Best UV Resin For Crafts: Everything you Need to Know
Looking for the best UV resin for crafts, including jewelry, keychains, figurines, and more? You are in the correct place. In this UV Resin Buyer’s Guide and review you will learn the following my best buying tips and tricks for purchasing UV Resin for crafts. Use the post navigation on the right to quickly navigate between different areas of the post. For quick reference, this Buyer’s Guide and Review will be broken down in four parts. They are as follows:
1. A Quick-Look List of My Top UV Resin Picks (for those of you short on time)
2. Learn What UV Resin is, How to Use UV Resin For Crafts, What Precautions to Take When Working With UV Resin, etc.
3. A Reveal of my Best Buying Tips and Tricks for Purchasing Quality UV Resin.
4. Detailed Reviews of Each of the UV Resin for Crafts Products We Recommended, Including Test Results
Top UV Resin Picks:
What is UV Resin?
In scientific terminology, UV Resins are
“materials that are polymerized and cured in a short time by the energy radiated from ultraviolet irradiation devices. These are especially used as industrial materials for sealing, bonding, and coating.”
UV resins are used in a variety of industries, including the marine, sporting goods, home and garden, automotive, and hobby and craft industries. To see all the different ways these industries use UV resin check out Solarez’s Uses for UV-Cure Resins.
This article focuses on the hobby and craft industry and how we can use UV resin in our projects.
In simpler terms, UV resin is a liquid plastic that cures with the introduction of UV light and is used to coat surfaces, make shapes, fill molds, and more.
UV stands for ultraviolet, which is the type of light required to complete the resin’s curing process.
Curing is the process that transforms the resin from a liquid state into a solid-state. UV resin is a fast-curing resin.
In this solid state, UV resin is a plastic-type material. However, it is not always hard. In fact, there are soft and hard types, both of which will be discussed in detail below.
What is Sun Cure Resin?
Sun cure resin is simply another way to describe UV resins. UV resins have the ability to cure with an ultraviolet light source. It does not matter whether this light source is artificial UV light or UV rays from the sun itself. Notably, however, UV resin will take longer to cure when cure with exposure to sunlight versus exposure to an artificial UV light source.
What is the Difference Between UV Resin and Epoxy Resin?
There are many types of resins on the market today. However, the two most common types used in crafts are 2 part epoxy resin and UV resin.
Epoxy resins consist of two solutions. which are mixed together to start the curing process. This initial cure process takes anywhere from 3-48 hours for most epoxy resins for art on the market. (Many epoxy resins take another 3 days to 2 weeks to achieve a full cure.)
For more information on epoxy resins, check out Best Epoxy Resin For Art Projects–Everything You Need To Know
The appeal of UV resin is its ability to cure immediately with the application of a UV, or ultraviolet, light source. This is convenient for crafters who are making intricate pieces or crafters who do not want to wait the time it takes to cure a 2-part epoxy resin. UV resin also comes in hard and soft types, which gives crafters more options to be creative!
2-part epoxy resin can be applied in thicker layers than UV resin. UV resin is applied in thin layers and stays fluid until exposed to a UV light source.
A downside of UV resin is its inability to be used for large-sized art projects. A 2-part epoxy resin is always going to be a better option than UV resin for painting projects or ’embedding large objects in resin’ projects.
However, UV resin is great for smaller projects, like jewelry, embedding small objects in pendants, casting tiny shapes in shallow molds, giving jewelry an enameled look, and more!
Another common application of UV resin is to bond objects together, especially because the addition of UV light makes the curing process happen in front of your very eyes! This can be much more convenient than waiting for glue to dry if you are trying to bond two objects together.
Here are some more great benefits to using a UV Resin over a 2-part epoxy resin:
- Few restrictions in application because the curing process does not start without a UV light source
- Ability to add a catalyst to ensure even curing with a UV light (in certain UV resin products, explained below)
- Low curing temperature
- Fast cure time, but unlimited working time.
- No mixing required
- ability to pour back any resin you do not want to use in your projects, so less waste
- You decide when the resin starts to cure. (You can also tell the resin to stop curing when removing the light. (in certain types of UV resins, explained below)
Types of UV Resin
It is important to understand the two most prevalent types of UV Resin for crafts.
The two types of UV Resin are free-radical UV Resin and cationic UV Resin.
The difference between the two becomes clear when we examine the specific chemical reactions taking place after each respective type of resin is exposed to ultraviolet light. (Don’t worry, we will explain in the simplest way possible so you do not need to be a scientist to interpret the difference!)
Both cationic and free radical UV Resins have their own advantages and disadvantages.
Before starting a new UV Resin project, it is important to understand the difference so you can purchase the best UV Resin product for your specific project. So, let’s get into it.
Free Radical UV Resin
The photons of UV radiation trigger a chemical reaction in resins. This reaction causes the small molecules in the substance to start linking together. This forms a network of large cross-linked molecules, which makes the model hard.
-GorillaOutput.com (Can you Cure UV Resin Without A Light?)
A free radical UV resin cures quickly.
When it is exposed to UV light the curing process is initiated.
UV light causes the formation of free radicals which initiate the curing reaction.
Importantly, when the UV light source is removed from the UV resin, the cure process stops.
A full cure is only possible if all of the UV resin layers are exposed to UV light.
Any areas blocked or shadowed from the UV light will not cure.
This type of UV resin also has an issue with oxygen inhibition and may leave a tacky surface after curing if the incorrect light source is used. (Proper UV light usage is discussed below.)
Cationic UV Resin
Cationic UV resin formulas cure in a different fashion.
When a UV light is shone onto a cationic UV resin, a strong acid is released, working as a catalyst for the curing process to begin.
