Glow powder and resin go hand in hand like peanut butter and jelly. It’s extremely easy to make your resin castings glow in the dark and the end result has to be seen to be believed. This quick guide will give you step by step instructions on how to create your own glow in the dark resin jewelry, figurines, furniture, etc.
You will need the following supplies for this project:
- Casting resin or epoxy (not quick curing)
- Glow In The Dark Powder
- Plastic measuring cups (typically included with resin)
- Paper mixing cups
- Wooden craft sticks or toothpicks for mixing
- A mold of your choice
- Mold release spray (Amazon link)
- Rubber gloves are recommended and greatly simplify cleanup
- Assorted waterproof sandpaper
- Something waterproof to protect your table from spills (I used wax paper)
You can find molds at your local craft store, online, or you can choose to cast something you have lying around the house. Whatever you decide to use for your mold should be flexible (plastic or silicone typically) and you should keep in mind that it may get destroyed in the process of removing your casting.
Start by figuring out how much resin you need to fill the mold. Some molds will tell you the volume of resin to use while others will not. If you need to figure out the volume of the mold yourself, try filling it with water and then pouring that water into an appropriately sized measuring cup. Take note of the total volume as indicated by the measuring cup and write it down. Now that you know how much casting mixture is required, you can divide that amount in half and know how much of each part of casting resin will be required. This assumes you are using a two part resin with equal parts A and B but you can change up the math if your particular resin calls for different proportions of each liquid.
If you haven’t already, you should now spray your mold with mold release spray and let it dry for the recommended amount of time. Don’t skip this step or you’ll likely ruin your mold and piece when you try to separate the two.
At this point you should decide if you want your casting to be a single glow color or if you’d like to use two or more colors for an even cooler effect. We recommend using at least two colors as it will not only add that extra pop to your final piece, but it has the added benefit of completely eliminating the risk of soft spots in your casting due to the extra mixing step that is required.
For this guide, we’ll assume that you are using two colors but you can easily use more or less by adding an extra cup or skipping the second mixing step that we’re about to cover.
To get started, lay out all of your supplies so that you aren’t running around looking for them later on. This is important as casting with resin is time sensitive and you’ll need to work quickly to get the resin into the mold before it starts “gelling”. Lay out the two plastic measuring cups, a mixing cup, wooden mixing sticks, and two or more additional mixing cups if you are using more than one color.
Start by pouring the appropriate amount of each part of the resin into the included plastic measuring cups.
From here, pour the two parts into your first paper mixing cup and mix them per the instructions on the box. Once thoroughly combined, pour the resin mixture into two different mixing cups in the proportions of each color that you want in your final piece. For example, our resin glow bangles are half one color and half another so we split the resin mixture evenly between the two mixing cups. If you wanted ¾ of your casting to be orange for example, then you’d pour ¼ of the mixture into one cup and the rest in the other.
Now you are going to want to weigh the resin in each cup and determine how many grams of resin there are. Alternatively, you can use the volume of resin to figure out the correct amount of glow powder to add. The standard ratio to use is 1 part glow powder to 4 parts resin. More or less won’t hurt anything, but this ratio will get you a fantastic glow without wasting additional powder.
Use this handy formula to get the proportions just right:
5 x (volume or weight of resin) / 20 = volume or weight of powder to use
For example, if you have 10 grams of resin, the equation would look like this:
5x10g/20= 2.5g of glow powder
If you are using volume instead of weight, nothing changes except for the unit (from weight to volume). So if you have 20 milliliters of resin, your equation becomes:
5x20ml/20 = 5ml of glow powder
FYI, I like to use a resin that has a working time of at least 30 minutes so that I have time to finish all of the steps listed above. If your only option is an epoxy or resin that has an even shorter working time, I would do the math and pre measure the glow powder BEFORE mixing the two parts of the resin and starting the curing process. The resin I used when making this tutorial was Amazing Clear Cast 2 Part Casting Resin (Amazon Link) which has a working time of 30 to 40 minutes.
Now it’s time to mix the glow powder with the resin mixture. Slowly stir one color of powder into the resin mixture in each of the two mixing cups. Stir slowly and thoroughly to avoid creating bubbles and to make sure that the mixture is completely homogeneous. Don’t worry if you put too much or too little powder into the resin as these are just guidelines. You would have to add A LOT more glow powder before you caused any problems with the resin’s ability to cure.
Once the two colors are mixed, it’s time to pour them into your mold. Your resin may start to thicken up a bit which is fine and actually a good thing as it will suspend the glow pigment and prevent it from sinking to the bottom of the mold.
Once you’ve filled the mold nearly to the top, let it sit for 10 to 15 minutes and then come back to it with a tooth pick or other sharp pointy object. There will likely be some bubbles that have risen to the surface which you will want to pop before they harden.
Now cover your creation to avoid dust and bugs getting into it while it’s curing and come back to it after it has completely hardened. The resin I used for this tutorial had a demold time of 24 to 48 hours so I let it sit for a day and a half before removing from the mold. If you are having trouble removing your casting, try sticking it in the freezer for half an hour and then try again. Be patient! It can be a pain but it should come out eventually!
You’ll probably need to do some sanding to get a nice smooth surface on the part of your casting that was exposed to the air. The best way to do this is to get a baking sheet, place some waterproof sand paper in it, and put a thin layer of water on top of the sandpaper. Rub the side of the casting that you want smooth and flat in a figure 8 pattern on the sand paper, turning the piece a quarter turn in your hand every few cycles. The water prevents dust from flying up and the figure 8 pattern ensures that the piece is sanded uniformly!
I started with 80 grit sandpaper and worked my way through 150, 220, 320, and finally 400 grit sandpapers.
To remove sharp edges, get one of the finer grits of sand paper wet and round the edge by hand. Make sure to apply even pressure and sand each part equally to avoid creating any raised or lowered areas.
These are the sandpapers I used with great results:
After sanding my project was done and I couldn’t be happier with the results!
Some people have asked me how they can polish their resin for a deep, crystal clear finish and while I haven’t done this myself, my research showed that one of the best options to get this effect is to use a resin clear coat spray like this one from Castin' Craft (Amazon Link). It’s basically another thin layer of resin that dries glossy instead of matte and is the equivalent of paint clear coat but for resin.
There you have it! A glow in the dark casting that will glow all night after a quick charge with one of our charging lights. The sun and regular fluorescent lights also do a great job of charging all of our phosphorescent pigments.
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