All resins ....general info.
Polyester Resins (2-pt clear)
...gen. info
...surface problems + sanding
...heat, humidity, catalyst
...using + molds
...brands +info + uses
Epoxy Resins (2-pt clear)
...Hard-surface epoxy resins (most common)
........gen. info
........brands (Liquid Glass, Envirotex Lite, Ultra-Glo, etc + epoxy glue)
............brands found at hardware stores + covering larger surfaces like tables, trays, bartops
........preparing + sealing + mixing
........coloring + inclusions + fauxs
........applying + bubbles, drips
........cutting, drilling, sanding-shaping, polishing
........coating (brushing on, dipping)
........casting (+ embedments + gen. info) molds, for freestanding pieces... releases
in molds or not, for partial embedding + adhesion temporary cells from other materials (alum. foil, etc.), for custom free-form shapes permanent cells (in bezels-frames-bottle caps-pendant trays/etc, or in clay, etc....for pendants, photos, etc)
........faux water made with resins
...........or using
softer epoxy resins, one-part gels, acrylic gel mediums, or unknown materials
........other ways to use resins (mini-foods, tabletops,
..............stiffening, making containers, snowglobes, etc.)
.........more technical info.
.......pre-colored resins, to buy ( "cold enamels," "epoxy enamels")
...Softer-surface epoxy resins (floral setting resins like Acrylic Water, Liquid Illusion, etc.)...2-pt, clear part, reusable clear gels
...Epoxy Adhesives (primarily used as adhesives)
Simulations of resin (1 pt materials) --Future-Pledge, polyurethane/Varathane, dimensional glues/DiamondGlaze, etc.

Other meltable, castable plastics (plastic worms, Army men)
Glass paints & Dip-It simulations
MISC. ... crackle, shrink plastic, etc.
Magnets & magnet sheet
Magnifying lenses + magnifying glasses
Fiberoptic strands & LEDs
"Non-Polymer Clays" category has been moved to Sculpting>Clays
"Other Molding Materials" category has
been moved to Molds


(2-part, synthetic resins)

NOTE: All resins can be dangerous if not handled properly (particularly during manufacturing)
........polyester ('casting") resins are "more dangerous" in these ways than are epoxy resins (see Polyester below)
...inhalation ... make sure there is sufficient ventilation so you won't inhale a lot
...ingestion (getting in mouth or eating, etc.) contact (including eyes, etc.)
If you feel you have any symptoms, or would just like more info (doesn't need to be an emergency),
contact the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 has more info on symptoms, etc.

Casting is the process of producing a part in a mold
... resins of various types can be cast in molds, and some can be used to make molds as well..
ADD to subcategory list ...ADD to Table of Contents ...ADD water stuff/ponds to Houses and Miniatures??
Do Finishes page ... (resins as finishes) and refer rest here

general info

what are resins?... what types are there?
...synthetic resins are materials with similar properties to natural resins (thick liquids from pine and other trees, which are also adhesive when they harden)

Resins are a thermosetting type of plastic rather than a thermoplastic type like polymer clay.

There are various types of resins that artists sometimes use:
...epoxy.....polyester... urethanes/polyurethane... acrylic**
......urethanes --also called polyurethanes won't be covered here (they're 2-pt "RTV" materials, which are not clear, smell terrible, and yield a rubbery or foam material ... and all set up quickly?)
Re the term acrylic resin,** I've read both that acrylic resins are specific type which are "highly toxic," but also that acrylic resin is just an overall name for the basic category synthetic resins that includes epoxy and polyester ("casting") resins
. . . don't know which is correct, but IMO it's better to refer to the specific type of resin being referred to whever possible because their characteristics, saftey, and uses are different.

epoxy resins and polyester resins can both be used for casting and coating, but they have different characteristics that are important to understand to know which would be better for a specific situation (see each below, for more)

clear epoxy resins come in two forms crafters might use... one gives a hard surface, and the other a softer surface
(used less often)
(...polyester and epoxy resins are both used for fiberglass as well --versions of each can be purchased for that use)

Devcon's 30-minute (2-Ton) 2-pt epoxy glue can be used instead of larger containers of epoxy resin, according to Nancy Banks
... it's the clearest brand of epoxy glue (some are yellowish, etc), and there will be about 7 minutes working time before gelling begins.

....polyester resin is what most (opaque) figurines you see in chain stores are cast in
....polyester resins are used in all types of composite construction (commonly referred to as fiberglass resin or boat resin)
....polyester resin cannot be applied over epoxy resin (but epoxy resin can be applied over polyester resin)
....polyester resins tend to be fairly rigid when cured... and also slightly more brittle than epoxy resins.. may chip if dropped
....all? resins eventually susceptible to yellowing from UV light (direct sun... fluorescents), but polyester better or not at all?
....(previously-?) cast polyester resins become rubbery if ever subjected to temperatures over 200ºF

Some (most?) info contained in the Epoxy category below would also apply to polyester resins, so be sure to read that too.

All resins are flammable, I think, and prob. can't put out that fire with water (will make worse).

All resins shrink a bit while curing (epoxies less than polyesters) so this will mean that the resin will sink a little in the middle, I think, and therefore may "creep" up the sides of the container or mold a tad (around edges)
....if using a mold, this can be sanded off if desired, or used as the back side
....if using cells and depressions, will probably not be noticed or look "normal" for what it may be imitating (water, etc.)

releases or resists (for all resins?)
...waxes (pure carnauba ... beeswax?... Pledge) ...PVA release (poly vinyl alcohol).....masking tape, clear tape ....modeling clay .... acrylic matte medium ... Armorall/ silicone
DB put below somewhere
(for molds, see below in Polyesters, and some in Epoxies)

Crystal Clear 200, 202, & 204...(newer?) polyurethane resin ...clear..., with diff. setting times (mix 1 to 1)
by Smooth-On .... designed for applications that require absolute clarity. This product will cure at room temperature, but a 150 ? post-cure will speed it up. The cured castings are UV stable (non-yellowing) and can be pigmented using color dispersions.
....Poly 1410, bY Polytek?...A two-component, water-clear, polyurethane casting system, formulated specifically for applications where optical clarity is a must.

MANY VIDEO LESSONS on using all kinds of resin at YouTube, for all kinds of purposes


POLYESTER resins (clear)

(sometimes called "casting resins" since that's their main use)

general info

These come in 2 parts, but just a few drops of one part (the catalyst, or activator or hardener) are added to the other part (the resin) ...polyester resins are not mixed in equal parts like epoxy resins are
....the number of drops required depends on the thickness of the layer to be poured (if more than one)

Polyester resins are called "thermosetting plastic resins" because heat causes them to set up and cure (= polymerization), though they would do this on their own in a year or two.... so a catalyst will speed up the curing time

olyesters will completely cure only in the absence of air (so areas of a cast exposed to air may not cure thoroughly... see below)

Polyester resins can be cast in thicker depths than epoxy resins (in a mold or in a dammed/cell area)
...(this is main advantage besides price, and it's generally used in this way)
...but, could also be brushed on, or poured on or over items, as with epoxies?? (see below, under Epoxy Resins)

Polyester resins:
...cheaper than epoxy resins
...less "safe" for lungs than epoxy resins
...may need to be cast bottom-up because of "surface" problems of most (see below)
...tend to be fairly rigid when cured... and also slightly more brittle than epoxy resins.. may chip if dropped
...can create too much heat for some polymer clays
...most (opaque) figurines in chain stores have been cast with (opaque) polyester resins
...polyester resins are used in all types of "composite" construction (also commonly referred to as fiberglass resin or boat resin)
...polyester resin cannot be applied over epoxy resin (but epoxy resin can be applied over polyester resin)
...(previously-?)cast polyester resins become rubbery if ever subjected to temperatures over 200ºF
...all? resins are eventually susceptible to yellowing from UV light (direct sun... fluorescents), but polyester better or not at all? ...though could coat with UV-resistant acrylic finish?

more video lessons on using resin for jewelry at YouTube (check to make sure which resin they're using though!... epoxy resin is mixed one to one, where polyester or deep "casting" resin is mixed using just a little catalyst-hardener to a lot of resin)
Tap Plastic's video lesson on using a polyester resin in a (large) mold to embed pennies in one of the layers
many other video lessons on using epoxy and polyester resins at YouTube:

safety warnings:
..... more "toxic" to work with than epoxy resins (polyester resin itself is okay, but the substances which make it work--catalysts aren't (e.g., styrene, toluene, MEKP)
..... serious consequences if MEKP (catalyst) gets in eyes...(corrosion & possible blindness) ...wear some kind of glasses!
......always use ventilation (work in well ventilated area, garage, etc) ....some people also use a mask also, but many don't... headaches possible
.......keep off skin (irritation) & away from mouth... ..keep away from food (may affect its taste)
.......not to be used by children .... also store away from children

MSDS safety info:

wear a mask in some situations:
1...if mixing and using a lot of polyester resin or you don't have good ventilation need a mask/filter rated for OV (organic vapors) for (polyester resins)....You don't need to change the filters on the mask every time which is good, since the filters cost around $10. also need to wear a mask when sanding very much cured resin, but you need a different filter then since you'll need it to filter out particles, not vapors. I think the one that I have is P95 or P100.
...There are also combo filters that block both particles and vapors, but they cost twice as much since they basically have the two layers sandwiched together...since you don't need to block the particles and the vapors at the same time, the combo filters aren't best suited for resin casting. I imagine it's also more difficult to breathe with the combo filter than with a regular filter. ...There isn't a good way to know if a filter is "still working" that I know of. However, to prolong filter life, take them off when not in use and store them in a ziplock bag. This way, they're not "filtering" anything that might be in the air, getting dusty, and so on. hello color!

....should use (and store) at 65-75 degrees ...and at less than 60% humidity
...shelf life: use within 9-12 months not pour resin into sink (will clog drain) ...also do not pour mixed resin back into can

...polyesters really stink ("styrene odor")... much more than epoxies (...odor may also remain in area and on cured resin, for up to several weeks?)
...not quite as much final strength as epoxies (but that may not matter to us)
...use a disposable brush and/or mixing tools
......but don't use
waxed cups (will retard curing), or Styrofoam or clear plastic cups/materials, for polyester resins

Curing of resin is caused when heat is generated by the chemical reaction that takes place when catalyst is added to resin.
... in my experience, the heat generated (by polyester resin) can badly affect polymer clay (I've had my clay develop marks and odd coloration). Kathy Davis
(...epoxy resin doesn't get as hot....the heat may not even be noticeable when using small amounts of epoxy).

The deeper the layer to be poured, the fewer drops of catalyst need to be added to the resin
...(e.g., for 1 oz.of resin... 1/8" depth requires 12-15 drops ....but for thicker layers like 1 - 1 1/2" only 4 drops required)
...The thicker the layer, less catalyst is needed... the thinner the layer, more catalyst is needed
...the label recipe is very conservative in the drops of catalyst to be added

...experimentation is needed because using more layers will add to the total amount (of heat generated), humidity diff's, etc.(and fewer drops are used for certain plastic molds than others)
...too much catalyst makes resin set faster, but also creates too much heat
.......this can lead to fracturing of resin, or fading of embedments ...or distortion of vinyl- or styrene-based plastic molds
.........don't cure (polyester) resin directly on Styrofoam-styrene...will melt (...epoxy resins would be ok tho)
...........(to use Styrfoam as a "mold" for polyester, place plastic wrap on top, then add resin.. peel off after curing. Judi)

...too little catalyst will create a piece with a sticky or tacky final surface (but some is normal)
......One thing we found in our diorama is that the resin surface remains slightly sticky, and will attract dust (virtually impossible to remove!)
.............I have heard this being said, but have never found it to be true if you use the "correct" type of resin. resin water (epoxy prob.) is never sticky on top! Sue

If the room your're working in is below 65 degrees F, it will slow down the curing.
...If the room is over 75 degrees F, it will accelerate the curing and may cause yellowing and/or cracking.

Too much colorant can slow or prevent proper curing.

surface problems

NOT-FULLY-CURED final surface (...this is normal for polyester resins)
...the last surface (next to open air) created may actually feel tacky or
sticky ...but also may not feel tacky.. though will not be fully cured regardless
...that final surface may also be cloudy or have a bumpy appearance

This type of resin (as opposed to epoxy resin) isn't supposed to "fully" cure while exposed to air, and to get really hard (this would be only the top surface if resin is used in a mold )
..for some uses (as with "fiberglass cloth" between the resin layers --to use as a "laminating" resin), this tackiness and incomplete curing can be an advantage because it allows every new layer to be able to be joined to previous the previous layer on a molecular level
but it also means that the topmost surface (the exposed-to-air side) of the resin will need more work if it will show (because it may not be clear enough, or may feel tacky, and will have a rippled or bumpy texture)

So...polyester resin (surfaces) need to be deprived of air to fully cure (even though surface may not feel tacky after curing)... some ways to do that:
1....mylar ...cover wet resin with 5 mil thick polyester film (Mylar)... will impart a high gloss finish (with no further treatment)
........a Tap Plastics employee said that a rubbery plastic bag could be pressed hard on top surface of (partly cured?) resin then out toward edges repeatedly, then pulled off (afterwards?) to give a good surface too
.......or? stretch clear plastic wrap over the surface but not touching. This will seal off the air/humidity resulting in a tack free surface...easy to apply and fast drying
2....(acrylic) resin spray --spray for resin...e.g., Castin'Craft Resin Spray, Envirotex Resin Spray...use as a finish coat to seal polyester resin castings, cover imperfections, and give a tack-free finish
........(can also be used as a multi-purpose clear gloss finish that allows user to embed or encase almost any object in crystal clear plastic ...can be used to coat wood, dried naturals, sea-shells, pre-sealed paper, and fabric)
......I prefer resin spray to "curing agent" since it doesn't create a hazy or cloudy appearance at all (and is easier to u se?)
......can (several coats?) of a regular "acrylic spray" be used instead?... Krylon 1303/gloss was mentioned, for example... also clear fingernail polish for small items mentioned by someone (acrylic or "enamel" too?)
....."or you can use a PVA spray (poly-vinyl acetate)--it's a "mold release" agent also (prevents air from getting to the surface) and is water soluble so will readily wash off"
3...epoxy resin ... use a coat of on top
4...surface curing agent (a surfacing or "finishing" resin) --basically a wax (+ styrene?) which will keep out the air
.......surface curing agent is added as a final thin layer of resin when doing a casting (...6-8 drops, per oz of resin) so the suface will fully cure creates a wax film over the resin which makes its surface airtight and so eliminates tackiness, but can also make the surface cloudy or hazy (so use it sparingly... the thinner the layer, the less visible the haze will be though...not best for jewelry applications?)... the haze can be minimized by being buffed away using rubbing or polishing compound after it has fully cured
.....or?... (for flat castings, the entire surface will most likely need to be sanded flat since polyester resin tends to cure with some ripple effect on the surface)

5...some people also feel cloudiness could be caused by too little catalyst or by insufficient mixing, but others disagree

6...sanding-buffing...cloudiness can be minimized by being buffed away with rubbing or polishing compound after it (the resin?) has fully cured
............("the entire surface that was next to the air while curing will most likely need to be sanded as well since polyester resin tends to cure with some surface ripple effect")
...when a casting has a cloudy surface, can try several things:.

......the first involves sanding with 120 grit sandpaper, then 400 grit
........follow the sanding by buffing with a buffing compound or Jewelers' rouge... though epoxy resin doesn't require the compound, and it's harder than polyester resin?
........I've heard you can also hit sanded areas with a bit of Future-Pledge floor polish (which is a cyanoacrylate)... perhaps only small areas like edges though?
.......someone said you can also lightly sand your casting and then finish with a solvent-based (?) clear acrylic spray
.......can also apply a coat of epoxy resin (or epoxy glue?)
(...see also just below for more on sanding/polishing and other possibilities

...excess humidity can cause cloudiness in the casting
.......stickiness (from humidity, etc.) which isn't permanent may go away if you just allow more days to harden
....I'm in South Florida (which means constant humidity) help with that, I just use more catalyst than called for to help
.........also, I bring them inside the house to finish drying after the pieces have set a while (couple hours)
.........also, after 2-3 days I add a protective coat on the surface (clear nail polish works best for small pieces, or a high-gloss clear acrylic (solvent-based or acrylic?) stickiness! glitterkick

ORANGE-PEEL surface, or ripple surface...(normal)
...if the top layer of poured resin will be the non-showing, underside of a "cast" object, that non-smooth surface may not show or will show less (through other side)
........can hide it a bit by adding a bit of colorant to that (final) layer
........or can glue on felt or cork backing (epoxy glue will work)
...if the top layer of poured resin will be the showing surface however: fix the unevenness, you'll need to sand-polish (80 grit till flat... then wet-sand 240, 400, 600 grit)... then polish (jeweler's rouge or polishing compound)...though polishing can be extremely time consuming

...or try carnauba wax, Pledge, etc. ??
...clinea suggests using Novus # 2 & 3 (plastic scratch fil
lers) since "minute scratches are almost unavoidable"
larger scratches
...sand and buff-polish (see above)

heat + humity + catalyst

The catalyst (hardener) starts a chemical reaction that generates heat (creates an "exotherm") as the parts polymerize (which cures the resin).

With small amounts of resin, the heat of curing is not noticeable
...if you're using larger amounts though (like when I pour for waterfalls), you can feel some heat if you place your hand over the curing resin. Judi
...if covering a whole table, etc., you're like to feel lots of heat

...because heat accelerates chemical reactions, all resins cure from the INSIDE out.
....using too much catalyst will overheat the casting (excessive exotherm), causing resin shrinkage and cracking, and discoloration
....exotherm can be controlled by adjusting
......the amount of catalyst used.... the volume or thickness of resin poured (at one time)... and ambient temperature (the higher the temperature, the faster the gel ... too fast a cure will cause fractures.)
......thicker (taller) pours require less catalyst because a thick casting retains heat... whereas a thin section dissipates the heat requiring more catalyst.
.....humidity slows the cure of resin... moisture in the resin, which may come from humidity in the air or from temperature present in embedments, can cause the resin or casting to be cloudy.....keep resin capped tightly when not in use.
...cold weather during shipment or in storage can cause crystallization or cloudiness to occur... to clear up, put the bottle in a pan filled with very hot tap water ...should clear within 15-30 minutes ...always store between 70-85° F

using + molds

..........(is all of this this is true for polyesters?):........

