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Monday, August 8, 2011

The Deep Pour - Or Why You Need Polyester Casting Resin Part TWO

 Here we are.  Part two of my blog series using Environmental Technology Inc. Clear Polyester Casting Resin.  This acorn paper weight is my first finished project!
 Clear Polyester Casting Resin allows you to pour resin into deep molds and castings.  You can't/shouldn't do that with Envirotex Lite which is meant to be a glaze and if you want a deep layer you have to do it in several different layers.
 This one and one eighth inch circular reusable mold was my first experiment.  These acorns were gathered in our backyard, so they do have sentimental meaning to me.  In order to make the paperweight I did two pours.
Step One:  Fill the mold to the halfway 
point with the casting resin.
Step Two:  Wait 25 minutes.  
The resin is already gelling.  
Add acorns.
Step Three:  Make second batch of casting resin.  
Add it to the mold and let everything cure overnight.
This is totally different than the instructions I use for Envirotex Lite.
Also, mixing casting resin is different.  As I mentioned in Fridays first blog post on this topic you really need to follow the instructions on the packaging.  The information is available online too.
I did my project work in the garage.  The instructions strongly suggest working in a well ventilated space.  I listened to that advice and also wore gloves at all times.
 I ended up making two paper weights.  I made a mistake the first time and wasn't sure I could save it.  Can you tell which is the mistake?
 This casting was gorgeous.  I took some sandpaper to the bottom and smoothed off the base. 
This is my mistake casting.  I added the acorns late!  I normally never answer the phone when I work with resin...but on this day I did.  By the time I returned to my project the first pour of the casting resin had more than was already hard.  So I tossed my acorns in and then added the second batch of casting resin.  The acorns were sticking up and out of the mold.  So after the resin had cured I popped out the casting.  Then, I took the whole project to my professional sander to remove the acorns backs.  It looks like I sawed through them.  Project saved!  At this point I just applied a thin layer of acrylic clear coat to the backs which made the sanding scratches disappear.
 The mold is really good!  There is some texture in the mold siding which makes the finished piece look less glossy on the sides.
 I really liked how the finished casting looked on the white background and decided to make a white felt bottom (like professional paper weights have) to finish my project.  I ran a small piece of white felt through my Xyron sticker maker machine.  It applies an even layer of adhesive to anything you run through it.
 Here is my felt with the adhesive on it.  No glue lines!  I knew it would stick and I didn't have to work with any wet glues that might stain the felt.
 My felt bottoms in place.
My paperweight hard at work in the studio.

Like any new medium Polyester Casting Resin is one that I am happy to experiment with.  I have no deadlines and I am not using any important or one of a kind inclusions in any of my projects.  I think it is really important to spend time learning what works and what doesn't.  I have already discovered that timing is very important.

The best resource I can give is the book "Resin Jewellery" by Kathie Murphy.  It was first published in Great Britain in 2002 and was the only resource I had for many years.  It has been reprinted several times and I have two copies now with different covers.  It really covers polyester resin use, mixing, finishing and so much more.


  1. Interesting project! I love how easy it was for you to save the one that went wrong. You mentioned an acrylic clear coat to make the sanding scratches disappear. Do you mind sharing the name of the finish you used? It would be very handy to know which products are compatible with the resin. Thanks for showing us all your cool projects!

    PS. How did the JTV shoot go? Did the caning technique work with the epoxy clay? I am very curious as to how it went.

  2. Hi Cindy! I used a spray that is simply called Acrylic High Gloss Spray. Any acrylic spray will work with polyester resin...its the only time I can say that. The clear class shine is incredible.
    Also, did you see this post?

  3. This is all so fascinating to me. I subscribe to your blog and read it all avidly. And I love the things you're creating. I just haven't gotten myself in gear to try it yet and I'm dying to! One of these days...

  4. I wasn't able to get the mold release/conditioner locally. I am using a silicone mold. Is there anything else I can use to treat the mold when using polyester resin?

    1. Mold Release & Conditioner would be your best choice. If it's an option we can direct you to an online source. Please email our customer service at Other options you might try would be a thin coat of vegetable oil, PAM cooking spray, or a mix of water and dish soap (25% soap). The dish soap mixture must dry on surface before resin is used.


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