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Sunday, 6 March 2016

My review of Eli Chems new clear art resin

So after a week of playing with a new resin i am finally sitting down to type this up.
I was one of the lucky 25 resin artists globally who received a free tester kit from Eli Chem resin of there brand new art resin formula. The awesome thing is this has not even been put out for general sale yet and they wanted our feedback before they did so. Does that make me feel super special? HELL YEAH.
Once it was shipped from Elichem who are UK based it got to me literally next day! It was packaged so well it took me a good 10 minutes to open the box and a further 10 minutes to get the resin seal off lol.

Now am i not one of those crafters who try it out on a  piece they were thinking of making already then just post the results with a photo....ummm no i am far too over critical and over analytic to do something that easy. No no no... I had to go all techy on myself and try it out in various ways and in various colours. I am known for making something simple into a huge big adventure lol.
Yes i know your probably yawning by now but this accomplishes 2 things...firstly i get a real feel for the resin using it in so many ways and flook awesome pieces that can potentially happen if you dont use a product enough are less likely. You use it more the chances are you will run into issues, find its flaws and strengths and get used to using it. And using it more and in many ways means i dont get a knee jerk opinion of the resin....the more you use something the more you really decide if you like it or not!
I wanted to try it clear as it boasts great clarity and bubble release but i also wanted to see if small jewellery casts were something it could be used for.
I am not going to lie, at first my reaction was not kind. First mix and pour, first bubble release playing and i decided i did not like it. It developed a thin film as it cured so that meant adjusting anything in the mould would disturb the film and leave streaks GASP!!! It cured faster into the second stage so meant less playing time and it took longer to fully cure overall. I am a serial tweeker who likes to push things about until the resin gets too thick ARGHHH.
Roll on day 2 and some self reasoning...yes i am a spoiled baby who dislikes anything new, yes i am a total loyal nerd who turns there nose up at things i don't already use and love. I was being harsh.
I started again with no expectations, it took a couple mixes to get a feel for how to lessen bubbles, how to get best results and before long i was using it as easily as my regular mastercast 121 ( by the same company ) I started to realise that the things i did not like actually made sense for a resin used in art. That the things i didn't like were actually a good thing and could be skirted around when trying to use this as a general resin.
I started to actually love this resin. Generally it behaved a lot like my mastercast 121 with some fine differences, improvements i would say. BUT i still love my trusty mastercast and will never stop using it! Now i covered a lot in my video below so pop over to take a gander at what i filmed and learn how to make some awesome faux stained glass resin art while your at it. Video is at the bottom of this post. But as i am a complete un-organised , cloud headed artist there are a couple of things i did not mention in the video which are of great importance. Well they are if you make resin jewellery!
Firstly i forgot to mention sanding the resin...yes it sands easily like most other epoxies!Use the same tools and techniques you are already using.
Viscosity - another really important fact is this resin is more fluid than most epoxies on the market, this thinner more fluid formula is why it has better bubble release qualities and crystal clear finish.
Glazing - i glaze with resin and this was great at being used to create a shiny top coat.
Doming - it was a pleasure to use to dome, thick enough to get a decent dome and i didnt get any overspill and the quicker first stage of setting up meant it was less likely to spill.
Resin amounts- slight variation if you mix a tiny amount and a large amount is really your bubble release. With small amount i suggest using your normal bubble release tricks like preheating and using a flame to pop any after pouring. Larger amounts had great bubble release and hardly needed any flame popping.
Odour - I have hypersensitivity which means super human sense of smell, i guess in a way it voids my review of how it smells lol...the resin smelled of chemical cleanliness and the hardener a slight ammonia, but i stuck it under the nose of innocent visitors and they all said it was odourless. So boo me and my superwoman nose!
Clean up - like regular epoxy i managed to clean down most of my space with baby wipes or used nail polish to get rid of left over stickiness, easy mess free clean up.
Trimming - now if your a resin jewellery maker you will know what i mean by trimming, we either use scissors or a blade to remove over pour before sanding, and as this resin takes a bit longer to fully harden it was easy to do both, i did find there was a slight slight sticky feel if you demoulded too soon but regular use of the resin would teach you when you could without issue.
Ratio - its a 1-1 ratio mix so using measuring spoons or cups keeps you right.
Cure time - the first stage from liquid to gel was very quick, hard to be exact as i didn't time it but 20-30 minutes at a guess. After that it developed a really hard shiny top layer which would fool you into believing it was cured but underneath was still very bendy and soft. The actual full cure to rock hard was overnight and a bit, so i would say 18-24 hours give or take.
The finished shine - super shiny and solid, i loved the clarity once it fully cured!

Where can you get it? well its not been released yet but if you follow eli chem resin on facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/EliChem )then i'm sure they will be telling the lovely resin followers as soon as its ready. And they do now ship to many overseas countries too...yay!

 Will i buy it ? Yes i think i would, but i would use it alongside my regular resin and choose the resin per project. More intricate resin jewellery i think i need the longer liquid stage. I am a resinner who tries to use as few layers as i can and fit different details into one layer at different stages of curing. But i know many resin crafters who work in several layers that this would be ideal for, faster set up means getting through more layers on a piece faster. For doming and glazing this has to be a winner though, its got enough thickness to hold a good dome while being fluid enough to spread easily, good bubble release means less time messing with heat tools and its quicker to thicken and not likely to spill over. And for an art resin project its absolutely perfect!