This is how it all began—using resin to coat my paintings! Years ago, all I did was paint, paint, paint... and then I discovered resin, and then I resined, resined, resined all of my paintings! The early ArtResin videos document all of this. Then I discovered that ArtResin is great for coating all kinds of things, and so now my creativity has gone in all kinds of directions (...photography ...jewelry making ...collage ...etc.). But in this video, I bring it back to where my passion for resin began: with painting.
In this particular piece from this video, I wanted to paint a waterlily, so I found an image of one online and printed it off, then transferred the image on my panel. Transferring the image is easy: just color over the back of the image completely and darkly with pencil. Then flip it over and trace over the outline of the lily. Where you trace, the pencil from the back of the paper will come off onto the panel underneath. Voilà! You have a transferred image ready to be painted in!
To coat a painting, your piece must first be completely dry. If you're using acrylics, no problem, your work will be dry in no time flat. If you're using oils though, you will be waiting weeks, and even months, before your piece is dry!
When you're ready to resin, pour equal parts from each bottle in the ArtResin kit into a mixing container. Mix thoroughly for at least 3 minutes, scraping the bottom and sides as you mix, and then pour and spread over your piece. I make sure to prop up and level the piece on some kind of stand so that when I pour the resin and it goes over the edge, it won't stick the painting to the table as it cures. If you see bubbles in the resin and want to be über efficient at popping them, use an Artist's Torch and quickly run it over the surface.
Next, just cover the entire piece with a box (open on one side, obviously) and leave it overnight to cure. When you return in the morning, you will be pleased to see a perfect pour and a professional-looking result!
When choosing an epoxy resin to cover your painting, photo, wood project, print, or other kind of craft, you may be tempted to go with whatever is cheapest. But be warned—what may at first seem relatively inexpensive could wind up costing you a ton over the long run in damaged artwork!
How Resins Behave Over Time
Once cured, epoxy resins change with exposure to UV light (as most things on earth do!). Even fluorescent indoor light can cause it to change. The most noticeable change is in respect to color. When UV light hits a resin coating, it degrades the epoxy polymers, causing ambering (i.e. a noticeable yellow discoloration). Even resin that may have started out crystal clear will soon turn a yucky yellow hue. This process and outcome is inevitable, however there are things that can be done to the chemical make-up of the resin formula to mitigate this.
What is a UV Stabilizer and How Does It Work?
Many epoxy resins on the market include a UV stabilizer (aka UV inhibitor) to help protect against yellowing, as well as other problems that epoxies are prone to (such as de-lamination, chalking, cracking and gloss loss). In truth, a UV stabilizer is necessary and effective, except when it comes to the yellowing issue. A UV stabilizer merely delays yellowing somewhat... another additive altogether is required to really combat yellowing— something by the name of Hindered Amine Light Stabilizer (HALS). Unlike UV light stabilization, Hindered Amine Light Stabilization (HALS) actually interrupts the yellowing process at the outset, making it much more difficult for yellowing to occur. HALS has been demonstrated in numerous test cases over the years to be extraordinarily effective in protecting against yellowing —there is approximately 50 years worth of this evidence available (Google it!).
Which Brand of Epoxy Resin Has the Best Performance in Terms of Yellowing?
There is only one epoxy resin formula available on the market that includes both UV and HALS stabilization: that product is ArtResin epoxy resin. ArtResin was developed specifically for use over artwork and craft projects, meaning it has been formulated to keep artwork beautiful and as the artist intended, over time. Any resin product that does not include both HALS and UV stabilization will, as a matter of scientific fact, amber and yellow over a period of a few months to a year (typically). A low quality resin product applied over artwork will deteriorate the work and decrease its value, leaving both artists and patrons frustrated and disappointed. In that sense, choosing to use a cheaper resin product is actually an extremely costly mistake.
UPDATE: See empirical evidence from Atlas Labs on Testing Various Epoxy Resin Brands' Yellowing Performance
ArtResin epoxy resin has been certified as safe for home use by an ASTM board-certified toxicologist and contains no VOCs or fumes. See our SDS for more information.
It's been a week since our new epoxy resin formula launched, and we've been asked the same question A LOT (and rightly so): How is this new formula better in terms of yellowing, specifically? Glad you asked. We have a video in production explaining all of this, but I thought it would be helpful to jot down some points here on the blog so you won't have to wait.
UPDATE June 2016
We have yellowing test data from Atlas Labs (AZ) demonstrating that ArtResin offers the best yellowing protection in accelerated UV weathering testing, compared to 16 other epoxy resins currently on the market.
Watch the video:
For starters, new ArtResin contains new German-engineered (US sourced) technology—an additive called HALS (hindered-amine light stabilization) which is an extremely efficient light stabilizing agent for excellent yellowing protection. Google it! This is in addition to another standard UV light stabilizer. So effectively the new formula has 2 light stabilizers for double the yellowing protection.
In our very last trial before going to market, we made another small adjustment by cutting down on the accelerator (the agent that causes curing to happen quicker instead of taking days and days). Ironically, epoxy resin accelerators are optically YELLOW (*eye roll...), so by cutting down we gained about 10 extra minutes in the working time of the product (about 40 minutes total before it begins to cure) AND we wound up with an even clearer hardener than we had already. Great score. On the shelf it is absolutely the clearest hardener you will find--it's water clear, in fact. We were actually shocked at the clarity when we first saw it, because it's just soooo unusually clear!
Watch our unboxing reaction here (starting at 0:06):
You may have seen an old blog or two where we did a comparative test of a bunch of different resin formulas by putting them out in the Texas sun for 6 months and monitoring the effects. This was prior to our discovery of HALS, and still ours outperformed the rest in terms of yellowing. I should say that ALL formulas in the test yellowed during that period of time—as we expected—due to being subjected to such undesirable conditions (NO epoxy resin is EVER recommended to be purposefully exposed to UV light). After this test we continued our research and development which led to our discovery of HALS for superior UV damage protection.
In all transparency, this new resin product is too new for us to have years worth of evidence available to share with you. We'll be conducting and recording new longevity tests and publishing the results so you can see for yourself what you can expect from our product. We are always careful not to say that it NEVER yellows, because no manufacturer of epoxy resin can legitimately make that guarantee—at least not without historical evidence. Like anything on earth, new things look new and older things tend to show age, but still we remain confident in our product performance because of what we know of the chemistry and the high quality of the ingredients involved. Our aim is to have unbeatable protection against yellowing in our formula for longterm clarity. How long is longterm? As long as possible.. time will tell!
In terms of safety, you can see in our Safety Data Sheet (or SDS) (posted in the links at the bottom right of every page) that this resin is a clean system, meaning everything reacts and there is nothing loose, volatile or leftover that you could breathe in causing you harm. It's safe for home use when working in a well ventilated area for that reason, but common sense should still prevail; don't put your nose right up to the resin and breathe in deeply. We still recommend using gloves because it's sticky stuff! It would be a mess to get it off your skin, and you don't want that.
UPDATE May 2016: ArtResin has been certified non-toxic when used as directed by an ASTM designated toxicologist, and conforms to ASTM D4236 (safe for home use) when working in a well ventilated area.
Now then, if you have any further questions, please ask :) We are always transparent with our customers because we are artists too and we respect your work.