Therefore, the reaction will continue even if the UV light source has been removed from the resin.
This type of resin suffers less shrinkage and can be beneficial to projects with shadowed areas or if you are using darker pigments. (Note: Shaded areas will still need to be able to receive minimum light exposure.)
For more information on the difference between Cationic and Free Radical UV Resins, check out UV Curing Adhesives and Potting Compounds.
The next types of UV Resins discussed, hard and soft, are both cationic UV resins. Cationic UV resins are the most common type you will find on the market today as the curing process used is more efficient for crafters.
Hard UV Resin
Hard UV resin is very useful to resin crafters and has many applications.
It derives its name from its hardened state after it has been cured.
Hard resin, after being cured, is almost impossible to bend.
Hard type UV resins cure into a rigid plastic material.
Hard UV resins are available in different viscosities, both thick and thin textures.
Thinner Hard UV Resin is good for applications like casting in molds, filling bezels, and projects using pigments.
Thicker hard UV resins are great for doming a piece of jewelry or sealing a polymer clay pendant.
Hard UV Resin will cure under artificial ultraviolet light or direct sunlight.
Soft UV Resin
In contrast, a soft resin cures into a flexible plastic material.
Thicker textured soft UV resins are less flexible than thinner soft UV resins, but both are more flexible than a rigid hard UV resin.
Soft-type UV resin is handy for a variety of crafting projects.
For example, making hair barrettes that have a curve to them can be easily made using this flexible UV resin.
Then, they can be sealed with a hard UV resin to maintain the shape.
Other great applications of soft-type UV resins are phone cases, fabric art, and other decorations!
Here is a great YouTube tutorial using soft UV resin:
Soft UV resins cure when exposed to either artificial ultraviolet light sources or sunlight.
Doming UV Resin
First, let us discuss what the process of doming is.
Although one of the first results that come up on Google when searching the word doming comes from Urban Dictionary, this is simply not the type of doming we are talking about.
I was honestly shocked when reading their definition, so I had to include a little blurb about it because, ‘What the hell?”
Anyway, doming, for UV resin art purposes, is the process of achieving a thick coating, with edges that curve downward gradually, forming a perfect little semi-circle on top of an item. This technique is used commonly for jewelry pendants, as well as epoxy resin paintings. UV resin is better suited for the smaller doming applications, like jewelry, however.
Both soft and hard type UV resins can be found in both thin and thick solutions. For doming purposes, a thick, hard UV resin is the best product for the job. High viscosity (this is just a fancy word for how thick or thin a fluid is) UV resins have enough surface tension to sit in a neat little dome on top of the piece you are trying to coat. The surface tension in thick Doming resins is strong enough to hold the UV resin in a dome shape.
If you use a lower viscosity (aka thinner) UV Resin, your ability to pour and maintain a dome shape is affected.
Thinner UV Resins just end up dripping down the edges of the item you are coating.
Here is a great tip, from Solarez, one of the leading UV Resin manufacturers in the world, on how to control the thickness of your UV Resin dome:
If you want a taller, thicker dome, start off by placing your bottle of Doming Resin in a cup of ice water for about 5 minutes. To make the ice water colder still, mix in a little table salt. This will make your resin thicker and stand taller. Conversely, if you want your dome to be a thinner protective coating like shellac, start by putting your bottle of Doming Resin in a cup of hot water for 5 minutes, (say about the same temperature of coffee but not scalding hot coffee). This will reduce the starting viscosity of your resin.
UV Resin Supplies
The supplies needed to work with UV Resin can be found on the following list. It is best to be prepared beforehand. If you are missing any of the supplies on the list, I have linked them each to Amazon for your convenience. I only included products that are affordable and that I have tested myself.
- UV resin (Pick one of the products on our Best UV Resins List for a high-quality project result)
- UV light (We suggest this affordable UV Cure Box for the best results.)
- Silicone mold (Here are some great options for a UV Resin Project: Earing Molds, Jewelry Mold Kit, Keychain Mold Kit)
- Pigments of your choice
- Silicone measuring/mixing cups
- Popsicle sticks or silicone stir sticks
- Respirator or face mask
- Embellishments (glitter, dried flowers)
- Silicone Mat (Check out Best Silicone Craft Mats For Resin Artists)
For UV Resin jewelry projects, you may also want to purchase the following:
How To Use UV Resin for Crafts
This section will discuss how to use UV Resin.
Following these best practice guidelines will ensure your project turns out top-notch.
Remember to follow each UV Resin products’ specific instructions with regard to cure times and which pigments are compatible with the UV Resin.
Step One: Prepare Your Workspace
Preparation is key in any resin project. Be sure to cover any area you do not want to ruin. Using silicone craft mats is the best, most effective way to protect your work surfaces., Check out Best Silicone Craft Mats For Resin Artists. During this time, you should also put your safety gear on!
Step Two: Prepare Your Materials
Be sure to set out your silicone mixing and measuring cups, as well as silicone stir sticks, before getting started pouring any resin. Also, set out any embellishments or bezels your plan to use in your UV Resin art project. Pigments should also be within arms reach.
Step Three: Mix Pigments and Place Objects
Mix your pigments with your UV Resin in your mixing cups. Remember not to use too much pigment. We recommend between 5-10% pigment to 90-95% UV Resin. Also, if using open-backed bezels, tape off the back of your bezels. Place any flowers or other objects into the mold or bezel you are using.
