May 16, 2010

Polymer Clay and various UV Resins

(little update below) Resin is now an integral part in my Polymer Clay jewelry making. It provides a smooth surface treatment, adds depth, acts as a protective coating and intensifies colours.
As mentioned in previous blog posts, I've tried various types of 2 component resins. Mixing correct ratios, where small quantities are concerned, is extremely difficult unless done with a 2 part syringe that has one common plunger.
The UV cure resins that are cured with sunlight or UV lamps are much simpler to use. There are a few resins, as well as lamps, on the market now, some of which are easily obtained.
For the crafter where affordability is the decision maker, here are the cost break downs. The costs are from the manufacturers or distributor sites. (Pricing is approximate at time of writing)
As with many products, the larger the quantity the 'more bang for your buck' as the saying goes, or for those that don't understand what I'm talking about, the greater the volume you purchase, the cheaper it is.
  • Magic-Glos by Lisa Pavelka (1 oz. average $9.50, 6 oz. average $50 or $8.33/oz)
  • Ultradome (1 oz. $6.00, 8 oz. $30.95, $16 oz $51.00 or 3.19/oz)
  • Gel du Soleil (9ml or 5/16 oz for average $8 and 120ml/4 oz bottles for $67.00 or $16.75/oz)
  • Deco-coat 60-7155 also known as Illumabond (edited...PLEASE NOTE: This company no longer sends sample requests to individual crafters and will supply larger manufacturers only. Minimum order is 1 quart)

For the comparison shopper where cost is of importance then Ultradome would probably be the your choice, whether purchasing smaller or larger quantities. 

I haven't tried Gel du Soleil, mainly because of the somewhat prohibitive cost, but my friend Gera Scott Chandler has tried and written about it in her comparison on UV resins.

One thing to remember is that each of these resins have slightly different viscosities, properties and cure times.

What I like about:

  • Created for the polymer clay crafter.
  • The small bottle is easy to grip, has a great small stubby nozzle that pretty much prevents bubbles. When squeezing a bottle with a longer tip and then releasing, the air that enters the bottle will likely introduce bubbles into your resin on the next squeeze. The stubby nozzle doesn't give those bubbles much opportunity and if you should get some, doing a quick sweep with a heat gun pops them almost instantly. Although a butane torch is the recommended tool, I haven't encountered problems with my heat gun.
  • Of all 3 resins, in regards to viscosity or thickness...Goldilocks would say this one is just right.
  • Domes beautifully. My technique and to 'prevent pulling away from itself on the edges' is to give the object a rim with the resin first, cure, then apply more resin on rim and center and then cure again. 
  • The availability of larger quantities has brought cost down. The con about it is it doesn't have the short stubby nozzle, but I solve this by simply refilling my smaller bottle.
  • Cures fast in sunlight or under a UV nail lamp.
  • Easily available at major craft/hobby and online stores.
  • Can be applied on slightly curved objects and rounded edges without running over the edge...see bracelet tiles above. I sanded the edges of the tiles.
  • Con...not really a con as it has a solution: if your object has a bezel and you apply magic-glos, the resin looks slightly uneven and kind of lumpy next to the bezel. Easily solved...You can apply magic-glos, cure and then make a bezel around your pendant and bake again.
  • Cures as quickly as Magic-glos, about 20 to 30 minutes under a 36W UV lamp, less when in direct sunlight. I'm not sure why, but perhaps temperature is a factor in cure-time. Warmer, it seems to cure faster.
  • Excellent for encapsulating with bezels...cleaner or smoother edges than Magic-glos. No pulling away from edge...but can run over.
  • Available in 1 oz trial size, and now also with a nozzle, although it's a longer nozzle makes application so much easier.
  • Bubbles pop on their own when letting the item sit a bit in the dark before curing, or they rise to surface that they can easily be popped. A lighter works well too. Again go to Cindy's site to read more about it. 
  • After curing can be baked with more polymer clay added.
  • All around a good resin and very cost-effective. 
  • Said to store up to 1 year in dark, cool place.
  • Shipment via USPS to Canada. 
  • Con: Best suitable for flat sharp edged items, i.e. cannot be used on curved bracelet tiles. When using cutters, clay domes slightly and this resin tends to run over the edge on slightly rounded edges (read Cindy Lietz's blog and comment section which has a graphic about what I'm talking about). Goldilocks says this one is kind of thin.
  • Good doming product. Works on slightly curved objects and rounded edges as for bracelet tiles. Similar to Magic- Glos, but no need to do a rim first. No pulling away from itself.
  • Fairly reasonable in large quantities, but how much resin can you use within 6 months.
  • Cures fast in direct sunlight and about same time as the other resins, about 20 to 30 minutes under lamp.
  • Can be baked after curing.
  • Con: Need to provide your own applicators. Ships only via USP. Available in large quantities only. By the time I received this prepared to pay double its cost for shipping, custom and duty.
All 3 cure under a pane of glass. I built myself a frame around it. This is to prevent pollen and road dust to enter your resin if curing on your balcony...