Must seal very porous items before contact with resin to prevent venting of air bubbles in resin, and possible “blotching” later... and also to prevent papers from becoming translucent (though this can be done intentionally for a translucent efffect) or certain "inks" from bleeding:
... can apply a thin coat of completely mixed resin-hardener as sealer (wait 4-12 hrs.) for greatest contrast (4 if sand?)
....or can buy special sealer (like Ultra Seal) ...prob. diluted white glue
....or use white glue (4:1 with water) ....(wait 4 hrs.after application) to keep it from becoming translucent
.... let dry glue completely... then use resin (1-2 thin coats?)
....or seal with 2 coats of a fast-drying acrylic spray (such as Envirotex Spray Sealer), esp. for delicate items
..may also need to seal any dyed or painted objects ...test for color fastness since color may bleed into the casting

STAGES: ..... soft gel in 15-20 min... firm gel in 20-30 min
....hardening (click-hard) 4-24 hrs, depending on temp... could take sev. more days to completely dry-cure

Can cast in layers in order to add embedments, or to create layers of diff.color
(each layer can be up to a maximum of 1 1/2" deep)
....pour first layer (the bottom side of this layer will be the top surface of final cast)
...... and therefore won't be sticky or have orange-peely surface (as long as porportions are correct)
.......polyester resin (like polymer clay) will take on a shiny surface when it's cured touching a smooth surface
...allow to gel 15-25 minutes (can test with stick) not move mold after this
........each layer which will have an embedment on it must gel firmly enough to support added object
....add object(s) face down ...(can dip embedment into mixed resin first to prevent bubbles later, esp. if dimensional)
add another layer of resin ...can repeat layers
........(after 5 layers, each layer will add to heat build-up so will affect # of drops to use)
....if desired, can color last layer (will be bottom), after prev. layer has gelled (see Coloring, & Orange Peel, below)
....must pour each new layer before the previous layer cures completely because it shrinks as it cures (more than epoxies), and pulls away from the sides of the mold (so pouring a new layer after this happens will allow the new resin to flow down the sides of the older layer, and item cast won't have smooth sides)

...when hard (4-24 hrs.) flex the mold, and eject cured resin onto mylar or waxed paper not handle resin until it is absolutely tack-free (or can get fingerprints, cloudiness)
...clean up (while wet) with acetone or rubbing alcohol

sanding (and polishing) allows you to also get rid of the sharp edges that often result from the resin having been cast in molds
....see Gen. Info above for more on this resin "creep" up the sides of a container caused by shrinking
(see details on sanding above under "orange peel surface")

clinea suggests using Novus #1 (special plastic cleaner), to clean and shine the finished resin

...molds which create the clearest castings are purchased molds made from HDPE molds (High Density PolyEthylene plastic) (1/2 way down page)
.......Tupperware and RubberMaid containers are also made from HDPE mold release agent is required
...... any tiny scratches in these molds will result in the resin surface being more cloudy though
...latex or rubber mold compounds...RTV compounds.. silicone ---mold release not needed with these since they are very flexible.. disadvantage to flexible molds though is that castings "come out tacky and wavy because heat from the resin when curing dissipates quickly through the rubber molds"
silicone molds (purchased ones, or those made from 2-part molding materials --see Molds > 2-Part Silicone Putties) better than other rubbery ones though??

STIFF molds & metal ... mold release necessary
...... purchase P.V.A. (PolyVinylAcetate) mold release
.......or wipe inside with Pam cooking spray ....or apply solution of 1 pt liquid-soap to 4 pts water (let dry before using)
...plaster, Cement, wood, and any porous molds .... lightly seal with paste wax (amount of catalyst should also be reduced due to heat buildup)
waxes (carnauba, beeswax?, Pledge)
(see more below)


Use same colorants for polyester resins as for epoxy resins? --see all info below under Epoxy in > Coloring, Inclusions other words, purchased dyes --transparent or opaque-- or artists' oil paints --transparent, or add White for opaque, etc.?)

When using pigments & dyes, remember that the curing process will be slowed down, so add extra catalyst.

Michaels has the dyes (and perhaps art supply store, or even hobby stores) ....or online: (2/3 way down page)

April's miniature soups and stews with colored resins (probably polyester) surrounding bits of polymer clay food, poured into 1 1/2" wide glass bowls
...resin is colored with oils, pigment powders, inks, et depending on what final look desired

info, brands, uses

see also Epoxy Resins below for many other use ideas

...entire (short) book (17 pgs) online, by Casey Carlton, re using one brand of polyester resin: (keep clicking on Next Page, or click particular page number in top navigation bar)

whole beads made with polyester resin and molds .... some have inclusions like glitter, feathers, etc.,
(some of her other beads are made from rods and other shapes of purchased acrylic, which she sometimes grinds after curing to add embellishments or change shapes)

see Epoxy Resins below for most use ideas


polyester resins are available at Michaels, Hobby Lobby, art supply stores... and online (...but no longer at Dick Blick)

Clear Polyester Casting Resin, with Catalyst (by Castin' Craft, ETI, Environmental Technology,Inc.)...most widely available
...also carry small-shapes molds... colorants (transparents & opaques)
......other accessories & instructions
Lam-A-Cast Crystal Clear Casting Resin, with catalyst (same brand?)
......"for paper weights, figurines, and embedments"

Clear-Lite Casting Resin (at Tap Plastics)

Aristocrat's Casting Resin (not Aristocrat's Liquid Glass, which is an epoxy resin)

Polytranspar Artificial Water (this brand may be more commonly used in the diorama community than the art/craft community)
..."is the most trusted (and best selling) clear casting resin on the market. Tens of thousands of taxidermy habitat scenes have been created with this versatile product.
....And now, an improved formulation allows even greater clarity on deep pours.
You can create beautiful water surfaces, splash scenes, and ice effects with this crystal clear product. Simply add catalyst, stir and pour. Dries to a smooth, non-tacky finish.
...Can be poured over plexiglass, cast in molds, manipulated during the gelling stage to create ripples, assembled into intricate splashes, painted over assembled pieces, and more.
Each kit includes resin and clear MEK catalyst.
Although the shelf life for this product should be at least six months, the shelf life will be greatly reduced if it is stored near a heat source, or if the container is left open and/or exposed to high humidity.
(Shipping over one gallon requires UPS hazardous materials surcharge. Cannot be shipped by air.)"

Easy Cast (by Castin' Craft) ... other brands?
...this is an epoxy resin, not a polyester resin like those above, but it's also not a "regular" epoxy resin like the ones listed below under Epoxies appears to be a special kind of epoxy resin which has been tweaked so it can be reliably cast in deeper molds and more than than 1/8" at a time (regular epoxy resins may or may have problems such as becoming a bit yellowish if cast deeper than 1/2"--1/8" at a time)
...disadvantages to Easy Cast ...after curing Easy Cast will be somewhat flexible if exposed to even low heat (as in wearing it next to the body), especially if the cast item is not thick, and it will have a softer surface (normally, or only when heated and thin?)
(this version of epoxy resin could be a bit similar to the softer-setting epoxies below like the floral setting resins used in clear vases to simulate water since those can be poured quite deeply and stay very clear, but are rubbery and have a soft somewhat sticky surface that attracts dust)


..."new Vinyl Ester resins" ("vinylester") are hybrids....modified epoxies ... becoming more popular all the time as an alternative to epoxies ... catalyzed with MEKP like polyesters... short shelf life though! (3 mo?)

...Quick Water (for simulating water) the "soft" epoxy resins below, in many ways? (doesn't set up "hard")
......but this product is a urethane chemistry, NOT an acrylic
......cures in 8-10 hs. ("will not yellow like it's acrylic competitors")

EPOXY resins
...basic raw epoxy can be added to during manufacture in many ways, using:
......mineral fillers (talc, silica, etc) ...flexibilizers, thickeners, viscosity reducers, colorants, adhesion promoters, accelerators, etc.

Epoxy resins come in 2 parts, and are mixed one to one, in ratios by exact weight or volume
...(some other epoxy resins may have other set proportions tho')

DISADVANTAGES (compared to polyester resins):
...somewhat more expensive than polyester ... (but not very expensive for our small uses)
....will take longer to create... and longer to cure if deeper than 1/8"
....the hard version of epoxy resin can be cast only to a total of 1/2" thickness or it will yellow (look amber)... max. of 1/8" at a time
....the soft version can be cast as deep as wanted, but has a rubbery surface after curing... and the in-between version (Easy Cast) will be rubberier but okay except when thin and heated even to body temp and then can become flexible)
....keep off of skin... more likely to cause an eventual sensitization than other resins, after repeated use (if use gloves, select latex or nitrile gloves, not food handling gloves)
....not as stable in UV light as polyesters
...safer to use
...easier to use (less temperature sensitive, no proper # of drops to worry about, compatible with more materials, etc.)
...least objectionable odor of nearly all resins problems with its suface having orange-peel appearance, or being tacky--unless not mixed well, esp. when final surface is the showing surface
...less heat produced in the curing so better for many materials, possibly including polymer clays
...(hard version of epoxy) stronger in that it's less brittle & more flexible ...also more waterproof

TYPES:... there seem to be 2 main types of epoxy resin we might use:
....both can be brushed on as finishes... or poured on as thick finishes... or cast in molds
....but the 2 types have different finished surfaces, and need to be treated somewhat differently:
......hard ....Liquid Glass, Ultra-Glo, Envirotex Lite, etc ...these cure with a hard surface
..........can be cast only to a total of 1/2" thickness (or will look amber)...(1/8" at a time)
......softer ... Acrylic Water, Liquid Illusion, etc. (aka floral setting resin, fake water) ...these cure with a softer, more rubbery surface
can be poured to any depth permanently into vessels

Hard epoxy resins are most often used (by anyone) for pouring on, yielding a thick, clear coating.
Soft epoxy resins are generally used for simulating water (in clear containers in which silk flowers can be arranged).
....but both can be used in other ways
However... for castings which are both deep and hard, must? use polyester resins (see above)
....(or perhaps, hard epoxy resins can be cast deep, in many layers, but will just be amber --or could color it???)

"HARD" Epoxy Resins (clear, 2 pt.)
(Aristocrat Liquid Glass...Envirotex Lite... Ultra Glo... etc.)

These cure extremely hard, and very very clear (great look and feel)
...out-performs most polyester resins in many ways
.......high strength... low shrinkage... low brittleness
.......wider temperature tolerance than polyester (when mixing-curing?)
...formulated to achieve a wide variety of properties ..come both opaque and clear
...basic stickiness before curing makes it good for adhesives and repair applications compatible with most other resins (including polyester resin, so it can be applied over polyester --but not the reverse... thoroughly sand the polyester layer if you want to epoxy over it)
...can use on almost any surface, rough or smooth (see Uses below for various materials that can be covered)
....doesn't get as hot when curing as polyesters (heat may not even be noticeable when using small amts)
........therefore does not cause problems with baked polymer clay (polyester resins may cause discoloration or marks)
........though some plastic items
may "dissolve" even in epoxy (plastic rhinestones?), so test first
....waterproof... heat resistant (up to about 120° F?).... alcohol-resistant (after curing)
......temporary depressions can appear in the cured surface after an item has been sitting on it for awhile (humidity & heat may esp. allow this to happen ...will disappear shortly
....can clean smudges or help prevent them by occasionally applying furniture polish (e.g., Johnson's Lemon Pledge furniture polish --the one with carnauba wax, not oil) or other carnauba polishes
..........more on carnauba wax --interesting stuff
.....for scratches that can't be polished out.... clean with acetone, then re-coat with resin

Part A is the resin side, and the Part B is the hardener. Part A varies in viscosity... can be very low viscosity (or it can be so highly viscous that they must be melted before use)

...need only to have reasonable ventilation
wipe off skin if it contacts resin (safer than polyester resins tho')
...some people may become allergic to
...susceptible to yellowing from UV exposure over time (direct sun, or fluorescents) ...polyesters are better for that not bake epoxy resin unless you want a yellow tinge to it
........yellowing may create a desired "antique" effect though
....recommended for indoor use, because severe heat-cold cycles may cause it to crack or delaminate
...epoxies will require a mold release with more mold materials than polyesters because of their strong adhesive qualities

Cannot be poured deeper than 1/8" at a time
....can create up to 1/2" thickness total (in 4 layers) ...or 6 total ounces??? because 1/8" thickness will result in more volume if a mold is wider??
........ (over 1/2" of total resin thickness will look amber... otherwise "clear"... if colored tho', could create more thickness??)
....must wait 8 hrs between layers
....gets full strength and toughness in about 48 hrs

coverage.... a 6 oz kit will cover 2 1/4 sq. ft. --when poured-on as a thick coating
....a 16 oz kit will cover 4 1/2 sq. ft

1. in regular use, these give a thick clear coating when poured onto a surface (or dipped), then allowed to drip off
2. they can also be used as a thin finish when simply brushed on a surface
....(1. or 2.) a translucent effect can be created by using the resin on a porous surface like paper, without sealing it first
3. they can also be poured into molds (maximum of 1/2" deep or will look amber, in 1/'8 layers--or no more than 6 oz at one time as with EasyCast?), then removed
.....can also be poured into permanent cells (of modeling clay, or other things with lips/dams to keep liquid contained)
.....can be poured as faux ponds in miniature scenes , etc
4. can partially embed objects into its final surface (for thicker applications, #1 and #3).
(see more details below in Coatings and in Castings)

(some) MATERIALS & ITEMS which can covered over with epoxy resin:, tile, metal, rocks, plaster, Styrofoam
....wood, paper, photographs, fabric, newspaper clippings (these are porous & may need to be sealed first, and inks may need to be sealed to prevent bleeding)
....transfers, bar tops, decorative trays, table surfaces, wall plaques, figurines, seashells, dried pinecones

Tap Plastic's video lesson on using Ultra Glo to coat a porous item onto a sheet of wood (they use Ultra Seal to seal the porous paper and wood, but can just use a permanent white glue)
video lesson on using Glaze Coat epoxy resin to cover a larger area in two coats, but very clear instructions and many would apply equally to small projects
.....(this lesson shows the covering of a 3x4 ft tabletop, with checkers board and cardstock items glued down first) (more tips and info)
many other video lessons on using epoxy and polyester resins at YouTube:

This instruction sheet for Ultra-Glo (from TAP Plastics) probably covers instructions for the other brands as well.
...instruction sheet & uses for Envirotex Lite

see more technical info on how epoxies cure, heat released, etc., below in "More Technical Info"

Cured resins can be sanded and buffed (& drilled) pretty much the same way we do polymer clay (wet sand, and buff with something soft like a muslin wheel on an electric buffer or Dremel, etc.) .....becomes really shiny
........ it is much harder than polymer clay though... so for sanding, you can also use a Dremel or similar coarser grit for starters, then use the finer grit sandpapers etc. Sue H
a circular sanding attachment on an ordinary hand drill will work... hand sanding is pretty difficult
........sanding allows you to also get rid of the sharp edges that often result from the resin having been cast in molds
(see more on sanding-polishing above in Polyester Resins... work the same?)

found in hobby, craft, plastic, paint stores (Home Depot & Lowes no longer carry it)

some Brands of epoxy resin

Michael's and probably other craft stores carry at least one brand of epoxy resin
.... check the glue aisle (at Michaels, it's usually on the bottom shelf
at Michaels & is a blue and black box). Dotty
art supply stores
hobby stores
plastics stores (stores which cut a new piece of plastic for the cover over a recessed bathroom fluorescent fixture, etc.--look under Plastics in the yellow pages)
hardware stores

at craft, hobby or plastics store

Aristocrat Liquid Glass (by Aristocrat, by BD Classic) ......(also called Aristocrat Epoxy Wood Finish .... not Aristocrat's "Casting Resin" )
....can be found in craft stores, near the stained glass supplies
...cures extremely hard, and very very clear
...mix equal parts (one to one) ...then pour-on (or brush on)
...comes in 8, 16, and 32 oz.kits...

....the most glassy, wet shine I've gotten as a finish is by using Liquid Glass... I bush on several thin coats. Dotty in CA.
NOTE: there are several different products named "Liquid Glass" that you might see around which are not epoxy resins and not regular epoxy resins, so be careful to get the right one)

(all of the following brands seem to be made by Environmental Technology,Inc (ETI), or made by them for various other companies?)

Envirotex Lite Pour On High Gloss Finish ....(sometimes referred to as just "Envirotex") ... by ETI... low or no odor
online (Dick Blick):
...instruction sheet for Envirotex Lite
Envirotex was the original version, and it does have an odor... Envirotex Lite doesn't

...I bought mine at a plastics store.... should also be available at places like Ace/True Value and Michaels ETI 967.htm
... two bottles (which are mixed in equal parts) contain 8 oz ...will cover approx. 2 .1/2 sq. ft if poured on
...instruction sheet for Ultra-Glo

Crystal Sheen ETI

EasyCast (also called EasyCast Clear "Casting" Epoxy... by Castin' Craft, ETI) "epoxy" resin, but has been tweaked to be a
bit different from regular epoxy resins:
advantages (compared to regular epoxy resins): can be cast in deeper molds (and up to 6 oz at one time) than regular epoxy resins into cells and even molds, and remain clear....little or no odor
disadvantages: will be somewhat
flexible after curing (especially the thinner it is), and will also have a softer surface than regular epoxies
... these characteristics will show up more and more as the cured item is exposed to warmth (from the air, or even from just being worn next top the body, etc.)
(it could be similar to the softer-setting epoxies below like the floral setting resins used in clear vases to simulate water since those can be poured quite deeply and stay very clear, but are also rubbery and have a soft somewhat sticky surface that attracts dust?... so mid-way between a regular epoxy and a soft-setting epoxy?)
instruction sheet:

at hardware store + using on larger surfaces

Glaze Coat (Famowood, by Eclectic, makers of E6000, etc.) ...also called "bar top" resin
...sold in quarts, half-gallons, and gallons, as well as pints (usually cheaper by volume than buying at craft stores, etc)
...pour-on high gloss epoxy coating ("high build")..."equiv. to 60 coats of urethane"
.... I bought it in the adhesives section at Home Depot ... 1 qt. for $13 (that's about $4 cheaper than Envirotex at my crafts store). smprncs
...some hardware stores have it by the pint
...Lowes...also try Ace Hardware, TargetWalmart/Walgreens?
...or order online

LARGER SURFACES: lesson on covering a larger area (in two layers, here) --a 3 x 4 ft tabletop, with checkers board and cardstock items glued down first, then embedded ( on video, or wait)

...lesson on using Glaze Coat to embed color photocopies of photographs in a wooden tray (on top of cut-out image from wrapping paper?)
...small bartop of mosaic, covered with Glaze Coat (using sisal rope as permanent "cell walls")
...large table top ...bare wood sealed with Varathane, covered with epoxy resin --over various separate tiles and individual elements-- at Sarajane's site (especially bottom of page)
...more uses for bar top resins, and brands
TRAYS, etc. ....can create your own larger tray (resin "cast" in a permanent "container")
...if use bare wood, create dam around perimeter with 1/2" half-round wood molding strips, etc
...seal all wood (see above), making sure to get gaps around joins ...and apply masking tape under edge to prevent resin sticking there
...pour resin ...wipe drips... cure
...can decoupage something on wood before resin (seal)... or even cover tiles
...Cindy's photo her tray made with Envirotex Lite
...seal all bare wood (see above), making sure to get gaps around joins ...and apply masking tape under edge to prevent resin sticking there
...pour resin ...wipe drips... cure
...can decoupage various things on wood before resin (seal)... or even cover mosaic tiles
...Cindy's photo her tray made with Envirotex Lite
...can also create a dam around perimeter of a flat wood surface with 1/2" half-round wood molding strips, or other things, to create a flat tray

2-part epoxy glue

Devcon's 30-minute set 2-pt epoxy glue ("2-Ton") can be used instead of the larger containers of epoxy resin, according to Nancy Banks, since it's the same thing in smaller quantity, though thicker and will harden more quickly... also won't sink in the middle while curing as much as regular epoxy resins because of its thickness
...she feels that brand/line of 2-part epoxy glue is the clearest (some are yellowish, brownish,cloudy, etc)
...squeeze out equal amount of both barrels... mix the two parts together with a toothpick, etc.... scoop up bits of mixed glue with toothpick or popscicle stick, and drip off onto surface to be covered...about 7 min actual working time before begins to gel too much
(for 3-D items, could brush on as coating with brush, and would level out?)

Devcon's 5 minute epoxy glue is also used by some, but working life is much shorter (can put excess in freezer to extend time a bit), and it's possible that air bubbles can be extruded which are hard to see/pop

preparation + sealing + mixing

(It's probably best to do a test piece first if you haven't done resin before, just to see how all this works)

Seal some materials when necessary, before the main resin steps:
...Seal all materials which are porous (e.g., paper, bare wood, fabric) or they'll become translucent & darken, and/or or vent air bubbles in resin & perhaps be uneven or create “blotching.)