Step Four: Pour UV Resin
Next, pour your colored or clear resin into your mold or bezel. Be sure not to pour too thick a layer. In fact, I recommend pouring no thicker than 3mm at a time. It is best to work in layers when it comes to UV Resin
Step Five: Cure UV Resin
Using your UV light source, start to cure your UV resin layer. You can use a toothpick to test whether your UV resin layer has hardened or whether it still needs more time under the UV light source. If doing multiple layers, I suggest only doing a partial cure before moving onto the subsequent layers, as it will allow your UV resin layers to adhere to each other more readily.
Step Six: Repeat and Leave it
Repeat steps four and five, pouring and curing until you are happy with your project.
After you have achieved a decent cure, put your UV Resin projects in a cool dark area and cover it to avoid dust or dirt from flying into the project while it is finishing its cure.
The project will continue to cure, as discussed in the Cationic Resins sections above.
Be patient and remember, if the project is still tacky after a few hours, try adding some more UV light. If this does not work., try the Troubleshooting Options listed below.
UV Resin Molds?
Silicone molds will always be best when working with any type of resin because resin does not stick to silicone.
However, in the case of UV resin, these molds must be clear.
If you use a colored mold, you will not be able to cure your project fully, as the UV light will not be able to penetrate the colored mold. (If you do not have the option to use a clear silicone mold, check out Solarez UV Resin Review for a solution to this problem.)
Also, if you use a matte mold, your UV resin project will cure with a matte finish. If you use a shiny silicone mold, your UV resin project will cure with a shiny finish.
For some awesome silicone resin mold suggestions, many of which you can use for your next UV Resin project, check out 32 Best Silicone Molds for Resin: You Made WHAT From Resin?
Remember, most UV Resins are only suited to making smaller projects, such as keychains, jewelry, or small figurines. So keep this in mind when searching for your silicone molds.
If you are looking to make a larger resin projects, see Best Epoxy Resin For Art Projects–Everything You Need To Know.
UV Resin Pigments
Although some say you can pigments formulated for epoxy resin to color your UV resin, I am in disagreement.
I find it especially tough to use opaque and dark pigments with UV resin, as it is hard for the UV light to penetrate through these pigments. This prevents a full cure in most UV Resins.
Therefore, I suggest using pigments that are specially made for use with UV resin.
Pigments made for UV Resin
UV Resin Pigments work fantastic and you can purchase them from Hobby Lobby here. The Hobby Lobby Jewelry Shoppe UV Resin Primary Color Pigment Kit only has the primary colors, but you can mix them to make many other colors and your resin is sure to cure completely.
Transparent UV Resin Pigments
Another option, if you need more than the Primary Colors pigment kit, is the Limino UV Resin Pigment Kit. It has always worked well for our UV Resin projects, especially when we are using Limino UV Resin. (See full Limino UV Resin Review.) These are transparent color pigments.
You can buy the Limino UV Resin Pigment Kit on Amazon here:
Using Opaque Pigments in UV Resin
If you are trying to color your UV resin with an opaque color, you will have trouble, unless you understand how your specific UV Resin cures. We discuss this is great detail below.
However, if you just need a quick suggestion, purchase Solarez’s Dual Cure UV Resin. (Be aware this product has an odor, so follow recommended safety precautions discussed below.)
Solarez resin adds a catalyst to assist in the curing process. As a result, you do not have to worry about the opaque pigments blocking any of the UV Resin from receiving the ultraviolet light required for a complete cure. See full Solarez Dual Cure UV Resin Review)
Another option is to purchase your UV Resin pre-colored. Here is a kit of Opaque colored UV Resin:
Casting Objects in UV Resin
You can, however, cast things like flowers and glitter into UV resin, as you do in epoxy. This must be done on a much smaller scale obviously, but UV resin is great for making flower pendants and the like. For a tutorial on casting objects in UV Resin jewelry, check out UV Resin Jewelry Tutorial. Or, watch this video:
How to Cure UV Resin
The two ways to cure UV resin may seem obvious, considering the word UV. aka ultraviolet, is in the actual name of the product!
Ultraviolet light, for those of you living in an igloo who have never seen the inside of a tanning salon, radiates from the Sun!
Exposure to excessive ultraviolet rays, like the ones from the Sun, poses significant health risks to humans- most commonly skin cancers. The most common types are basal and squamous cell carcinomas, and the most dangerous is melanoma, but all can be, and most commonly are, caused by ultraviolet radiation.
The Earth’s Ozone layer protects humans from irradiation from dangerous ultraviolet (UV) rays.
Luckily, we have not destroyed enough of our Ozone layer (yet) to put humans in any grave immediate danger.
This is good news for resin artists aspiring to work with some UV Resin because the first method of curing UV Resin is….you guessed it…good ol’ sunlight herself!
I apologize for the science lesson, but I am never sure who my audience actually is when I am typing in this strange box!
Aside from using plain old trusty sunlight from that gorgeous fireball lighting our way, man has developed other UV light sources that work to cure UV Resins.
If, like me, you swear to have descended from Dracula himself, do not worry. You do not need to go outside to cure your UV Resin.
You can continue avoiding the sunlight if you prefer because UV Resin also cures under artificial UV light!
(P.S. Do not judge me. I just prefer to be up at night, and to sleep during the day. It’s a thing I have always struggled with…Just don’t worry about it!)
When deciding which UV light source to use to cure your UV resin project, the options are more diverse than one would think. The challenge becomes which option is best for you and your specific UV resin art project. We got you though! Keep reading.
Sunlight has it’s disadvantages when it comes to:
- length of cure time
- access to direct sunlight
Sunlight also has some advantages over artificial light, which we discuss below.
Artificial UV light sources also have disadvantages, such as:
- requiring a buyer to be knowledgeable about different strengths of UV light
- setting up the ideal UV cure stations
Plus, the aforementioned (you have no idea how excited I just got because I was finally able to use the word ‘aforementioned!’) issue of deciding which light to buy weighs into the disadvantage calculation.
