Step-by-Step Guide to Resin Casting in Woodworking

Casting wood or other materials in resin to add interest has been a popular method in woodturning in recent years. Some people “save” a piece of wood that would not otherwise be used by using casting; others use epoxy to insert an item; still others carve a design and fill it with color. In any event, there are a lot of alternatives to investigate when mixing wood and resin.

The use of chemicals and specialized equipment in casting has inherent dangers, although they may be mitigated with the right safety measures. There is an instruction leaflet and a use guide for resins. Please read, comprehend, and abide by these directions. When casting, wearing gloves, a respirator, and eye protection are essential. Casting may be safe and pleasant as long as the right precautions are taken.

Here is the step-by-step guide to resin casting in woodwork:

Prepare the surface

Use a hard brush and detergent to clean the area where the resin will be applied. Prior to applying the glue, make sure the wood is free of any dust or grime as this could cause problems.

Select your type of resin

The kind of resin used, such as polyester or epoxy, will depend on the kind of project being worked on. It’s critical to understand which type is most appropriate for the project because each has pros and cons.

Safety precautions 

When handling resins, make sure to wear safety equipment such as respirators, gloves, and eye protection. A properly ventilated workspace is also important since certain resins generate fumes that could be harmful.


choice in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations to guarantee a smooth application free of lumps or air bubbles in the mixture.

Stir the catalyst and resin together well and briskly for at least one minute, using a stir stick or tongue depressor. To ensure that the catalyst and resin are properly mixed, use your stir stick to scrape the edges and bottom of the cup.



Starting in the corners and working your way out of direct light, slowly pour or brush the mixture onto the wood surface until it is entirely covered. Depending on the type of outcome you hope to accomplish with your project, you could require more than one layer. For optimal results, let the initial layer cure completely before applying any subsequent applications, allowing at least 12 hours to pass between coats.

Curing and demolding

Using a sterile stir stick, tap the cast piece’s surface. It will ‘click hard’ without sticking when tapped once it has healed. The cast’s edges will have receded from the mold’s sides and all or a portion of its face.

If there is still surface tackiness, give it up to several days to solidify and inspect in between.

Holding the mold by its edges, turn it over onto a sanitized piece of plastic wrap, and bend it like an ice cube tray. If the cast is adequately hardened and catalyzed, it should come out of the mold with ease.

Do not handle your casting until it is completely dry to reduce fingerprints and imperfections.


After giving your woodworking project enough time to fully cure (according to the manufacturer’s directions), finish it by lightly sanding any uneven areas and then polishing it to the desired sheen.

5.1 Pro Tips for Perfecting Your Resin Casting Skills

Using a sterile stir stick, tap the cast piece’s surface. It will ‘click hard’ without sticking when tapped once it has healed. The cast’s edges will have receded from the mold’s sides and all or a portion of its face.

If there is still surface tackiness, give it up to several days to solidify and inspect in between.

Holding the mold by its edges, turn it over onto a sanitized piece of plastic wrap, and bend it like you would an ice cube tray. If the cast is adequately hardened and catalyzed, it should come out of the mold with ease.

Do not handle the casting until it is completely dry to reduce fingerprints and imperfections.

Thirdly, it is imperative to utilize different mixing containers for each color or batch of resin when working with epoxy resins. If colorants and additives are utilized in high quantities, they may react and induce symptoms like heat shock, which could endanger safety while working on a project.

Achieving bubble-free results

In resin casting, air bubbles always rise to the surface. Allow bubbles to rise for ten minutes after pouring. The best tool for eliminating resin bubbles is a torch or heat gun, but if you don’t have one on hand, a hair dryer will work just as well. Air bubbles in epoxy resin can be burst by briefly stroking the resin with a heat gun, torch, or hair dryer. The sooner bubbles are eliminated, the better.

It will be more difficult for a heat gun to reach air bubbles at or near the bottom of your mold, but it can be a great tool for eliminating bothersome surface-level air bubbles. Removing resin bubbles in batches and applying fewer layers at a time can fix this. Likewise, with a hair dryer. It will be more difficult to reach and remove those resin bubbles further down because hair dryers have a maximum temperature of about 140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Ensuring a secure bond between wood and resin

Professionals and do-it-yourselfers alike appreciate epoxy glue for wood because of its remarkable strength and durable adherence. It produces long-lasting, water-resistant seals that are simple to drill, sand, and clean. These characteristics make it ideal for use on wooden furniture. For polished results, just apply the wood epoxy, let it set, and then add some finishing touches.