...Seal materials which are non-permanent (they may bleed).
Sealing can be done in various ways (see more lessons & ideas in various other places on this page having to do with sealing or with embedding paper images, etc.):
bare wood, fabric, etc: saturate (brush on) material with decoupage medium, thinned permanent white glue, special sealer like or polyurethane, etc.
paper images, etc:
(can cut out image to size at first, or later)
...print out image (good on photo paper) with ink jet printer ....or use a photocopier or laser printer, with toner... magazine images seem to need sealing too
.......Sherri uses paper image in one lesson but attaches it to white cardstock with gluestick
...cut out image
...using a decoupage medium like ModPodge, etc, (or Ultra Seal, or just a diluted permanent white glue like Elmers GlueAll 4:1 with water) or paint on a coat of of acrylic paint (sponge on or paint)
brush a coat of glue onto back side of cutout, preferably with flat brush... let dry completely for 4 hrs.after application or it will always be visible
...then brush onto front of cutout...let dry sure to also coat the porous side edges of the image because the resin can soak into the paper from those areas as well, either by applying more glue/etc to those areas, or by laying the cutout on waxed paper and using glue on the front/back side around the outside of the image as well as on it which will result in a peel-up "decal" after drying (can trim some excess if desired, but leave enough to seal edges thoroughly)
... if desired, can then dip finished cutout into resin (and let cure 4-5 hrs) before using in resin in the normal way
... or some images will be okay if just dipped into resin instead of glue or other sealer from the beginning
.......... can apply a thin coat of completely mixed resin-hardener as sealer (wait 4-12 hrs.) for greatest contrast (4 if sand?)
...Two Crafty Mules suggests using glossy acrylic gel medium (Golden or Liquitex), instead of white glue (tho hadn't used thinned white glue), which also creates a thinner dried decal area around image ...someone else likes matte decoupage medium
...John Golden coats many images on one sheet of paper at one time before cutting each out (be sure and seal edges after cutting out)... he first prints images onto photo paper
....delicate items such as dried flowers can be sealed with 2 coats of a fast-drying spray (such as Envirotex Spray Sealer)

HOWEVER, a nice very-translucent effect can be created intentionally by using the resin over a thin porous "translucent" surface like paper, without sealing it first
......the back side of any paper (e.g. writing on it) will also become visible though!
--If don't seal an opaque surface, its color will become much darker.
--May also need to seal some dyed or painted objects ...test for color fastness since color may bleed into the casting

lesson & lots of neat collages and paper-images-only in bottle caps and other cells, with Envirotex Lite

...see more on using paper images with resin in various places on this page, especially in the "Casting" subcategories

NOTE: "Regular" epoxy resins cannot generally be poured deeper than 1/8" at a time ...sometimes it works okay though but still not well for really deep castings
....(the line called Easy Cast has been tweaked a little so it will work for deeper castings, but has disadvantages too such as becoming rubbery and flexible if exposed to body heat)
....regular epoxy can create up to 1/2" thickness total, in 4 layers though, without becoming amber ....
wait 8 hrs between layers
... full strength and toughness in about 48 hr

Clean surface before applying resin
...surfaces must be free of oil or wax & dust to allow resin to stick well
--wipe with alcohol, acetone, etc, then dry
...must be dry (nothing damp)

Work in reasonably well-ventilated area (not as important as for polyester resins though) not mix or pour in direct sunlight results, coat at temperatures between 68° and 80° hardness, pour and cure at humidity below 50%
...mix up only the amount you'll use in 20 minutes or less (...for larger areas, best to have a helper to make new batches)

Protect work surface
protect table with waxed paper which resin won't stick to, or newspaper, alum. foil, plastic sheeting, etc.) since resin will stick to anything it touches
...also protect any areas where unwanted drips might occur on the object wiith masking tape, modeling clay, etc, which resin won't stick to

Use disposable materials, or remove after curing:
...cups (plastic, glass, wood --no waxed paper cups since can make resin cloudy)... stirrer sticks (popsicle sticks, wood tongue depressors, etc) ...brushes (foam, etc.)
......the best part about plastic cups is that they are reusable without a big cleanup hassle. Just leave your mess of resin in the cup, let it cure, then peel the whole thing out. (I like to leave the wood popscicle stir sticks in my mixing cups and use them as a sort of handle to pull the old resin out after it has dried.) ....Let everything cure overnight... much easier to clean up.SkinnerStudio plastic squeeze bottles for resin (use same ones every time).... you CAN reuse them, you just have to be careful about how the left over resin sets up in them, so when you're done, unscrew the top and place the bottle upside down on something (such as whatever you mixed your resin in) so the leftover resin can drain out. Once it hardens you can pull out the stuff that coated the sides the same way you would from the molds (it usually just leaves a thin film on the inside). If you squeeze the bottle it helps to separate it from the sides of the bottle, and I just use a pair of tweezers to grab it and pull it out). ...d o the same with the top of the bottle, and you should be good to go! ambersteele

Temperature of resin... make sure resin isn't too cool (can create extra bubbles and later cloudiness)
...if necessary, warm by putting bottles into container of warm/hot water for few minutes... should feel just warm to the touch

video lesson on mixing Ultra Glo (it's used here to put a porous item onto a sheet of wood --like a bar top coating; they use Ultra Seal to seal the porous paper and wood, but can just use a permanent white glue, etc.), by Tap Plastics
...more good lessons just above under Brands > Hardware Stores + Larger Surfaces
...and/or see links to "instruction sheets" above

mix (well!) ......(keep capped tightly when not in use)
NOTE:...If every bit of the 2 parts are NOT mixed together thoroughly, the resin will not thoroughly cure (can't chemically react)... it may remain sticky or have little areas of stickiness
........can correct with another pour of epoxy resin:
.. scrape out any obviously stick spots; scrub surface with a clean cloth and alcohol or acetone before recoating; mix new batch of resin; pour over old surface and allow to cure .....or just start over with new resin and mix well
...pour part A of the resin in one cup and Part B in another cup (equal amounts)... can mark cups, but don't use water to measure unless dry!
...then pour both resins into another cup/etc. to actually do the mixing (if one container is simply poured into the other, there will inevitably be more resin from the second cup in the mix than resin from the first cup...or mix well on a flat surface if not using much
......or could use a drinking straw (for measuring) to remove the same amount from bottle A and bottle B ( placing straw in bottle, then covering top of straw with finger and removing (...will work esp. if not much resin needed, and as long as bottles still have same amount of resin in them). GardensOfImagination's video lesson
...mix very thoroughly for 1-2 min (for clearest result, and for small amounts), continually scraping the sides, the bottom and the inside corners of container... try not to incorporate too many air bubbles by "whipping" the resin upward instead of "stirring"
...some people recommend pouring even that mix into a new cup before using (then mixing 30 sec. more), so any unmixed liquid in bottom will stay in first cup

Pouring the resin from the cup (into another container or a squeeze bottle) slowly seems to reduce some of the bubbles too (also some pour of it down the sides of the receiving container so less of it touches air, and slows the pour).hello color!

To use resin on a freestanding item, elevate the item on cups, or piles of pennies, etc. to allow excess resin to drip off, and to easily reach edges where drips occur (need link to pic here)
....level the surface to be covered (especially if it's large) to make sure the resin will end up being an equal thickness over the whole surface ...can set a carpenter's level on top to check if level, and add risers underneath corners of object if it's not

To use in a cell or shallow mold, pour slowly into... pour from side if any items might trap air.

Will self level.

Working time will be approx. 20 min
after 2 mins., mixed liquid will begin to heat up... this is normal

(can add embedments in resin or on top of resin if want, but wait until sufficient gelling or hardness is achieved --could be up to a few hrs)

LEFTOVER resin + caps/implements/containers not pour any resins into sinks (will clog drain) not pour mixed resin back in the can
do not allow any implement which has touched one part of the resin to touch the resin or the other part ...that will cause the resin to begin to cure right in the original container

(see Applying, Curing, Coating, Casting, etc, below for much more)

coloring ...+ inclusions + fauxs

Clear epoxy resins can be colored with artists' oil paints (in tubes) --must use "resinous" colorants with resins
...........Raggedy D. says can also tint with colored glass "stains" (not glass "paints"??
.....if you want opaque or translucent resin, add some Titanium White oil paint , along with other colors if desired, to opaque the resin (or perhaps add other inclusions as below)
...lesson on tinting with acrylic paint "or other paint"?? ...(can use acrylics as long as don't use too much???)
....can also use oil pastel shavings?, and various other things

special colorants are sold for use with resins too ...they come in transparent and opaque versions
...doesn't take much colorant....
always add the color first, which will give more time to obtain desired shade (will look darker when resin deeper)
...then add the catalyst (but remember not to add catalyst to more resin than will be used within 10 - 20 min)... this only for polyester resins?

(see below in "Cold Enamels" for already-colored 2-pt resins to purchase)

When casting layers, colorants may be added to all layers (could be different colors) or just some layers
....or only to the the bottommost layer in a finished casting (good at hiding the bad surface quality of polyester resins)
...if doing more than one layer and the layers will be different colors, you'll need to pour the different-color layer after the resin has gelled (mintues to an hour?) but before it begins to pull away from the walls of a mold or cell since the second color will also run down the sides of the resin, coloring it too --could sand off later though ....(when adding new layers of uncolored resin though, not a problem, I assume)
for simulating miniature outdoor ponds or lakes, my husband mixes the casting resin in layers
.........he colors the bottom layer a "muddy" color... the next layer less muddy.... and the top layer clear... this gives a very realistic look . Dona (see more below in Faux Water)

If they are colored, epoxy resins can be cast deeper than the normal 1/2" total depth (because that will hide the amber cast that occurs with more thickness)

"marbling".. one or more colored resins can be marbled on any? surface,2025,DIY_13750_2269202,00.html create a tinted resin, mix 2 drops paint into small amount of epoxy resin in cup ... mix very well
.........drizzle or drip tinted resin onto surface, and to edges with card (she uses a painted cardboard shape)... swirl color with a toothpick
........ mix up another color if desired, drizzle on, and repeat
........(can also use untinted resin with a bit of metallic embossing powder added to drizzle and swirl too)
........ harden overnight ...can add final layer of clear epoxy resin, if want
... harden again
(..." looks grand, especially over black cardstock embossed with metallic powder")
(also shows a "squish" technique)

...powdered pigments
... metallic
mica powders (Pearl Ex, e.g.) or metal-based powders (Mona Lisa or Fimo's)
...embossing powders ...also chalk powders, etc?
...tempera powders

inclusions (more-particulate materials) ... fine or tiny inclusions can also be used to color the resin, or to change its appearance throughout, or in just one layer (as long as the inclusions contain no water or residual moisture, and won't be damaged by the heat of the resin curing)
...e.g., glitters (esp. those for clothing or rubberstamping), spices, herbs (well dried) , sand, flakes of metallic leaf, tiny sequins, etc. (see Inclusions for more ideas)

various inclusions in molded epoxy resin shapes, by Skinner Studio

faux marble ...add 3 or more contrasting colors of opaque pigment... e.g:
...white marble (white, bit of black), pink marble (pink=red+white, gray=white+black) marble ( green, white,bit of black), brown marble (brown, white, bit of black)
(when mixing more than one color into resin which will be "marbled together" but still remain somewhat distinct, mix resin parts together in separate containers, then add colorant to each container separately... to marble the colors together, pour them all into one container, then swirl a couple of times before pouring (too much mixing will result in blended colors rather than "marbled" )

faux granite
...could mix several colors of sand and/or colored play sand, etc., into resin for a matrix effect (black, gray white, translucent)
...or Castin'Craft makes Granite Powders (in different colors?) one to one with resin... these appear white but change color when added to resin... stir slowly to avoid getting powder in air... after pouring, may need to get rid of air bubbles

faux glass ...use transparent dyes (or oil paints?)

faux metal... use real-metal powders or mica-based powders (see just above for examples)
... about 1/4 teaspoon for 8 oz of mixed resin (or more or less, depending on effect desired)


USE immediately
...pour on, brush on, dip, or cast
the entire amount you've mixed
........(see details below in Coating and in Casting)
...if pouring, begin with perimeter of surface and spiral inward
.....then spread more if nec. with a foam or glue brush, or an index card (don't spread too thin or surface may be wavy)
(for porous objects... seal as above, or with 2 coats of a fast drying acrylic spray, then apply resin thinly in one or two coats)

BUBBLES... bubbles are normal... they will show up within 10 min. after pouring
...most will break by themselves as the resin heats up during the curing stage
.....(with some of my fountains, I actually stirred the mixture up to create bubbles for the look of the water moving & it was hard to keep the bubbles)
..or carbon dioxide from various sources will help pop the bubbles (it's not the heat, but the CO2)
"gently" exahale on (don't blow) the bubbles to pop them (do not breathe in though)
.........Kathy suggestst exhaling through a straw to narrow and focus the breath
..(can use an embossing gun at a distance but this may scatter dust onto the resin's dryer would be worse for dust because more movement of air)
..larger bubbles can be pricked with toothpick, etc.
..for larger areas of resin or stubborn bubbles, can keep a lighted match (or small propane torch, 3-6" away)
moving above surface (the flame consumes oxygen and will pull bubbles right out of resin)

Some powders may cause excess bubbles (because of that's trapped air in between the tiny bits?)
....I have mixed Pearl-Ex interference powders into the clear (epoxy resin) with very nice results. Be careful of bubbles (because tiny bits of air can be introduced in and around the particles). Jami Miller

...also make sure any fine or tiny inclusions contain no water or residual moisture
(could cause bubbling? or cloudines?)

Also, very porous items must be sealed before contact with resin to prevent venting of air bubbles in resin, possible “blotching” in the finished product, and also to prevent the items from becoming translucent (though this can be done intentionally if a translucent efffect is desired).
And non-permanent inks, dyes and paints must also be sealed to prevent bleeding (like inkjet prints on regular paper...photocopies, inkjet printed onto photopaper, magazine pages, etc. are already permanent): seal, apply a thin coat of completely pre-mixed resin-hardener as sealer (wait 4-12 hrs.) for greatest contrast (4 if sand?)
.......or buy special sealer (like Ultra Seal) ...which proably is just diluted white glue
.......or just use permanent white glue like Elmer's Glue All (4:1 with water), or ModPodge, etc.....wait 4 hrs.after application;
let dry glue completely
.......2 light coats of a fast-drying acrylic spray can also be used, especially for delicate items such as dried flowers and inks which may bleed easily (such as Envirotex Spray Sealer)... that should be sufficient, but could then also add a coat of thinned white glue or resin as above

... it drips a little (but also has a high surface tension so it cures to a raised but rounded, smooth-edged surface)
...protect any areas on the item you don't want resin to stick to with masking tape, or with a heavy coat of paste wax or Vaseline (applied to the back or anywhere you don't want resin... pull off any drips, etc, after curing)
.....can also soak off drips 30 min after application with glue brush while resin still fluid ... repeat in 30 more minutes, if nec.
.....remove masking tape in 12-24 hrs
.....or can sand off after curing
48-72 hrs. (circular sanding attachment on an ordinary hand drill will work... hand sanding difficult)

(....if necessary, clean up anything that needs it with acetone while still wet)

for applying epoxy resins to larger areas such as trays and tabletops, see lessons and tips below under Brands > from the Hardware Store


Allow item to cure in a warm, draft free and non-dusty room ....away from children, pets, activity, fans, etc.
......protect resin surface from
dust & pet hair during curing by placing a cardboard box or clear plastic tub over the item
.......I put my filled molds in shoeboxes and leave them to cure outside until the resin is set (to avoid any fumes). author?
...leave undisturbed for at least 24 hrs.
......gels within an hour (or sooner)-- if want to add embedments into a layer
......sets up in 3-5 hrs, depending on temp & humidity
......cures to touch in 12 hrs (or sooner)
soft cure (hard to touch) in 24 hrs
... can pretty much use at this point
.full cure, hard cure in in 48 hrs or even 72 hrs

...for example, at 80º (ressin will have 4 hr set up, 60 hr full cure) ...or at 70
º (5 hr, 72 hr)

For a satin finish, "sand" with 0000 steel wool, then polish with polishing compound.

cutting, drilling, shaping-sanding, polishing (after curing)

Can cut thin pieces of resin after curing
...for example, can pour resin on glass (or alum. foil)... thin with card if want (will self level)... let set... peel off
....score guidelines ... then cut resin with passes from craft knife (and steel edge ruler)

For creating holes or loops in resin for hanging, or adding bails, etc.:
....drill holes with ordinary drill bits to create holes for hanging or other reasons
....embed jump rings, U-shaped wires, or other wire before the resin is set
....glue on bails afterwards
........To glue a bail onto a resin item...first wash the bail with soap & water...let dry. Roughen up the area on the back of the piece only where the bail is to attach...(so you don't have scuffs on the piece). Also wash the pendant. This gets rid of any residue on either that would prevent it from sticking well. Use E6000 & press firmly. Wipe away any glue that oozes out. If you have a small clamp...even a clothespin (the kind that has the spring) will work fine to keep pressure on it. Let it dry for several hours. To my knowledge, I've never had one come off. I Sew Cute
....glue on baked polymer tubes or other shapes
.......(for glues, can use 2 part epoxy glue --which is basically the same substance as epoxy resin-- or E-6000, or others?)

You can use a hand drill (it doesn't need to be a heavy duty drill!) I Sew Cute
...and you won't need a diamond tip drill bit or anything special

Can sand to smooth or to change shape if desired, then polish (after curing 48-72 hrs)
...(hand-sanding can be difficult --but possible? as with polyesters using --though because epoxy resins are quite hard)
...can sand with
an ordinary hand drill (or rotary tool-Dremel) outfitted with a sanding disc attachment
.....start with a coarse grit like 120, then wet sand with finer grits
.....then buff-polish with
something soft like a fluffy cotton wheel on an electric buffer or Dremel, etc. (no polishing compound nec?)... the resin will become really shiny from the buffing, but some say it won't get really get back up to the highest gloss again (so may want to coat with epoxy resin)
.......frosty areas left from sanding can also be covered with gloss polyurethane or Future (even just on edges, with Q-tip), or be coated wtih another layer of epoxy resin (or with epoxy glue?)
........if you want to reduce the shine for some reason, sand any shiny cured resin with 0000 steel wool
.....can also cut or plane with a knife or plane before sanding or further sanding
.....if doing very much sanding of even epoxy resins, you'll probably want to wear a particle mask or be in a highly-ventilated area (just because particles of anything that doesn't dissolve isn't great for lungs)... I assume the same mask suggested for sanding polyester resins above would be good for epoxies too --
P95 or P100 --from the hardware store (store i n ziptop bag when not using to prolong absorbent life)

Later smudges (and cloudiness) can be cleaned, or be somewhat avoided, by occasionally applying furniture polish (e.g., Johnson's Pledge furniture polish can work --the one with carnauba wax--interesting stuff, the "hardest" wax in nature and very shiny-- not the one with silicone? oil), or with other carnauba wax polishes
(For scratches that can't be polished out.... clean with acetone, then re-coat with resin)

When using any resin in a cell or mold, it will
shrink a bit while curing (epoxies less than polyesters)
...this will mean that they will sink a little in the middle and therefore "creep" up the sides of the cell or mold (around edges), leaving an edge you might want to remove
.....if using a removable mold, this lip can be sanded off if desired (then buffed or coated with Future/polyurethane), or the lip will just be on the back side of the piece so maybe not a problem
...if using a permanent cell, try coating the sides of the cell with acrylic medium (matte?) which should resist the resin's crawl (and the back won't have a problem)

...for polyester resins cast in molds, the side that cures next to the air may also have an orange-peel surface or stay a bit sticky or be cloudy... it can be sanded off if you want (then coated with epoxy resin if desired)

"Coating" (brushing, dipping)

(seal any porous surfaces first to avoid “blotching” later:
....use a thin coat of mixed resin
....using a
white glue solution (4:1 with water) --buy buy special sealer
......wait 4 hrs.after application or paper will be translucent.... let dry glue completely... then use resin
elicate items such as dried flowers can be sealed with 2 coats of a fast drying acrylic spray (like Envirotex Spray Sealer)

...mix the two parts, then brush on with a disposable brush (can use several thin coats, or just one)
..for decoupage: use white glue to mount the items to be coated --seal if using thin paper
..can coat interior of pots by pouring in, then spreading up sides with foam brush (if terra cotta, place clear tape over hole from inside)
......wait 12 hrs. before removing tape, turning over/elevating, and applying to outside, if desired

as a THICKER FINISH ........3 options:... let drip... dip or pour-down ... dam
.....protect surfaces (object & work surface) where you don't want resin ... mix resin
(also see Kato liquid clay used this way in Liquid Clay > Clear Finish)

...use an inexpensive brush, and clean it immediately... I never got all of the enamel out and had to toss mine. Jami

......elevate item ... pour over surface of the item, beginning with the perimeter, then spiraling inward (or Tap Plastics says, in reverse)
.......if necessary,
spread any missed spots with disposable brush or card
(will self level) ... let drip
......wipe drips off under edges with foam or glue brush after 30 min (repeat in another 30 min. if nec.)