Like sunlight, however, UV lights have many advantages as well.
Using Sunlight and/or artificial UV light to cure UV Resin art, including an explanation of each of the different types of light options, are discussed in the following section. Plus, we reveal our top suggestion for curing UV Resin art.
What can I use to cure UV Resin?
First of all, we must talk science, as not all wavelengths have the ability to cure UV Resin. Therefore, only certain products will work to cure your UV resin project.
The products I have recommended below all have high enough (I know it is actually short wavelengths that are effective but let us not get too technical here) wavelengths to cure the majority of UV Resins on the market today.
Another thing to take into consideration when choosing a quality UV light to cure your UV Resin is the wattage. I recommend sticking around 36 watts, more or less, for a quality cure.
Let’s get into it already!!! First up, the trusty UV torch.
A UV torch, or UV flashlight, is a handy tool for curing a UV Resin project.
A UV torch is good for intricate pieces and for bonding things together.
Small projects are best for this type of UV light source, as the light is shone in a beam onto the UV Resin.
As a result, the UV light is directed to whatever specific area of the object you shine the UV torch beam onto.
Obviously, a UV torch is not ideal for projects with a larger surface area, as the beam will not hit the entire surface and the cure will not be effective.
Also, you have to hold the UV torch to make sure it is shining onto the entire surface of the UV resin project you are making. This is not only annoying, but could cause adverse consequences to your health from direct and frequent exposure to UV rays.
Other options discussed below are much more convenient and, most importantly, safer, as you can just place the item into the UV light stream and walk away.
If you are doing a one off type project and looking for an affordable UV torch option, we suggest this UV torch:
Our favorite feature of this affordable UV torch is that it is rechargeable. This is very handy for UV resin work.
If you have a bit more to spend and you are looking for a UV torch, go with the Solarez UV torch. You really can not go wrong with this UV torch. It is made by a company that specializes in UV Resin so it makes sense that it is a quality product for the job.
Note: Solarez UV Torch does not include batteries. You will need to purchase two CR-123 Lithium batteries to use your torch.
A UV lamp is most commonly used in the nail industry, as it an effective way to cure gel nail polish used in manicures. Some of the UV lamps on the market today lack the power required to cure UV Resin, however. Therefore, you need to look carefully at the pes before purchasing a UV lamp for the purposes of curing your UV Resin project.
The following UV lamp is a good option. as it provides a high enough wavelength to get a full cure of your UV Resin:
A setback of the UV lamp is that the usually turns off after a certain amount of predefined time. This timer setting usually does not allow the UV light to stay on long enough to cure my UV Resin project in one go. I find myself constantly having to restart the UV lamp, which is frustrating.
Unfortunately, most UV lamps have 30, 60, or 90 second light-up options, but never much more than that. This can be frustrating when you want the UV light to shine on your UV resin project for a bit longer.
Again, the size of these lamps also plays a role in choosing whether this is the most suitable option for your UV resin project.
For small projects, a UV lamp may work fine, but anything larger than the lamp itself will require the curing box option discussed below.
UV Curing Box
As far as UV Cure boxes go, there are two main options. You may purchase one or you may make one.
HomeMade UV Cure Box
A prebuilt UV Cure box is really affordable so making your own does not save too much money after materials are purchased. However, some people need to build custom sized boxes to suit their needs, so it is important to note that building your own UV Cure box is a real possibility. If you are going to attempt to make your own, here is great YouTube tutorial:
Pre-Built UV Cure Box
***Craftelot Resin Artist Top Recommendation***
Prebuilt UV Curing Boxes are the best option for curing a UV resin project. Not only do they come in a variety of sizes, but they provide protection from UV light escaping the box with either tinted or solid walls that do not allow light to escape.
These boxes usually have a 360-degree spinning table in them to place your project on for an even cure.
Also, you can control how long your item is curing under the UV light, without having to restart the UV light every minute or so, like the UV nail lamps require you to do.
With the recent rise in interest and popularity of 3d printing and UV Resin crafts, UV cure boxes have become respectively affordable.
One of the best and most affordable UV cure boxes on the market today can be found on Amazon:
Amazon carries UV Cure boxes that are a few bucks cheaper than the Elgo box we recommend, but they all have plastic white walls. Unfortunately, UV rays are still able the escape through these walls, If you do purchase one of these, it is prudent to line the box with aluminum tape for extra protection. Here are links to the cheaper UV Cure box option, as well as aluminum tape:
The most natural way to cure your UV resin is in direct sunlight. However, this also takes the most time, so you must be patient.
If you do not live in a sunny area, this may not work at all.
If you do use this method, be sure your item is in direct sunlight and not shaded by any other objects.
How Long Does It Take For UV Resin to Cure?
Usually, it does not take UV resin more than 5-10 minutes to achieve a full cure under a sufficiently strong UV light source.
This is not the case when curing in sunlight, as this process takes much longer.
For optimal curing and the quickest cure times, be sure to purchase a sufficiently strong UV light source, like the option we discussed above..
Toxicity of UV Resin
UV resin can be toxic to humans and the environment. Therefore, taking proper precautions is a must.
Take care when disposing of any non-cured UV resin as well.
During the curing process, the UV resin also releases some fumes that may be harmful in inhaled. These fumes, or vapors, released during the curing process are much less harmful if they are able to escape the room, so be sure to use this product in a well-ventilated space.
It is prudent to wear proper PPE.
