When I first started making orgonite, I struggled to find a way to keep the surface area tack-free and glossy. If you work with epoxy resin, you might not have this problem, but polyester resin retains a slightly tacky surface which softens when heated. This means that when your resin piece is cured, you might find fingerprints on it after holding it too long.
Apparently this tackiness only occurs on the surfaces exposed to air when curing, so usually plastic, glass and metal moulds aren’t such a big problem, but silicone moulds are another story. I’m assuming this is because resin shrinks while curing, and silicone is flexible enough to allow air into the mould.
Sanding and buffing
Many resin artists use sandpaper in progressively finer grits to sand down the resin, finishing by buffing it until it shines. I did try out this method for a while, but it’s a lot of work to do by hand, and I didn’t manage to get the pieces to look as shiny as they were fresh out of the mould.
Another thing that other orgonite makers have recommended is clear lacquer spray paint. I had varying measures of success with this. It’s easy to apply (just spray it) and produces good shine, but it can have long curing times. I used this for a while, but sometimes I had to wait for weeks for a piece to cure, and eventually I got fed up with it.
My solution: Bonda Seal
Finally, I emailed a few resin manufacturers to ask what product they would recommend (it’s funny how sometimes the most obvious answer only comes to us after we’ve tried everything else). One man recommended a product called Bonda Seal, which I’ve been using ever since.
Bonda Seal is a non-yellowing resin varnish which dries completely hard after 72 hours. The pendant I am currently wearing has taken a beating over the past few months. Since I can re-cast, sandpaper and varnish my pendants any time, I don’t treat them as delicately as I should. That means I sleep with them on, bump them into things, shove them in my bag with lots of other objects, etc. But since I’ve been using this varnish, there’s not a scratch on the pendant. Not that I recommend that anyone else do this, of course – with or without good varnish, resin can still scratch or break.
Anyway, I highly recommend this to fellow resin casters and orgonite makers.
Some tips for using this varnish:
- Do it in a well-ventilated area, and/or wearing a respirator, since the fumes can damage your lungs.
- Specks of dust show up quite clearly after the varnish has dried, so if it’s important to have a glass-smooth surface, make sure there’s no dust in the brush that you use and cover the resin object while drying.
- Keep a tissue with some acetone on hand to clean up any mess and wipe the bottle after pouring.
Unfortunately this product is only sold in the UK as far as I know, but I’m sure there are equivalent products in other countries – please leave a comment if you can recommend any varnish product. As for Bonda Seal, here’s a link to buy it.