7 Steps to a Bubble-Free and Flawless Cure

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7 Steps to a Bubble-Free and Flawless Cure

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Few things exist that are more satisfying than creating a bubble-free resin piece that is flawlessly cured. On the contrary, few things are more frustrating than working tirelessly on a piece, and the result being less than satisfying. No artist enjoys putting time, effort, and passion into a piece, and it coming out sticky, covered in a layer of jelly-like goo, or filled with bubbles.

So, whether you have worked with resin before, and want to perfect your craft, or have recently learned of this mystifying medium and are attempting to build the courage to create your own piece: here is our guide to ensure that your projects reflect the vision that you start with. 

  1. The temperature of the workspace, and resin itself, is key. The workspace should be between 72°-78°F, the closer to 78°, the better.
  1.  If the resin is cool, use a warm bucket of water and place the resin and hardener bottles into the warm water. This will prevent microbubbles. The working time* of the resin mixture will go from 45 minutes, down to 30 minutes. This is because the resin mixture is thermosetting, and with increased temperature, the curing process will begin sooner than usual.
Art 'N Glow Epoxy Resin and Hardener sitting in buckets of warm water to increase their temperature
 

    (*Working time is the time you have to mix and pour the resin mixture once the hardener and resin meet in the same cup.)

    1. When pouring either the resin or hardener, carefully pour down the side of the measuring cup. Pouring from high above the measuring cup can result in air bubbles.

    Carefully pouring resin in a measuring cup

    1.  Double check that the resin and hardener are exactly a 1:1 ratio of resin to hardener.
    1. When mixing, mix smoothly, thoroughly, and consistently to avoid adding air bubbles. (To avoid adding air to the mixture, press the stirring utensil to the bottom of the cup while mixing.)

    Mixing the resin and hardener together using a stir stick

    1. After the resin and hardener is mixed and poured, wait about two minutes. Then, to remove any air bubbles, use an artists torch, kitchen torch, lighter, toothpick, or straw to remove bubbles. (Keep checking over the next 1-2 hours to make sure that additional bubbles do not appear.)

    Using a torch to remove air bubbles from resin poured into a silicone mold

    1. Last tip: If the resin and hardener are ever milky or cloudy, this is a good indicator that the temperature of your resin is too low.

    Working with resin can seem intimidating at first. However, once you understand the elements of a successful pour, it is easy to retrace your steps and see what went wrong whenever issues arise. We hope that these steps give you the confidence to jump into working with resin, if you haven't already. If you already have experience working with resin, we hope that these steps serve as a guide so that every pour you do leaves you satisfied with your work and inspired to create more! 


    14 comments

    • Ashley at Art 'N Glow

      Hello Shae,

      You may want to try increasing the temperature of your workspace to 75°F or higher or you can use a space heater near your curing epoxy to warm the area around it. Also, warming your resin and hardener bottles in a hot water bath before use can help to prevent bubbles.

      Here are a few other things you can do to prevent air bubbles -

      1. Make sure the surface you’re pouring your resin in or on is also warm. Temperature differences will produce surface tension which means bubbles can be trapped when the resin is poured. Gently warming your mold with a heat gun is an easy solution, or if you’re working with molds that are oven-safe you can also warm them that way (generally to 150°F).

      2. If you’re working with any organic materials (wood, flowers, etc.) be sure they are properly dried/sealed before including them in your resin.

      3. Roll the resin around your mold before completely filling the vessel – this also helps to break the surface tension.

      4. Let your resin sit for a minute or two after mixing, and before pouring, to allow some of the bubbles introduced through mixing to rise to the top of the mixture, and then pop them with a toothpick before pouring. You can also use the toothpick to carefully draw out bubbles on the surface after pouring.

    • Shae

      I have a question looking for some advice

      I make custom trinket trays and I use resin to cover and protect my artwork…I’ve tried other resin and this has by far been the best, but I’m still getting bubbles…I’m brushing on the resin with a foam brush which works great… I then use a heat gun for the bubbles… I tried a torch I don’t see a difference..so I do the gun since it feels safer to me…I still have the same effect…gun or torch…a few small bubbles…I continue to check for the first hour or so…but can’t seem to get rid of all the bubbles…

      Any suggestions?

    • Ashley at Art 'N Glow

      Hello Alison,

      A butane lighter will work just fine for helping to remove bubbles from the surface of your epoxy resin! Remember to return to your piece periodically over the first couple of hours to go over your piece again and remove any additional bubbles that may rise to the surface.

    • Alison Maschmeier

      It is refreshing to see that I can use a lighter for the bubbles! I am trying to avoid purchasing a torch or heat gun. Do you think a butane lighter is a good choice?

    • Ashley at Art 'N Glow

      Kim – There are a few things you can do to reduce the appearance of microbubbles in your resin pieces! Warming your resin and hardener bottles before use and increasing your work space temp to 78 degrees F can really help with this. When encasing organic materials in your resin, it is important to seal them first, either with a thin layer of resin or some sort of spray sealant that is intended for flowers and similar materials. This is because oxygen can be released from organic materials while the resin is curing, creating bubbles in the center of your piece that are difficult to remove. Lastly, using a torch or lighter over the surface of your resin is great for removing the bubbles that do appear :)

      Dave – We usually recommend pouring in layers at a maximum thickness of 1/4" each. The thickness of your pour is likely what prevented it from curing properly. There is hope for your piece! You can scrape away the gooey resin, sand, and recoat the sides that are still not cured with a final, thin layer of resin to restore a hard and glossy finish.

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