Have fun playing with resin! I know I will...I'm going to rebake a couple of pieces, one with Deco-coat and another with Ultradome...will let you know what happens.

Verdict is in...they are...BAKE-ABLE!! yay!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your imput, Tina. Even though it is a little costly, I tend to like the Magic Glos...though I haven't tried the UltraDome yet. I need to purchase some more Magic Glos because I am running out of it...having too much fun with your tutorial on Batik Shimmer.

Beadcomber said...

Glad you're having so much fun with it Lupe. If you use the small bottles, save them and fill them from the larger bottle. Having checked on prices, Magic-glos seems to be right in the middle. A large bottle really does a lot of pendants and cuts cost a bit.

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

Thanks Tina for the blog mention! I love the UltraDome and find the thin viscosity quite easy to work with. And I love how wonderful it looks on flat surfaces and in bezels. You are probably right about it not working on a curved surface since I haven't tried that yet, but I sure do love the cost of it since now I seem to be putting it on everything!

Doesn't resin make polymer clay look awesome?! I love what you and Gera have been making lately! I'm getting some faux dichoric glass effects that actually look like glass. Just lovin the UV resin!

Beadcomber said...

Thanks Cindy...ya, I'm putting it on everything too, lol...
Tomorrow am going to see if I can apply on or dip round, oval etc beads and rotisserie them in the sun, that is, IF it's sunny. Fastest curing UV resin wins. I used to do rotisserie in the oven while doing faux lampworking with liquid PC. Just another experiment, lol

Bonnie Kreger at B-LEE KREATIONS said...

Tina, good article about the resins. I just ordered 12 bottles from a place called Crafters Cafe and she has the large bottle too. Her 6 oz bottle is 44.95. I ordered 12 bottles because it ended up being 7.61 per bottle. I have the Ultradome but I like the Magic Glos better. I accidentally got glue on the Magic Glos on one of my Shimmering Batik pieces and couldn't get it off so I put another coat of Magic Glos on it and you can't see where the glue was. I did learn that if you want to put a hole in something that has Magic Glos on it, it's best to start from the back. I started one from the front and the Magic Glos cracked, no problem when starting from the back.
Thanks for all your good information.

2 Good Claymates said...

Thanks for sharing all of this Tina -- you answered some of the questions I had about the different resins. I still have to get around to trying the bottle of Magic Gloss I have --

I noticed in your photo the bracelet tiles are curved. Is this more difficult in applying the resin so it is even?

Beadcomber said...

Thanks Bonnie that is good to know, thanks for the source!
Ah yes, Carolyn,thanks for pointing this out. I got so carried away that I forgot to mention about curved objects! Magic Glos and Deco-coat work for this. Will add this to my blog above...

Gera Scott Chandler said...

LOTS of great info here Tina! I just got 2 new bottles of Magic Glos- can't wait to get going with them after I finish my current project that will use a hefty quantity of Ultra Dome!


Kate said...

Thanks for this post, Tina! I have been wanting to experiment with resins and this gives me a good idea of where to start and what to expect. Thanks again!

Beadcomber said...

One can't really go wrong with any of these resins, they beat out varnish by far. I still like using liquid PC, but more as a glue or for transfers, but the sheen of resin is unbeatable

2 Good Claymates said...

Thanks Tina -- good to know about curved things. I just noticed your "box" you made under the glass. That is a great idea as the reason I haven't tried the resin yet was my concern for dust and cotton (we have a lot of it right now).

Pedralba said...

Very cool techniques! can't wait to try it.

Michelle | Printed Tickets said...

I really like the pattern in this one! I also like the colors that goes from pink to maroon. I'm not really a fan of those colors but the really do blend quite well.

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