During a UV Resin’s curing process the liquid toxins contained within start to harden. When the UV Resin, including the toxins contained within, has solidified (aka cured) the toxins can no longer penetrate a users skin.
Once fully cured, UV Resin stops posing a toxicity risk to humans and, in many cases, has also become food safe. (By food safe I mean ‘fully cured UV Resin pieces are safe for light contact with food.)
To be clear:
I do not go as far as marinating steaks in a custom UV Resin bowl. However, it would be perfectly safe for me to serve some crackers and cheese slices with my custom UV Resin serving tray.
Often, UV Resins include information regarding toxicity levels in the user manual.
For full and accurate information regarding the specific brand of UV Resin you have purchased, please refer to the products’ Material Safety Data Sheets, (MSDS) which can be requested straight from the manufacturers. The MSDS link provided takes you to the general MSDS for UV Cure Resins, but each specific brand should have their own data from their own product tests.
Is UV Resin Harmful To Skin?
In other words,
Uncured UV Resin is extremely toxic to human skin.
UV Resin is safe to touch once it is fully cured.
In its liquid, uncured stated, UV Resin can easily enter your body when it comes into contact with bare skin.
It seeps through the pours.
You may as well take a nice long soak in a toxic chemical bath if you decide wearing gloves while using UV Resin is not necessary.
See the Adverse Health Effects section below for a list of symptoms experienced by people who suffer adverse health effects after using UV Resins.
Remember: Following the simple safety precautions recommended below keeps you safe and healthy while working with UV Resins.
NOTE: When the the proper precautions are taken UV Resin crafting is perfectly safe and lots of fun! We are not trying to scare you, just being as honest and thorough as possible. Plus, the recommended safety precautions are simple to employ!
Does UV resin have fumes?
Most, if not all, uncured UV Resin emits fumes in the form of VOCs, or volatile organic compounds.
A test by the EPA (Environmental Detection Agency) concluded the UV Resins tested had a VOC level “between -1.1 and 29.8%, as determined by the EPA Draft Method.”
Don’t worry, I did not understand what that meant either.
If you want to try to decipher the study, check it out at Determination Of Volatile Organic Compounds In Ultraviolet Radiation-cured Coatings.
A face mask will protect you from any VOCs in the UV Resin you are using, whether it contains an extremely high or very low amount of harmful fumes.
I have yet to discover a UV Resin that can truly claim their product has ZERO VOCs.
Many companies claim no or low VOCs, but if you examine the information a bit further you discover trace amounts exist.
I guess companies can claim their products are free of certain chemicals as long as there are only trace amounts present.
In my humble opinion, it is always better to be safe than sorry.
Always wear a mask, as it will protect you from inhaling VOCs and other harmful chemical molecules.
These fumes may effect your lungs and breathing.
See the Adverse Health Effects section below for a list of symptoms experienced by people who suffer adverse health effects after using UV Resins.
The Scariest Risk UV Resin Poses To Human Health
Importantly, many resin artists have no initial reaction when using UV resins without the proper safety equipment, such as gloves and a respirator.
If you have used UV Resin in the past and suffered no adverse health effects, you may be thinking you are safe to continue using UV Resin without gloves or a mask.
Unfortunately, one of the scariest things about developing adverse health effects from UV Resin is the time it takes to manifest any symptoms.
This delayed onset of symptoms gives UV Resin users ignorant of the risks the confidence to continue using UV Resins without proper protection.
Symptoms caused by UV Resin exposure develop similarly to those of contact allergies.
Contact allergies develop gradually over a long period of time, as a result of repeated contact with the substance that triggers them. Some people are then no longer able to carry on doing the same kind of work as before.
The same thing happens with resin.
The more exposure one has, the more serious the effects that eventually develop. Like contact allergies, the amount of exposure to UV Resin determines just how sensitive you will become to said UV Resin.
Over time UV Resin users develop severe sensitivities to resins and are never able to work with them again. Like contact allergies, effects are irreversible.
The amount of exposure to UV Resin determines how sensitive you will become to said UV Resin.
If you want to read more about how the human body can develop severe sensitivities to resins with repeated exposure, check out 3d printing professional Martin’s article Is UV Resin Toxic? (Cured/Liquid/Vapors) – Complete Guide.
Today we know: The body becomes very sensitive with repeated exposure.
After years, the skin reacts very violently to resin. A few vapors in the air are then enough to trigger severe headaches.
This sensitivity is irreversible: once affected, you can never work with the material again without severe pain.
You can avoid such sensitivity by handling the material responsibly and carefully.
3D Print Professional
I hope I have not scared you away from using UV Resin. It truly is a wonderful craft and lots of fun.
Avoiding negative health effects is truly as simple as following the safety precautions discussed below.
Adverse Health Effects To UV Resins
As everyone is unique, manifestation of symptoms from UV Resin are also unique. However, the symptoms listed here are the most commoly reported among UV Resin users.
If you experience any of these symptoms after exposure to UV Resin, stop use immediately. Then, we suggest you speak with a doctor to discuss your next steps.
Here are symptoms you may experience after direct contact with or inhalation of uncured UV Resin:
- Irritated Eyes
- Burning Eyes
- Burning Throat
- Shortness of Breath
- Swollen Airways
- Burning Eyes
- Contact Eczema
- Redness of Skin
- Itchy Skin
- Burning Skin
- Blistered Skin
- Watery Eyes
- Dizzy Spells
Let’s avoid all this, shall we?
The following section will arm you with all the knowledge (and equipment) necessary to use UV Resin responsibly and keep you as healthy as possible!
What happens if you inhale UV resin?
