If you’re working with epoxy and want to pour it into a mold, then you need to use a release agent. Release agents serve several important functions, like providing surface lubricity and preventing layers of the epoxy from bonding together where they shouldn’t.
There are many different types of release agents that can be used for specific applications. Some of the most common include mold release agents, silicone release agents, concrete release agents, and foam release agents.
Table of Contents
What can be used as a release agent for epoxy?
- Petroleum jelly: You can use petroleum jelly in a pinch to keep your epoxy from sticking, but it’s not the most ideal substance. It makes the surface of your epoxy gooey and sticky, and you might be left with an unsightly residue on your work after it dries.
- Wax paper: Wax paper is definitely better than using nothing as a barrier between your epoxy and its container, but it’s also not ideal. Wax paper is difficult to control, especially if you’re pouring epoxy into a small area like a jewelry mold.
- Pam cooking spray: Pam is meant for cooking food, so it’s not generally recommended to use with something you intend to consume later (like food) or put on your skin (like jewelry). However, Pam does work well as an epoxy release agent when used correctly.
- Vaseline: Like Pam cooking spray and petroleum jelly, Vaseline isn’t intended for use by someone who’ll then eat or wear what they’ve treated with Vaseline, so this option is best if you’re making something like coasters out of epoxy resin rather than earrings.
What to use to keep epoxy from sticking?
To make sure your epoxy is applied correctly and does not stick to your product, you need to use a release agent. A release agent is anything that creates a barrier between the mold and the epoxy.
This allows for easy separation of the two. Release agents can be natural or synthetic.
The most common types of release agents are mineral oil, baby oil, wax, PAM spray, Vaseline, non-stick cooking sprays (like Pam), and silicone. Do NOT use coconut oil as a release agent because it will actually cause the epoxy to adhere more tightly to your mold!
If you don’t have any of these on hand there are other things you can use as an emergency release agent such as masking tape, wax paper, parchment paper, or even aluminum foil!
Do you need a release agent for epoxy resin?
The short answer is: that you definitely need a release agent when using epoxy resin!
Okay, so maybe it’s not *that* simple—the long answer? You always need a release agent, barring certain exceptions.
What can I use instead of mold release for resin?
Your best bet is a non-stick spray such as PAM, but you can also use vegetable oil, petroleum jelly, or paraffin wax. Teflon tape or silicone tape (found in the plumbing section of a hardware store) can be used to line molds made from metal.
If you’re using a resin that requires measuring in equal parts by volume, consider investing in an inexpensive (but easy to clean) set of plastic measuring cups and spoons.
No matter what mold release method you choose, it’s important that your work surface is clean and free from debris. Dust or dirt particles can cause imperfections in your finished piece.
Can you use Vaseline as a mold release?
The short answer is, yes you can use Vaseline as a mold release for epoxy.
Vaseline is an effective mold release for small molds/projects. And, since it’s inexpensive and easy to find, it won’t break the bank when you’re trying to figure out how to make a mold that won’t stick.
Plus, petroleum-based releases like Vaseline are easy to wash off your hands if you get some on them—just soap and water.
If you need something to use with larger or more complex molds, however, check out these other popular options:
mold release waxes
PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol)
Does epoxy stick to parchment paper?
If you want to know does epoxy stick to parchment paper, the answer is no. Parchment paper can be a good release agent for epoxy resin.
This type of paper is food safe and compostable. It is also non-sticky, so it makes a perfect release material for epoxy resin.
You can use parchment paper to line a mold or create your own mold with the help of the parchment paper and some duct tape or painter’s tape (I used painter’s tape).
Does epoxy stick to aluminum foil?
There are a few ways to use aluminum foil as a release agent, depending on the complexity of your mold. The most basic way is to just tear off some aluminum foil and press it into the bottom of your mold.
You can then use this as a base for casting epoxy, or you can pour in more epoxy to fill the gaps at the bottom of your mold, creating an aluminum shadow box.
You can also take this one step further and apply multiple sheets of aluminum foil over each other, rolling them up and twisting them together to form a long strip that will fit around the edges of your mold. This method works well if you are casting larger items such as bowls or platters which require more space for pouring in epoxy.
Why is my epoxy sticking to my mold?
With any resin project, the epoxy will not stick to the mold if:
- The epoxy is not fully cured. Epoxy takes 72 hours to fully cure. If you attempt to remove it before then, you may have trouble getting it off of your mold. You can test this by trying to scratch at the resin with your fingernail – if it’s still soft and malleable, wait a little longer.
- The mold was not prepared properly. Sticking may occur if you do not use a release agent or allow enough working time between layers (at least an hour).
- The mold is dirty or dusty. Clean off any dust or debris that may be on your surface before pouring epoxy into your mold.
- The mold is not cured properly. Make sure that your silicone has completely cured in order for it to become tacky enough for the next layer of epoxy to adhere to it without sticking when finished curing and released from the mold.
- The mold is not properly sealed (specifically for wood molds). Wood reacts with certain types of resins so make sure wood molds are sealed with either shellac or polyurethane before using them as a casting surface for epoxy resin projects.
Epoxy resin can be a wonderful adhesive to use in your projects, but if you don’t use a release agent it might not come out of your mold.
Depending on what kind of mold you have and what’s in the epoxy, there are several different options for releasing agents.
In general, most people will either use wax or PVA glue, but other options include silicone spray or even just lining your mold with foil or parchment paper.