Adventures in resin casting

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About 10 years ago, I tried my hand at casting resin. The results were terrible (bubbbbbllesss!) so I threw it aside and forgot about it. Then a few weeks ago, I found three dead bees lying around, and I immediately thought “I should cast these in resin!” (WTF? Who thinks that?) Anyway, I went to Michaels and got some molds, and dug out the resin when I got home.

The first trials were…not great. I didn’t realize that if you have a matte mold, the resin will come out matte. Also, the bee was lighter than the resin, so it floated to the top of the mold. Womp womp. I did discover that if you coat them in clear nail polish, the matte disappears and you can see right through them again (not pictured)

Thar be beez in thar

I also bought a button mold so I could make glittery buttons, and those worked well enough. I think the glitter covered up any bubbles

That sweet, sweet, Martha Stewart coke glitter

Knowing that I had to do a few more tests before using up all my bees, I forged ahead not testing anything and instead opting to guerrilla it, as usual.

The results were less than ideal. I should have filled the mold more prior to placing the bee, and I should have let it fully cure before layering in more resin. This resulted in a ton of bubbles nearly obscuring the bee.

Bee bubble cloud

It was at this time that I realize the resin had likely expired, as the fluid was amber in colour, and totally should have been see-through. I didn’t think it really mattered with the bee because it kind of added to the look.

Undaunted, I tried again and this time cast a gypsy moth (they’ve been going bananas here lately).

While it looks neat (upper left), the resin is clearly yellow, and it again has Too Many Bubbles.

So I went to DeSerres and bought new casting resin. I picked some cute weeds and found another gypsy moth and tried to cast again. This time, I was more patient and tried to leave more time for the resin to cure. But as you can see in the top right of that picture, the results were crap. The first 1/3 of the pyramid is 100% bubbles and you can’t see shit. The middle part has fewer bubbles, but you can clearly see the casting fill line. Thinking that I was stirring too vigorously, I stirred more slowly on the third round, and you can see the result in the last bottom part. It’s clearly the best of the three, but still bubbly and the fill line is visible. I was annoyed because I really liked the composition of the moth on the weeds, and it was all lost to stupid fucking bubbles. I’ve tried hitting them with a heat gun, hitting them with a kitchen torch, and vibrating them, and nothing has worked.

I went back to Michael’s to pick up those star shaped molds and tried again with the new resin. Three of them have pretty little weeds in them, but you can’t see them for the bubbles and the glitter. D’oh. The other four worked really well, and you can’t see any bubbles from the glitter (even though I know they are there).

I’ve currently got a fourth pyramid mold curing, and will top up the last little bit with new, slowly-stirred resin with glitter. I know that it will be somewhat bubbly, but I can already tell the moth is more visible inside. I’m thinking of building a DIY vacuum chamber to help, but we’ll see.

Posted on July 23rd 2020 in Resin