Hey, crafty babes! In today’s quarantine hobby episode, we’re talking about resin art. ICYDK, resin art is made out of epoxy resins—a clear glossy mixture of resin and hardener. You could find this material in a lot of online stores right now selling keychains, home decor, flower-pressed jewelry and other accessories. It’s a relatively easy craft and thanks to several tutorials on the internet, a lot of people got into it and began experimenting with what they can create out of the material. However, the resin mixture can be dangerous if it’s not handled properly.
With the rise of new shops selling utensils and the like made out of resin, several artists addressed beginners online that the material may not be food safe. We spoke to three resin artists—Krisy from Floralsin, Jill from Jil—b and Ji Young from Mooncake Moonlight— for tips on how to safely do the craft.
Wear safety gear
Since resin art involves a chemical reaction between resin and hardener, all three artists advised to work in a well-ventilated area and to wear proper safety gear. Overexposure to resin fumes can cause respiratory irritation that can lead to allergic reactions or further complications. Moreover, handling uncured resin with bare hands for a long period of time can cause contact or allergic dermatitis as well.
Although Krisy said that some resin brands say that they don’t emit toxic fumes, she still wears a respirator mask and gloves just to be safe. Jill uses the same gear but also wears basic personal protective equipment to be more careful with the materials she uses. Ji Young adds that you could be risking neurotoxicity or damaging your nervous system if you don’t practice these safety measures.
“I always wear nitrile gloves and a mask when I do my resin sessions. I also make sure that the ventilation inside the room I am working [in] is good so that possible fumes from the resin won’t be an issue. Without any proper equipment, you could risk having dermatitis, asthma, or worse—neurotoxicity,” she said.
Flower-pressed spoons and dishes made out of resin may be cute, but they may not be the safest materials to handle food. Although some resin brands are considered food-safe based on certifications, artists warn that the material could be toxic if it’s exposed to heat or if it’s not cured properly. Resin art needs to be cured or to finish its chemical reaction for its form to be solidified. Jill advised avoiding resin art in handling food “just so [that] we can prevent any harmful reactions.” Ji Young added that finished resin products could melt under high temperatures, so she recommended doing your research on the resin brand before creating products that handle food.
“Of course, resin brands that you are going to use are also a huge factor to consider. So you better read the labels or ask the manufacturer about the resin you will purchase and utilize. I’ve read online that you could apply spray finish or sealants used on wood utensils and wares, for food-grade resin products,” she warned.
The same goes for jewelry. Necklaces, bracelets, earrings and the like made out of resin are generally safe as long as they are properly cured. If the material is still sticky, it means that it hasn’t hardened completely and might cause skin irritations.
When it comes to allergic reactions, Ji Young and Krisy recommend watching out for the materials of the hooks or chains that come with the pieces. Other than that, properly cured resin jewelry is safe to touch the skin. However, Jill added to sand sharp edges to make sure no one gets a cut.
As for resin sex toys, Ji Young said that it could possibly be safe as long as the material stays away from heat and is non-toxic and, again, properly sanded and polished. However, much research still needs to be done and Jill recommended staying safe and “just stick to what’s already out there.”
Look up internet tutorials
A lot of the cute resin home decor and pretty resin jewelry you see on Instagram were born out of curiosity and with help from the internet. Krisy and Ji Young started creating resin art just this year while Jill has been working on the craft since late last year. Both Krisy and Jill said that they learned from tutorials on the internet.
Krisy said that she really got into the craft when quarantine started since she spent more time at home. She likes to incorporate a lot of florals into her pieces, hence the name of her store Floralsin.
As a motion designer and illustrator who has been creating art digitally, Jill wanted to try something new. She got into resin art after coming across a pair of glass earrings during her Christmas break last year and decided to start Jil—b as her visual journal to see how far she could go with this medium. Her work now focuses on balancing aesthetic with function and you could see it in her pieces on her page. She works on a lot of resin art with her friend and all of their designs are from their own concepts.
Ji Young works as a registered nurse and began creating resin art as a hobby. She decided to open her shop Mooncake Moonlight to support her expenses on resin materials. She started in April and has been “religiously pouring resin ever since.”
“I’m very sentimental person and it was always in my mind to find a way to preserve special gifts like flowers. This led to my interest in the art,” she said.
Despite the advice on steering clear of using resin on utensils and other materials handling food, there are so many more products you can make with it. Krisy, for example, said that she loves to experiment with flowers and colors and will soon be launching floral resin display guns and resin tarot cards on her page.
Most resin artists use molds where they pour the resin mixture to create their products, but the great thing about resin art is that it’s versatile and anyone can create their own pieces from scratch. Jill once ditched the usual molds and created this pink and purple vase and is now venturing into more organic pieces that you don’t usually see on her page.
“For beginner resin artists out there, the best advice I can give is to just keep on creating and experimenting. There are a lot of tricks I learned along the way from experimenting since I have no one else to ask. You’ll be encountering different incidents along the way, and with that, you’ll learn what you should and shouldn’t [do]. And also, a heat gun will be your best friend to avoid those bubbles,” Jill said.
Another good thing about resin art is that there’s a lot of room for “failure.” According to Ji Young, these are exactly what makes your resin art pieces unique.
“I love how you don’t need to be naturally creative to make unique pieces. You could mix colors and pour them however you want and it will still result in beautiful pieces. Even if you feel like you failed, it will still turn out aesthetically unique after it is fully cured,” she said.
If you’re looking for a sign to start creating resin art, then this is it. Just remember to do it safely.