Resin crafts are my new obsession. I love the (almost) instant gratification of making pendants, beads, and suncatchers. Even though resin is fun and the supplies are easily accessible, it is still important to treat the resin with respect and use it in a safe manner. Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind while working with epoxy resin:
1. Work in a properly ventilated space or wear a respirator.
Uncured resin is always toxic. Always. No matter how the seller might advertise their product, no matter how safe the fully cured project might be, there is nothing harmless about uncured resin. All resins will have fumes that can have a cumulative damaging effect to your lungs. Open the windows in your work space, turn on a fan, or work outside if the weather is nice. If you can’t do any of those things, wear a respirator rated for fumes – especially if the safety data sheet for your brand recommends it, and don’t allow anyone in your workspace who is not wearing a respirator, too. Regardless of whether or not you use a respirator while pouring resin, respirators are a MUST when sanding cured resin pieces. No exceptions!
2. Always wear nitrile gloves.
Disposable gloves are a must when working with resin. You do not want to get resin on your skin, so never work with resin bare handed.. Nitrile gloves are the most chemically-resistant type of disposable glove, so always choose nitrile for working with resin.
3. Wear protective clothing, including goggles.
Liquid resin can soak through clothing and contact your skin. Resin will not come out of fabrics, no matter how you wash it or what you wash it with. A plastic apron will do a good job of protecting your clothing while your disposable gloves protect your hands and wrists. And hopefully your resin will not splash, but accidents do happen, so protect your eyes by wearing goggles or safety glasses. They’re the only eyes you’ll ever have, so take care of them!
4. Do not work with resin when children or pets are nearby.
Remember – uncured resin is always toxic. Children and pets can accidentally knock over resin projects, or touch uncured resin. Remember that they can’t wear respirators, and don’t understand how dangerous it can be if uncured resin gets on bare skin or fur. Keep them safe.
5. Solvents should never be used to clean resin from skin.
While alcohol can be used to clean uncured resin from mixing cups, you should always do that with your nitrile gloves still on your hands. Alcohol, vinegar, acetone, or any other solvent should never, ever, ever be used to clean resin from skin! Why? While solvents do indeed remove the resin, they also hasten the absorption of the resin into the skin and bloodstream, and you do not want that! Wash your skin immediately after contact with soap and warm water. You can also use some poppy seeds for extra scrubbing power, as recommended by the makers of ArtResin.
6. Cover your work surface with plastic.
Resin can be splashed or dripped accidentally, and can ruin countertops or furnishings if it comes in contact. Using a plastic shower curtain to cover your surface can save your furnishings from permanent damage if you spill your resin. Once cured, the resin will peel off of the plastic shower curtain and can be safely disposed of.
7. Have fun!
If you’re having fun with your project, taking safety precautions won’t detract from your enjoyment. Being safe should make the project even more fun, because you’ll know you’re doing your very best to protect yourself and others around you while you make beautiful art.
Images in this post courtesy Unsplash