Saturday, July 24, 2010

Working with Resin

It has been so hot and humid here I haven't felt like posting much lately. It figures the PC would be in the hottest room in the house!

I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome the new followers of my blog and to thank the folks that have expressed an interest in the skull giveaway. The giveaway will close the end of July so if anyone wants in there is still time.

Recently I have been working on making the cavern I blogged about awhile back. The interior will have a curved ceiling. I needed to construct the ceiling light yet strong. I chose to build the foundation of the ceiling with resin.

I decided to move my entire operation outdoors into the garage for two reasons. First off the resin fumes are murder and I've yet to find a respirator mask that 100% blocks the odor. Secondly I figured it would be easier to load the finished piece in my clients truck straight from the garage.

The resin I am using is from WASCO -- Wildlife Artist Supply Company . It is a good product and the staff at Wasco are friendly and helpful should you need help with using any of their products.

The interior of the cave is roughed out in rigid styrofoam board. When it is completed it fits into a wooden framework that supports it. For the ceiling I stapled the middle of a piece of hardware cloth 1/4" screen to a panel of wood. Wood was also added to the end sections of the screen.

I curved the ends of the screen into the shape I wanted and secured the ends to my styrofoam boards. Next I hot glued sections of styrofoam to the screen. When I was done I roughed up the styrofoam with a coarse file so it looked irregular.

Resin time! I make it a habit of recording the dates I use the resin on a sheet of paper affixed to the can.

Older resin may not set up as readily as new material does. For this reason I always mix two test batches of the resin I plan to use.

One batch is allowed to cure in the paper cup. The other is applied to scrap pieces of the materials I will be using. This way if there is a negative reaction I can more readily figure out where the problem arose from.

In the photo you can see that the two small pieces of craft styrofoam are unaffected by the resin. While the piece of styrofoam insulation board is completely eaten away by the resin!

Once I knew I was good to go I began mixing up small batches of the resin with chopped fiberglas resin strands added to it. Not only does this thicken the resin it makes it incredibly strong.

I wrapped and taped a heavy duty black plastic garbage to the underside of my project to capture any resin drips.

In this photo most of the ceiling has been covered with the chopped fiberglas/resin concoction.

Once the resin is fully cured I can begin adding the rock look to the cavern ceiling. When I'm further along in the construction I'll post some pictures.


  1. Thank you for doing this Brian. I have a big interest in resin. I can make silicone molds but when it comes to the resin its self I have always shied away from the stuff.

    Looking forward to seeing the next step

    Debie xxx

  2. Really interesting Brian. I would have thought any Foam would have melted with the Resin as its pretty strong Stuff. Thanks for giving us the tutorial and I look forward to the next instalment..xx

  3. Wow...there is a lot involved in creating your wonderful pieces. So interesting.

  4. Hi Brian~

    Thanks so much for sharing your resin tips. I have an interest in resin for some of my jewelry designs but have not tried it yet.

    Thanks for popping by my Blog. Harlow is a Pomeranian. We keep her cropped short in the summer so she won't get too hot. We have two Poms, one Labrodoodle, one yellow Lab and one Sheltie. It's a Goat Rodeo at my house!

    Have a creative week!


  5. This looks rather large, indeed! Don't kill too many brain cells with the fumes!