...I used in on a whole clay pin, and I also did just the face part of a pin. Kathy

..can coat freestanding paper images too... glue onto non-contrasting color of card stock with glue stick, then cut out... seal both sides with diluted glue or 2 coats of resin... pour resin on top side... cover back with diluted white glue
.......after 12 hrs., can bend the image and hold in place with tape, etc... let cure entire time & remove tape

....might be pretty neat to pour over a sheet of baked cane slices (or whatever pattern), then use as a coaster
...could do something similar for keyrings, name tags, etc.
(could coat both sides or only front side... if both, do front first)
..Sherri's lesson on putting a thick layer of Envirotex Lite over dried flowers on baked polymer clay (after adhering dried flowers onto baked clay with white glue... drying...then sealing them with more glue ...applying resin in center, spreading to edges with toothpick)
...Tap Plastic's video lesson on mixing Ultra Glo, and using it to coat a porous item onto a sheet of wood (like a bar top coating) (they use Ultra Seal to seal the porous paper and wood, but can just use a permanent white glue)

DIP, or pour down VERTICAL surfaces,etc.
....I use it for dipping my pens. . . .Lisette
....figurines, other items.. can pour resin over item and let flow down around it... use stiff brush or card to spread if necessary
....the people at Envirotex and some old manual I had years ago suggested using a tongue depresser to occasionally scrape the drips off the bottom of dipped items as they cure.... (dip the piece, hang it with a wax-coated nail or cord (waxed dental floss maybe?) (so the resin won't stick) over wax paper... then every once in a while come back and run the stick over the bottom edge to get the drips --that was the technique they used in the 80s for paper jewelry made with resin coatings. bigeyes (see also Finishes > Varathane > Dipping)
.... resin also makes a beautiful interior finish for small polymer vessels... just pour it in (and swirl around?)... (resin is good for this too because often the interior part of vessels are impossible to sand). Kathy
... can also tint the resin before pouring over an object, e.g., in this lesson on making a glazed orange blossom cake by Raggedy D. (see details in Miniatures > Icings, etc.)

lesson on using Envirotex Lite as a thick coating over (salt dough) clay... hanging to apply and dry
... put wire or hook in eye pin or other loop at top of dried/cured ornament to have something to hold onto while applying resin
... pour mixed resin over object while suspended over newspaper/etc, working into all crevices with stiff disposable glue brush
... hang each ornament from wire run through a box (halfway up box, and more than twice as tall as tallest ornaments)
... once all ornaments done, separate* them (with clay on each hook,or in some way) then slowly turn box bottom upside down so that bottom of box is now on top and box can act as a shield from dust while ornaments drying

as a COATING + ADHESIVE .....(this type of resin is an excellent adhesive ...better than polyester)
...Marie Browning's lesson on using a resin layer used to hold fine sand onto "mossy" garden stones with raised lettering
.....sprinkle with fine sand while paint is wet ...wait for paint to dry
(elevate).... cover with epoxy resin ... let set 24 hrs (like thick, clear coating, but also adhesive)
... see more in Outdoor

to simulate melting jellies, ice creams, or spilled drinks, allow epoxy resin to begin to gel before you pour it. This will produce a thicker layer than if it is poured right after mixing...
(or use liquid clays, etc.... see Miniatures > Foods > Icings, etc. for more re simulating softer or more gel-like things)


in removable molds, or in permanent cells-depressions + gen info.

Casting here refers to pouring the resin into a permanent or temporary "container" (that's resin-safe), and letting it cure.
...if a temporary shaper ("mold") is used, the hardened resin will be removed after curing (and the resin/item will be freestanding)
.......if a permanent "container" and shaper is used, the hardened resin will not be removed and will be left in place as part of the finished work
...epoxy resins aren't used that often in temporary molds (like polyester resins are), but they can be --must create in layers no more than 1/8" at a time tho to be sure to avoid all problems though (or use Easy Cast, which has disadvantages)
.......more often epoxies are used to fill permanent "cells" or depressions in other materials (including baked polymer clay) to create things like faux cloisonne, faux ponds, very thick clear pools of "finish" walls of "framed" transfers (clay dam as frame), or "aquarium" beads, etc.

--Epoxies will not stick to polyethylene sheeting like disposable paint tarps and sandwich bags .
--Epoxies will not stick to the shiny side of packaging tape, or sticky side of duct tape (can peel off carefully), or to paraffin wax & waxed paper, and various other things.
(or to mold-release compounds that are sold for use with epoxy)

Skinner Studio's basic materials for mixing, casting (including molds, colorants, inclusions) (shows Easy Cast)

April's miniature soups and stews with colored resins (probably polyester, but could be epoxy especially if done in several layers) surrounding bits of polymer clay food, poured into 1 1/2" wide glass bowls
...resin colored with oils, pigment powders, inks, et depending on what final look desired

video lesson on making a pan or skillet using epoxy resin, in a 2-part silicone mold (Amazing Mold Putty), by GardenOf Imagination

video lesson on making a clear(ish) "molded Jello" by GardenOfUtopia... she used a floral setting resin instead of a regular epoxy resin so after curing coated with acrylic finish to keep cover stickiness on outside... also colored her resin with gel food color (rather than oil paint)

NOTE: ..All resins shrink a bit when curing (epoxies less than polyesters) so this will mean that hard epoxies will sink a little in the middle, I think, and therefore "creep" up the sides of the cell or mold a bit (around edges)... though can apply a coat of matte acrylic medium to sides of cells if possible which will resist the resin
....if using a removable mold, this can be sanded off if desired, or used as the back side... polish with ____ or apply a bit of Future or Varathane to bring back most of glossiness
....if using cells and depressions, will probably not be noticed or look "normal" for what it's imitating

Epoxies that call themselves "casting" epoxies (like Easy Cast) may be a clearer when they in deeper molds than other epoxies (but also have disadvantages)..

in Molds
for freestanding resin pieces

Molds for resins can be purchased, found, or made:

The clearest castings are created with purchased molds made from HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene plastic) release agent is required
......these cloudy-plastic molds can often be purchased where resins are sold (polypropylene or polyethelene)
......Tupperware and RubberMaid containers are also made from HDPE
.........plastic molds are easily scratched though (which will show up on resin surface) so don't scrub to clean, or wipe dry (air dry)

silicone molds are excellent (no release needed)
... buy silicone molds
... or make you own small silicone molds from two-part silicone molding materials (for those see
Molds > Making your own> Flexible Molds)

You can make a mold from ordinary kids' plasticine modeling clay (heat generated not too hot to melt?)
....... can also make temporary walls of modeling clay on top of aluminum foil, pour in resin to a little depth... cure ... remove
....or use Vinamold (melt in a saucepan, and pour over --in a dam)
....would raw polymer clay work?

latex or rubber mold compounds... RTV compounds (need release)
...."disadvantage to (all?????) flexible molds though is that castings come out tacky and wavy because heat from the resin when curing dissipates quickly through the rubber molds" ...true only for polyester resins, or for epoxy resins too??

...The mold release you want to use for latex is silicone.... (latex) is not compatible with epoxy, and you must use a silcone wax if you're working with polyester. The most common release for both is pure carnuba wax (no fillers) and PVA (poly vinyl alcohol). You rub several coats of the wax into the surface with a soft cotton cloth, polishing well between coats. Then spray (with an airbrush or paint gun) a couple of nice coats of the PVA.

ven very rigid molds can work as long as there are no undercuts, and the mold angles outward at least a bit, but may require a release
...(baked polymer clay?) metal... fiberglas... plaster... cement... wood... etc.

RELEASES: some rigid molds or areas require releases, some don't
.... here are some possibilities for releases for whole molds, or just for areas to keep the resin off of
(though this is not totally reliable information):

....Johnson's Paste Furniture Wax ...can be wiped on a warm mold to provide an excellent barrier
....pure carnauba wax (no fillers)
....oils, like vegetable cooking sprays, plasticizers in raw polymer clay?
.....PVA (poly vinyl alcohol) mold release... rub several coats of the wax into the surface with a soft cloth, polishing between coats ...then spray couple of coats of the PVA (last step necessary?)
....masking tape ...clear packing tape (shiny side)

....ArmorAll (silicone spray) (ok for epoxies?)
....matte medium
(or other acrylics like Varathane?)
....(materials above also, like silicone molding material, kids' modeling clay, raw polymer clay?)
MORE: these releases were suggested for polyester resins, but should work for epoxy resins too:
...(for glass & metal) ... mold release necessary --purchase P.V.A. mold release
...(for plaster, Cement, wood, and any porous molds) --can wipe inside with Pam veg. cooking spray
........or can apply solution of 1 pt liquid-soap to 4 pts water (...let dry before using)
....lightly seal mold with paste wax (amount of catalyst in polyester resins should also be reduced due to heat buildup)
waxes (carnauba, beeswax?, Pledge)
more info?:
Epoxies also won't stick to
sheets of polyethylene -- like disposable paint tarps & sandwich bags-- or the shiny side of packaging tape, or the sticky side of duct tape (can peel off carefully), or to paraffin wax and waxed paper.

orientation ... finished pieces of epoxy resin which have been cast in a mold and removed can be used either side up (i.e., the shaped surface created by the bottom of the mold can be facing up, or the flat surface of the former "top" side can be left facing up)
.....this is because the upper surface of resin which had contact with the air while curing will not be imperfect or tacky (would have been if polyester resin had been used)
....objects which are embedded in the resin can also be put into a mold (on a layer of cured resin) right side up, or upside down

to remove cured resin from molds
...just pop out, after flexing the mold if necessary... or push from back of mold... and/or put in freezer awhile before trying again

embedments & inclusions in molds
Many small objects and images on paper (sealed) can be embedded between layers of resin (the first layer poured can be thin or thick, depending on how far from the surface you want the image to appear)
...and particulate materials like glitters/powders/etc can be mixed into the resin before pouring...ex's from SkinnerStudio
...some of those will require preparation before embedding..for example, prints, .photographs, fabrics, paintings, etc.and should be tested for compatibility with resin before casting since colors may bleed, residual moisture could cause bubbling and/or cloudiness, some materials may be affected by the heat generated during curing, etc.
..... (e.g., seal items which are painted or dyed which bleed and all porous materials... use only thoroughly dry items or seal them, including bare wood ...but generally almost anything can be used, as is)
(see more inclusions, colorants, etc, above in Coloring + Inclusions + Fauxs)

lesson/info re embedding paper into resin in molds
...including tips on 3 options for when to embed (immediately, or after gel which takes 1/2 hr to 3 hrs depending on type of resin and environmental conditions, or once resin is rigid, for different purposes
...she also shows the use of a different color layer of resin as final (backing) layer

lesson on pouring Easy Cast into shallow plastic molds and embedding objects, and sometimes glitter as a second layer, by I Sew Cute

thoroughly dried plants and flowers usually? keep their color and work fine
...I embedded some live plant bits in resin...They looked fine at the time and for a month or so after, but after an extended period they browned and started to decompose. claraohara
......I tried using live flowers.. daisies and clovers turned out ok for color... violets changed color from deep purple to a washed out yellow & green. I Sew Cute
you could embed a cane slice in clear resin, so its sort of floating there in the middle
.......then drill a hole through the corner of the resin for a keychain ring (with an electric drill).... NF
....paperweights...little signs..... embellishments, etc.
....I've made several "aquarium boxes" with a top(?) where fish appear to be swimming pendants tubes filled with resin and little objects (acrylic water type resin used, but could be epoxy?) (bottom of page)

neigung's lesson on making (one-sided) belt "buckles" in a mold (with Easy Cast)
...some have with 2 color layers (e.g., yellow, then clear on top)
.. images printed on photo paper added after first layer has gelled (few hours) and bubbles squeezed out underneath
...metal buckle with loop finding attached to the cured back, after removing from mold, with 5-min epoxy glue (look below pics for lesson)

........I use the Liquid Glass brand and a silicone mold (round shaped, 1" deep, and flat on top and bottom). Dotty ...whole resin beads or pendants could be made (see below too, under in Cells, Clay or Metal Bezels., etc)
.......for inspiration, look at clinea's beads made with polyester resin and molds some of which have inclusions like glitter, feathers, etc.,
(some of her other beads are made from rods and other shapes of purchased acrylic, which she sometimes grinds after curing to add embellishments or change shapes)

.....resin beads made from epoxy wouldn't scratch as easily as her polyester resin ones, but would maybe need to be less than 1/2" thick?

partial embedding + adhesion
(in mold or not)

Objects can be embedded -adhered just partially into top surface of resin (as opposed to completely embedding)
.....e.g., small objects...jewels...charms...clay slices, etc..... they will protrude from suface
.....depth of sink in will depend on depth of that layer of resin, or could maybe wait till top surface gelled up a bit and not press in too hard?
.....see also embedding objects into resin for snowglobes below in Other Uses
...nightlight...could partly embed one of those tiny plastic plug-nightlights (with electrical plug sticking out so could be plugged into wall), then add clay or other items-inclusions to the resin "shield" for light to shine through

freeform resin shapes

freeform shapes of resin can be created with resins (polyester resin in molds, or epoxy resin in shallow molds or temporary cells)
...with aluminum foil (...or waxed paper?)
......create an open or closed "mold" with foil ... add resin... let set ... peel off foil
...on glass (like liquid clay)... pour resin on glass, then thin with card if want (will self level)... let set... peel off
.......or surface can be shaped or textured by laying alum. foil over resin before curing...shaping the foil... leaving to cure... peel off foil

other clear sheets or "windows" .... pour resin on glass as above... cure... peel

ice cubes ...pour resin into (wood, but won't it stick?) temporary walls of modeling clay on top of aluminum foil, or other temporary mold, to a little depth... cure ... remove
....score guidelines for cubes... then cut resin with passes from craft knife (and steel edge ruler)

(also see waterfall, and sheet of water, below in Faux Water area)

in Permanent Cells

...clay cells, or metal bezels, pendant trays, bottle caps, etc....
(depressions or dams, etc.)

Various kinds of "cells" or frames could hold resin inside them permanently, and give a thick glass-like appearance over anything below them

...cells could be made from polymer clay
...cells could be purchased which are metal (bezels, bottle-caps, pendant trays**, etc), wood, paper clay?, etc.
...cells could be large or small
...depressions can be created in softer material (even clay, before baking)
......or areas can be built with depressions
...walls/dams of some kind can be built up on top of, or otherwise added to, firmer materials
....(walls or depressions could also be created on, or with, paper, foils, metal, wood, etc....or just about any surface that's not meltable in a bit of heat)

Many small objects, photos, etc., can also be embedded inside the resin or under it
....(see above, especially in Molds, for other lessons that deal with embedding and inclusions --but upside down for molds versus cells)
And many fine-grain inclusions (glitters, powders, etc.) can be mixed into the resin
....some embedments will require preparation (e.g., some photographs, all fabrics, prints, etc.)... all should be tested for compatibility with resin before casting
.....seal items which are painted or dyed which bleed
......seal any highly porous items with 4-to-1 water & white glue mixture (or 2 coats of acrylic spray) or they could become translucent &/or create air bubbles, or use only thoroughly dry items ( also no residual moisture from bare wood, etc.)
....some inclusions will require preparation (for example, powders/glitters or individual items can have trapped air in and around them so will cause problems in the curing resin (mix well with small amount of resin before putting into main resin to get rid of air)
(more info on sealing for various reasons is above in Preparation + Sealing + Applying)

Can glue any items, paper images, etc., to the bottom of the cell with permanent white glue or superglue ... let dry
....fill cells) with resin or other clear mediums**
......for epoxy resin, fill a tiny bit over the rim of the cell and the resin will cure domed ...or fill only to the rim and the resin will become slightly concave as it cures (can paint walls of cell with matte acrylic medium as a resist to try and avoid the sinking, or refill with more resin... but may not notice

**clear mediums for use in permanent cells:
epoxy resin, epoxy glue, clear fingernail polish, dimensional glues (Diamond Glaze, etc.), gloss polyurethane, Future-Pledge floor polish (I think), gloss acrylic mediums, clear embossing powders, etc, in addition to epoxy resin

metal cells ....usually framed, decorative, fairly flat
... photos, printed images, and even small embedments and inclusions, etc, can be placed under the clear mediums listed just above to give them a thick glossy covering:
....these metal cells are being called by various names these days:
pendant trays, cabachon settings, charm blanks, bead frames, photo "Italian charms" once finished, etc .....

ganoskin's lesson on embedding a photo in a shallow metal cell (using 2-part epoxy glue, or regular epoxy resin) (middle of page --"freeze frame") first sealed with white glue front/back/edges, or inside clear packing tape (tightly pressing to edges before cutting around)... then adhered to bottom with superglue
...metal frame cell filled with resin ...any bubbles popped
...he waited 2 hrs, then added another layer of resin (repeated till cell full --this multi-layered technique helps avoid bubbles?)...then cured normally

...John Golden's video lessons (3-part)... embedding prints... using an epoxy resin (he used Easy Cast) in general in cells-with-bails for pendants & rings
..he sealed his (inkjet) print-outs with ModPodge (2 coats, front and back--or use any thinned permanent white glue) before cutting them out of his printed sheet --or could use any thinned white glue)...would be good to paint the porous edges too (after cutting out) to avoid more bubbles and avoid having to paint around the corner edges as he shows or will "look wetter"
......he also shows some support structures he cobbled together from pieces of foam core board for holding the rings and pendants perfectly level while pouring and curing, especially the ones with built-in bails
...he blows through a straw to remove some bubbles (which is fine if don't also inhale)
...he works outdoors, and uses a clear plastic tub to put over his pieces except when he's actually working on them (part 1)

ganoskin's lesson on embedding a thin image/etc. (shallowly or deeply) in permanent cell with temporarily-open back (epoxy resin "pane")
....he used a metal shape with hole in the middle, and placed on top of sticky-side duct tape
....layer one: thin layer of epoxy added with syringe to the opening of either a deep, or shallow flat object...cure 4 or more hrs
... add inclusion (in this case a piece of a 35 mm photographic slide?)...once resin is gelled, place image with tweezers
....fill opening with epoxy resin using a syringe, completely covering the inclusion ....cure, covered (24 hrs for regular resin)
......repeat if doing more layers or deeper cast
....peel the cured piece from the tape (carefully)
... if nec., wet sand the epoxy resin on back side to remove any unwanted texture created by tape (will leave frosty look but not noticeable.