Due to its ability to maximize epoxy penetration into the bonding surface and prevent epoxy-starved junctions, two-step bonding is generally the favored procedure. When joints have low stresses and excess absorption into porous surfaces is not an issue, single-step bonding may be utilized. In both situations, applying epoxy to the surface with a roller or brush promotes the strongest bond.

Assemble all the clamps and tools required for the task, cover any areas that need spill protection, and inspect all the pieces to be bonded for appropriate fit and surface preparation before mixing epoxy.

6. Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them in Resin Casting

Incomplete curing

There might be soft spots in a piece of resin that has otherwise been finely cured. While mixing, it’s a good idea to scrape down the sides of your mixing bowl; however, avoid doing so when pouring the resin because it could spill unmixed resin. To prevent this, collect all of the resin in the middle of the mixing bowl before pouring, and scrape down the sides as you mix.

The best method for repairing soft resin patches is to completely remove any soft material by scraping and then sanding these areas. Replace the entire area and sand it down before carefully filling it in with a fresh resin mixture. Sand it once more after it hardens. As needed, add more layers.

Uncured resin can be problematic; three typical scenarios are as follows:

Sticky resin

Sticky resin is caused when measurements of materials were incorrectly done, resin was not thoroughly mixed or resin was cured in a chilly environment.

Soft and sticky spots

Occasionally, soft, sticky patches will show up on otherwise well-cured resin. When you don’t mix your resin properly, this behavior happens. If this occurs, you should carefully apply a fresh layer that has been correctly mixed after scraping off and sanding down the soft resin.

Liquid, runny resin

If too much color additive is used or the incorrect 1:1 ratio of hardener to resin, there is the risk of having runny resin. The runny resin must be scraped off and a fresh coat must be applied.

Bubbles and imperfections

Because wood is porous, it contains a large number of microscopic holes and grooves throughout its structure. Small air pockets frequently reside in these tiny spaces (assuming the material is dry).

The resin will gradually seep into these holes and grooves when it is poured directly onto a porous surface like this, expelling air and filling the space.

The air may, however, occasionally become trapped inside the resin before it can reach the surface because the resin is thick and viscous. Air bubbles make up this trapped air.

Air bubbles that form in the cured resin finish and are not removed can appear just below the hardened surface. That obviously has a negative impact on the finish’s durability and aesthetic appeal.

The best precaution to prevent minor flaws from entering the resin project is to make the work space as neat and orderly as possible. 

Pet hair is the worst for flying around and getting into the project, so tie it back when working with resin and avoid working in an area where animals are allowed to run loose. Before working in a space, give it a thorough cleaning and dusting, and make an effort to keep things as clutter-free as possible. Additionally, make an effort to work somewhere that requires no walking. Avoiding flaws before they arise is far preferable to attempting to fix them after they have entered your work, particularly after your resin has dried.

6.1 Troubleshooting Your Resin Casting Techniques

Uneven Curing

As directed by the manufacturer, make sure you use the right amount of resin to hardener. Inadequate resin or excessive hardener will result in uneven curing. Uneven curing can also result from thick layers or batches that are poorly mixed.


During the curing process, some bubbles are likely to form unless you’re using a vacuum chamber. Unless the product directions specify otherwise, mix the resin and hardener slowly and thoroughly with a slow stir to minimize bubbles. When pouring a flood coat, it’s almost inevitable to get a few bubbles here and there, even with a proper seal coat. A propane torch or a heat gun can be used instead.

Even with a good seal coat, a few bubbles will almost certainly form when pouring a flood coat. Using a heat gun or a propane torch to deal with this is simple.

Once the flood coat has been poured, move the propane flame back and forth, a few inches away from the epoxy surfaces, to heat the entire surface for a brief period of time and eliminate any air bubbles.


Working with polyester resins frequently results in this because water droplets accumulate in them and then clear out when exposed to UV light. Before starting any polyester resin application process, make sure your workplace is dust-free and clean. This will assist in ensuring an even finish after the resin has fully dried.

Cracking/Chipping Edges 

Make sure you adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the maximum thickness per layer that may be poured without creating soft edges or splitting along the edges after curing when casting parts or joining numerous pieces together with resin. Moreover, applying fiberglass tape filleting strips to thicken the area surrounding medium-sized fractures helps stop additional chipping away at priceless edges brought on by repeated application requirements, like for repetitious jewelry designs


Use butyl rubber sealants as an alternative if you can, as silicones tend to cause pigmentation changes from certain epoxies. If discoloration problems occur, such as yellowing around silicone seams, make sure the products used don’t contain materials that may react poorly with your epoxy system.

