There are so many mediums out there when it comes to making jewelry. One of the most popular right now is UV resin. If you’re interested in taking the plunge into UV resin, but you’re not sure what to expect or you’re looking for a bit of guidance, here’s just what you’ll need to keep in mind to show you just how beneficial it can be!
What is UV resin?
Let’s start out with the basics, right? This is a kind of plastic-like resin that is manmade. It gets its name because it hardens/cures with the use of UV light (natural or artificial) instead of traditional resin which takes time. UV resin cures in literally 60 seconds and is a great option when you are looking for speed as your main factor. This is great resin for detail work, such as jewelry and it is versatile in that it will be self-leveling for extra appeal.
Why UV resin?
There are quite a few perks to UV resin, really, but the main one is that it’s just more practical and consistent than classic epoxy resin, especially when making something as detail-specific as jewelry. Another detail is that it works in its purest form. You don’t need to blend it with a hardening agent or otherwise baby it. It simply pours into the mold and then sets with a UV light in seconds.
Are there potential downsides to UV resin?
There are a few potential cons to know about when you’re looking at trying out UV resin, especially if you are familiar with traditional epoxy resin. The first one is that it needs a UV light to cure. This could be from a window or sitting it outside in the sun, or a handheld UV resin light, too. While it’s great when you’re looking to take your time in mixing and pouring your resin, it does mean that you have to be careful not to let it sit in the sun by accident while you’re working!
Another potential downside is that UV resin is only intended for smaller, thin projects, For example necklace pendants, buttons, etc. When you go beyond that, you’ll have to cure in layers, and this is something to think about when you're planning your design!
Lastly, the UV resin itself has a somewhat short shelf life when compared to other kinds of resins While this may not be a problem if you work regularly with it, it is something to think about when you are someone who does 1 project every 6 months!
How to use UV resin
One of the best details about making UV resin jewelry or buttons is that it really is going to be easy! Even if you’re new to the world of jewelry making and/or resin itself. Here are the basic steps to think about:
1. Buy your resin and molds: For best results, make sure that you buy good quality Resin Jewelry Molds and equally good quality UV Resin. This means fewer replacements and great quality finished products.
2. Mix your resin with a pigment (Optional): If you want to add some colour to your resin, add in a drop of pigment and mix well, or leave swirled for a marbled effect! This is optional, of course.
3. Pour your resin into the mold: Pour your resin (pigmented or not) into the mold until it is full at least halfway, or three quarters.
4. Make sure the mold is completely covered: Before you do anything else, make sure that mold is covered by using a toothpick to poke around at the details and edges.
5. Use a BBQ lighter to draw up air bubbles: Using a match or a BBQ lighter, light it up about an inch or two away from the resin for just 1-3 seconds. This draws up and destroys any remaining air bubbles or imperfections.
6. Cure under a UV resin light: Put the mold under the UV light for up to 60 seconds and then you can safely pop the resin out in its final form! Be careful, it might be hot to the touch.
Top tips for making the most out of your UV resin
It’s pretty neat just how simply UV resin molds and the resin itself is to use, but that’s what’s so well-loved about it. If you’re looking for some tips on how to get even more use out of your UV resin, take in these additional tips and reminders.
- Don’t rush to the UV light: Many experienced resin users want to rush to pour and then use the UV light immediately, but remember that UV resin won’t cure until you turn that light on. So, take your time to make sure that you get everything right and don’t rush the air bubble process, either. They're much harder to remove after!
- Cure front and back: If you want to make sure that your pigment and your jewelry design set perfectly, cure the mold as normal, and then flip it over and cure it from the other side. This will ensure that everything’s firmly set for you!
- Does it feel tacky? Give it another session: If the resin feels tacky to the touch, don’t force it out of the mold. Give it another session and let it cool. This will make sure that it’s set properly.
- Keep water far away: One of the things to learn the hard way is that UV resin and water don’t mix. It’ll ruin your design, and even just a tiny spot of water from cleaning between sessions can be enough to ruin it. Let everything dry thoroughly!
- Use a baby wipe to help keep tools and toothpicks clean: If you are cleaning your tools between uses, rely on a baby wipe. It’s efficient and it normally doesn’t contain water, so it’s better than a damp paper towel!
So, UV resin is pretty magical stuff and it could just be what gets you started in making me beautiful jewelry! Now you just need the right resin molds to explore your new hobby!