What is resin & why do we ❤️ it?

We’ve been experimenting with resin since the Spring of 2016. Way back then we almost exclusively made necklaces, and we sold each one for £5! The packaging was crafty, the branding was non-existent… it’s amazing to think how much has changed about Luna & Kiki since then, but one thing has remained constant – our love of resin.

What we work with

We use a two-part epoxy resin (I’m not going to give away what brand we use here, but four years of research helped us find out which is our fave to use). Each separate part of the resin sits happily in liquid form; it’s only when the two meet and mix that a reaction occurs that causes the mixture to harden. It takes roughly 48 hours for the resin to fully set! That’s why we’re not about quick fashion here. If our customers purchase something made-to-order, they’re getting something that needs almost two days to set!

Other resins out there

There are many other types of resin on the market, and each has its own unique properties. There are some super duper strong epoxy resins that only take a couple of hours to set. We’re not fans of these because the fumes are UNREAL – just not what we want in our little studio (which is actually our spare room). There’s also UV resin, which uses UV light to set. It can set in minutes, which is great, but personally I find it a little too messy, unpredictable and I can’t mix the colours and materials like glitter into it as well as I can with our chosen resin.

How does resin compare to acrylic?

Though it only happens very occasionally, we are always surprised when our customers think our jewellery is acrylic. I’m not a plastics scientist (surprising, I know!) so I can’t really tell you much about the difference between resin and acrylic chemically. They’re both hard, shiny plastics and can both be brightly coloured – perfect for lightweight, durable jewellery! The main difference is how we use them. Check out our earring range here!

We are huge fans of acrylic jewelry but we find that resin is more flexible (figuratively of course… they’re both very tough). Acrylic jewellery is cut using a laser or knife/saw in a special machine. You have your sheet of plastic, and your design on your computer, and boom! It’s almost like printing out an image. 

The liquid nature of resin jewelry means you can mix inks, glitters and other materials into it to create as many different shades and colours as you can think of. With acrylic, you’re often limited to whatever colours you can buy in sheets. Resin is pourable, and will take the shape of any mould. Therefore it can be 3D, and pick up tiny features of its mould, whereas acrylic can only ever be flat, and layered for a 3D effect. You can also mix different colours of resin together in the mould, causing a tie-dye, cloudy effect that is completely spontaneous and unique. Both are gorgeous, but we like the options that come with resin better. Check out our resin homewares here!

Challenges of resin

Like every jewellery maker I know, we are constantly working on and upgrading our processes and favoured techniques to make our range better – feedback from friends and customers really helps with this! Resin can be unpredictable – it likes hot weather more than cold, for example, and sets faster when it’s warm and dry! It requires patience and constant innovation to stay fresh. Luckily – this is something we thrive off! 

Let us know in the comments what your favourite material is for your jewellery or the jewellery you make, and if you have any questions, get in touch!

Keep reading: Getting Jazzy with Terrazzo!

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