Wendy's many different resin examples --in metal cells, freestanding, etc.
Leslie B's faux metal frame (containing domed resin?) over a tiny bird head and photo-text image
inclusions and paper image embedded into resin in metal ear plug "tunnels" by Complicated_85...not sure if backed temporarily for the pour, or permanently
Sherri's various cells and frames (metal, and one made from polymer clay) with filled with resin over small items (orange butterfly)

polymer clay cells
I had some polymer clay pendants which I made with photo transfers which were recessed, so I just poured a thin coating of the (Liquid Glass) epoxy resin into the recess day I had a beautiful, crystal clear covering that looked exactly like glass, actually, better than glass. Dotty
...I have made what I call "rock pool pendants"
..... I used a faux stone clay as the base, with an indentation in it (baked)
.......filled the depression with polyclay items like starfish, seaweed, the odd guppy, etc. (could glue in place)
...... then I add a sprinkle of tiny beads and pearls and some tiny shells
.......then fill with resin ...these are 2" across and hang on a silk cord
..polymer clay "aquarium beads" could be made with a thick layer of resin rather than a glass pebble (see Misc > Marbles > Glass Pebbles)

(see more ideas for faux metal and other frames in Frames > Very Small Frames)

metal_ bottle caps .......from beer, etc or can order blanks online......(would plastic caps melt?)
(can remove plastic ring inside the cap with pliers after heating with match... or can leave in)
... add tiny things or photos, collages, small baked polymer clay items, etc.. then fill with resin (or with a clear liquid clay --Fimo or Kato)
...use as jewelry (pins,etc.), embellishments, or anywhere
...can drill holes in the caps (in fluted edge, or in bottom just inside edge)...can use a leather punch or nail?...punch from the inside, down onto wood?
........then add things like jump rings, cording, etc.... can attach charms, beads, etc., to jump rings
... or later, attach magnets or pinbacks to backs with E6000 or 2-pt epoxy glue
....can paint inside of bottle cap first (with acrylic paint)
...It's really fun making tiny collages to go inside ... using half shells, lockets, jewelry settings, etc.
......can use elements like pictures, clip art, watch parts, beads, fabric, lace, petals, flowers, leaves, glass rhinestones**, junk jewelry bits, etc. Shauna
(......**but test hard plastics like rhinestones before using... some will be "dissolved" by the resin) prevent resin from going where you don't want (esp. fr. gravity), cover area with masking tape or use modeling clay (as temp. "retaining wall", etc.)
..Shauna's lesson on metal bottle caps with epoxy resin, plus examples
......she also pours the mixed resin into a small squeeze bottle or syringe so it's easier to use in the small bottlecaps
..Katie's acrylic-painted bottle caps.... with tiny polymer figures & items inside¤t=bottlecaps.jpg
.........(...or look at
..Sherry's lesson on bottle cap + epoxy resin... with cutout picture & few small pearls inside, glued in with white glue
....charm dangle hangs from hole made in bottom fluted area of cap (with jump ring) --back of hole & jump ring covered temporarily with tape
....uses 1" diam. image cut with punch or circle cutter... self-adhesive pin backs or epoxy glue ..& (click on bottlecap for more bottlecaps)
lesson & lots of neat collages and paper-images-only in bottle caps and other cells, with Envirotex Lite
lesson on using Envirotex Lite with tips, also using it in bottlecaps... by Tiffini Elektra
Kathy's lesson on bottle caps + epoxy resin with a cutout picture inside (gone)

bottlecaps with glitter acrylic paint, plastic sequins, and images in bottlecap, with magnet on back (don't use plastic mixers though)
..Goldie's bottlecaps...

..various bottlecaps with pictures, each placed on a handmade card on top of one area ( embellish & to make 3-D) --like putting a 3-D a "head" on a 2-D stamped figure (2 pg.)
...could use as a "head" for a mixed media figure

many more video lessons on using resin for jewelry in general, at YouTube (always check though to make sure the resin they say they're using is actually the one they're using... you can tell because of the product's name, or because epoxy resin is mixed one to one wheras polyester or deep "casting" resin is mixed using just a little catalyst-hardener to a lot of resin)

for many more ideas on using epoxies in smaller "cells", see Liquid Clay > Cells ...then just substitute. resin for liquid clay
..some possibilities:
....cloissonne, "stained glass" effects, filling in stamped impressions, using clay extrusions as dams, etc.
.......(I do faux cloisonne with "cold enamel" (a pre-colored 2-part resin, see below). Sue
... make "windows" or other clear sheets by pouring resin into a wood frame "cell" (can use modeling clay "retaining wall" temporarily around wood edges to so won't leak out)

large "cells" could also be things like faux ponds, puddles, lakes, etc., in miniature scenes (see below in Faux Water)

large TRAYS, etc. ....can create your own larger tray (resin "cast" in a permanent "container")
...if use bare wood, create dam around perimeter with 1/2" half-round wood molding strips, etc
...seal all wood (see above), making sure to get gaps around joins ...and apply masking tape under edge to prevent resin sticking there
...pour resin ...wipe drips... cure
...can decoupage something on wood before resin (seal)... or even cover tiles
...Cindy's photo her tray made with Envirotex Lite
(see more on trays above in Brands > Found at Hardware Stores )

making faux WATER

..."hard" epoxy resins (like Ultra Glo or Aristocrat Liquid Glass) give a hard, transparent result
..."fairly hard" tweaked epoxy resins (like Easy Cast) give a fairly firm result, unless they're warmed to body temp at which time they'll be softer and more flexible
..."softer" epoxy resins (like Acrylic Water, Aristocrat Liquid Illusion) give a rubbery, somewhat sticky, transparent result
(either can be colored throughout, or have layers of diff. colors or saturations... using an uncolored layer on top can give an esp. realistic look)
still water ...larger cells could be things like faux ponds, puddles, lakes, etc., in miniature scenes
...can create smooth-surfaced, shallow pools (up to 1/2" deep for hard epoxies, any depth for soft epoxies)
...for water deeper than 1/2", use a polyester resin... or use a soft epoxy resin ...or:
......could apply layer of hard epoxy as final hard surface, over cured soft epoxy?
......could cast hard epoxy resin deeper than 1/2" (in 4 1/8" layers)?... will just be amber from too much resin depth, or intentionally color it

all resins appear to creep up the edges of a pour (actually they're shrinking so becoming slightly depressed in the center)... which will leave an uneven, unrealistic water's edge
......I've heard how to hide those areas of creep with boulders, foliage, or dull paint (but would like to know other ways)
......I was told seal the edge (bank) with matte medium so that area will then resist the resin while it's drying (and shrinking), and allow it to flow back flat
.........(he also said to pour from the middle of the lake or river, and there shouldn't be as much creeping... or so he says). Martin says" you will need to apply a final edging (of resin?) to your water to eliminate the edge left as the resin pulled away to the centre of the pour."

OR create freestanding water ...then put it where you want it says things like puddles, etc. can be created by pouring "the resin onto a flexible plastic surface to cure so that you can peel the plastic off to remove the puddle, then place the puddle" where you want it.
... this is also helpful if you don't want to see shrinkage at the edges but don't want to seal to the surface it's shrinking from

some colors for water:
...deep water is dark. Lex
...deep water is usually greenish to blackish, not blue
....large bodies of water are almost black in the middle, almost white at edges. Peter&Maryjane
...calm stagnant water is brown
...ponds, harbors or swampy areas can have greens and browns running streams are light blue or even white create moving water, white or light paint can be dry brushed or sponged on top of the harder resins, after curing

...shallow moving water can be clear to the bottom, or can be more opaque due to muddy sediment.
...for simulating clear or semi-clear water, phathalo green acrylic paint (Delta Ceramcoat) is a great color can also create, increase, or add different patches, of color by painting or otherwise coloring the bottom of the depression before adding resin
...since a water's color gets less saturated as it becomes shallower, simply painting darker colors in center of the water, then progressively lighter tints toward the water's banks can create the illusion of many different depths, and much deeper water (even though the resin is actually all the same depth)

lots of info and also more links on using epoxy resin to make water effects at

I have used depressions in polymer clay to pour resin into to make rock "pools" (then put clay mermaids, turtles, in them). Sue Heaser

...other materials can also be used to make cells (depressions) to hold the resin, like:
(foams, plywood, papier mache over wire mesh, cardboard or cardstock .... Hydrocal-plaster-soaked squares of newspaper, or Hydrocal Lightweight, claylike Mold-A-Scene Plaster, regular plaster, etc., etc.

I have some baked polymer items (like fish) sitting in resin "ponds" (non-polymer pond depressions?) which are 10 years old and absolutely fine still. ....many in the miniatures world have done this. Sue Heaser can be installed using fine fishing line or wire to hold in plac e as you fill in the pond (wire will show??). Lysle?

lesson on putting miniature polymer clay tadpoles (and greenery) in epoxy resin inside miniature bottle, in several layers (...layers are thicker than 1/8" ea though, which is okay since these are miniatures??)

lesson on making a pond & waterfall with "hard" epoxy resin (Envirotex) + Styrofoam, plastic wrap, Plaster of Paris, acrylic paints, etc
...also has polymer fish, artificial grasses, cattails
lesson on making ponds & waterfalls with fish glued to the bottom of stone-wall pools (with hard epoxy...Envirotex Lite)
lesson on using Envirotex Lite to give a glossy coating just on top of a pool (of gray plaster)

lesson on making ponds with epoxy & polyester resin
...start with a piece of 1 inch thick styrofoam for the base. Then start adding little scraps of styrofoam as in any basic landscaping technique. If you want, build up an area for a waterfall.
Gouge out a hole in the styrofoam to make the pond.
....Cover the whole thing with plaster. Make sure there are NO holes in the plaster coat, as resin will melt right through your styrofoam pond.
Once its dry, paint the rocks with the different shades of brown.
The bottom of the pond should be shades of blue/green. Make it darker in the middle (deep area) and very light at the outer edges. Paint the inside of the pond and parts of the waterfall with dark and light mossy greens. Let that dry.
Working on small areas at a time; where ever you want a spot of fake moss, dab on glue using a brush. Then sprinkle on a bit of the green landscape material. You can also add bits of real moss, sticks etc. Continue on, until you have the desired effect you want.
I like to make tall grasses and cattails to place around the water's edge.
When all the landscape material is in place, take a piece of plastic wrap and fasten it to the place where the waterfall will be. (this part can be hidden with rocks or shrubery. Drape it down your waterfall making sure the it hangs, perfectly straight. (Water drops straight down). At the bottom fasten it down. Move the base around a bit, until you get 'just the right look'.
Starting at the top of the fall; pour out a small amount of resin and let it flow into the pond.
Add some resin to the pond (about half full).
Now is the time to add some fimo fish, for that special touch.
JUST for bubbles or a frothy look, at the bottom of the falls:
...using polyester resin: stir the base of the fall, with a tooth pic. The more you churn it up the frothier it will get.
...or, using a one-part meltable gel resin (floral setting resin) Scenic Water: insert a small cocktail straw into the resin at the base of the falls and blow gently...let set until the falls stiffen.

Pour more resin down the falls, then stir or blow more bubbles.
Let set and add more fish if desired.
Finish pouring the falls and filling the pond. Stir or blow, again until you have the look you want.
When resin is completely dry, finish by adding a few pebbes that form rock ledges. Add your plants around the pond.

___'s mini fountain...water in fountain bowl (with fish)--probably polyester? resin but could be epoxy resin or other, since fountain bowl only ~3/4" deep?
... and possibly also resin as upward sprays of water? (over wire armatures?)

I use food colors to dye epoxy resin a light blue/green... If the streambed is painted properly, you won't need [or want] much color in the epoxy resin.
...It does self-level, but I can build ripples downstream from rocks, trees, etc. by using fiberglass aquarium filter pad material dipped in it
.....For a waterfall, I attached angel hair to the top of the falls and let the Environtex run down the angel hair to produce falling water. ...Want fish in your stream? For N scale, I cut curved slivers from a round toothpick, painted them silver, dipped them in AC and applied them to the surface of the water before the final pour. Everyone thinks they look very realistic, even though they have to use a flashlight to find them. ham99

I placed some gloss gel medium on top of the resin surface one it hardened to create some *ripples* on the water and the sense of movement. I think it came out pretty good. ...The medium on the surface seems to scratch easily and I think it will be necessary to reapply a light coat when needed over time. Even added a touch of white on the ripples where it goes around rocks and abutments. Chartiers ...could also coat with a layer of polyurethane to make less scratchable ....For my water (less transparent water like rivers, etc.), I now prefer to use a water-based High Gloss (poly?)Urethane over painted Durabond patching plaster. ... The finish is extremely tough, even with 3-d waves and whitecaps...Easy to do, inexpensive, and no odour at all. doctorwayne

to make resin water look like it's flowing, make "waves" in the polymer clay ... those will leave shadows in the resin and make it appear to be moving. Judi

can also allow epoxy resin to begin to gel well before pouring to create more uneven water effects?

ripples (....fill the pond with resin)
.... use a piece of waxed aluminum foil (spread carnauba automotive paste wax or beeswax on the shiny side) floated on the topmost layer of the (polyester?) resin to give you the ripples (the wax ensures that you can remove the foil)... Lysle ...(shape resin under foil while curing??)

more waterfalls
....I have seen nice results where a friend used heavier clear plastic wrap, twisted and straightened, anchored at top and bottom, and then dribbled acrylic resin down that.

(makes 2) ...wrap fishing line around and around cardboard the size of the falls... pour envirotex... when hard, cut 1/4" off the top and bottom... remove the cardboard and have two waterfalls. Glue in place. Pour a bit more over the top. Slow it running down with a hair dryer. Worked for me, took first place last year in Maritime convention diorama. Hazen
... I brushed a little of resin over bits of angel hair in a downward direction wetting all the strands (will mat together and appear like water very quickly). Lex
.... I have let (soft epoxy resin) partially set up before pouring to simulate a waterfall. Sloan
...I made convincting waterfalls with clear silicone sealant (caulk?) tinted very lightly with a translucent blue dye... I created them horizontally on wax paper and then used more sealant to attach them in place after they had set. Jerry C.
.....after creating the water, paint on some artists matte medium (the thick paste kind)... looks white out of the jar but will dry clear. Jim

Glue a length of clear fishing line in the position you want your water to run ....then coat it with drops of resin may want to add several coats to acheive the right thickness and effect

(side view of underwater pond?) ...once the solid pond is in place and hardened, you can then saw away a section of the side and polish it real smooth. Lysle

using softer epoxy resins or one-part gels or acrylic gel mediums, + unknown materials, etc:

lesson on making pond and rocks, etc., with a (one-part) meltable gel resin (Scenic Water) .. in layers
...doesn't dry hard like casting resins though, anddust is going to stick to it
...lay heavy plastic on a base with a depression or cutout (she used oval shape of PolyPro) wall around the "pond" area with small flatish marble rocks (garden shop, Home Depot), glued on with & E6000 one layer at a time (drying between)
... seal... coat bottom and bit of sides with clear silicone caulk till all is watertight ...spread into crannies (can do 2 coats)
... check seal with water before painting
... she paints only bottom with black acrylic paint (for depth, & may "hide" dust that will collect on this resin's surface), or whatever color you want
... lay (or glue) in various plants, flowers, etc
... 1st resin layer ....fill with resin till covered.... let dry (gel a bit or cure?...see below in One-Part Meltable Gels)
... glue fish on top of resin
....2nd resin layer.... cover fish with resin ....let dry
... add water lillies and other plants on top of water
...she makes bubbles with eyedropper (repeated squeezes)

Jeanne R. used a two-part floral setting epoxy resin called Everlasting Elegance) for the deep clear water contained in her miniature "fish bowl"
...a similar lesson at ..clean yr. glass container... g
lue fern into a shell...glue a fish to a piece of the fern...glue into the round container.... arrange marbles and shells around the shell with the fern... fill slowly with resin.
...hisart lesson on using Acrylic Water floral setting resin inside clear "tubes" of various kinds to simulate creatures in "specimen bottles"

Realistic Water (one-part, pour straight from bottle) (by Woodland Scenics) would be my choice for flat water or slow moving water now. I would rather use it than a resin. Jim
(for more on these one-part mediums, see below in Softer Epoxies, under One-Part Meltable Gels)

Polytranspar Artificial Water (a polyester resin) improved formulation allows even greater clarity on deep pours. ... create water surfaces, splash scenes, and ice effects (in taxidermy habitat scenes)

...tip for resins: to prevent resins from creeping up
the edges of a bank, leaving an uneven, unrealistic looking water's edge, I was told seal the (bank) with matte acrylic medium (the sand or gravel bank will then resist the resin and allow it to flow back flat as it shrinks, while drying). Martin

artist's clear acrylic "mediums" art supply stores, or fewer at craft stores like Micheals
... (gel medium?.. thicker)... just paint a layer on and add waves, a little white on the whitecaps and you're done....these mediums are usually mixed into acrylic paints to give them various characterisitics --glossiness, thickness, etc.)
can be brushed onto (or poured) a pre-shaped and pre-painted surface to create water effects (stream, pond, small creek)
...... won't make a flat mirror-like surface though (matte acrylic medium only, or all acrylic mediums?)
.......can be colored with acrylic paints while wet or painted with them after drying
....add sand, small rocks and dirt on the banks and islands from your real materials supply. Wet it with the glue solution to set it. I usually wait till the everything else is complete before adding vegetation texture material along the stream banks.
... fast moving water ....whip it around rocks or shallows and highlight with white acrylic paint to form ripples or foamy white caps...can add gloss. Booker1067
.. I like
artists' gloss medium for ponds... it looks good & it's economical ($5 per pint at Walmart in arts-crafts area)
...tip for resins: to prevent resins from creeping up
the edges of a bank, leaving an uneven, unrealistic looking water's edge, I was told seal the (bank) with matte medium (the sand or gravel bank will then resist the resin and allow it to flow back flat as it shrinks, while drying). Martin

clear acrylic finishes (polyurethanes, clear waterbased "glazes", Future-Pledge or other clear flood polishes, etc), perhaps tinted with food color, tube watercolors, etc
frozen pond or ocean created in Altoid tins... finish poured into or next to baked polymer clay "sandy beach" or "snow" (gone)

(see below in Simulations of Resin for using Future, Varathane-polyurethane, PolyGlaze, and UTEE as faux water)

running water (also see waterfall lesson, making ripples, etc. above)

products besides epoxy resin are better for the effects of running water... but most can be also combined with pre-hardened epoxy resin...
...."polyester resin can be made to have bubbles , where epoxy resins won't get (or retain?) bubbles"
(see more on simulating all kinds of water in Faux-Many > Water-Bubbles)


VARIOUS or UNKNOWN resins used when simulating water:
Alexandra's scummy pond (for Halloween garden)
...made in cutout area of thick plywood base for scene... draped with a flexible waterproof sheet of ___ (to create a rounded bottom?) and hold in the resin --resin colored & cloudy (with inclusions?) ...painted bottom
...partly submerged crocodile ...lily pads, etc., on surface.... bordered with clay rocks
Alexandra's clear pond (greenish-brownish painted bottom + clear resin?)
....ducks, cattails, lily pads, floating leaves (on surface or partly submerged
....irregular pond shape is created in short, small irregular mound of ____, covered with terrain material
Ladybug's freestanding miniatures for sale
...pond (dark blue "water") in base of painted plaster?...surrounded by terrain material, sphagnum? moss "bush" & mushrooms
...(freestanding) waterfall over large rocks ...birdbaths ...rock wishing well
various ponds, etc.

the hisarts site has has many lessons & examples using various types of resins:



miniatures.... foods, liquids
...coatings can be used over miniature foods to create the look of "wet" or shiny foods
...can also be cast into containers of various kinds as drinks, soups, etc. .....Bev's "chicken gravy" (gone)

......Sherrill Kahn's? lessons on miniature carrots, broccoli & caulifower put in tiny jars with liquid, plus tips (gone)
(...... see Miniatures > Foods for inspiration)

Used by many restaurants and bars on their tables, bars, and countertops for a clear high gloss, long lasting, finish (no dam needed)
... if large area to be covered, will need helper to keep mixing batches
(see much more info on covering table tops and other large areas above under Brands > from Hardware Store)

coating plaques, photographs, certificates, diplomas, decoupage, clocks, bar and table tops, trays., etc.. Heat and alcohol resistant. polishing required.

