The curing process is when the epoxy resin reacts with hardener forming a solid plastic material that hardens into your finished piece.
The hardener catalyzes the chemical reaction of the epoxy molecules so they cross-link, forming a polymer between them. Once cured, the resin goes from liquid to solid.
Why does resin take longer to cure?
We get many questions about why resin takes longer to cure than it does to harden.
First, resin hardens because it is a chemical process that begins once the two parts are mixed together. Resin starts off as a liquid and when the two parts are mixed together, it begins “reacting” and turning into a solid.
The reaction is not instant but will start taking place minutes after mixing.
The second part of curing is a long process where the resin actually cures or becomes fully hardened. Curing occurs as the resin molecules link together through cross-linking (when polymer chains join each other).
This process can take up to 24 hours depending on certain factors including temperature and humidity.
Why is my resin still soft after 24 hours?
There are several things that could prevent your resin from curing.
- Check the temperature of your resin. If it is below 60 degrees, you need to heat it up.
- Also, check the temperature of the room where you’re storing the resin overnight. You want to make sure that’s also above 60 degrees. The resin will cure at a lower temperature if it’s in a warmer room than if it were sitting out on a cold table.
- You should consider checking your humidity level as well because if there is too much moisture in the air, the resin won’t cure properly either. In general, don’t pour resin when there’s more than 50% humidity in your studio or workshop space; if possible wait until there is low humidity before pouring again!
- Check to make sure you used enough hardener and not too much hardener in relation to how much liquid plastic (resin) was poured into our mixing cup/container/bowl – I’ve had people tell me they were following directions correctly but still had problems with their first few batches: usually this means either too little or too much hardener so always keep an eye on those measurements when mixing! Also, check that you’re using enough/enough catalyst for each individual layer/batch by measuring out some small amount on something like wax paper before adding more layers over previous ones; this will help ensure consistency across all layers which should yield better results later down the road once everything has cured completely!
How do you speed up resin curing process?
The answer is simple: it just does, and there’s not much you can do about that. However, if you need your resin to cure faster than normal, here are a few techniques for doing so.
- Increase the temperature of your work area as much as possible. Heat greatly increases the speed of the curing process, but it should be noted that this method can lead to other issues such as bubbles which will make your finished piece inferior in quality.
- Use a UV light to accelerate the process. This method is both fast and effective.
- Add a catalyst to the resin mixture (this is not safe for jewelry making). Catalysts come in liquid form and are highly concentrated; therefore they must be used sparingly and with caution because adding too much can cause discoloration or crack of finished pieces (and also melted skin). There are no negative side effects when using catalysts in small amounts, however, they are optional as they usually aren’t necessary unless you’re working on a large project that requires an accelerated production rate or simply very impatient like me!
How long before resin fully cures?
Before you get started, it’s helpful to understand that resin cure time can vary from a few hours to many days depending on what kind of resin you use and the temperature of your studio or workspace.
Generally speaking, resins with a longer pot life will take longer to cure.
The short answer is that the ambient temperature and humidity in your studio can make a big difference in how long it takes for your jewelry piece or artwork to fully cure. Heat accelerates the curing process while cold slows it down.
For example, resinous pieces will cure faster during summer than winter months because your studio space is warmer.
With temperatures that reach over 100 degrees Fahrenheit in some desert states like Arizona and Nevada, resin cures even faster there than they do in Northern states like New York or Vermont where summers are milder and winters are cold and snowy.
Why is my resin not hardening?
Your resin can go wrong for a number of reasons. If you are using the correct amounts of hardener and resin, then it is likely a problem with temperature or age. We’ve listed the most common causes below:
- Resin takes longer to cure when the temperature is too cold. Be sure your curing area stays above 70°F (21°C).
- Resin takes longer to cure when the temperature is too hot. Be sure your curing space stays below 90°F (32°C).
- Resin may take longer to cure if it was mixed more than 10 minutes ago. It’s best to pour clear coats while they’re still fresh.
- Old resin will also take longer to cure — especially if it has been sitting in an open container in which moisture has condensed on top of the resin surface, making it less effective
How do you know when resin is cured?
It can be difficult to tell when resin has fully cured. The short answer is that it should be hard, clear, and not sticky.
A good way to test this is to scratch the surface of your resin piece with your fingernail if it scratches easily, it’s not done curing. You can also use a toothpick or pin to see if you get any residue or little gummy balls on the stick.
Resin will also give off a strong chemical smell when it’s still in its curing stage, so if you smell something that reminds you of nail polish remover, your resin isn’t fully cured yet!
Another thing to look out for is “air bubbles”. These are small pockets of air trapped in the liquid resin which may appear as tiny bubbles near the top of the piece and can cause cloudiness after curing.
If they form before the resin cures, use a heat gun or butane torch to pop them manually and help disperse them throughout the resin layer.
How do you fix resin that didn’t cure?
When resin doesn’t cure, the best bet is to try to fix it. Those who have tried to use resin as an adhesive, or a coating for a surface know that uncured resin is pretty much ruined.
Curing times are very specific, and if you want your resin job to last you will need to figure out why it didn’t cure. There are several common mistakes that can cause the curing process of your resin project to be delayed or even stopped altogether.
The most common mistake is mixing too little hardener in the mixture at first. I generally mix 1 tablespoon of hardener for every 2 cups of resin and wait about 10 minutes for what is called “blushing” when the mixture turns white and cloudy.
A couple more drops may be necessary at this point until your mixture becomes transparent again, but add only a couple of drops at a time because too much hardener can cause cracking while curing!
Another reason your resin might not cure properly would be if you used a mold that wasn’t compatible with resin — if this happens, no matter how much heat you apply, it won’t work!
Sometimes just waiting longer can resolve this problem; however, using a hair dryer or heat lamp on your project can help speed up the process of curing if you’re in a hurry!
Can you use a hair dryer to cure resin?
You can use a hair dryer, but you should use the lowest heat setting. Using a stronger airflow or heating the resin can increase the chance of introducing more bubbles.
You can also use a heat gun if you are very careful about the lowest setting. Always make sure to keep it moving and don’t stay in one spot too long, or you could end up burning your piece!
So, now that you know a bit more about what causes resin to take longer to cure, you are ready for your next project! Keep in mind that epoxy resin is an excellent tool for creating beautiful art pieces.
With the tips we provided above, you’re on your way to making art with gorgeous dimension and depth. Now go create some amazing resin art!