uv resin vs epoxy resin
What is UV Resin?
Simply put, UV resin is a clear and shimmering substance that cures (hardens) when exposed to ultraviolet light. It has a pourable consistency similar to honey, but as it hardens it becomes more like plastic in texture.
UV resin is commonly used for crafts and jewelry-making, though there are many other uses for it as well. When you’re ready to mix up some resin of your own, you can easily make it at home using liquid polyester resin, a catalyst (methyl ethyl ketone peroxide), and any colorants or decorations you want to include. The curing process takes anywhere from seconds to minutes depending on how thick your project is and how close the UV light source is to it (the closer the lamp, the faster the cure).
UV resin’s main difference from other kinds of resins is its ease of use: unlike epoxy resins or polyurethane resins which have an even longer curing time than UV resin’s few minutes, UV resin cures with minimal effort in mere moments once exposed to UV light. It’s also less toxic than other resins—unlike many others which can produce noxious fumes if not properly ventilated—and does not require any special equipment for mixing or pouring your creations.
What is Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin is a reliable, affordable, and versatile type of plastic that can be used in a variety of different situations. If you go to the hardware store and look for epoxy resin there, you’ll likely find it in the form of a two-part system referred to as an epoxy adhesive. Epoxy adhesives contain both an epoxy polymer and a hardener (also known as a curing agent). When these two compounds are mixed together, they undergo a chemical reaction that causes them to stiffen into place. Because it has been hardened into its final state, epoxy resin at this point is almost unbreakable; it cannot be melted or reshaped. Epoxies are thermosetting polymers—meaning that they cure by the application of heat—and they have exceptional resistance against moisture and chemicals. Due to this strength and durability, epoxies are commonly employed in engineering applications such as marine construction and aerospace projects; however, because they’re so easy to work with during their initial liquid state, craft makers also frequently rely on epoxies for projects ranging from jewelry making to flooring installation.
UV Resin Product Feature Comparison
|Product name||Thin Style Hard Type Glue||No Odor Clear Hard||No Odor Medium Hardness||Hard-Thick Hard||Soft|
|Features||Curing fast high hardness yellow resistant good one-time curing effect||Thin layer curing effect is good||No shrink||No shrink||Soft easy to fold|
|CURING TIME (EACH SIDE) Before||UV-LED 6-10W||2-3 min||3-4 min||15-20 min||3-4 min||8-10 min|
|UV-LED 36-54W||1-2 min||2-3 min||10-15 min||2-3 min||5-6 min|
|Bright Sunlight||2-3 min||2-3 min||20-30 min||4-5 min||5-6 min|
|Cloudy Sunlight||5-10 min||5-10 min||40-50 min||8-10 min||8-10 min|
|After Curing||Shrinkage approx. %||3.5%||3%||1%||3%||1%|
|Yellow resistant index||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★★||★★★★★|
The Similarities of UV and Epoxy Resin
While there certainly aren’t as many similarities between UV resin and epoxy resin as there are differences, there are a few traits these two resins have in common.
- Both UV Resin and Epoxy Resin can be used to make jewelry. Both of these resins will allow you to create molds and fill them with your favorite materials.
- Both UV Resin and Epoxy Resin are transparent after drying. If that isn’t the case for you, it may mean that you mixed something wrong or you used too much pigment.
- Both UV Resin and Epoxy Resin can be mixed with pigments, mica powder, glitter, alcohol ink, liquid pigment, etc. The list goes on! You just need to make sure that the ingredients/materials you want to add into your resin won’t sink during curing (for example some glitters will do this).
The Differences Between UV Resin and Epoxy Resin
UV resin is a quick-curing resin that uses ultraviolet light to cure. Epoxy resin, on the other hand, cures using heat and humidity. Because of this, UV resin is generally easier to apply than epoxy resin. It can be used on small projects like jewelry or figurines where it is too tedious or difficult to fit a source of heat or humidity into the work area. However, as UV resin is much more expensive per ounce than epoxy resin, it is not recommended for larger projects.
Epoxy resins are much more durable than UV resins. They can survive harsh temperatures and are also much more flexible than UV resins once they have cured, allowing them greater resistance to cracking and chipping under mechanical stress.
Quick Comparison Table between UV and Epoxy Resin
The following table outlines some key characteristics of UV resin and epoxy resin.
| UV Resin | Epoxy Resin |
| Cures faster than epoxy | Cures slower than UV, but there are fast-setting formulas |
| More expensive than epoxy | Cheaper than UV resin |
| Requires a special curing light to cure in minutes or seconds | Does not require any special equipment to cure |
| Brittle when cured; best for small items like jewelry or miniatures | Flexible when cured; best for larger applications such as tabletops, crafts and other projects
Why Should I Use UV Resin instead of Epoxy Resin?
So why should you “make the switch” from epoxy resin to UV resin? Here are 8 reasons that may persuade you:
- It’s cheaper (yes, please!)
- It’s easy to use—no need for measuring and mixing
- It cures faster—just a few minutes per layer!
- Cured resin is easy to clean up with alcohol or acetone
- Uncured UV resin has no toxicity, no smell, and no yellowing over time like epoxy
- You can cure it in a dark room or even inside the mold! No more messy bubbles due to heat or dust in your curing space!
- You can cure it in a bottle instead of mixing into a cup, which means less wasted product and quicker cleanup!
How to Use UV Resin and Epoxy Resin?
- Contrary to their name, UV resins actually require exposure to both sunlight and UV light.
- A UV lamp should be used to cure Epoxy resin.
- The curing time for Epoxy resin is much longer than that of UV resin.
- To improve the shine and transparency of your finished project, use multiple layers of resin.
To summarize, UV resin and epoxy resin are two types of resin that can be used to make jewelry, crafts, and decorations.
UV resin requires less time to cure than epoxy resin does: it takes around 10 minutes for UV light to fully cure your piece, though you can wait as long as 24 hours for a stronger bond. Epoxy resins have a curing time of anywhere from an hour up to several days—depending on the brand and the climate you’re working in—and are very finicky if not mixed correctly or used at the right temperature.
Because of how quickly UV resins work and how easy they are to use, they leave more room for experimentation with your projects. If after 10 minutes you find that you want to add embellishments or change your design, this is easy enough with UV resins. With epoxy resin, you’d need patience to wait until it sets before making any adjustments—and if it’s not fully cured yet, changes might not stick anyway!