Brides like to save the wedding bouquets to remember their special days. Some may keep the flowers in a zipper bag while others may frame them to decorate homes. Whichever way, the flowers have a lot of meanings to us. These days brides have found a modern way to preserve their flowers. They do it themselves or with artists’ help. The flowers are encapsulated in a glass-like thing – resin.
I have been practicing flower preservation with resin for a while and want to share 3 frequently asked questions people asked. They are very helpful if you want to preserve your own flowers at home.
Will resin turn to yellowish after a few years?
Resin is not a new thing. People have been using it to make tables, pots or artworks for years. The most noticeable concern is probably the color.
Because UV light can degrade epoxy polymers and cause ambering, clear resin can turn to yellowish after years. If flowers are preserved in such resin, it won’t make you feel happy. So choosing high quality resin with UV stabilizer is very necessary before you preserve your flowers. The UV stabilizer can interrupt the yellowing and keep it clear for decades. Brand such as ArtResin or CounterCultureDIY offers UV resistant resin products. When you purchase, remember to read the instructions first and pick UV resistant resin.
Even if the color of resin remains the same, the colors of flowers may still fade over years. High room temperature and direct light can both affect the colors of flowers. To avoid that happening, you can spray GEMINI’s Dried Floral Preservation first before encapsulating the flowers in resin. Trust me, it makes a lot of difference! I had some dried flowers sprayed 3 years ago and put in a vase, and they still have a pleasant color now while the color of some other flowers I didn’t spray started fading after a few months. The spray can also seal and protect dried flowers from shattering.
Once resin is cured, place it somewhere at a cool room temperature under 72F. Also avoid direct sunlight and room lights. These will help to keep the colors of the flowers last much longer.
How to get rid of bubbles in resin?
People in commercial resin industry use pressure chambers or pots to take all the bubbles out of the resin. That will make the product very clean like a solid plastic. If you mix resin at home or a studio, tiny bubbles are most likely unavoidable. But there are still a few things you can do to decrease bubbles:
- Give resin a bath. I always put the resin mixture in warm water for 3-5 minutes before pouring them in the mold. Resin usually comes with part A and part B. If you are a beginner, you can put each part in a cup separately in warm water and mix them after. If you are more confident about what you are doing, you can pour two parts in one cup to mix and warm up. What I do is I pour two parts in a cup first but won’t stir it, which will slow down the curing time. Then I put the cup in warm water for 2-3 minutes, mix it for 1 minute, and let it sit for another 2-3 minutes before the pour. This works the best during winter time, and it helps resin fully cured. If your room temperature is above 72F, you can still warm up your resin mixture, but just remember: you would have a shorter time to work on it. Because the higher the room temperature is, the faster the resin cures.
- Pour thin layers multiple times. If you pour too much resin one time, it can cause a lot of bubbles. It may even burn your flowers because a large volume of resin generates higher heat. So try to pour a thin layer less than 1/4 inch every time, wait until it’s fully cured, and pour the next layer. This may take a longer time to finish your piece, but you will definitely see fewer bubbles.
- Torch bubbles. A torch or hot air gun is an essential tool to burst bubbles. However, you need to be extra careful when using it. Long time torching can easily burn your resin, and burned resin will be sticky and won’t cure. Also, because your flowers are dried, they can get burned in half a second.
- Choose the right resin. The textures of resin can be different. Some are watery and some are gooey. Gooey resin can cause larger bubbles and cure in a shorter time compared with watery resin. Because it cures faster, you may not be able to torch the bubbles before they float to the surface. Watery resin takes a much longer time to cure, usually 24-48 hours, before you continue working on it. Since it cures slowly and generates less heat, you are able to pour a bigger volume every time. However, those tiny bubbles can keep floating to the surface for hours if your flowers have too much space in between petals, for example, sunflowers. That means you need to keep torching bubbles floating to the top for a few hours. If you torch too often, you may burn the resin.
Although the resin is super clear with bubbles, one thing is clear: imperfect is perfect. Bubbles can give your artwork some characters to make it unique. At the end of the day, you would still love the thing you make. Because it’s handmade with love, not by a machine.
What is the best resin used to preserve flowers?
My answer is: there is no best one. It really depends on how you want to create your piece. Without considering brands, there are many types of resin you can choose in the market. The only important thing is that you should always choose the high quality resin. It’s chemical, so you want to make sure it’s safe to use, and it can last longer.
I use both casting resin and artist resin from CounterCultureDIY. The texture of casting resin is more watery, and you can pour a larger volume every time compared with artist resin. Because the resin is for casting purpose, it’s softer than artist resin and easier to generate scratches once cured.
Artist resin is harder and durable like glass. It cures faster so you may work on the same piece twice a day without waiting too long. But the gooey texture causes more bubbles than casting resin, and it generates more heat so you wouldn’t want to pour a big volume every time to avoid burning the flowers.
If you want your flowers to have a 3D look and not encapsulated in a mold, artist resin is a better choice. Because the resin can attach to the petals of the flowers easily just like glue, and it makes petals stronger due to thicker layers. Casting resin has a watery texture and can only add a thin layer to the petals. That means you may have to “glue” more layers of resin to the petals, or the flowers are going to be a little fragile and can easily get damaged.