Kathy's lesson on coasters (picture glued onto ceramic tile with white glue)

Can coat terra cotta with resin, but if don't seal it first, will turn a dark brown.

lesson ...pour some 2-pt epoxy resin (like Envirotex Lite) into the cap of a baby food jar to hold the figurines, etc., to make a snowglobe (let it cure for 48 hrs before continuing)...resin could be colored as well... see Coloring above... at Creative Juice program's website,2025,DIY_13758_4420839,00.html

(also see nightlight and garden stones with sand coating above)

can stiffen paper, cardstock shapes

can decoupage paper images, etc., onto surfaces, then cover with resin
(use a sealer on both sides first, to adhere and cover thinned white glue, or light spray of acrylic? )

however, porous materials (like paper) will be automatically translucent if you use resin on them without sealing first
....translucent "containers" or vessels (which can even hold water, if desired) can be created ---for example with a paper envelope, a paper bag, or vellum (can make it into bags too)
........ lit candles look nice in these bags (but them put in glass votives inside bags though)
......(coat the outside first by placing envelope or bag over a waxed paper-covered cardboard tube, etc., then pour & brush resin over it ... let cure 12 hrs (mottling will disappear with other coating)..... prop envelope open (in box, etc.) and coat inside ......cure 12 hrs.... (can punch hole if desired)... let cure another 12 hrs at least before using or filling with water
.....if want sturdier vessel, add second coat to inside
...the people at Envirotex and some old manual I had years ago suggested using a tongue depresser to occasionally scrape the drips off the bottom of dipped items as they cure.... (dip the piece, hang it with a wax-coated nail or cord (waxed dental floss maybe?) (so the resin won't stick) over wax paper... then every once in a while come back and run the stick over the bottom edge to get the drips --that was the technique they used in the 80s for paper jewelry made with resin coatings. bigeyes

For a satin finish, polish cured resin with 0000 steel wool with a bit of moisture on the surface... wipe clean ...polish with a carnauba based wax.

...epoxy resins might also work for sealing clay items in snowglobes (or leaving submerged in ponds, etc.) so they don't absorb water over time and get a whitish coating (most visible on dark colors)....I called a technical person at the company and asked …he guessed it would work well, and that it should not absorb water over time.... I haven't tried it yet though.
(........see Outdoor > Snowglobes for more on exposing polymer clay to water or sun)
....he said we might want to cover the item with Elmer's Glue first ....then let dry for 1-1 1/2 hrs.
....then either brush on the combined liquids, or dip the item in them
.........If dipping, leave on a piece of waxed paper to dry (any dripping excess will peel right off the waxed paper, and it can be trimmed with scissors).
.........If using a brush (to make the coating thinner) he recommends a small foam-type brush which wouldn't leave brush marks.. Diane B

this week I have been using it to make faux dichroic glass pieces. Dotty in CA

lots of info... lessons ... more uses .....

More-technical info

true for epoxy resins as well as polyester resins?:

The catalyst (hardener) starts a chemical reaction that generates heat (creates an "exotherm") as the parts polymerize (which cures the resin)

With small amounts of resin, the heat of curing is not noticeable
...if you're using larger amounts though (like when I pour for waterfalls), you can feel some heat if you place your hand over the curing resin. Judi
...if covering a whole table, etc., you're like to feel lots of heat

...because heat accelerates chemical reactions, all resins cure from the INSIDE out.
....using too much catalyst will overheat the casting (excessive exotherm), causing resin shrinkage and cracking, and discoloration
....exotherm can be controlled by adjusting
......the amount of catalyst used.... the volume or thickness of resin poured (at one time)... and ambient temperature (the higher the temperature, the faster the gel ... too fast a cure will cause fractures.)
......thicker (taller) pours require less catalyst because a thick casting retains heat... whereas a thin section dissipates the heat requiring more catalyst.
.....humidity slows the cure of resin... moisture in the resin, which may come from humidity in the air or from temperature present in embedments, can cause the resin or casting to be cloudy.....keep resin capped tightly when not in use.
...cold weather during shipment or in storage can cause crystallization or cloudiness to occur... to clear up, put the bottle in a pan filled with very hot tap water ...should clear within 15-30 minutes ...always store between 70-85° F

pre-Colored resins to buy (2 pt., hard)
aka "Cold enamels" .. epoxy enamels, though those names probably aren't technically correct, and are frowned on by enamel artists

These are generally transparent, 2-pt., colored epoxy resins (aka epoxy enamels)... but also come in opaque?
...more like paints than things to pour?

( can tint your own clear epoxy resins with oil paints, or special colorants sold for them --see above)

"Cold enamels" are certainly quite different than other paints as they stay looking wet even when they are hard, and you can build up layers for depth
...they harden without shrinking at alll.... they are plastic resin but do look just like real "enamel" - and they work so well on polyclay! Sue

You can get lovely feathered, marbled and swirled effects by dropping in different colors and drawing a needle through when still wet. Sue

I immediately pictured it drizzled over a pc pot, or laid into little depressions in the clay like appliques .

cold enamels work very well on polyclay too - I covered this in an article in the Polyinformer a while back with cloisonne polyclay - it looks so lovely
..... I use the transparent coloured ones for cloisonne - over metallic powders on polymer clay - again, you get that nice feeling of depth in pools of colour. Sue

You can use it to make good opals too - it gives a lovely depth..Sue

I've also used (blue?) transparent cold enamel to make tiny rock pool beads. Make all the rocks, fish, seaweed etc out of polyclay, bake, and then fill the pool with transparent cold enamel for the water - they make wonderful pendants. I made some about 5 years ago and they are fine so there is no adverse reaction between the two media. Sue in UK (see also aquarium beads, in Beads)

Yes, (the transparent?) is still crystal clear - no yellowing at all after 5 years.
....It is the ordinary cold enamel that people use for making mock enamel jewellery - you stir in a hardener and leave it 24 hours to set. Most of it is coloured but you can get the transparent.

Sue, I remember your article about using cold enamels. I tried it using acrylic enamel paints (?), and it worked fairly well. But I never could locate cold enamels.
.....There are some cool recipes for stuff that looks like cold enamel in "Frames with Flair" by Suzanne McNeill
.... the author
mixes 1/2 water-based polyurethane with 1/2 acrylic paints for a shiny enamel look
.... For a dimensional look that can be applied with squeeze bottles for raised designs, mix 6 tsp. baking soda to 3-1/2 to 4 tsp paint. MJ

suppliers and brands-types
(of pre-colored epoxy resins)

craft stores, jewelry suppliers, etc., in the colored (and non-colored version)

Colores Epoxy Resin ...thin-bodied 2-pt epoxy resin
... sold by Rio Grande in the catalog (they have one large kit with all the colors, or smaller kits with colors in categories: bright/opaque, transparents, and pearly. (800) 545-6566 for info ...... the bottles themselves say there are a 2-part epoxy resin
....Rio Grande sells 2 lines of epoxy resins with coloring agents called Colores and Durenamel.
....... you can mix colors as if you were mixing paints
.......Rio Grande's web site is They don't have an online catalog though, so you'll want to either call them or order one.
(another option is to buy a plain 2-part epoxy adhesive (plain old epoxy glue) or uncolored epoxy resin and color it yourself with artist's pigments (or oil paints, ec.) stetreault
....the MSDS at says the colored part is a "low viscosity epoxy" (thin bodied) which is added to the hardener
....Sue, I saw something in the Rings & Things catalog that looked like enamel, and I'm wondering if it's the same thing. It's a two part liquid solution, in colors, that air-dry to look like an enamel finish. I think it is some sort of colored epoxy? Does this sound like what you are talking about? I was thinking of ordering some anyhow, because it looked so interesting, but I never even considered the possibility of using it on polymer clay! If this is indeed the same thing, I am going to be placing a big order very soon.......the possibilities boggle the mind.
....That's them, Juli! Oh good, I thought "cold enamels" must be available in the US... and Jami has used them too. I started using them because of my frustration of a lack of truly transparent polyclay - then I kept finding more to do with them *on* the baked polyclay... Sue
....the Colores system has the epoxy resin in many different fabulous colors and textures (pearls, jewel tones, opaques, metallics, transparents) that you mix with a hardener (2 to 1 though)
..... Now this stuff is extremely messy and drips a lot so ...I applied it very sparingly with a cosmetic sponge and set the items on my paper plate with the thumb tacks to raise them while they dried.
.. ...They must dry (cure) for 24 hours and DO NOT touch them while they are drying or you will ruin the finish.... creates a porcelain look with that glass enamel Faberge type look.... It does give a fabulous finish and the colors available are exquisite IF you can stand working with this messy stuff. (the kit) also comes with clear epoxy resin if you don't want colored resin. Wilma
...more easily scratched?

I have hunted through my catalogues and only found two entries - one gives no brand name, the other is the sort I use made by Dryad. Dryad products are marketed in the US by ColArt Americas Inc. of New Jersey Tel: 908-562-0770 They should be able to tell you if they supply cold enamels.
.....If you have no luck there, you can get them from "Homecrafts Direct" which have a lovely catalogue and will send things worldwide - they take credit cards which makes ordering from another country easy. They have a website: (gone?) and list email as: …Sue

Recently I started playing with the low-temp (enamel) resin? stuff, which cures at 250-300 degrees.
...My dear sweet husband laughed at the prices I was paying for that, and referred me to
-an auto supply company, and the low-temp enamels are used on automobiles
...they have a terrific selection of colors, and the quality is better than what I was using (Ceramit?). weditt

Ceramit (aka Ceramitation) is a low-temperature-curing resin. It's a liquid two-part system
....the catalyst and a color are mixed, then fired at low temperatures.
There is a shelf life to the catalyst (about 1 year). There are a variety of opaque and transparent colors which can be mixed and matched for different effects. It's very easy to use.
.....Ceramitation, however, is subject to
scratching, wear marks, cracking and fading (over time).
...though Ceramitation will cure in normal daylight, it will take a hrs-days and results are unpredictable). Elaine Corwin

.....cure it either by leaving it in a dust free area for about 24 hrs, baking it in an electric oven at 200F for one hour, or using an
infra-red lamp There is a hazardous material charge for mailing the catalyst, and you should use it in a well-ventilated room. The nice thing about cured materials is that you don't have to worry about how to safely dispose of the little bits that are left over -- pour it out on a piece of foil and throw it away when it has hardened.
.....It comes in bunches of colors in opaque, transparent, and flourescent..... can vary the proportions of color & catalyst to affect its flexibility
......I have mixed Pearl-Ex interference powders into the clear with very nice results. Be careful of
bubbles. If you choose to apply it by brush -- don't use an expensive one and clean it immediately, I never got all of the enamel out and had to toss mine. Jami Miller

Both Ceramit and Colorit produce a hard ceramic-like surface resembling kiln-fired enamel, but one is more durable than the other.

Colorit is actually ceramic-reinforced composite material (a material from the dental industry)
...Like Ceramitation it's a liquid and it's very easy to use, but it is photosensitive and cures by light and in a few minutes, rather than the chemical reaction/heat that cures ...a special light is supplied in the Colorit Kit (not an ultraviolet light, but a blue light in a range of about 200 to 600nm with an ultraviolet and infrafred filter making it more user friendly).
...Colorit is a lot tougher than Ceramitation ...including polishing to a high shine, sandblasting, milling and drilling, filing, carving and lathe-turning
...has a wider range of color choice than Ceramitation including Deep Colors, Neon, Pearlescent and unique Eye-Effect colors.Elaine Corwin

"SOFTER" Epoxy Resin
("floral setting resin" ..."acrylic water")
(clear, 2 pt.)
can pour deep amounts without layering

floral setting resins are different from the regular (hard) 2-part resins in some ways
....there also may be be two types ...the most common one is 2 liquids poured together --one to one, or almost one-to-one? (purchased in floral depts of craft stores, etc.)
????....and the other is a one-part which is melted (or doesn't have to be melted)??

advantages: fumes/odor at all ( no ventilation needed)
....less heat generated
....very clear at any depth
....good for filling little containers like glasses with "drinks", etc. bec. any surface dust won't matter much
....will create "bubbles" nicely, if desired
(....both types? not adhesive like other epoxies are)

....slightly rubbery and flexible when cured (don't get hard "so they won't crack" when poured deep?)
....will attract dust to their surfaces because of their stickiness and softness (see cleaning below?)
.... embedments can move around in the cured gel if jiggled, etc.?
....more expensive than hard epoxy(?) ...(more expensive than polyester)
(as with other resins)
....will yellow with UV light (direct sun, fluorescents)
....don't mix when humidity is excessive
........don't place any items in it which have water/moisture = cloudy
if the two parts are not blended completely, they cannot chemically react together to harden evenly, leaving sticky spots

....look in the floral section of most craft stores (see brand names below)

...sets within 18-24 hrs ...depending on amount of pour and ambient temperature
......OR? takes around 48 hrs to set ( is extremly thin when first mixed, and only starts to set after about 5 hrs)
....dries crystal clear with no air bubbles
(unless stirred)

...use glass, plastic, or metal containers to measure (must be clean and dry) not use Styrofoam or styrene
...use metal, plastic or rubber stirrers (popscicle sticks okay since throughly dry?)

resin clean up ....Windex, alcohol, or mineral spirits (maybe soap/water)... permanent when set
(as with other resins) do not pour down sinks, or pour back into container

When dust collects on the surface (long after curing), may be able to clean that dustry surface with a very mild solution of clear dishwashing liquid and water, applied with cotton balls... but must be 'rinsed' with plain water (cotton balls) and dried, or it will film over
....12 months shelf life

coloring floral resins
AIFA developed a technique referred to as "bleeding" to color Everlasting Elegance (or any floral resin prob.)
....add small pices of (non-fade resisitant) crepe paper to resin...stir until the color you want... strain paper out
....drop colored marbles (or colored glass chips?) into container, then pour resin over just to cover (stir?)
....GardenOfUtopia uses gel food colors (but contain water, so ok for clarity?)
...can also color with oil paints, etc, as with hard epoxies?
sealing if you don't want bleeding
...some fake floral stems will bleed (esp. dark green & red), so seal those (can test first, but can takesev. weeks)
.....most solvent-based ? aerosol clear coats will work Krylon or other brands of spray clear coating
.....can also seal as with other epoxy resins?

always clean glass containers (inside?) with glass cleaner before pouring resin

Jeanne R. used a two-part floral setting epoxy resin (Everlasting Elegance) for the deep clear water contained in her miniature "fish bowl"
...a similar lesson at ..clean yr. glass container... g
lue fern into a shell...glue a fish to a piece of the fern...glue into the round container.... arrange marbles and shells around the shell with the fern... fill slowly with resin.
...hisart lesson on using Acrylic Water floral setting resin inside clear "tubes" of various kinds to simulate creatures in "specimen bottles" lesson on making a clear(ish) "molded Jello" by GardenOfUtopia... she used a floral setting resin instead of a regular epoxy resin so after curing had to coat with acrylic finish to keep cover stickiness on outside

set silk flowers (or anything you want) in fake water (inside transparent vase, container, etc.)
....can use marbles, etc., at bottom of container to hold stems in place as resin sets
....or ....where are other instructions?? criss cross and arrange silk flowers in vase using tape or modeling clay to temporally hold flowers in position.
....pour in gently so no splashing or running down sides (can use funnel)

more lessons using floral setting resins, including ponds and waterfalls
....see Faux Water area above (under Hard Epoxy Resins > Uses)

(as a finish ...+ submerged in real water)
...I made some polymer clay mermaids which have been sitting in a (real) pond (some have their tails are immersed in the water and others have their upper torsos in water)'s been about 6 months and there hasn't been any change in the quality of the clay pieces in the water
...also when the tank is cleaned, the mermaids are easy to wipe off with a damp sponge and a little dish soap


Aristocrat Liquid Illusion Clear Floral Resin (by Aristocrat, by BD Classic) ... mix 1 to 1
..(...this kit makes 8 oz. of acrylic water from 4 oz. resin and 4 oz. hardener)
... if adding stones or other solid items (to the vase) in the Acrylic Water , make sure they're clean and grease free first
...... pour in only enough to cover those, then mix to get rid of any air pockets...then fill the rest of the way
cover lightly... 36 hrs. to cure... may yellow over time if used under direct sunlight or fluorescents
...when used with artificial flowers, etc... fill halfway... arrange flowers... pour in rest (keep stems in place with criss-crosses of tape)
......some stems may dissolve their color into resin, so coat with white glue first to seal color in (see info on sealing above, under Hard Epoxy Resins > preparation)

Acrylic Water (by Le Silk Shoppe) ... found at Walmart, in floral section
...hisart lesson on using Acrylic Water floral setting resin inside clear "tubes" of various kinds to simulate creatures in "specimen bottles"

Clear Elegance (by Industrial Polymers, Inc?) ...1 to 1
working life: 12 hrs at 72 F....full cure: 24 hrs at 72 F...hardness 55 shore A
UV stable in sunlight ??? ......clean up with mineral spirits
do not mix when the product or room temperature is below 64 F or above 78 not expose to direct sunlight while mixing or curing.
not for extremes of temperature

Aqua Clear (1 to 1)
...casts dry within 18-24 hours, depending on the size of the pour and ambient temperature

Solid Water (by Deluxe) (1 to 1) a product available here in the UK . Sue
....sets in 12-24 hours in warm conditions (links to info and projects)

Quick Water (acts like acrylic water, but is a urethane chemistry, NOT an acrylic)
...cures in 8-10 hs. ("will not yellow like it's acrylic competitors")... (bottom of page)

Everlasting Elegance (Michaels, etc.) ...almost 1 to 1?? ...not sure about this one

ONE-PART (softer? clear GELS)... reusable
("resins" or not?? ... acrylics?)

heat to use

(these will not adhere to inside of glass vase, so it's easily removable -- can be remelted and used again)

Scenic Water (by Deluxe)
....1-part (called a "resin") ... think it's a gel (comes in a jar)
....melts (and re-melts so can be re-used) with fairly hot water--130-140° F (55-60° C. barely too hot for hand
.......boiling will destroy it though, so use a double-boiler
.....float a pot (or tin can?) in water in saucepan ...begins to become liquid in 5-10 min.
...then cools, and sets to a gel
...slightly amber tint, esp. in thicker applications
...surface tension greater than that of water... can smooth curvature with warm spoon
...may cause a slight discoloration on metal (or can seal first)
...can put in frig to speed up setting ..... (info) (links to info and projects --take a long time to load!)
...heat gun can be used on surface of partly-set resin to create ripples, waves, flow patterns, etc.
.....although one person said that water resin became level again after heating .... they suggested using a blast of cool air
...or apply resin just as beginning to set and
becoming sticky (from syringe, etc.)

Wonder Water Clear Floral Arranging Gel -Removable
...says it does not yellow
...pour warm Wonder Water into a vase or container (too hot for plastic?), insert pre-arranged flower stems (etc.)
.......and let stand until liquid solidifies back into a gel

E-Z Water (by Woodland Scenics) .....yellow pellets (come in a bag) ...double-boiler: melted in a tin can (over pan of hot water) ...can be re-melted ... yields smooth surface, still water
E-Z Water was Woodland Scenics' original product before developing Realistic Water
.......IMO their later Realistic Water is a far, far better product than EZ Water (see RW just below). cnj831's difficult to melt and pour, you waste a pot, and mine dried yellow (too hot?) with some air bubbles. tbatt55

waterfall ....hang short lengths of fishing line over edge of fall...pour small amounts of resin over edge (ill solidify around fishing line as it cools)
...... or someone suggested pouring resin into a "tube" created by scrunching a folded alumin foil square with piece of string inside (remove string before pouring)... refrigerate... pull foil off (can roll any excess back into main resin shape with fingers...attach to top of area desired with more resin, and trim bottom so just below bottom water
...bubbles... allow resin to begin cooling, then blow bubbles just beneath surface with syringe full of soapy water (use liq. detergent)... may end up with large bubbles though
.....or... place some bubbles created in soapy water on top of uncured resin... put in frig (creates realistic frothy appearance in resin after awhile)
...white foam (on beer, etc.) ...foam clear resin (becomes white with added air), then add foam to top of colored resin in container
....create other shapes of water separately as well (between layers of alum. foil) and regfrigerate... remove and attach where wanted

newer ones... no heating

Realistic Water (by Woodland Scenics)... liquid in bottle ... for moving water or still water heating or mixing ...pours directly from bottle and is self-leveling ...for lakes, ponds, rivers, etc.
...flexible, therefore easy to model..... water-soluble for easy clean-up
...can only be poured to a depth of 1/8".... so should be shallow...can build up layers?
... (scroll down to Realistic Water for Windswept Lakes and Slow Moving Rivers)
Realistic Water is a far, far better product than EZ Water.
..... If the instructions are followed carefully the results for Realistic Water are excellent. .
..... is rather sensitive to humidity levels when drying, so be sure to give it ample time between layers/ will find even the tiniest hole to leak out of though! cnj831

Water Effects (by Woodland Scenics) ...liquid in bottle
...a thicker version of Realistic Water?
... for waterfalls, rapids, or churning water ....raised ripples, small waves mixing or heating... pour directly from bottle...flexible, therefore easy to model....water-soluble for easy clean up .

