Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The Deep Pour - Or Why You Need Polyester Casting Resin Part THREE - The Frida Frame

 This piece is joining a large grouping of items in my studio that salute the artist Frida Kahlo.  
A pretty pink hued frame highlighting one of her self portraits.
 This project did not start out as a frame.
I thought I was making a bangle.  I have loved resin crafts for almost 10 years.  Over that time I have purchased molds and accessories in a wide variety of locations.  I also find a lot on Ebay too.  Somewhere in what must have been a resin buying spree, I bought several molds like this one. I was sure they were bangles, small, medium and large.
 So I got my Clear Polyester Casting Resin supplies out again.  You really must read part one and part two of this series.  They are chock full of measuring tips and reminders.
 I filled my "bangle to the half way point, waited about 20 minutes and then dropped in some stones.  Then I made another batch of Polyester casting resin and filled the "bangle" mold to the brim.  But it didn't look right.  It started to spill over into the centre area.
 So, since the middle section was now covered in casting resin, I decided to make one last batch. I added some red and white opaque pigments to the resin in order to make this pink colour so that I could turn the bangle disaster into a frame.
 Call me unobservant.
It turns out this mold was to make an ash tray.  Who knew?   
Why would I have a mold to make an ash tray?  
I have no answer to this question.  
So, here I was faced with a great casting for an object I don't like.  
I just had to turn this into a frame!  I even added some gold paint.
Then I went to my comfort zone.
I made a small batch of my favorite apoxie resin:  Envirotex Lite.  I covered Frida in this resin and then I filled the channel with it to attach the metal flowers permanently.
Didn't it turn out great?  Frida Kahlo smoked...so in many ways, this does make sense.
My Frida Bangle/Frame/Ashtray.

Lessons Learned
1.  Once again, the polyester resin clear casting is beautiful.  Crystal clear.
2.  It is very easy to colour polyester resin with the pigments I already use.
3.  I can still use Envirotex Lite as a glaze over an image in a polyester resin casting as long as I follow my usual process for sealing the paper with Ultra Seal.  Resin meets different resin.
4.  Polyester casting resin is greatly effected by the temperature....and we are extremely hot and humid in my part of the world.  My frame was a little sticky on the sides even though the resin was cured.  This is not uncommon and can be fixed with a small coating of an acrylic spray sealer.  If I was patient, I could leave the casting in a warm and sunny spot for a few days...but a spray sealer is dry in under an hour.
5.  Polyester resin de-bubbles or as they say "de-gasses" itself.  Some bubble might occur if air is introduced with an inclusion such as my little stones.  I can live with the occasional bubble.


  1. I really love your blog and all of the wonderful artsy stuff you do with resin. I never knew it could do so much. I'm still learning by trial and error, and I thank you for your previous advice on correct measuring. Since then, my resin has hardened perfectly.

    Could I ask another question? I'm trying to make some pendants and I am working indoors in a closed room. How much ventilation do you have when you work? I would love to open my door, but I have 3 cats and 2 dogs that are dust and fur makers and have to be right on top of me and my table while I work. And I saw on You Tube a demonstration of using Environtex lite and she said it was very toxic. So now I'm concerned.

    I really don't want to work outside since it's monsoon season out here and very hot, humid and windy. Any suggestions?

    Thank you very much! Carol :)

  2. Hi Carol. If you have any concerns, you could always wear a mask. When I work with resin I never forget that I am working with a chemical. To that end, I will say my studio is a nice size space. I usually make a tiny batch, 1-2 ounces every other day. I am not worried at all for myself. If I was working with it everyday in large quantities, I would definitely wear a good mask full time and install extra ventilation...but that isn't the case for me.

  3. Hi Carmi -- I was wondering how you figured out that this mold was supposed to be for an ashtray. It looks like a bangle to me!! Thanks.

  4. Nice effect done to the polyester raisin creation...and the color used is also very nice.Like experimentation really... would be great for the youthful teenage.

  5. I just love this website! So many wonderful ideas, I've been looking at your site all day when I have time and I can't get enough. Thank you for all the wonderful ideas and tips. This one made me laugh, when you said it was supposed to have been an ashtray. I never would have guessed if you didn't say so. The frame came out beautiful!

  6. I cannot figure out how to make the bottom surface harden.. does it always stay sticky to where i need to sand the sticky layer off or am i doing something wrong?

    1. Something must not be right. It absolutely should cure hard. I only use this resin in the summer when I can work outside, so I will test it myself in a few weeks.
      I do know this, resin is usually sticky for one of two reasons. The mixing was not perfect or the room is too cold. If you are working in a cool basement or garage that could be effecting it.

  7. Carmi, just to clarify for your "new to resin" readers this mold is for a coaster not an ashtray (notice there are no indents where you'd put the cigarette).
    If you look up that mold on line it specifies "coaster mold""

    1. Thanks Andy, I don't know why I didn't see it as a coaster! I am going to make another one next week!


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