Resin Artists: How To Speed Up Resin Curing Time

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Original Post

Hey crafty people! If you’re anything like me, the fact that you have to wait 24 whole hours for your resin to cure really chafes your behind. That UV curing resin looks cool, but it’s pretty pricey and if you put anything in it that blocks the light you’re pretty much SOL. Quick setting resin goes all gluey before you even have a chance to do anything with it. As someone who’s never satisfied with the status quo, I started investigating into the chemistry of epoxy resins and trying to find a way to speed up this process. I won’t really get into all the chemical info here because, quite frankly, it’s pretty boring. All you need to know is that the curing process is dependent on heat. More heat = faster cure. But how much heat is enough? Well, after a bit of experimentation I’ve figured out a pretty good system for curing resin in my oven.

What you need to know: This system will probably only work for casting resin, not really for doming. If your moulds are made of something heat resistant like silicone, this will be super easy for you. I was using those plastic moulds that kind of look like ice cube trays (you know the ones?). I did melt a few moulds in the process of figuring this out and you might too, so don’t get angry if something gets wrecked. I was using Colores resin with a thin hardener. Curing times might be slightly different with other types of resin.

So, set the oven to the lowest possible temperature (65 C, 150 F). Mix and pour your resin like normal and pop it in the oven on a baking tray for 5-8 minutes. 10 minutes seems to be the threshold of meltiness for those plastic moulds. Pull the tray out and let it cool down for a couple minutes. Be sure to be very careful when taking it out because the resin will be insanely liquidy, like runnier than water. This is, by the way, why I don’t think this’ll work for doming. You’ll have a few minutes to work out any bubbles you may have missed, but only a few because it’ll start to get gluey as it cools. After it cools down a bit, stick it back in the oven for another 5-8 minutes. After this round it should be set enough that you can pour another layer if you are doing something that requires layers. Give it a little poke with a toothpick to check. Overall, repeating this cycle 3-4 times resulted in nice, firm, fully set resin. Overcooking it didn’t seem to affect the resin at all.

Mistakes I made so you don’t have to:
-Don’t stick your finger on resin that you think ‘might’ be cured. It will glue to your finger and burn like napalm.
-Cover your tray while it’s resting, dust and dirt and cat hair will still get stuck in there.
-Don’t pull your mould out of the oven and stick it right in the freezer. This will result in some seriously funky warping.
-If you’re embedding things in the resin, make sure they’re heat resistant.

So here’s one piece I made using this heat curing technique. Overall, it took me about an hour to get a nice full cure: www.etsy.com/listing/45180586/peacocks-and-pearls-post-earrings

Good luck and happy crafting! If you have any questions feel free to post them here or convo me directly.

Posted at 4:29pm Apr 20, 2010 EDT

Responses

No resin users out today then?

Posted at 5:08pm Apr 20, 2010 EDT

Great tip, but I would make sure this is done in a separate oven, away from food and eating, and that there is exhaust ventilation.

Posted at 6:38pm Apr 20, 2010 EDT

karamae says

nice stuff, I love your shop! I just started learning wood carving this weekend, it is pretty challenging when you're used to wax and resin!
i love resin and the chemistry stuff isn't boring.. I love reading about it.. share!
I made a heat box for my stuff, but the stuff I usually use can get blistery if it gets above 100 degrees F.
there is a "bake" version of the hardener but it says not to get it above 130F

Posted at 7:33pm Apr 20, 2010 EDT

Thanks for that :)

I hit mine with a heat gun! Gets the bubbles out and it cures faster :D

Posted at 3:09am Apr 21, 2010 EDT

I put the bottles of resin and hardener in hot water for a few minutes before mixing. Still takes about 24 hours to cure, but bubbles don't seem to be as much of a problem.

Posted at 2:20pm Apr 21, 2010 EDT

lindab142 says

Primitive, that seems like a good idea. I might try that for my next batch. I don't think I could take the chance of baking mine, I use the light epoxy resin.

Posted at 2:36pm Apr 21, 2010 EDT

AnnieHowes says

Some resins you can speed cure, such as my Luxe resin. 150f for about an hour does the trick. No color change, no blistering, beautiful outcome.

Posted at 8:45am Apr 26, 2010 EDT

Thanks for sharing!

Posted at 2:02pm Apr 28, 2010 EDT