EPOXY ADHESIVES (primarily used as adhesives)

Nancy Banks sometimes mixes embossing powders into 2-part epoxy "glue" (like Devcon...?30 min. setting type) with a stick
......she then uses this in a mold made from silicone ... wrap aluminum foil (?) (won't stick to epoxy)
......can wet sand, if needed... clear and very interesting

realistic eyeball...using an epoxy adhesive
...(Devon Clear Two Component Epoxy adhesive) this really Devcon's 10 Minute Epoxy Clear? (cures somewhat flexible, 50 ml per package)... or Devcon's 5 Minute Epoxy (cures hard, clear?, 2.5 oz or 15 oz)...(hardware store or Sears?)
colored with dry tempera paint powders
...mold made from 2 -pt silicone from a round object like pingpong ball or marble
...pupil created by dropping one small drop of black-colored resin into center of bottom of mold from a toothpick (held upright in stand?)... tap outside bottom of mold to help resin settle in perfect round
...iris created by dropping larger amount of colored resin over black drop (paint brush or toothpick) (tap bottom)
...white of eye created by filling with colored? resin... let cure overnight.
...can sand to even and add coating (1 or more) of epoxy, etc. (see Coating above) to give wet look

(see more on 2-pt epoxy adhesives in Glues > 2-pt Epoxies)


SIMULATIONS of resin (acrylic)

Future can also act as a substitute for a true resin ... it will thicken up if I leave it out overnight or in an open container for a couple of days color it, add some acrylic paint
......then pour or paint that thickened stuff inside cups, bowls (or as pond, etc.) to simulate a transparent or translucent liquid (a food like gravy, orange juice and lemon curd, etc.)
......or pour/paint over bits of food stuffs on miniature plates (or anything else) as thick paint-glaze
...this goopy stuff is interesting and not as scary as resin is to some folks. Nora-Jean (but will it bubble when baked if there's very much of it ??)
...if I screw up, I use a Q-tip wet w/ hair spray to wipe both Future floor wax and acrylic paint off.
...if left clear (uncolored), can yellow slightly over time with exposure to UV light (sun, fluorescents, etc.)
(see Finishes > Future for more)

(see above in Faux Water for using clear acrylic mediums and clear finishes as faux water)

Varathane... (see Finishes > Varathane for more) ...will not yellow over time polymer clay finish ("dimensional glue") by Lisa Pavelka and Ranger ...also Judikins & others
...comes in a squeeze bottle with a fine tip for squeezing out dots, or on surfaces.
...for thicker coverage, (simulating resin or cloisonne, etc.) apply several thin coats, letting dry between (15-60 mins or till clear) also possible to create a dimensional, rounded-edge glaze which extends up higher than any enclosing areas, but must apply in layers and outline each area (then fill in just till level with outline)
...must seal the finished glaze with clear nail polish to create a waterproof finish (or may become cloudy from too much contact with moisture or body oils)
...can use on scrapbook pages (acid free) ... flexible
...first squeeze may have bubbles if don't shake glaze down into nozzle ..prick or drag out any bubbles before drying
...high gloss, covers bumps and lumps, create a smooth or dome finish, etc.. Michelle
...available at Lisa Pavelka's site ... soon to be in stores, and other polymer websites. Carlee
...(same as Ranger's Glossy Accents? ... they call theirs a "decorative glue" ....Ranger also makes UTEE) ...use to accent, brighten, dimensionalize, and magnify areas

see acrylic paint idea in pre-Colored Resins

UTEE .... (Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel)... a clear, meltable embossing powder
... finished surface will scratch in abrasive situations though
(see more in Powders > Embossing, or in Finishes > UTEE)

see Faux--many > Water/Glassy/Bubbles for more on these materials.... plus other ways to simulate water and bubbles

see also Finishes > Other Liquid Finishes ...White Glues....for other clear finishes to use on clay


other MELTABLE & CASTABLE plastics

plastic fishing worms (thermoplastic?) ....I read an article in a model railroad magazine, about 20 years ago, about using plastic worm fishing lures as a casting material.
....he melted the plastic worms in the top of a double boiler
... then poured it into a mold (don't remember what kind). ...and let it cool until it was solid.
...the final casting was as soft and squiggly as the original worm
...these worms come in loads of colors!
Creepy Crawlers sets, and their ilk??

plastic army men work the same way (though will cool hard). As a kid I used to melt them all the time. Seth
... can also make bowls from these by heating them only enough to slump, not melting them completely (over a form)
old vinyl records can be slumpted over forms when heated at low temps, to make bowls, etc.
toothbrushes (can remove bristles with pliers first... dip in boiling water)

(for melting, slumping or softening other plastics, see much more in Misc. > Melting or Softening Plastics > Slumping)

(for meltable plastics esp. for making molds, see Molds > Other Materials for Molds > Reusables --Protoplast, Gelflex, etc.)
....(same?) the Dick Blick catalog used to sell a different kind of "cold" enamel -- it was a plastic powder that you handled like copper enamels (swirling tools, cloissone, etc.) but it melted at light-bulb heat (for little kids)... wonder if that stuff is still made?

(for "shrinking" plastics such as disposable clear flexible plastic cups and salad tray lids...and foam cups... and prescription bottles, see Misc > Shrink Plastics)

for clear, one-part "floral setting resins"(all really resins??) which can be melted in hot water or some don't need heating, then poured into containers (will set as cool, but stay somewhat soft)... can be removed and re-used, see Scenic Water & Wonder Water above

(for plastics which can be covered with clay and baked, see Covering > Plastics)


GLASS PAINTS ......& "Dip It" simulations

Gallery glass is a paint for glass to make it look like "stained glass"'s usually used on windows, or glass vases, or on anything glass (or acetate?)... works well on metal too??
.... when these paints are used on acrylic, they can become permanent. rainee (...would be permanent on clay then?)
.Gallery Glass is made with a clear waterbased acrylic --just like acrylic paint, except that instead of adding pigment, I believe dyes are used for color. .........once dry, very flexible ... the transparency of the finished product depends on how thick (the paint is). rainee
....Gallery Glass is basically peel & stick plastic (think Colorforms --remember those?). I don't think it would do well with PC in long term applications, but it's pretty neat stuff for windows! Petunia D
....I made a fairy princess sitting by a pool. I covered the parts of a mirror I wanted to be grass, and made a shoreline with clay....the mirror served as a strong base for the entire sculpture and reflective surface for the pond. ....After all baking was done I used the glass paints (GalleryGlass) in shades of translucent , white and blues to make ripples and the pond color I wanted. It turned out very well... I also made a few lily pads and a frog to sit on them (just Sobo glued those to the pond).Sharon V.
...(see also Pretty Petals just below for using these in a kit with wire to create flowers, etc. .... a little like the old "Dip It")

Delta Paint Jewels paints. . .. "the only paint that offers 21 glossy, transparent colors that look like they are lit from within... no other paint like it. ...creates a glass like look to a wide range of non-glass surfaces...wood, paper, paper mache, metals, etc. ...applied directly from the bottle which is offered with a needle nosed tip ..or with a brush."
....Maybe you could dip a baked bead into this paint and it will give the look of an encased bead.
...Or you could make the raised designs as well since the bottle comes in the small tip. Amanda
(Paint Jewel Liquid Lead – pewter, gold and white... squeezable bottle with a needle nosed tip ...can be used with Paint Jewel colors to create Stained Glass inspired look.) and (proj's)

There's another product called Porcelain which is glass paints. ....You bake it to make it permanent and water proof. Since it bakes up at the same temp as poly clay, I gave it whirl on some scrap pieces, and got a nice cloisonne effect.

Dip I Fantasy Film (or Formafilm).... vs......UTEE....vs.... Pretty PetalsScented Flower Maker

There was a dippable liquid plastic film in the 70's called Dip It .... wire forms were dipped into cans of the colors which dried quickly and created transparent, colored flowers (and other shapes)..
...After researching its availability nowadays, the bottom line seems to be that it seems not to be sold in the U.S. any longer (probably because of safety standards for carcinogenicity) . . . It is sold in the U.K. , however, (they may have a less rigid standard) and is called Dip It Fantasy Film or Formafilm
..... could be ordered from the U.K. if you REALLY want it though?, Desiree' said the UK dealer she checked shipped anywhere in the world BUT the U.S. and Canada.

This lesson using Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (UTEE... a clear embossing powder from Suze Weinberg) tinted with inks** looks like it does pretty much the same thing as the old Dip It (..22 ga. wire shapes are dipped into the UTEE in a "hot pot")... but don't know how strong the resulting items would be:
**(To Dye For inks are transparent dye inks ---" totally safe to be heated in the Melting Pot...1-3 droplets into your hot melted UTEE and will turn Clear Ultra Thick into stained glass")
--Aristocrat's Liquid Glass is another brand of thick clear embossing powder
...however, embossing powder does not stand up well to use (it scratches easily, and will flake or peel off sometimes) so it may be a good idea to give them a layer of clear finish to strengthen them?
...lesson: shape wire into loops or any shape... melt clear Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel in Melting Pot and add To Dye For Inks to desired color...dip wire shapes into melted UTEE (spin over pot until cool)...(they glue the dipped shapes to a flat marble --to hold them together?)...can add glitter as stamens, etc. to centers ... let dry.

(not available in the US or Canada) are some pages for the Dip It Fantasy Film (...twist 26 g. wire into loop... dip into liquid (including the twisted wire at bottom) ... let excess run off (don't touch film itself)... let dry 10-15 min.): and (.. though none may ship to the U.S. or Canada
...I used Dip-it Fantasy Film in the 70's. I always assumed it was something like polystyrene which was coloured and dissolved in a volatile solvent such as toluene (or a toluene/xylene mixture) ...the drying time was very fast indeed (the solvent's volatility also made it hard to keep over time) .... I suspect that the formulation has had to be changed in light of more recent solvent carcinogenicity findings.... Also, as I understand it, the US's household and industrial product codes are rather more strict that most other OECD toxicity guidelines. ... .factory standards of tox hygene are set higher in the US than in Europe. Alan V.

There is another product which is sold in the U.S. called Pretty Petals Scented Flower Maker (by Plaid) which seems to be similar (at least the photo on the front of the kit seems to be the same). But from what I can tell it's not the same... it's not dipped, and it takes hours to dry. DB
.......(for the Pretty Petals) instead of dipping the shaped wire, you shape your wire in one of their petal or leaf molds, and then pour Gallery Glass (a brand of transparent paints) in the mold with the wire ... let them dry over night before peeling them out of the molds. I have this kit and it works really well. rainee
... the Pretty Petals kit may be at Walmart or
or D & J Hobby's online store (NSI19591, $2.49)
.....more information?

I'm not sure anything water or low volatility-based would do the same job as old Dip-it. ...presumably, the film, bubble, etc, needs to dry relatively quickly in order for a thin membrane to stabilise AND allow light through.( I have done some experiments which involved PVA glue and isopropanol - the resultant mess couldn't be used as a dipping medium)
.....The best substitute I can suggest might be the material which is sold in novelty shops as DIY balloons - it comes in a tube (like toothpaste) in lots of colours with a small pipe or straw which one uses to inflate a globule of the stuff, so instead of being allowed to dry as a balloon, it could be attached to a wire loop while it's still fresh, pliable and still has some solvent still in it. Alan V.

...other possibilities??:
...Gallery Glass (paints--see above for more on Gallery Glass and other paints to be used on glass)
....gelatin flowers on wires.......mix 1/4 cup water with 2 teaspoons plain gelatin. Add color if desired. Form a 'wing' frame from very fine wire & twist it togethe
r to close/shape it, dip the wire into the gelatin like blowing bubbles. Be sure it is covered. Bring it out and let the wing dry thoroughly then remove the wire frame
...would using colorants in polyurethane work? (strong enough?)
...tinted liquid clays? might be able to concoct your own transparent or at least translucent film using clear-drying craft glues ("white" glues?) tinted with acrylic paints... or maybe just acrylic paints thinned with water or clear mediums.
.......fabric paints already have a clear "medium" in them which may make them work better or worse than ordinary craft acrylics?
...clear artists' mediums with inks or other dyes?
Have no idea though if any of those would be dippable, and retain enough strength to dry intact, plus be relatively transparent. Diane B.
(....see also the Wings sub-category in Sculpting-Bodies for more possibilities?)

(see also fiber optic strands, below)


many other casting mediums (info, etc.)

As for crackle mediums brands, I've tried them all. For me they only work on flat surfaces, not rounded. (drat!)
Sometimes I only use one of the two parts (part 2) (they all come in two parts as far as I know) which works pretty well (the first part is simply a paint for the "base" color or a clear layer). To do this, you just coat the surface of your piece with the second or crackle part and let it dry for a day or two. The medium dries clear so you can see the surface of your piece through it. Cracks on the surface don't always appear right away. And even then you may not be able to see them much. But then you can antique the surface, rubbing in dark acrylic paint like Burnt Umber, and then rubbing it off, leaving it in the cracks. The cracks will now show up quite well.
However, not all of the crackle mediums will work this way and you must use both parts for those.
I've found all the brands are fickle, first working , then not working, then working again. I honestly don't know the secret unless it's the weather, or temperature. I'm still doing some research and hope to get a technique down that will be more steady. I love the effect no matter. Dotty
....And the crackle was done with Anita's Fragile Crackle. I bought some of Aileen's crackle medium and found it worthless, frankly. Anita's is a two part application, but really easy. Then I diluted some acrylic paint with water and did a few brushonwipeoff (that fast!) passes until it took the way I wanted it. Kelly K
. . . The first part of Anita's is clear. The second is sort of milky, like thickened skim milk, but it dries clear and crackley. . . . My experiment was to use Future instead of part 1. Didn't do all that well...not what I wanted...Varathane didn't do anything at all. . . they must each have something that reacts with the other. Kelly K

wet media acetate is a clear acetate film which is made to accept all water-based media can paint it, dye it, or draw on it with water based products can also be impressed with a ball stylus ......available at art and craft stores's good for making wings, leaves, fish and mermaid fins, etc..Katherine Dewey

(see more on using wet media acetate in Sculpting-Body > Wings > not polymer)

"shrink plastics" (PolyShrink, etc.) (loads of great photos, ideas & *lessons at which are very compatible with clay and can even look like clay since they can use Pearl Ex, waxes, stamped relief, etc.)
. . . already-shrunk Shrink Plastics can be baked with polymer clay; the low temp. of polymer baking won't affect the SP. Treat pieces of SP the same way you would any other addition after baking --that is, unless the piece is mechanically held, pop it off and glue back on.
general instructions:
...actually most of that clear plastic on everything from graham cracker crusts to even yogurt containers might shrink when heated
...the plastic has to be the somewhat heavier type, but soooo much stuff is packaged in it now, and it all seems to work. trashcrafter
.... I only use the heatgun to shrink all my plastics since the oven, sometimes it would not uncurl or would have lumps and bubbles in it that no amount of reheating would get out.

I took a class one time where we cut small shapes from the Friendly Plastic and baked them directly on to the polymer clay. We made light switch plates and they were really cool. Jeanette

Fishing line (how to dye) -how did you do that?? . . .just dyed fishing line,,using rit dye and a little vinagar . . . ( colored monafilament wrapped tightly around fan like shapes). . . .. I just dunked the line into the hot colored water and it took the color right away,,couldn't believe it! I unwound some from the spool, dyed it,rinsed, then rewound onto another spool. Georgana (see more in Pendants-Cording > Clear Plastic, dyeing)

HydroSpan can be used to enlarge any 3-D object (a sculpt, mold, pattern, real world object, etc.) you can create a mold for; it can be increased in size (repeatedly, by 60%, if you wish) ... two-part urethane polymer which will expand 60% (or x1.6) after soaking in water, so ... working life =10 min, full cure = 24 hr . . . feels dry to the touch even if cut... "simply make silicone (or polymer clay?) molds from small objects and directly enlarge them. . .
....a flexible urethane polymer, which over time absorbs individual molecules of water deep into itself until it is completely water is absorbed the polymer matrix stretches to accommodate the in coming water ... Hardness of cured HydroSpan (before soaking) =45 Shore A, hardness of expanded HydroSpan (after soaking for 14 days @ 72°) =35 Shore A."

Industrial Polymers Incorporated . . many molding compounds (spray, etc.), and more
....Speedliner, Rigid Casting Urethanes, Semi-Rigid Casting Urethanes, Transparent Casting Compounds, Molding Compounds, Brush-on Molding Gels, Coatings & Sealants, StyroSpray, Hard Coatings, Primers, Expanding Urethanes, Clear Elegance (fake water)

Armour-Etch. I use it to make frosted votives and glasses with my own designs that I cut from contact paper. Works quite well.....but the frosting is light and smooth and you will not get the beautiful deep etch that you find on beach glass, but close. Etching is enormous fun. Peggy

I use the largest size of hex nuts from the hardware store. They are sold in the industrial nuts and bolts section. They are hexagon shape and measure 1.6" x 0.9". Weighing in at over 6 oz. apiece, they would make good paperweights or Things-TO-DO weights .

And to make rain drops or icicles, many eggers use silicone sealant. The kind that you use to seal around the bathtub. It comes either white or clear in a squeeze bottle.

You might also try Aleene's "OK To WASH-IT". It's a fabric glue, but unlike Fray-Chek, it doesn't settle into the fabric. It dries clear and blobby.

I don't know if Michaels would have it at this time of the year, but when you make those christmas villages, they have a product that is sorta like foam that you use for snow, you spray it on, and then it sets, it's matt white and then if you like you can sprinkle the very very fine glitter powder on it for a very subtle effect.

syndee holt put candle gel in a glass base with little polymer clay pieces, and then put a floating-type candle on top of the gel (in the Spring issue of "Michael's Create") ... Jules
...beware of the gel candles ...they burn alot hotter than wax candles, and will shatter the glass container if it's too thin. I actually had one explode and glass when shooting out all over.... I still like them but I make sure the container is made of heavy glass.... Gel candles tend to smoke more too. Susan

( puppetry of all kinds) & various building & molding materials

MAGNETS ...& magnet sheets, strips

Many clay beads, and pieces of flatter clay as well, can be turned into magnets
...probably not a good idea to use a weak clay like Sculpey or FimoSoft for magnets though, unless the clay is thick with no protrusions

Remember!... magnets will stick only to iron-based metal surfaces ...... steel ......cast iron ....ball bearings
.... (they will not stick to metal made from aluminum cookie sheets, etc.)