According to West Systems,
“breathing highly concentrated epoxy vapor can irritate the respiratory system and cause sensitization. When you inhale these dust particles, they become trapped in the mucous lining of your respiratory system. The reactive material can cause severe respiratory irritation and/or respiratory allergies.”
Other effects of UV resin include contact dermatitis, allergic dermatitis, respiratory irritation, and sometimes even chemical burns.
What PPE Should I Use When Handling UV Resin?
Now that you understand how important it is to wear the proper protective equipment when working with UV Resin, let’s discuss what that equipment actually is and where to get it affordably.
At a minimum, gloves, face masks (or respirators), and safety goggles are all good precautions to use when working with UV resin products.
Gloves and Protective Clothing
Be careful not to get any liquid UV resin on your skin.
Long-sleeved shirts work to protect your arms when using these products.
Reusable Silicone Gloves
I recommend buying a pair of reusable silicone gloves.
These are great because they are reusable. If you get UV Resin on the gloves, just put them under the UV light for a couple minutes until the UV resin has hardened. (cured)
Once cured, you are able to peel chunks of the UV resin off the gloves smoothly and the process is very, very, very satisfying! (Okay, okay, I admit that sounds creepy, but promise me, if you end up understanding just how enjoyable this peeling process is, you come back and drop a comment below? :))
However, be aware, because you do not want to buy just any old pair of silicone gloves.
Most reusable silicone gloves are produced in mass for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom. (Think large yellow rubber duck-beak-looking type gloves.)
These gloves are thick and it is difficult to move your fingers around in them.
For UV Resin art projects, you want gloves that allow movement and the ability to grasp tiny objects.
I have only found one pair of reusable silicone gloves that have both of these qualities and they can be found on Amazon here:
Latex or Nitrile Gloves
Any of the glove options for resin art projects listed above sufficiently protect hands from any contact with UV resin while crafting.
In turn, the UV Resin you are working with is not able to seep into your pores. Using gloves as a safety precaution prevents contact dermatitis, as well as any other adverse health issues that may arise form UV Resin and UV light exposure in the future.
Masks and Respirators
Although it is always safest to use a full respirator, a cheap face mask is better than nothing when it comes to protecting yourself from the fumes emitted from UV resin.
So, if you cannot purchase a respirator, be sure to wear an N95 mask while using UV resin.
Keep in mind that an N95 masks protects from about 95% of dust particles in the air, making them especially handy for any sanding you do during your UV resin project.
However, the N95 mask does not protect against UV resin vapors that are emitted pre-cure and during the curing process.
For maximum protection, purchase a respirator for use during UV resin crafting. Worker safety specialists, PK Safety make the following recommendation:
“For working with the liquid epoxy, and cutting it after hardening, I recommend the 3M 60921 organic vapor cartridges. It has a layer of activated charcoal to absorb the vapors generated and a P100 (HEPA) filter to catch the particles.
A great respirator option is the following:
You can purchase the cartridges recommended by PK Safety here:
When it comes to safety goggles for UV resin, you will need to consider two types. For working with the liquid UV resin, a clear safety goggle will suffice. However, it is extremely important to protect your eyes during the UV curing process. Ultraviolet light can be extremely harmful to a person’s eyes so the correct protection is an absolute necessity.
According to Cancer.org,
“Exposure to UV rays can cause premature aging of the skin and signs of sun damage such as wrinkles, leathery skin, liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis. UV rays can also cause eye problems. They can cause the cornea (on the front of the eye) to become inflamed or burned. They can also lead to the formation of cataracts (clouding of the lens of the eye) and pterygium (tissue growth on the surface of the eye), both of which can impair vision. Exposure to UV rays can also weaken the immune system so that the body has a harder time fending off infections. This can lead to problems such as reactivation of herpes triggered by exposure to the sun or other sources of UV rays. It can also cause vaccines to be less effective.”
With all of these scary potential side effects, it is imperative to use the best protection possible when curing your UV resin with an ultraviolet light source.
To protect your body and skin from the UV rays, be sure your body is covered with clothing.
To protect your eyes use safety goggles rated to filter out ultraviolet light.
Additionally, wide lenses that wrap around your vision, excluding any gaps for UV to reach your eyes are ideal.
The options discussed below are the best recommendations for protection from UV light.
Orange or yellow-tinted goggles provide the best protection by blocking UV exposure up to 400nm and blocking blue light between 400 and 510nm.
Here is an affordable pair that I recommend:
(UVA light, such as black lights used to detect urine stains, is 315-400nm. UVB light, which causes sunburns and is sometimes used for health treatments, is around 280-315nm. UVC light, used in sanitizing devices, is often 254 nm (or 253.7).)
The polycarbonate yellow-tint lenses filter out 99.99% of harmful UV-A, UV-B, and UV-C light rays with wavelengths up to UV-400 nanometers. So these glasses are very effective for providing protection against all the UV lights recommended above.
Is it Safe to Work With UV Resin Indoors
It is safe to use UV resin for crafts indoors. However, best practices are to work in a well-ventilated space. Opening the windows in your craft space should provide efficient ventilation. However, if you are working with UV Resin in a room that has little ventilation, you should look into purchasing a filtration system. This filtration system works great for filtering the air of dangerous toxins in UV Resin and it is quite affordable:
If the link above is not working, you may purchase the Eureka filtration system here.
How Do You Clean UV Resin for Crafts?
UV Resin can be frustrating to clean up.
Getting Liquid UV Resin Out of Cups and Molds
The trickiest part is getting the unused, uncured resin out of the cup you used to pour liquid UV Resin into your molds or mix your pigments in.
However, there are a couple of proven methods that work particularly well for cleaning up unused UV Resin.
Rubbing Alcohol works to remove uncured resin from mixing cups if you are having trouble getting your mixing cups clean.
