Monday, April 26, 2010

Musings on UV Resins and Polymer Clay- for comparison shoppers

 Over the past 4 months I have been experimenting with UV resins. I am covering a variety of materials including polymer clay and porous botanical items so my issues with bubbles may be more frequent than other users. All of these products were purchased from US sources and shipping costs have not been factored in the the price- if you are in Canada or another country outside of the US I advise you check on shipping costs prior to confirming your purchase as costs can often come close to the price of the item itself. I am in search of a Canadian supplier of products in larger quantities- especially one that can offer wholesale!

After reading this blog I recommend you pay a visit to Cindy Leitz's site where there is an outstanding discussion on resin that goes far beyond my musings here! My fellow west coaster and very good friend Tina Holden also has excellent observations about resin on her incredible  blog.

Magic Glos- by Lisa Pavelka
Retail price on company website 1 oz $9.50 US /6 oz $50.00 US unit price- $8.33/oz
Wholesale source- desperately searching

Magic Glos was the first resin I worked with so I went though the "resin learning curve" with this one. I wasted a lot of my first bottle with trial and error but by bottle number two  I had very little waste.

The product comes in a plastic bottle with a flip cap top that can be used for controlled pours. It domes very well and bubbles dissipate instantly with an embossing gun. It is quite thick so there are fewer spills when the items go into the UV oven. The product cures within 30 minutes. 
I have a problem with the Pavelka oven design oven though- it's frustrating to get a beautiful dome on a piece and then lift it up and ever so gingerly slide it into the oven only to see a flood of resin spill off the piece. Spills are inevitable and clearing the hardened resin off the oven floor is tedious. I recommend that you make your piece on a little glass tray then place the tray in the oven.
Purchase on the Ultradome website -2 oz $12 12.00 8 oz $30.95 unit price approx $3.86 
Bulk purchase available but shipping a large item such as this incurs high freight costs for cross border purchasers.

Ultradome was the second resin I tried. There is a screw on cap so the  the first thing I had to do was go to Industrial Plastic to purchase a nozzle cap. The Ultradome website offers their product in in convenient kits and you can order separate caps and lids and all sorts of wonderful supplies. If you order UltraDome I suggest you request an appropriate cap. When I began working with the product it domed nicely but when I used the embossing gun to get rid of the bubbles the surface tension collapsed and the the resin flooded. I always read instructions after I begin working and the instruction sheet advised me that a butane torch was the tool for getting rid of the foamy bubbles so I headed to the Hardware sore and got a little torch for $20. (The UltraDome website offers mini torches. The torch worked well but many passes were required Ultradome is a bit on the runny side and found myself having to mop up many spills during the critical moments when the domed item is placed in the oven. I found that letting the piece sit for 30 minutes before putting it in the oven address the issue of "latent bubbles" those pesky little buggles that make an appearance during the curing process.
Curing time for Ultradome is very good- it's done within 30 minutes or less.

Ultradome has a genius oven design that addresses the balancing act of placing items in the oven. Their oven has an open bottom so you can set up your pieces, leave them in place and position the oven on top of the items the way you put a lid over a pot- here's a movie of the process. The ovens are $175 US though so I'm going to try to make one myself. Another oven option is on UltraDome's sister site that has a focus on resin jewelery which offers a smaller and more affordable oven with a glass slide in tray.

UPDATE- I have continued working with UltraDome - I invested in a 2 oz dispenser and Luer Lok tips and it's a fantastic combo! Latent buggles no longer an issue!
Gel du Soeil by Judikins

Retail on Judikins website 9ml 8.00 ( .30 oz) unit price $26/oz

US wholesalers available- check your suppliers.

 Luckily I have a wholesale supplier for testing this one! Retail $8 for 9ml is pretty steep and if you do the metric conversion math, that's $26 per ounce!. You can get marginally better prices on eBay. This resin is the most expensive of the three. My 4 oz bottle of Gel du Soleil came with a flip lid with a pouring cap and a list of health and safety warnings. The resin has the same level of runny-ness as UltraDome but is less foamy when it's poured. Bubbles dissipate with the embossing gun or torch. Gel du Soleil takes considerably longer to cure than Magic Glos or Ultradome. When covering 3d mixed media inclusions It seems to lack the self leveling properties of the other two resins and seems to shrink somewhat and cures with a rippled surface. Second coats worked for achieving a smooth dome but with two pieces involving fabric the resin warped and buckled out of the setting.

Judikins has a UV oven with a design similar to the Lisa Pavelka line.

Resinable Suggestions- little things that are useful to know

if you don't have one, invest in a magnifying glass to catch those pesky buggles.

If resin gets on your clothes put a squirt of dish washing liquid directly on the splotch- leave for an hour then put in the washing machine on cold with laundry detergent.

Cleaning up your settings- dip the completed piece in Tarn-X- it shines the metal, loosens up any little spilovers and doesn't affect the resin.


