Thursday, 1 December 2016

Product review - ECO Resin Gift Pack from CHEMSET

You all know how much I love resin. Since my introductory course with Resin8 whilst I was still Editor of the much missed Beads & Beyond magazine, I have become more than a little bit obsessed with this versatile medium.
When CHEMSET got in touch about their new ECO Resin products, I was keen to try them and to include one of their comprehensive gift packs in our Facebook 1000 fan giveaway.

Some of you may already be familiar with CHEMSET resin products. They manufacture a wide range of cold enamelling supplies including several types of clear resin and hardener as well as colour pastes and coloured resins (check out their metallic, sparkle and glow in the dark versions!). 

Their latest product offering is this ECO resin which the manufacturers describe as being a "lightly fragranced, solvent-free, non-toxic, easy to use, versatile epoxy resin". It's called 'ECO' because of it's reduced carbon footprint and reduced environmental impact (compared to other products). I have to say that, whilst you should always use resin products in a well ventilated room, this product certainly does take the whiff out of working with these type of chemicals. I use a perfume-free barrier cream on my hands and I don't get a lot of resin on my hands these days (compared to when I first started) so I was quite surprised to discover that my fingers actually had a pleasant scent after using the products. No nasty solventy smell at all. How refreshing!

The ECO Resin Gift Pack comes all neatly packaged in a box containing Resin (50g), Hardener (25g with pipette), three mixing pots, three stirrers and a small acrylic block. There is a handy reference for mixing stuck on the inside of the lid which explains that the mixing ratio is 2:1 (resin to hardener) by weight.

To put the new resin through it's paces, I decided to try it with two different mini-projects. I have had a silicone mould from WOW! Embossing Powders for a while and I knew it would be perfect for resin. The heart shapes have a flat back that would be ideal for a papercraft project.

I mixed up 4.5g of finished resin following the manufacturer instructions. That required 3g of resin and 1.5g of hardener. I stirred to combine the chemicals but not so vigorously that I mixed in air bubbles!

I had a rummage in my box of flower beads and discovered some aluminium rose beads that I bought from Beads Unlimited a long long time ago. I think I've used these more on cards than I have in jewellery! They still sell some similar ones but I think these are a little bit bigger.

I added a little layer of resin into the bottom of the largest heart shape. Remembering that I needed to put the flowers in upside down (!) I added in the roses and arranged them a little with a cocktail stick. I added the remainder of the resin, filling the mould to the top. I left this to cure in a dust-free place. 

The instructions state that items will cure in around 16 hours but I left mine for 24 hours as my bead room isn't the warmest room in the house. After this time, the heart popped straight out of the mould.

I added the heart to a gift tag shaped card, tied with ribbon and stuck onto a plain white card blank. A quick 'with love' stamp, embossed with WOW's red embossing powder and my Mum's birthday card was finished.

My second project was one that appealed to my geeky side. I bought a random bag of resistors once when my husband was taking an age in Screwfix because I liked all the different colours. I had no idea what I'd do with them but I knew I could make something ir-resistor-able (sorry!).

I chose one of these 2x1 inch pendant blanks from BronzeMetal on Etsy and arranged the resistors in a pleasing pattern. I seemed to have more blue ones than anything else so it's a good job that's my favourite colour currently!

I designed a fake circuit board pattern in Powerpoint which I printed out and trimmed down to fit the pendant tray.  I glued it in place with Mod Podge and brushed over with more sealant. I left to try and then brushed on another layer of Mod Podge to ensure the paper was well and truly sealed.

Once dry, I trimmed down the wires on my resistors and glued them in place.Once the glue had dried completely, I put the pendant tray onto the acrylic block to ensure it was completely flat and so that I could transport the filled item easily. I mixed up 6g of resin (4g of resin to 2g of hardener) and added it carefully to the pendant tray to create a nice domed finish. There were a few little bubbles that rose to the surface which I got rid of by passing over the surface carefully with a naked flame.

I left to cure for 24 hours and then added a silver plated chain and clasp. I work once a month in a electronics design company so I can't wait to show them what I've made!

Overall, I've been impressed with ECO Resin. It's nice to work with resin that doesn't smell bad and the results on the two projects I have tried so far have been the same high quality that I have come to expect from CHEMSET resins.

CHEMSET ECO Resin products can be purchased from their listed stockists.