However, I suggest shining a UV light over the uncured unused UV Resin and letting it cure.
After it has fully cured, you will be able to peel the UV Resin right off of the silicone or plastic cups.
Getting UV Resin Off Clothing or Skin
You may also be wondering how to get UV Resin off of your clothes or skin.
First, I would like to remind you to always wear gloves and long-sleeved clothing while using UV Resin, but if you do get it on your skin, be sure to wash off the UV Resin immediately with soap and warm water.
Dish Soap is particularly effective in getting UV Resin off of the skin.
If this is still not enough, adding some salt or sugar into a mixture of dish soap and warm water will add enough porous material to get any sticky remaining UV Resin off your skin.
As far as clothing goes, if you are trying to save the clothing you have spilled UV resin on, wash it immediately. Soak the spot in rubbing alcohol, which works as a solvent, and wipe as much as the uncured resin off as possible.
The best hand wipes for getting UV Resin off of skin are Grime Boss Heavy Duty Hand Wipes.
Cured UV resin is impossible to remove from clothing so remember to wear throw-away clothing when working with UV resin.
Troubleshooting Tacky UV Resin for Crafts
If you are having trouble with your UV resin remaining tacky after it has been cured properly under the UV light, there are a few things you can try to firm up the piece.
Troubleshoot Option One
First, try putting the item back under the UV light, as it may just require more time to cure than you have allowed.
Troubleshoot Option Two
Next, try placing the item in sunlight during the afternoon hours when the sun is at its most powerful. Put the item in a space that gets direct sunlight and allow the process to continue.
Troubleshoot Option Three
Replace the batteries in your UV torch if that is what you are using to cure the piece. If the batteries are low, your light may not be powerful enough to achieve a complete cure.
Troubleshoot Option Four
Oftentimes, UV Resin finishes are slightly tacky after only a few minutes of curing. Let the piece sit in a dark, cool place for a while to complete the cationic curing process that you activated with UV light.
Troubleshoot Option Five
This is a trick I use frequently, but it only works if you are just trying to get rid of a slightly tacky surface. The rest of your piece must be fully cued, or this will not work. If you’re struggling with a bit of a tacky surface, purchase some clear UV nail gel and paint it onto the top in a thin layer. Cure under the lamp for a couple of minutes and your surface should be nice and glossy and tack-free!
Trash it and Regroup Option
If you end up having to trash your project, keep a few things in mind when reattempting it:
Thinner UV Resin Layers
- Cure your project in thinner layers to avoid tackiness.
Check Your UV Resin Pigments
- Also, be cognizant of which color pigments you are using. Darker color pigments are only able to cure in very thin layers, as the pigment blocks the UV light’s ability to penetrate all of the UV resin, inhibiting the curing of the entire object.
- Too much pigment will also cause this issue. Keep your ratio to 5% pigment to 95% UV resin, at the very most.
- For best results use pigments made for UV Resin.
UV Resin Mold
- Also, the mold you are using may be affecting your cure. You must only use a clear silicone mold for UV resin. Any other mold will not allow UV light to pass through it, inhibiting the cure yet again.
Expired UV Resin
- It may also be time to get yourself a new bottle of UV Resin. Unfortunately, UV Resins have an expiration date. They do not have the same shelf life as a can of String Beans or Spaghetti-Os. Sometimes, it is just time to toss the product and purchase some fresh UV Resin, especially if none of these other options have worked.
UV RESIN FAQ
What isn’t my UV resin piece shiny?
Be cognizant of the type of mold you are using if you are having this issue. A shiny silicone mold will produce shiny UV resin pieces. On the other hand, a matte silicone mold produces matte, duller, UV resin pieces.
If you are using a shiny mold and still having issues with the shine on your UV resin pieces, try adding a thin layer of UV resin to the top of your piece and curing again. This should renew the shine of your UV resin piece.
How do I protect my UV resin pieces?
The nice part about UV resin pieces is that you can always add another layer of UV resin if you feel the piece has started to dull. Once dried, you can also protect your UV pieces by adding a clear spray coat of polyurethane or another type of clear spray coating.
Rinsing under warm water will also remove any dust particles from the surface of the resin. Only polish pieces with dry, soft fabrics to ensure you are not scratching the surface during a polish.
UV Resin Buyers Guide
Factors to Consider When Purchasing UV Resin
Final Cure (Not Tacky and Clear)
The best UV Resins do not dry with a tacky surface. Tacky surfaces are frustratingly hard to fix on a UV resin piece. We like a fully cured UV resin piece. So, all the UV resins for crafts on this list cure fully and tack-free, if you have used the proper curing process and followed all necessary directions.
Solubility of Pigment
Although you must be careful adding pigments into your UV Resin, as it could affect the ability to achieve a full cure, a quality UV Resin will be able to properly absorb pigments made for UV Resin.
This factor is self-explanatory, as we are naturally always looking for a good price. However, sometimes the cheapest products in the market are of very poor quality. On the other hand, sometimes the high-priced items are just as good as the averaged priced products.
For this list, we weigh quality with price and only recommend the highest quality products that are in a reasonable price range. Products lose points if there are similar quality products on the market that are priced significantly lower.
Curing Time For UV Resin
Obviously, the curing time of UV resin will differ from product to product, but the less time it takes to cure the better! We use UV Resin in crafting as a way to save time so it is preferable that a UV Resin cures quickly! Remember, the thicker your pour, the type of pigments added, and the type of mold you are using, all contribute to the time it takes to cure a UV Resin piece.
