First of all, a BIG THANK YOU those who attended #KatipunanArtFestival and visited the Ginton Forge DIY resin station. We hope you had fun!
We’re overwhelmed by the interest that many attendees people had for resin casting and their willingness to try it out first hand. Resin casting is largely a chemical process that can be technical, messy, and quite smelly. But you awesome people endured the strong smell and patiently waited for your creations to come out of their molds after 30 minutes to an hour. And your work came out great.
Because you’re been really great attendees and resin casters, Ginton Forge is posting a few blog posts that will help you make the most out of your take-home DIY resin creations to make them more beautiful.
Materials you will need are the following:
1. your resin object
2. sandpaper with grades 500 upwards up to 2500 (I started from 120, but I suggest 500 for a starting point and I will explain this below)
3. a basin of water or a faucet
4. time and patience
NOTE: If you took shells that are made of resin, use sandpaper with 1000 grit upwards ONLY. Using coarse sandpaper will rub away the nice details on your shell! This post is especially made for encapsulated material and clear casts.
So let’s start out with a sample made by my sister, JJ (you can follow her jewelry work via IG @johannailda). This is a crane origami suspended in a globe of clear resin, but you’ll notice that you can’t really see very well through the resin because of wavy blotches outside the globe. These blotches are extra resin formations that normally occur after casting and have to be cleaned up.
First, wash your resin figure with soap and water. Making sure that you’ve let the resin set for 1-2 days after you cast it, use soap and water to wash your work thoroughly. This helps reduce the stickiness of the resin and wash away most of the remaining smell.
Prepare for polishing work by preparing different grades of sandpaper. Rubbing sandpaper on the resin figure (aka sanding), will scrape away the hardened resin. Remember that you are essentially doing damage to your resin creation by rubbing it against a course and rough material. To make something better you must refine it, but you must keep in mind that the “damage” that you do must be controlled! Work carefully and slowly because once you scrape away the resin with sandpaper, there is no way you can put it back.
For this piece I used 120, 600, 1000, 2500 grit sandpaper, moving from the smallest number (more rough, like the 120) towards the highest number (fine, like the 2500), in that order.
Wear a dust mask. When you sand resin, it creates tiny particles (particulate matter) that is bad for you. Buy one of those dust masks at the hardware store to completely cover your nose and mouth while you are working. Safety first!
Place your resin figure under a faucet opened to a slight trickle. Using sandpaper with water is called wet sanding. This is a good process to use because:
- When you sand away the resin, the water immediately washes it away rather than let it stick back to your figure
- Resin particles do not create a cloud of dust that you can inhale but instead falls to the ground where it is not of harm to anyone.
- You can easily see your progress while you sand
You may also sand the resin figure underwater using a basin.
Sand your resin figure with light, circular strokes, starting with the coarsest grit sandpaper. Remember not to apply strong pressure, because if you do, the really rough sandpaper may gouge deep lines into the resin, which will make it look damaged and will be difficult to sand down in the long run. Do not push downwards on the object with the sandpaper.
Rather, let the sandpaper lightly brush the surface of the object. (Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it the more you do it.)
Once you begin sanding, the object will look even more “cloudy” and less transparent than before. DO NOT PANIC! This just means you’re sanding the entire surface, and this is a good thing. Make sure you sand all the surfaces with the first grit of sandpaper, then move up with the sandpaper grit. Then repeat the whole process, checking for any gaps that you missed.
The more number of grits you go through, the better the result; for example, you can go 500, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 1800, 2000, 2200, 2500 and so on. Here’s one tip an award-winning scale modeler taught me: go up the grades and finish up with OSLO PAPER. Of course, make sure your resin figure is dry when you finish up with oslo paper. The point is to refine the object to the best degree possible.
For progress across the grits, see the photos below:
Be very thorough while you sand. And be patient–I promise you it will pay off!
You won’t feel the 2500 rasping against the object, but trust me, it is still evening out the details. The more you polish with this level of fine grit, the more beautiful the outcome.
The details are out! This whole process took me 30 minutes to do. I could’ve done a bit more but I was on my way to work. Just remember not to rush the process and spend time sanding and being thorough with those grits.
OH NO, IT’S STILL CLOUDY AFTER I LET IT DRY! Still, don’t panic–and if you feel you have sanded it enough, you no longer need to sand any further (unless you wanna go with even finer grades beyond 2500 grit, which is ok!). The next step is to spray the object with glossy clear paint. And I will teach you in the next blog post exactly how to do that. For now, pat yourself on the back and be happy with the great work! (Sorry I couldn’t include it in this post as I still have to go to my dayjob!!!)
Also, if you feel you missed a spot and need to resand it with rough paper, you can do so, but make sure you follow it up with finer and finer grits of sandpaper.
Are you satisfied with the end result? Frustrated? Happy? Still confused? Or did you feel this post didn’t help at all? Leave a comment in the comments section, please, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. And please stay tuned for the next blog post!