The folks at Art Resin™ sent me a 32oz resin kit in exchange for my honest review. Over the past couple weeks I have used Art Resin exclusively including production pieces that have gone to customers.
Before I share my review, here's a little bit about my resin journey. I've been using two part resin for 7 years. I've tried just about every kind of resin over the years. I have experienced months of frustrating results, tweaking environmental factors, techniques and materials. Resin can be a cruel mistress. I use resin with a variety of mixed media in both jewelry and other hand made items (like coasters, keychains, ring cones etc.) Trust me, once you find the perfect resin for your workflow you don't want to mess with it. I decided I would keep every part of my workflow the same, except I would use the Art Resin™. I wasn't sure what would happen or if I would need to do some tweaking to get perfect results.
As I was testing, I made typical (for me) small batches (15ml to 30ml). Occasionally I will do a slightly larger batch but at the most it would be 100ml total.
Let's start with my first impressions. The resin and hardener are both crystal clear in the bottle. I love this! While other resins dry clear it is always a little disconcerting when pouring hardener that has a yellow cast to it. So right off the bat, I was really happy to see how clear both were.
Next was the fumes. As in there are NONE. I have a small studio space, about 100 square feet. I have ventilation but I really really do not want to use smelly resin. Art Resin™ had absolutely no discernible odor. This is a huge plus!
The mix ratio is equal parts resin to hardener. Again, love this! I eyeball my measurements and the pouring was easy and consistent. Neither resin nor hardener comes flying out of the bottle or acts like a new bottle of ketchup. After my first batch, I found getting perfect measurements very easy and repeatable.
Once I poured, I noticed that the resin was totally clear with no bubbles. The hardener had some bubbles upon pouring. I looked at the temp in my studio and noticed it was a little bit cool (70 º F). If you have a cold room, you are going to have bubbles with any resin. I immediately warmed up the room. My next pour of hardener was much less bubbly.
My usual routine is to let the poured resin sit for a few minutes before mixing. I find this lets the resin degas. Art Resin™ did this very well. Not going to lie, I sat there watching the bubbles pop themselves for a couple minutes. :-) Pretty cool. Here's a before and after.
I stirred slowly (as usual) for about 3 minutes until the resin was clear. The resin blended together well and it was obvious when it was fully mixed. Again, I let the resin sit for a couple minutes once it was fully mixed. Any bubbles from the stirring process were gone in 2 minutes. Super easy. I've watched some videos of people stirring Art Resin™ and they really go to town! I might be brave one day and just stir like crazy to see what happens.
I made several different pieces to see how the resin did over printed images, in open back settings, mixed with colorants and other media like glitter, poured over dried flowers and in set in molds. One of the biggest "tests" I find is pouring resin over a printed black and white image. Especially an image with a white background and black lettering. How'd Art Resin™ do? See for yourself! This is as good as it gets. Woo Hoo! As you can see, the resin did not react to my paper, sealant or the metal and cured to a crystal clear domed finish. NICE!
On my first batch, I noticed that the initial cure wasn't as hard as I would like. I decided to add an extra drop of hardener to my next batch and I was happy with the cure after that. As I don't weigh the resin or hardener I'm pretty sure the first cure was due to me not putting in quite enough hardener. Note: Adding more hardener will NOT make resin cure faster so it's always best to measure accurately. Do as I say, not as I do!
The resin takes colorants beautifully. Had absolutely no problems mixing a variety of colorants. Same experience with adding glitter or other media. Did not affect the drying time or the end results.
Many items that I make require several layers of resin with some amount of curing in between layers. I appreciate the amount of work time I had with this resin. It let me make a pretty large batch of pieces and I wasn't worried about the resin getting too thick before I could finish each layer. If I had a complaint about my previous resin, it would be the short work life. I had at least 45 minutes with Art Resin™ and I think I could have kept going even past that time. AWESOME!
I did a "dirty pour" using colored Art Resin over a ceramic tile to see what the finish was like over a larger (for me) surface. SMOOOOTH GLASS is what it finishes like. I was not careful with my pouring or spreading and I didn't have to do anything to remove bubbles. The few bubbles popped themselves really quickly. Did I mention the cured finish was like SMOOTH GLASS?!! Good, because it was! This isn't the best picture but seriously.. smooth glass like finish.
The last test was to see how a layered mold would release. I used a pyramid shaped silicone mold without any release agent and poured 4 different layers over a period of 2 days. The final cure was about 24 hours. The pyramid came out perfectly! Easy peasy and again great results! I would say you could pour layers after about 2-3 hours cure time for each layer.
The best thing I can say is that I incorporated Art Resin™ into my workflow and didn't need to change a thing. PERFECTION! I am super happy that I tried it and it's my new GO TO resin from now on.
My grade: A+ Highly Recommended
• Room temperature should be 72º F or warmer ideally
• Measure carefully or better yet use a scale to ensure correct ratio
• After stirring, let the mixed resin sit for a few minutes to degas