same. There are various limitations with any epoxy resin, and they each have their pros and cons, which is why some resin artists have different brands they use for different projects. Becoming more knowledgeable of a resins pros & cons, helps an artist learn best ways to work with them, or work around them. Resin art has a big learning curve and like any medium, they each take time and practice to master, but once you do, you can achieve the most incredibly rewarding and beautiful results with both ArtWorks Resin & Liquid Diamonds Casting Resin.
ArtWorks Resin is a high-quality epoxy resin formulated specifically for use in artwork. It has been formulated with extra UV protection and HALS for more added UV Resistance. It is also used widely on tumblers, tabletops, bar tops, counter surfaces, & trays and is excellent for doming. It cures in 8-12 hours. It has no VOC's, does not have a foul odour, it is scratch resistant, and cures very rigid and rock hard (does not remain in a pliable state after curing, or go soft in hot climate. It is a medium viscosity (thick like syrup) resin. ArtWorks Resin cures crystal clear like glass. It is FDA 21CFR175.300 compliant.
Liquid Diamonds Casting Resin is an amazing high-quality casting resin. It is crystal clear and cures within 24 hours in correct room temperature. Liquid Diamonds was designed for the crafting industry. Many customers state it is the best casting, embedding & jewelry resin. Ideal applications are for castings, moulds, jewelry making, pen turning, and a variety of other areas. Because this product has such a low viscosity, it allows for micro-bubbles to dissipate more easily. It has no harsh chemicals such as solvents or alcohols and is VOC free. Safe to use on foams and delicate pieces. This resin can be used for coating or encapsulating as well. Excellent for silicone moulds, woods, concrete, pebble floors, tiles and rock. It is FDA 21CFR175.300 compliant.
There are a large variety of types of resins on the market for use in many different applications. Each resin has its unique features, pros & cons depending on what it is being used for. Some people like to use a variety of different resins for different purposes, and some prefer working with medium (thicker) or lower (thinner) viscosities depending on desired effects.
For example, there are numerous two-part epoxy resins. Some are designed for art, some designed for casting (craft type for more shallow moulds, and more industrial type for deeper pours), some designed specifically for kitchen countertops (often with higher heat tolerance), some designed for flooring, boats, etc. Every brand has different viscosities, cure rates, heat resistance ratings, work time, & more. Even in each category of resin, there are many types. There are deep pour casting resins made for projects like river tables, but even those need to be poured in layers (typically 2" depths), depending on volume required. People often may need to experiment with a few to find which works best for their intended use. For best results, use a resin that is designed for your specific types of projects.
There is also a product called UV Resin (1 part resin), which is not the same thing as a UV rated (2 part) epoxy resin. Some people get confused between them. A UV Resin is cured by using light (like the UV nail polish coatings). UV resin only cures under UV irradiation. It's maximum layer thickness is 1mm, and is typically only suited for smaller areas. The two part epoxy resins with a UV rating, is not cured with light, it just means that it has UV inhibitors added to reduce yellowing and surface degradation from UV exposure. Some have more than others, but know that those additives may affect the resin in another area, including price.
There is also polyester & polyurethane resins. These resins both cure very hard like glass, and can be polished to a high gloss, but unfortunately these types of resins are quite toxic & fumey, and you absolutely must wear a respirator when working with these resins. Polyester resin has a very short work time. Polyurethane is very sensitive to moisture and humidity, which makes it difficult to add any other elements such as pigments, dyes or other inclusions (unless they're specifically formulated).
Please review the helpful information & tips (as well as the safety information provided on website), prior to beginning working with resin.
Epoxy resins consist of a base (bottle of resin) and a curing agent (bottle of hardener). The two components are mixed in a certain ratio (ArtWorks Resin is a 1:1 ratio measured by volume (not weight), and Liquid Diamonds is a 2:1 ratio that can be measured by weight or volume . A chemical reaction occurs between the two parts generating heat (exothermic reaction) and hardening the mixture into an inert, hard plastic. Epoxy coatings are used because of their outstanding chemical resistance, durability, low porosity and strong bond strength. ALL resins will yellow over a period of time, however, ArtWorks Resin has been formulated to resist yellowing for a much longer period of time. Liquid Diamonds also has added UV inhibitors. It is not possible to determine how long it will take any cured resin brand to start becoming discoloured, as there are too many variables. Some of those variables are additives or substrates or items painted over substrate, overheating during work time, and where the art is being displayed. Resin art, much like most original art, should not be displayed in direct sunlight.
Prepare your work area:
Resin can be incredibly messy & sticky. For easier clean up afterwards, cover & protect your work area.
Surfaces resin does not stick well to are good for your work area: Heavy gauge plastic drop sheets (often used by house painters) can be reused, as resin once dried will peel easily off the thicker plastic (it can rip thinner plastic). Resin will not stick to polyethylene plastics. Laminating plastic does not melt or wrinkle as much as thinner plastic. Parchment paper (or the shiny side of freezer paper) can also be used under resin work surface for easy clean up. Resin does not stick to wax, so a wax paper (waxy side up), can be used. Silicone matts or teflon sheet liners (used in baking) also can work well.
Some people like to mist their work room area with water ahead of time, to bring down any dust in the air prior to starting with resin.
It's best to have all your supplies ready & near you before mixing the two parts together, so you don't waste work time (pot life) looking for things you need to use.
Have tweezers handy in case you need to pick out hair, dust or bugs (they seem attracted to resin).
Keep a roll of paper towels handy as well for quick wipe ups as needed.
Also, keep alcohol wipes (Clorox for example) handy for wiping resin off unwanted surfaces prior to it curing.
Work in a well-ventilated area, ideally with a good exhaust fan. Even though resin companies state non-toxic and no voc, we like to pre-warn that anyone can be sensitive or become sensitive when using any 2-part epoxies, regardless how safe their claims may be. More information on that in the safety page of our website.
Always wear disposable nitrile gloves and keep more handy while working. If you get resin on your clothing, it will likely not come off again. Wear old clothes with an apron, or painters full body coverup.
Always double check with a level, that your work area/substrate is level prior to starting a project.
Mixing containers & sticks:
Always use clean mixing containers & stir sticks (so nothing contaminates resin).
Silicone containers & mixing sticks are often preferred since they can be reused once wiped clean. But they must be clean!
Many people use wooden popsicle sticks or paint stir sticks, however, be aware it's possible wood may release air into resin during mixing, and cause additional bubbles to mix. Some people find using silicone or plastic stirring tools help reduce added air bubbles.
If you are using cups that do not have measurement markings, use a ruler and mark two containers at the same height in order to get an equal amount.
Some cups are not suited for mixing resin. Containers/cups with the #5 on the bottom, are made of polyethylene, and resin is much easier to remove from them, and they can be reused. Lowe's carries them in their paint department, and the smaller 2oz onesare available on Amazon.
Secure hair & loose clothing out of the way so it doesn't land in your work. Resin is hard to remove from hair. Check clothing doesn't have hair or fuzz that can fall into resin (which causes more work & extra layers of resin). Wear lint free clothing. You can buy inexpensive painting suits that are lint free (we have them on our website too).