Working with resin can be an undoubtedly rewarding experience, especially considering how many choices the caster has to mold their creations. Much like choosing the right tool kit for home use, it helps to at least study the tools available to determine which ones you are likely to use the most.
Too few tools, and a caster may feel limited. Too many tools, and the caster may end up wasting money on items they never use. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind before heading out to the store.
Picking the Right Resin
There are two major types of resin available: polyester or resin. Casters who work with polyester resin are usually in some sort of industrial field due to the resin’s high toxicity. If the caster doesn’t have the ventilation and the protective gear they need (e.g., mask, etc.), they could seriously injure themselves during the process. Polyester resin can be used with deep-pour projects (unlike Epoxy resin), and it’s also relatively inexpensive. Epoxy resin is usually used for crafts and hobbies due to its low toxicity. Epoxy is perfect for shallow-pour hobbies like jewelry making. However, epoxy resin should be used in a well-ventilated room with precise measuring tools.
Picking the Right Mold
There are several different types of molds that can be used for resin hardening to get the perfect finish.
- Latex molds: These molds are notoriously flexible, so casters can simply release their creation from its casing in a single motion. Latex molds may take some trial and error though because the resin needs to be at just the right temperature while curing.
- Plastic molds: Plastic molds are widely available and can even be repurposed from inexpensive candy molds. Plastic molds are easy to work with. However, the softness of the plastic may leave the resin vulnerable to scratching or other cosmetic damage. This would happen after the casting is complete.
- Silicone molds: Silicone allows the caster to both create and remove creations with complicated dimensions. The results are also usually more aesthetically pleasing and consistent than latex or plastic (especially for beginners.) This option is more expensive than the alternatives though, and silicone also requires more efforts to clean and store.
Each mold material has different benefits and drawbacks, namely cost, compatibility with different resins, flexibility, and durability.
During the casting, casters can use small paintbrushes or even the tip of a dull pencil to get the perfect design while the resin is still wet. The process of hardening is all about achieving the perfect ratios for each liquid the project calls for, but there’s no need to go out and buy special mixing bowls and measuring devices when old cooking tools will suffice. Casters may even want to work with disposable plastic measuring devices to cut down on clean-up time.
Air bubbles that naturally form in the resin can be removed by slowly blowing into the straw to redistribute the resin. Casters should also have a knife or chisel available to clean up any cured resin that may have spilled.
These basic tools are excellent to get started with resin casting. However, once a caster has mastered the basics, they may want to branch out. There are plenty of tools that can aid in casting that can be found anywhere around the home. For example, the perfect mold could be old scrabble tiles. These could be used to spell out someone’s name for a piece of jewelry. The process remains the same whether making a pendant or a door bell switch.
So whether you are going to make a casting mold, work with wood, metal or another source, have fun – and be creative!