Of course, KEEP ALL MAGNETS AWAY FROM computers, magnetically recorded tapes, disks, and credit cards

types & suppliers

There are several types of magnets we might be interested in:
..rare earth magnets (or supermagnets) --newer generation is NdFeB (Neodymium-Iron-Boron) --older generation is SmCo (Samarium Cobalt)
.....very strong, and not too expensive ...not available in craft of hobby stores? (still?) ...see below for ordering online though
.....rare earth magnets even when tiny are freakishly strong (you can do all sorts of fun things with them... once at a party we stuck one to a nail in the celing, then hung my entire set of cutlery from it) cottoncandymandy
..ferrite (or "hard ceramic") magnets
......can buy in several strengths... the stronger they are, the more they usually cost ...usually less expensive than rare earth magnets
......can buy in craft and hobby stores, Radio Shack, hardware stores? ... or online
..bonded (flexible, rubberized) magnet sheets and strips ... adhesive on back

(ferrite and rare earth magnets are somewhat brittle alone and could be chipped, so some are covered with steel, etc., to make stronger)

Lee Valley .. rare earth magnets in various shapes and sizes,42363,42348&ap=1 (these are sandwiched between 2 pieces of steel for extra strength bec. can be somewhat brittle)
... a 1/4" dia. by 1/10" thick one of these, for example, will lift a 2 1/2 lb block of steel ...(this size 30-40 cents ea.)
(all Lee Valley magnets )

attaching clay, etc.

especially for small magnets, you might want to make a depression in the raw clay which will the magnet will sit in after baking
... this will provide more of a mechanical hold than glue alone, and will also make the magnet lie flattter on the metal surface
(...however, you may not want to make the magnet completely flat to the clay surface because many shapes will be hard to get a grip on to pull off (some may be grippable even when flat though, depending on the shape of the clay)
.....the depression can be created by pressing/twisting the magnet (or something of a similar size) into the raw clay (or by digging out a hole)
.....or forming the clay around the magnet, then removing it
.... or by creating the hole in another way such as stacking layers of clay, one or two of which have a hole cut out
........or attach another material as a backing around the hole (e.g., sheet of felt with hole, etc.)

---2-part epoxy glues are probably most secure
---or possibly E-6000
---in my experience cyanoacrylate glues work fine on clay (& magnets), particularly cyanoacrylate pastes ("superglue gels," with fillers)

aside from gluing, to attach a magnet to materials which are not iron or steel (wood, e.g.), you can attach metal hardware like screws, nuts, wire, etc., to them by screwing, taping, or wrapping

(for info on baking magnets with the clay, see below in More Magnet Info)

lessons, examples ... places to use magnets

various (clay) magnets from PCC's Claypen
Margi L's magnet-backed figures or simple pictures,for frig? ... coloring-book style
...each Skinner blend sheet component surrounded by thin line of black (created on backing sheets as onlay, then trimmed?)

Kim Cavender's could-be magnets, made with colorful onlays (cane slices and other pieces)

Lisa's lesson on making a frig. magnet by cutting a hole big enough for a button magnet in the layers of a double-thick clay sheet, then supergluing the magnet in the hole onto an onlaid clay sheet of a transfer or other design

teacher's whiteboards (xmas or end of year gift?) magnets for DS's teacher, using items relevant to their classroom (upper right)

other places to use:
...refrigerator ..freezer... dishwasher
...metal filing cabinets
...make hangers for metal surfaces
......cutlery, or skillets/pots... hooks or "towel bars"
...attach containers (like boxes) to a metal suface
...attach things to outsides of cars
... while camping,e.g., wet clothes or a tarp

...attaching outdoor xmas lights to metal gutters

Margi L's clock with various rearrangeable clay units (magnet backed)
sheets of collage, cut into abstract shapes for each of the 12 number spots
... the central time mechanism is also covered with abstract clay and magnet backed (magnet sheet or solid?)

could cover a magnet with decorative clay to use as:
...a magnetic pin "cushion" like those sold to sewers (use large magnet, or many smaller ones)
...or cover a handle for a magnet pin picker-upper, or other use

... for necklace, bracelet (see Jewelry)
... for other things like boxes, books, blade holders, etc.... anything with a lid or cover
.... or just to hold something in place
... for faux "pin backs", belt clips, "curtain" rod holders,. frig. knobs (rare earth magnets sold in various shapes for these items).

incentive board for my kids (like a motivation chart or progress chart)
...every year we make movable figures from clay on magnets, then put them on a painted metal whiteboard (special ed, elementary students)
.....they first make a little clay skater figure (I love the different hairstyles, hats, scarves the kids put on them)... then put a magnet on back
.....then they get to move their figure around the ("Skateboard Park" track) --one segment for every day their assignment is completed or that they come to class on time, etc. (also, they get to choose a prize out of the prize box when they get to segment #14 )
...I painted the Skateboard Park background with straight tempera on a 3x4' metal whiteboard
......actually I painted on the BACK of the white board, since the magnets stick better on the back side (back is metal with a matte finish).
.......oh and thanks for the reminder about the liquid soap (helping paint stick on waxed milk cartons) -- I'd forgotten about that one! Will use it for sure when I do any repainting. .. last year I had no problem with chipping, but this year there has been a little. ...the magnets do not often come in contact with the painted areas (?)
....then each year I paint a new picture, after washing off the old one. LynnDel
(click on "Skateboard Park" from 2nd page)

Mark Sawicki's pointing-hand and arm frig or whiteboard magnet ...(to point to important notes),1789,HGTV_3237_3893971,00.html
...twists 8" of 1/16" dia aluminum or copper wire, and bends a little of the bottom 90°
...stands the bent end on a strong 1" x 1/8" magnet, then creates a base around it (he uses steel epoxy--see notes)
...bends the arm to create an elbow (or perhaps bends after next step, carefully)
...makes a long pad of clay brown clay, with flesh-colored clay at end for hand, then wraps around the wire (and base) (he uses Bend and Bake clay--see notes) ...forms 3-fingered cartoon hand by pulling and shaping... adds white cuff and black cufflink
...bends thumb and two fingers back into palm, leaving index finger pointing and up... bakes
..NOTES: ...when he says "tubes" of clay, he means logs/rods/ropes of solid clay
...using a very flexible clay doesn't seem necessary for these as long as you don't want to bend any of the clay parts after baking ...Bend and Bake clay is fine to use, but could also use Premo, or FimoClassic or Kato (not Sculpey, SuperSculpey, Sculpey III, or FimoSoft though because they're more brittle clays and will break if thin like this and stressed)
...don't think it's really necessary to use 2 pt steel epoxy for the base and around the magnet; bending the end of the twisted wire, then capturing most of the magnet as well as a good length of the bent-twisted wire with regular polymer clay should be sufficient to hold everything well (tip: may want to remove magnet before baking, then glue it back in afterward)

Garie's many magnetic devices for motion toys, etc.
...Garie's Humpty Dumpty figure on a wall (as a bas relief scene) ... Humpty is made up of component parts which fit together by hidden magnets... when he falls, he "breaks" apart
.Garie also has one waterglobe which allows movement of the figure inside (a fish) because it's on a long flexible spring, and also has a tiny magnet in its mouth (which can be affected by waving another magnet outside the globe)

(see my magnet bug toy in Kids > Toys... a clay or other "bug" with a magnet underneath is moved down a path drawn on cardstock by kid, by moving another magnet around underneath ...for practicing fine motor skills as well as entertainment)

could make double ended magnets (with clay to hold them apart) so would attract on each end?

many more clever ideas for using rare earth magnets,42363#9

flexible magnet sheets & strips

magnet "sheets," and strips on a roll, are rubbery and flexible and have an adhesive back, so a layer of baked polymer clay could be adhered to them
.......aka "bonded magnets" (flexible)-- rubberized formulation of magnet, often seen on refrigerators and magnetic signs
....sheet magnets are much weaker than ferrite or rare earth magnets though

could be used for small frames for the frig... gifts... postcards... games, etc
....available at office supply stores, or craft? stores, or hardware stores
... business card size sheets, adhesive backed ....25 for $6-7 at Office Depot

would a sheet of baked polymer clay (attached to a magnet sheet) be erasable when written on with erasable markers intended for whiteboards?...especially if the clay surface is very slick from having been baked face down on glass?
...if so, could use as a memo pad or grocery list on frig... DB

could stamp with Fabrico inks, then bake, for permanent decoration which won't erase

some special magnet sheets can even be run through your inkjet printer.... $11 for 3 sheets (8 1/2 x 11)
....regular magnet sheets do NOT go through your printer though
........however, a printed sheet of paper can be always pressed to the back of the magnet sheet after the release paper on the magnet sheet is removed

other magnet-related stuff:

BAKING magnets??? suddenly occured to me that the heat or baking process MIGHT demagnetize (magnets) ...DH says that a critical limit of heat will suddenly cause a magnet to lose its magnetization; he doesn't know how high that temp is though.
.... The particular magnetized material seems to make a difference too, with the regular hard ceramic magnets standing up longer than the magnetized steel pointers which would be in compasses.
...How does temperature affect the behavior of a permanent magnet?
......Curie Temperature (Tc) is the temperature at which a magnet material loses it's strength, permanently.
......another useful number (if available) is Tmax, the recommended maximum operating temperature (around 266 deg. F for most NdFeB magnets)... higher than that, a magnet will start to lose its power
..If you need strong magnets that can be used at high temps, consider using Samarium Cobalt (SmCo) magnets
..First test: placed in the oven and left for two hours at 300 degrees. Allowed to cool in the oven and when removed,. All magnets "jumped" or showed the same attraction as before baked
..Second test, I baked another set of the same type of magnets for two hours at 550 degrees . .The Mangelsen's magnets showed exactly the same strength as before baking, however the no-brand China magnets had to now be less than 1/2" from a metal source or another magnet before they moved.
..the ferrite magnet can be baked in the oven at 300 F; embedded? in the polymer clay is not a problem.
....I have already tested the rubber magnets (sheets?) and have found that with heating to clay curing temperatures, the magnets completely lose their attraction.

... My DH says you might want to try aligning the magnets with Earth's magnetic North and South Poles while exposing these magnets to any changes in temp. (baking & cooling?). This may have the effect of strengthening or weakening the magnetic force of the magnets.... if the magnet was weakened, try another magnet in the reverse direction while exposing it to the same exact conditions
.... Heat does strange things to iron and it's derivatives such as steel with regards to realignment of molecular some experimentation may be in order.... to align these magnets with the Earth's magnetic forces, use a simple navigational compass outside the oven to determine proper direction.

Ferrofluid (magnet liquid).... the only known material in which magnetism and fluidity coexist.... weird stuff
...magnet "viewing film" (makes magnetism patterns visible)

more info, etc. on magnets:


Magnifying lenses (or magnifying glasses) could be used in several ways with polymer clay:
...some come with blank handles which can be covered with decorative clay
......or some regular handles could be covered, or otherwise embellished
...the lenses alone could be framed with clay, and hung as pendants by adding a hole, bail or other way to attach cording (as substitute for reading glassses, or for kids or other's scietific purposes)

These places have (or at least used to have) some magnifying glasses with blank handles which can be embellished, etc.:

For other complete magnifying glasses, check out garage sales, thrift shops, etc, or even Target, office supply stores, drugstores, etc.
....then cover the handle and/or frame, or remove one or both before making a decorative frame for it

For single magnifying lenses, the scientific supply sites often have them, or perhaps teacher supply stores:

There are also round magnifying lenses (each surrounded by in a small a black metal frame, in various magnification strengths) at camera supply shops (or online) as individual (or sets of) "close-up filters" --they'll come in various diameters for different cameras.

I also may use individual lenses out of my old non-bifocal reading glasses
--glass is best, but plastic lenses may work at our oven temps too since they're "medical plastics"
(see also "leashes" for reading glasses in Jewelry > Leashes)

For plastics that can't be baked (lens itself and/or handle), you could always form the clay frame on the lens... remove it to bake ...then glue back to the lens or handle later.

glass pebbles or hemispheres (or plastic ones) will also magnify (get at craft stores, plastics stores, etc.)
....Celadonia's framed glass pebbles (onlaid leaves, etc.) used as pendants
... could easily have image behind (attached with thin Goop glue) which would magnify it ... many with faux metal frames

(see more on glass or acyrlic pebbles and hemispheres, in Misc > Marbles >Pebbles & also Aquarium Beads)

pendant magnifier loupes-- in these, the loupe swings out from behind a front surface which could be covered with polymer clay (Confabulations) (only sell completed ones though?)


…cut the fiberoptic strands up with scissors into half inch pieces ... make a cone out of heavy paper, poke holes where you wanted the lights, stuck the hunks through the heavy paper (manilla folder), glued the hunks with a hot glue gun, then painted the tips with colored stained glass paint. ....then the cone was covered with a dried plant material that resembles pine boughs. ("Princess Pine" a type of club moss, actually.) A night light bulb on a cord with a toggle switch
. . . I THINK I have seen the fiber optic ... cable? ... whatever in the American Science and Surplus catalog, which is also online, remember. I am seeing really weird sci-fi Christmas tree ornaments in my head – hollow forms with points of light that fasten over the string of light.
And so does Edmund Scientific. I've been meaning to get back to this and order some stuff-They have glass fiber optic strands for something like $54. There was also a beginners book about fiber optics that looked interesting.
.... You have to be careful not to put a kink in an optical fiber, or it won't pass the light as effectively
.... My brother has a clock face done in fake mother-of-pearl on black, and under that is a recess with color-changing fiber optic flowers ...I have a couple extra of the flowers that are in those boxes. We got them when we were in the Phillipines. . . .stopped working but the color wheel and turntable still work. . .
....If you cut the fiber, glass or plastic, to length, you need to polish the ends to get the best light - you do this by putting a drop of metal polish on a piece of glass or plastic, and rubbing the end on it, then doing the same with a drop of jeweller's rouge...

...definition of LED's (click on "concept") .... and LED art... by James Lehman
(click on each photo for many more photos)

Alexandra's Halloween garden scene using 31 LED's and 5 small bulbs in various ways ("after a pretty steep learning curve and crash course in soldering!")

Even ultraviolet emitting LEDs have become available now, and are reasonably priced
....a combination of glow in the dark or fluorescent (or bleached Premo) clay together with UV LEDs can be spectacular in all kinds if circumstances
... LEDs have a very narrow viewing angle (all their light is directed forward within a cone of, say, 15 degrees)... these are perfect for (the ends of) fibre optic strands, but if they are used 'directly' in clay, some light-scattering agent such as a pearl clay should be mixed into the translucent.
.....If one needs to transmit the light into an object, the best method is to use fibre optic cable. This cable is simply flexible glass or plastic rod whose refractory characteristics are chosen so that any light which enters one end of the rod is reflected by the walls down the length of the cable (and appears only at the cut end)
.......using this cable, light may be carried to another location within a mini-scene, (e.g. a lamp or fireplace), or into an ornament or item of jewellery. The cable is quite flexible and can even be bent around corners.
.....I have found that the best means of attaching LEDs to the end of fibre-optic cable is to use heat shrink tubing ... this is pushed over the LED and the end of the cable, and heated gently.
... LEDs are made in a variety of shapes and sizes. A very low voltage, (typically 1.7-2.5 volts), may be used to light the standard device. Sadly, a single alkaline cell has slightly less voltage than that required, and two in series are too high.... Another fact, which must be remembered, is that all LEDs must be connected to the power source in a particular way. Their leads have different lengths, (normally the longer lead must be connected to the positive side of the battery). A resistor is used in series with the LED to reduce the battery voltage to the appropriate level, (i.e. the resistor is connected between the battery and the LED - like a daisy chain).
....neither glass nor plastic fiber optic cable can withstand clay-curing temperatures
....most standard LEDs (i.e. those without additional flasher chips inside them), will withstand clay-curing temperatures., one can make translucent clay shapes around the diodes... bake... and then connect them to the power supply. Alan V.
....Alan V's mini Tiffany lamp uses an LED (whole lesson in Covering > Nightlights,Shields,Lamps)
. . . . .
the lamp's bulb is actually a 3mm high intensity white LED which I've dipped into silicone sealant to make a diffuser for the light (otherwise all the light goes directly upwards and doesn't really illuminate the lamp shade evenly).
.....finally, the whole unit is assembled and wired, and the parts either glued or soldered together as appropriate ...Then add batteries and switch on - hopefully there will be light! ...using 2 AAA batteries and the high efficiency white LED, the life of the batteries is surprising - about 6-10 days continuous light (which doesn't get yellower as the batteries age as it would with a filament bulb). Alan

If you want to see lights dotted along the fiber, not just at the end of the fiber, you use a round file to cut little dips where you want the light to show (and polish the dips).

fiber optic fabric??
....could we embed this fabric with liquid clay, or otherwise use it somehow?? Diane B.
.......Yes - I'm sure we could embed these types of fibreoptics in liquid clay, but I think the sorts that are used for these kinds of things are specially designed optical strands which scatter their light down their lengths, rather than the approaching 100% transmission required by most users (?). From what I read, the strands are plastic which have been purposely 'thumped', heated or otherwise distorted all the way along their length so that the light spills out at the damage points. Alan V.


Hypertufa is a mixture which when dry simulates old, rugged stone (or even smooth concrete)
... is much lighter in weight
... fairly easy to make
....can be hand-shaped or molded, etc., into many small to large shapes to create all kinds of things
....can be carved, and filed, etc.

one basic RECIPE :
.........peat moss --2 parts (...sift through finger to remove all lumps)
.........sand, vermiculite, or perlite --1 part
.........portland cement --1 part
.........water --1 part ...mix
Then rough-shape, or mold... wait 3-4 hrs if want to "carve"... allow week to cure fully before using

Tufa items can be many sizes (small to quite large), and all shapes (though no really intricate or fine detail is possible)

...armatures of various kinds can be used as shapers underneath to make hollow forms (wire mesh, PVC pipe, etc.)

...hypertufa can be cast in or on "molds" and forms of all kinds and sizes --from bowls and boxes and planters to Halloween masks, rubber molds (homemade also) and molds you make or build or holes dug in the ground, etc.
....releases are necessary for many molds (plastic wrap or plastic bag, or oily things like Vaseline, veg, oil, mineral oil --oily ones all will disappear with a few weeks outdoors)

...outdoors (or porch) --planters, containers of any kind, simple sculptures, pavers, birdbaths, fountains, benches, short single-pedastal "mushroom" tables for kids, "Japanese lanterns," etc.
...indoors --lamp bases, planters, table tops?, sculptures, wall pieces (bas relief on plaque), tiles, etc.

baked polymer clay pieces could also be inlaid in it for mosaics or other embellishment
....fence planters (hemispheres), with inlaid mosaic detail

...small hypertufa eggs, covered with glass mosaic

more photos of various hypertufa creations
from Google's Image Search:,GGLC:1969-53,GGLC:en&q=hypertufa

simple lamp base
outdoor bas relief sculpts on fence

dimensional leaf
a tufa-making class (for elderly!)... making sm-med planters... could even do with kids (gone)

basic lesson:
more lessons, uses, advantages:
more info and lessons (click on on each set of lessons at bottom)
more info, free lessons, and downloadable book:
info, ideas, etc.
lots of info & photos specifically regarding how to make hypertufas, etc., at the Hypertufa Forum at the Garden Web website
...message threads which have photos, and often info (scroll down and look for an actual photo... or look for clickable "Image Link" or something similar--- both are usually in the first message)

...all messages

When casting (smooth) leaves I've used a mix 50-50 of portland and sand (only)
... I didn't use reinforcement because my largest leaf was only about 12 inches wide (otherwise I would have used some aluminum screening). hummingbird3172

bethie's solid hypertufa faces --created on a board with a wad of hypertufa, then features added with more hypertufa
... many faces then mosaic-ed
OR (add 2 or 3 --up to 7-- after "face" in url to see others)

to make a surface smoother, wet a little of dry mix and rub all over, then wipe off excess with cloth
...vermiculite will make more the final result pitted

can add more layers stick well if add wood glue to the dry ingredients to bond one layer to the next

if stepping stones or other items made with hypertufa will be subjected to a lot of stress, and need to be very strong, then you can use hyptertufa with concrete... place hypertufa in bottom 1/2" of mold (which will be the final top surface), then fill with concrete.... can also use strips of nylon sheeting or fibers between the two layers for even more strength

eventually moss and lichens may grow in the crevices of the rough-surface ones

You can embed (ungalvanized) steel nails, nuts, washers, bolts, etc. in your hypertufa objects and they will rust (into patterns, if you want). ... steel wool fibers mixed in (as a strenghtener or not) will rust like crazy! hummingbird3172

small items of cement art

(see also Other Cement Mixes like concrete, Quikcrete in Outdoor Polymer > Rocks, rock, stone)


(see also: Liquid Sculpey for cloissone, Paints, Armatures & ? for paperclay, Misc for Snowglobes & Outdoor polymer, )