In this blog I will present commented discussions on the advantages and disadvantages of various art resins; discuss how to prepare flowers for use with resin and which flowers have worked best/not worked for me. I will be presenting interviews and discussions with other pressed flower and resin artists. I will have a "tip of the day" section.

I'm hoping that lots of you contribute; comments, arguments and disagreements are always welcome. Resin is such a complex medium that we all have something to learn. Besides, tweaks and even new resin products are coming out all the time.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

RESINS, GLAZES, GLOSSES: Let's Make Some Sense of it All!

I've been working with jewelry-grade resins, glazes, and glosses for 5 years now, and until this week hadn't really sat down and separated out all the different types and brands of what are called resins.  Wow! I found a lot of cross over in terms, but managed to separate 3 basic types of resin products: epoxy resins; polyester resins;  water based resins (include ultraviolet resins).  Please note, I've tried to be accurate but there are so many products and so many variations that I'm sure to have erred in places.  I welcome your corrections and comments
A resin is a natural or artificial thick liquid  which becomes a hardened plastic-like substance on exposure to air. (Obviously, this is oversimplified; I'm no chemist.  However, this definition brings it down to the basic idea; liquid, exposed to air, plastic- like hard)
This definition explained one basic thing to me: you can't depend on the word resin to tell you how something will behave in crafting.

So lets break this down into the different types. I made a quick-reference chart.
A 4 year old Envirotex Lite pendant I left in a gold-paper covered jewelry gift box for 6 months.  It took on the color of the paper.

EPOXY RESINS: (can also be made into 2 part glues )-
    Definition:  two part resins requiring a hardening substance to be mixed together
     Advantages:  By far the hardest, most durable of the resin; 
     Disadvantages : Toxic: must use good ventilation, gloves, should use a mask
    Can discolor over time if exposed to ultraviolet light via  sunlight or fluorescents.
    Produce heat when curing: if mixed wrong can destroy embedded objects from the heat
    There is a limit on the depth to which it can be poured.
    Supposedly it is limited to 1/8 inch and is called "coating" however, I regularly pour resin     jewelry up to 1 inch thick without problem.     Bubbles can be a problem, but they can be controlled by  prewarming the resin; using a straw, heat gun or torch over   the top of the poured resin     
BRANDS:  Envirotex Lite,  Colores Doming Resin, Luxe Doming Resin, System Three epoxy resin (a marine grade resin, not generally used for jewelry;)
A pendant made several year ago from Envirotex Lite.  It is so hard I can't scratch it. It has been dropped, stepped on , and otherwise mistreated; is still great.Flowers are (non dyed) forget me nots.

POLYESTER RESINS: Still 2 part, but uses a small proportion of hardening catalyst to large proportion of resin
         Advantages: more forgiving of proportions; also extremely durable
         can be mixed thicker ; is called casting resin for this reason   
        Disadvantages:  a very strong noxious order; it will sometimes
         remain with the finished product for a week or two
        Toxic: must use ventilation, gloves, mask (if nothing else,
         to help cut the odor!)
         Bubbles; but they actually resolve on their own better than in epoxy resin
BRANDS: Castin' Craft EasyCast Resin

         These include resin gels, glazes, uv resins, some glosses,
         "liquid glass."  These generally don't require mixing, although
         there are some embossing powders which fall into this
         category, which can be melted into a glaze.(UTEE)
   Advantages:  generally don't have to be mixed (generally come in a squeeze bottle)  so less
        messy and  easier to use. Dry faster, often with a uv lamp or low heat oven.
       Used for surface finishing; generally cannot make a whole piece of jewelry using just these
      less durable and not as hard (scratch easier)
      more expensive
      Bubbles are harder to manage  (surface bubbles.)
  Brands:  Magic Gloss; Ultradome; Gel du Soleil; Diamond Glaze

As I said, I know the lists of the brands isn't complete.  But I hope this helps straighten out the types of resins for you.  Chris






  1. That was a really informative blog post! I've always wanted to try out resin. Your pendants are gorgeous.

  2. How interesting!!! ...and yes, like the above comment, I've always wanted to try too!

  3. OMG, so pretty! Thanks for posting this! I'm wanting to due some resin work with fimo clay decorations, but my cured epoxy turns yellow when baked at 230F for half an hour, which the clay requires. Do you know if any of the resins you've worked with can handle that heat and remain clear? Please drop me an e-mail at Thanks!


  4. Thanks for the great info!

  5. Hi there,

    I have just started toying with polyester resin, and although I mixed the resin and catalyst according to the package instructions, my finished product (after about 36 hours) is very sticky to the touch--I can put a fingerprint in it and dig it out with my fingernail.

    I really want to fix this problem, since I will be making some memorial jewelry for a friend of mine who just lost her husband to cancer, and I want it to be perfect for her! Any tips on how to solve this problem?


  6. Hi, Jenn. I think the problem is probably that you didn't mix long enough--usually (using a timer) at LEAST 2 minutes, even 3. Generally that is why resin remains sticky.Another that can cause the problem is high humidity; but from what I've seen, it is the mixing time and thoroughness almost all the time. Let me know is that helped. (one other problems is that the resin can be too old, but it sounds as if yours is probably new) Chris.

  7. Hello, I have a question which of the rasins/glosses do you think would work better for coffee beans?

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. ¡¡Algo hice mal :( ¡¡ Le daba las gracias por su información que llevo buscando hace años.El problema será encontrar las resinas en esta parte del pais, sólo veo las de las piscinas y amarillea. Gracias.

  9. me fué el comentario sin felicitarle por su trabajo¡¡Precioso¡¡ ♥

  10. Iteno, Gracias por sus comentos, dispense me Espanol, lo hablo bien pero para escribir, no! Estoy feliz que le ha podido ayudar y si tengas preguntas, pueder contactarme a Chris

  11. Thanks for the ideas. There's always something new to learn and improve on in this mad internet world. Uptiming is surely something to keep an eye on. epoxy resin