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
WATER BASED RESINS OR GLAZES
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)
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