UV Cure Method Options
The highest-rated UV Resins are cured with either artificial UV light or sunlight. However, using a UV light will always cure a piece faster. If you are having trouble curing your piece, use a light, then put your pierce in direct sunlight for a few hours to achieve a thorough cure.
Air bubbles are an issue with any type of resin, so, unfortunately, this is another factor to consider when deciding which UV resin product to purchase for your next project. Obviously, the fewer bubbles the better.
However, if you are struggling with air bubbles, remember to put your cup of resin in a warm bowl of water. This should release any pesky air bubbles. Any air bubbles in the mold post pour may be released using a lighter and skimming it lightly over the surface of the resin.
A UV Resin with fewer air bubbles will leave you with a professional-looking final project.
Transparency or Color Accuracy
If you are looking to buy a UV Resin that is clear, transparency must be considered. UV Resin is commonly used for coating and doming projects, which require crystal clear transparency.
Some low-quality UV resins have a bit of a cloudy look to them, which is not ideal for a crystal clear project.
While you want your UV Resin to dry with a non-tacky surface, it is also important that it dries transparent and is resistant to yellowing,
Unlike epoxy resins, UV resins will not yellow from overexposure to UV light.
However, some UV resins do dry cloudy, or yellow.
A product will only receive 5 silicone spoons in this category if it meets the transparency quality standard we set for UV Resins we use in our own artwork.
However, you can also buy colored UV Resins.
In the case of colored UV Resin products, the test would be pigmentation or color accuracy.
If the UV Resin is advertised as transparent blue, then a quality product will be just that, see-through and truly blue.
Best UV Resin Reviews
Best UV Resin for Crafts
Here is our list of best UV Resin for crafts. We tested each and every one of these UV Resins and many other UV Resins on the market.
These were hands-down the top contenders.
Each UV Resin was thoroughly tested and reviewed.
For brevity, we have included the scores each product received on out rating sheet. For your convenience, we have also included a list of the most pertinent pros and cons of each of the products that made our top UV Resin for crafts list.
If you want even more detail, including testing information, including why products ranked the way they did in each respective category, follow the links to the full reviews listed under each product.
How Our Rating System Works
We reviewed each UV Resin on the factors discussed in the section above. We rated each of these UV Resins using our Scale of Silicone Spoons, referenced in the image above.Products that receive a perfect score are awarded our Gold-Leafed Spoon Award.
We personally tested each of these products.
If there is a specific UV Resin product you would like us to review, please leave the name of it in the comment section below and we would be happy to test it out!
Top Recommendations for UV Resin for Crafts
Recommendations and Reviews
Here is a list of our top recommendations for UV Resin available for purchase today.
Solarez UV Resin Bottle Sizes
Sunlight: 3-5 min per 1/2 inch of UV resin
UV Torch– 30 seconds with a strong torch and a thin layer or 1-3 minutes up to 1/2 inch thick pour
May take up to 25-30 minutes to achieve full cure if you pour deeper than 1/2 an inch and have to add the catalyst. (or in dark pigment situations where a catalyst is needed.)
Cure times in Sunlight may vary based on geographic placement above the equator, season, and weather. Don’t be an amateur.
DecorRom UV Resin Bottle Sizes
500 grams/ 17.5 fluid ounces: Buy Here
200 grams/ 7 fluid ounces: Buy Here
DecorRom UV Resin is non-toxic and easy to use. However, many customers have complained that it does not cure as quickly as advertised. The cure times are advertised as follows:
DecorRom UV Resin Cure Time
UV Torch: About 1-2 minutes
Direct Sun (Sunny Day): 10-15 minutes
Direct Sun (Cloudy Day): 30-60 minutes
Puduo UV Resin Bottle Sizes
200 grams/ 7 fluid ounces: Buy Here
Puduo UV Resin Cure Time
UV Lamp: About 1-2 minutes
Direct Sun (Sunny Day): 10-15 minutes
Let’s Resin Colored UV Resin Bottle Sizes
Each colored UV Resin bottle has 20 grams or .07 ounces of UV Resin. This is not a lot of UV Resin in each bottle, but it works well for small projects like keychains or jewelry.
Let’s Resin Colored UV Resin Cure Times
54W or higher UV Light: 6-8 minutes (3-4 minutes each side)
Direct Sunlight (Sunny Day): 20-30 minutes
Direct Sunlight (Cloudy Day): 30-60 minutes
Let's Resin Colored UV Resin Colors
Here is a picture of what each color in this Let’s Resin UV resin kit looks like when cured:
Included Colors: Black, White, Red, Ruby Red, Pink, Blue, Sapphire Blue, Green, Purple, Yellow. You can mix colors to get a broader color spectrum.
Mr. Resin UV Resin Bottle Sizes
1kg/35 ounces: Buy Here
100g/3.5 ounces: Buy Here
250g/8.8m ounces: Buy Here
500g/17.6 ounces: Buy Here
250g Deluxe Kit: Buy Here
250g Starters Kit: Buy Here
Mr. Resin UV Resin Cure Times
36W lamp: 1-2 minutes
48 W UV lamp: 4-6 minutes
Direct Sunlight: 5-10 minutes
Indirect Sunlight: 30-40 minutes
BEST SOFT TYPE UV RESIN
MiracleKoo Soft UV Resin Bottle Sizes
MiracleKoo Soft UV Resin Bottle Sizes
36W lamp: 2-4 minutes
48 W UV lamp: 2-3 minutes
Direct Sunlight: 10-15 minutes
Indirect Sunlight: 45 minutes- 1 hour
Thank you for checking out our Best UV Resin Buyer’s Guide and Review Post. If you have a suggestion for another UV Resin for us to review, please leave the name of it in the comments. We love hearing from you.
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