How to fix incomplete curing

Remove the dripping or moist material completely. Remove the runny resin with a scraper, mix in fresh resin, and add another layer. Sand any remaining depression if needed, and follow the above instructions to cure your resin in a warm area.

Resin Hardening Tips and Tricks

The following advice can help harden sticky resin:

  • Use a triple-thick polyurethane application. Once the resin had a full 24 hours to cure, gently apply a coat of polyurethane and let it sit for half an hour. Use uniform, thin coatings; heavy sprays could obscure the surface.
  • It is best to recoat the entire project with resin when repairing a sticky spot as opposed to only the troublesome location. A seam line won’t be showing between the new and old layers, thanks to this procedure.
  • Sloppy or runny resin cannot be repaired; it is always best to eliminate it. Sticky or tacky resin can be left alone, and such problems can be resolved in a different way.
  • Don’t add more than 6% colorant of the whole resin mix.
  • Prior to beginning a major project, create a practice project. Practice mixing and applying resin so as to identify any mistakes made.
  • Always make sure to precisely follow the product’s mixing instructions. All of the aforementioned issues may arise from resin combinations with insufficient hardener

How to eliminate bubbles

Drag the Bubbles Out

Remove stubborn bubbles with a spotless toothpick! Bubbles in resin that has just begun to set can be popped by dragging the bubble to the surface with a clean toothpick.

Additionally, pop bubbles on the surface with a toothpick. After popping the bubbles in this manner, running a torch over the piece’s surface will aid in encouraging the resin to seep into the bubble holes.

Use a Straw

Did you know that you can explode bubbles without a fancy torch or even a fire at all? Using a straw, create tiny bubbles in the resin mixture or on the newly poured resin surface.

With the straw positioned two to three inches above the item, gently blow through it. Breathing carbon dioxide will burst surface bubbles as well as a torch, but without the flames.

Please take care not to approach too close! Numerous artists have made the mistake of dipping their straw into resin, picked it up again, and then unintentionally placed the wrong end in their mouth! While eliminating bubbles, pay attention and maintain a minimum of two inches between you and your piece.

Use a BBQ/Long Neck Lighter

The flames on most long-neck lighters can be adjusted; if at all possible, select the lowest or medium setting rather than the largest one.

Pass the flame about a half-inch away from the resin’s surface while it’s still new; avoid focusing on one area for an extended period of time. The resin is too hot if it explodes or smokes; turn off the flame and give it a chance to cool before using it again.

Pop Resin Bubbles with Rubbing Alcohol

This is a simple method that uses a spray bottle and isopropyl or rubbing alcohol!

Freshly poured resin may have bubbles on the surface. If this happens, lightly mist the top with rubbing alcohol. Instead of using a concentrated stream, use a spray bottle with a fine mist option. The force of the concentrated spray may pierce the resin’s surface, resulting in uneven curing.

If there are any bubbles on the piece, lightly mist it with rubbing alcohol, then let it settle. Avoid over-spraying. Only need to apply a thin layer; if bubbles continue to form, need to burst them using the straw method.

Conclusion: The Art and Craft of Resin Casting in Woodworking

Summary of the importance of resin casting

The most effective method for processing the resins and using them appropriately appears to be resin casting. What are a few advantages that come with the procedure?

First, the exploration of intricate and complex designs is made possible by resin casting. Various product designs for casting can be made using this method. Unlike most casting techniques, which require adaptation to static methods, this doesn’t happen.

Second, resin casting lets you experiment with various hues. The resin casting can be painted using a variety of techniques.

It’s also critical to remember that resin casting is an affordable way to obtain goods and the components that go with them. You can get a lot of parts for a reasonable price.

Final thoughts

In woodworking, there are benefits and drawbacks to using resin. It can produce distinctive results that are difficult to duplicate with other materials, despite being an expensive material that requires skill and patience to use properly. Resin needs to be handled and stored carefully to protect its integrity and reduce the possibility of dust or other foreign materials contaminating it. Although applying it correctly can result in a product that looks professional, the process is complex. For both novice and expert craftsmen, working with resin in woodworking can be a very fulfilling experience—as long as safety procedures are taken and the right methods are applied.

The use of resin in woodworking has transformed the industry, opening up new creative avenues for craftsmen and allowing them to create amazing works of art. Resin gives woodworkers the option to add unrivaled beauty and practicality to their crafts by filling gaps, transforming them into river tables, and boosting longevity. Woodworking aficionados have countless opportunities to let their creativity run wild as this adaptable material continues to develop, creating breathtaking works that fuse the classic beauty of wood with the cutting-edge artistry of resin.

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