Today we're talking bubbles!
Understanding what causes bubbles in epoxy resin can help prevent them from happening in the first place. There are 4 main reasons why resin bubbles occur:
1. not following best practices when working with resin
2. cold temperatures
3. pouring too thick
4. the piece you're resining is releasing trapped air
Bubbles are one of the biggest issues we hear about here at Craft Resin: we have some great tips on how to prevent bubbles and how to fix them if they've already popped up!
Best Practices When Using Resin:
Using a Torch: When you mix your resin and hardener, you create a lot of bubbles as you stir: these bubbles need to be eliminated after you pour your resin or they'll cure right into your artwork. The best way to get rid of bubbles is with a torch: the flame heats the resin surface up instantly, thinning the resin out and allowing bubbles to escape. If you're intimidated by the idea of using a torch ... please don't be. Nothing is as effective as a flame for getting rid of bubbles and once you use one, you'll wonder what you ever did without it!
To help you, Craft Resin has an easy to use handheld Torch, plus a Propane Torch Head for larger jobs.
A Note On Heat Guns: A heat gun can be useful in some resin applications such as flow art, where it can be used to create cells. To eliminate bubbles, however, a heat gun just doesn't get hot enough to do the job efficiently. It can blow resin around and can even can even blow dust all over your wet piece.
We always recommend using a torch to get rid of resin bubbles. The only exception is when removing bubbles from a silicone mold: in this case, a flame may be too intense and if you over torch, it may even damage the mold. A heat gun is the best choice when working with silicone molds.
Whipping Your Resin: Mixing resin is where the magic happens: as you stir, a chemical reaction begins between the resin and hardener that will eventually transform the mixture from a liquid into a solid. Though you need to mix the two parts thoroughly for at least 3 minutes, you want to ensure you don't whip your resin as if you're beating cream or egg whites. Whipping the resin induces more bubbles than necessary which could lead to issues such as over torching.
Don't whip your resin - instead, stir slowly and deliberately, scraping the sides and bottom of your mixing container as you go.You'll get some bubbles, of course, but nothing a quick pass or two with the torch can't handle.
Dumping Out Your Resin: Just as whipping your resin can induce unnecessary bubbles, so too can dumping your resin out onto your artwork. Instead, position your mixing container close to the surface of your piece and pour your resin mixture out slowly.
Cold Temperatures: Did you know that Craft Resin epoxy resin loves warm temperatures?
It's true! In fact, the ideal temperature for both your Craft Resin and your workspace is slightly warmer than room temperature: 75-85F or 24-30C. In these temperatures, Craft Resin has a crystal clear appearance, a honey-like consistency and it pours and spreads with ease.
On the other hand, cold resin is thick, difficult to work with and has a cloudy, milky appearance.You'll know your resin is too cold when it has a taffy like consistency, making it difficult to pour and spread.It also takes on a frothy, milky appearance due to thousands of micro-bubbles which are virtually impossible to torch out. If your resin is cold, you need to bring it up to room temperature before you use it.
You can do this by letting the resin bottles sit out to come up to room temperature or you can try a warm water bath. Place your bottles of resin and hardener in a container of warm water: the water doesn't need to be very hot ... about what you'd use for a baby's bath is just fine.
Since heat accelerates curing, always warm the bottles BEFORE you measure and mix to avoid the mixture curing prematurely. Leave the caps on to prevent any water from getting mixed into your resin or hardener: water that accidentally gets in your resin mixtures will cause a cloudy cure. Don't submerge the bottles and dry them off thoroughly before you open them.
Resin that is room temperature or slightly warmer is smooth, clear and easy to pour and spread.
Do I REALLY have to use a torch for surface bubbles in my resin?
In short, YES a torch is the best tool to get rid of bubbles in epoxy resin. There are other methods, including poking with a pin or blowing through a straw, but these are slow and ineffective.
A hair dryer or heat gun doesn't get hot enough to remove bubbles efficiently and can blow dust all over your wet resin.
A butane or propane torch, on the other hand, is easy to use and provides the heat, control and intensity to remove bubbles for a flawless, pro finish!
If you're intimidated by the idea of using a torch ... please don't be.
You can find out more information about using a torch on our website: