When I began playing around with resin for fun, I used one type of resin for everything. Art Resin, because I was making art, right? Art resin for coasters, Art resin for bookmarks, Art resin for serving boards, Art resin all the way. Until I went to my first outdoor market, and all my wine glass holders and bookmarks started bending right in front of my (and my customer’s!) eyes.
I now know that I was using the complete wrong type of resin for these projects, and in conjunction with the hot Aussie sun, my pieces were always going to be doomed to bend and warp out of shape. Are you a beginner on your resin journey? Never fear! I’ve already made enough mistakes for the both of us, so let me share my knowledge with you so you can start off on the right foot and start creating correctly, from the beginning.
Types of Resin
Easy as 1, 2, 3..5 right? Well, sort of. This blog post will be exclusively referring to two part Epoxy Resin, as that is the medium we use to cast flowers and top coat our pieces.
1:1- The Art Resin
This is the resin that most people think of when they are referring to epoxy resin. Thick, glossy and shiny, this is the type of resin you use to top coat an art piece or a serving board with, and create a beautiful shiny finish. This resin uses a 1:1 ratio of Part A and Part B, so an equal mix (eg 100ml to 100ml).
Top coats, serving boards, final finish on art pieces.
Wild Clover Collective
2:1- The Casting Resin
Now here is where I went wrong with my original bendy pieces- I should have been using a casting resin instead of Art resin. Casting resin is a 2:1 ratio of Part A to Part B, and creates a durable and hard finished piece. Best used for things like coasters, trinket dishes, bookmarks, keychains and things you want to cure solid. This is the resin you want to use in silicone moulds.
Coasters, jewellery, keychains, ring dishes, basically any 3D object that isn’t very thick.
Wild Clover Collective
3:1- The Deep Pour
Deep pour has traditionally been used for very large pieces like resin river tables, but more artists are turning to deep pour to create their floral preservation blocks with. This type of resin has exceptional bubble release, but can take a longer time to cure than 1:1 or 2:1 resin does, sometimes upwards of 72hrs. This type of resin will wear out your silicone moulds very quickly.
River tables, large pieces, blocks, thick items like spheres and ring holders.
Okay, so we know what types of resin to use with our floral preservation pieces, but how will I choose a brand? There are so many! Unfortunately that question is a little trickier to answer, as the right brand for you will depend on where you live, your climate, budget and studio set up. But here’s a general guide of what to look for when you’re window shopping for resin brands on the internet:
What to look for when resin shopping
When creating coloured resin, ocean resin, or resin river tables, often colour pigments are added which will hide the yellowing that all resin will inevitably go through, but floral preservation pieces are almost always clear (so you can see the flowers, duh!) Because we are taking people’s precious bridal bouquets and putting them into resin, we want to make sure that these pieces will stand the test of time, so detailed information about UV stability is extremely important.
Safety Data Sheet:
One document I always look for on a resin manufacturer’s website is the safety data sheet. This document will tell you exactly how they have tested that resin, how long it can sit in the mixing cup for (this is called pot life), curing times, temperatures and other important information about how to use the resin, as every brand is different.
Excellent Bubble Release:
You won’t be able to get every bubble out of every piece, but microbubbles are the enemy of a beautiful floral preservation piece. Check to see whether the resin manufacturer makes any note of bubble dispersion/release, and if they have any information regarding this on their website.
Reviews or Testimonials:
This one seems like a no-brainer, but is anyone actually using this stuff?! Check their website reviews and do a search on social media to see what people are saying about their products, before you commit your hard earned cash.
Information about using PPE:
When I began my resin journey, I didn’t even know what PPE was. No resin I bought had any information about using PPE, and it was something I learned about from social media along the way. I would be more impressed with a company that brought attention to the necessary PPE required to use the product, than one that ignores it completely.
This one will be tricky to see just from the professional photographs companies use, but can you see what the colour is like? Is it yellow or amber? Is it clear, or does it seem tinted blue? Some resin companies will tint their resin blue to counteract the yellowing over time, which could possibly indicate their UV stability isn’t as good as others. A yellow or amber tinted resin should be avoided when working with floral preservation as this yellowing will become even more prominent over time.
If you’re a resin newbie, I hope this information helped! I really wish I had this kind of info available all in one place when I was starting out, as it would have saved me thousands of dollars. If you’re keen to learn more about floral preservation, don’t forget to follow us on Tiktok and Instagram, or join our Facebook group! You can listen to this week’s topic on our Spotify podcast.