Monday Art Tips #2: Working With Resin
Does working with resin evoke of response of running screaming into the darkness? Up until the last "fight" I had with resin, I absolutely loathed working with it. Between stealth bubbles appearing out of nowhere, areas with leftover silicone where the resin pulled away in a circular spot, and the edges of the canvas not being coated well enough, resin and I were bitter enemies. It seemed that resin would never be a reliable material I could use. Just to note, Art Resin is the brand I have been using. Art Resin is more non-toxic and the smell is not unpleasant or overwhelming.
The other day, I had done an acrylic pour painting and it dried with a little too much uneven texture. I didn't want to re-pour because I liked the final painting, so I decided to try and resin it. This is a larger painting measuring 16" x 20", so I didn't have a lot of hope this course of action would be successful. I had read that resining larger paintings could cause issues of the canvas sagging because of the extra weight, so I propped up the center with a couple of nested, recycled yogurt cups. (The Chobani yogurt containers are wonderful for mixing paint, raising the canvas above the table surface for paint and resin pouring, and other tasks.)
Before I engaged in this task, I did an Internet search on "preventing bubbles in resin". The page from Art Resin came up in the search and I decided to try and follow every piece of advice as completely as I could.
After following these steps, I can say that my resin piece turned out much better than my previous tries.
Warming the resin in a warm water bath for 10 minutes or so makes it more fluid and easier to spread. The website cautioned warmer resin may give you a faster cure time.
Stirring the resin gently for the recommended three minutes cuts down on air bubbles. I was never vigorously stirring during the previous attempts, but I made sure to be extra gentle this time.
I worked in sections on the painting and make absolutely sure that everything up to the edges had an even coating of resin on it.
Despite how hard you may try, bits of fluff, hair, and other debris, will fall onto the surface of the resin. This time, I babysat the painting for an hour in my studio while I did other tasks. When I found a stray cat hair (we have 4), I gently used a pin to pick up the cat hair and wipe it on a nearby paper towel. A flash light comes in very useful to really spotlight the surface and see any problems.
When any bubbles would appear, I used my butane torch (I think you can use a heat gun as well) to pop the bubbles.
Those tips helped me achieve my best resin piece yet. I think there was only 1 tiny bubble that popped up as it cured, so I consider that a big win.
What are your resin horror stories? What about tips that help you succeed with winning the resin battle? I still don't plan on using resin on a regular basis because it is such a high-maintenance process. The results do look lovely, though.