  1. Great review Gera! It is nice to hear about the other resins as well. The foamy bubbles you spoke of with the UltraDome... I haven't run into that problem at all. Do you think your bottle was shaken or something?

    With popping the bubbles I find that a BBQ lighter works just fine and I don't need to use a torch. Never tried an embossing gun though, so thanks for the tip not to use it on the UltraDome.

    It would be good to have a Canadian Distributor for these resins. That shipping and border issue is such a pain. We'll have to see about making that happen.

    Nice to know about the Judikins stuff. I actually have her lamp which is OK but not very powerful. Would definitely love to have the one with the open bottom that UltraDome has though. It seems like the best way to go.

    Polymer clay sure looks gorgeous with the resin on it, doesn't it? I can see lots of Faux Dichroic Glass in our future! Your pieces are just stunning with it!

    Thanks for doing the review. It is very helpful. Also thanks for the link to my blog. I really appreciate that!

  2. Hi Cindy- about the ultradome foaming- no bottle shaking prior to the pour-that was my first thought. It's a repeated phenomena- maybe my nozzle?


  3. The only one of the resins I've used is Lisa Pavelka's brand and I was delighted with it. No bubbles, no mixing. I didn't invest in any special equipment to cure it other than a black light from WalMart. I already had an undercounter florescent light so the bulb was my only investment. I like it because I can work on my piece on my regular 8" tiles that I bake on, then just sit the light up over it. Works beautifully! There is a picture of a piece I did recently using Tina Holden's tutorial and Lisa's resin at

  4. Even though I am not a resin user, I enjoyed reading your reviews of these products!

  5. Great review Gera! yes, I too have a problem with bubbles and the ultradome. I got a nozzle with my sample and seems the longer nozzles give the resin time to form bubbles because of the squeeze and release action while applying resin. Discovered that because I also tried a pipette. The small bottles of magic glos have the perfect short nozzles that don't give the resin too much time to bubble up.
    If want a removable bottom for a 36 Watt lamp...I highly recommend the white one I had gotten on Ebay. It looks just like this one... but can't find the seller now. I got mine for about $35 including Shipping which makes me think I lucked out. I asked for the north american plug in. The bottom try is removable and I can place the lamp over my tile with resin items.
    Thanks for the link.

  6. Gera, Your pendant is gorgeous! I have always wanted to try making resin coated jewlery, and with your great review now I have an idea of how to go about it. Great links too.
    Thanks Gera!

  7. I love Lisa's Magic-glos for many reasons: Hardly any bubbles, easy to layer, bakeable, etc. One thing is that less is definitely more - learned that the hard way, lol. Also, I just stick my pieces outside in the sunshine - if need be, just cover them with a drinking glass or glass baking dish (love thrift stores).

    As far as a wholesale source, it's JHB

  8. I taught a class last year where a number of students had problems with the Magic Glos 'pooling'. I was advised to apply more of the product - but it still wasn't a nice domed finish. We were applying over foils and pearlexed clay tiles - but that shouldn't have made a difference. I'll have to try and source some of these other resins here in Australia. Thanks heaps for this info Gera!
    Sera Pinwill

  9. I was experimenting with Magic Glos and trying to cure it using natural sunlight. I guess the sun over here is too strong and I left the experimented pieces for too long, and it turned yellow....

  10. Has anyone else had a problem with the Gel du Soleil darkening the paper used as the art work? I've been very dissappointed with this and may need to use something else. I also just put my pieces out in mid-day sun to cure, so don't know if that is the issue.

  11. Perhaps if you seal th epaper with a transparent glue like weldbond or modge podge it might protect the ink from any chemical effects caused by the resin?


  12. Thanks for a great post :) I'm new to this and the only product I've tried is Gel du Soleil. I seal the paper with Mod-Podge first, no darkening of the paper. And I noticed there need to be a strong glue underneath the paper (like E-6000) or it may warp, that happened the other day...
    Earlier this season, I put it to cure in the sun, sure took a while, but turned out nice otherwise. The NJ winter is here, so I bought the curing lamp (Pavelka's).
    I like the gel, except I'm often having problems with those pesky bubbles...I don't have a heat-gun...Maybe I should get one? It also seems like the bigger bottle of this stuff creates more bubbles..the opening is too big.

  13. Can resin be used to waterproof-seal a transferred image on polymer clay? Does the image need to be sealed (tls, pym2, future) before the resin is applied?

  14. I can't see why you coluldn't put resin over a transfer....


  15. I know this is an older post but I found it doing some google searching. I'm trying to figure out if you can bake any of these? If you wanted to add another polymer clay element after the resin, could it handle the temps required for curing the clay? I currently have the Gel Du Soleil.

  16. Hi Aimee- I usually fire first then put the resin on... I have had some items with resin go into the oven at 275F and they have come out without any damage.

  17. warm Greeting

    Have you been thinking about the power sources and the tiles whom use blocks
    I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoyed every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out the new stuff you post.

    glass ware items supplier


I always love to get comments!