How To Harden Sticky Resin?

How To Harden Sticky Resin?

Jul 03, 2024

We've all been there. You poured your heart (and resin) into a beautiful project, only to find it stubbornly sticky after what should have been curing time. Fear not, fellow crafter! Sticky resin is a common issue, but luckily, it's often fixable. This blog will guide you through why resin gets sticky and the best action to harden it and salvage your project. To learn more about such techniques, enrol in a resin art workshop

Understanding the Sticky Situation

Resin can be a fantastic craft material, but sometimes you might encounter a project where it ends up sticky instead of hardening properly. This can be frustrating, but there are ways to understand why it happened and how to fix it. There are three main culprits behind sticky resin:

  • Incorrect Mixing Ratio: Resin and hardener need a perfect balance to cure properly. Even a minor miscalculation can leave your project tacky. Double-check the manufacturer's instructions for the exact ratio (often a 1:1 ratio by volume).
  • Temperature Trouble: Resin is a bit of a diva regarding temperature. If your workspace is too cold (below 73°F or 23°C), the curing process can slow down or stall completely. Conversely, excessively hot environments can also lead to issues.
  • Mixing Mishap: Not mixing thoroughly enough can leave pockets of uncured resin in your project. Make sure you stir for at least 3 minutes, scraping the sides and bottom of your container to ensure a uniform mix.

Why Harden Sticky Resin?

There are two main reasons to harden sticky resin:

  • Aesthetics: A sticky surface detracts from your project's overall look and feel. Imagine a beautiful resin coaster that collects dust and debris due to its tackiness – not ideal! A hardened surface creates a smooth, professional finish that complements your creation.
  • Functionality: Beyond aesthetics, some projects require a non-stick surface for functionality. For instance, a sticky resin jewellery piece would be uncomfortable, while a sticky phone case would attract lint and grime. Hardening the resin ensures your project functions as intended.

Fixing Your Sticky Mess

The good news is that sticky resin can often be saved! Here's how to tackle the situation:

  • Warm it Up: If your workspace is chilly, move your resin project to a warmer environment (around 75-85°F) and leave it for 24 hours. The extra warmth might be all it needs to complete the curing process.
  • Recoat (the Right Way): Add another resin layer if warmth doesn't work. But this time, be meticulous! Ensure you measure precisely! Use a proper measuring ratio as your resin brand directs.
  • Mix Thoroughly: Scratch the sides and base of your container for at least 3 minutes to ensure a uniform mixture.
  • Apply the New Coat: Once mixed, carefully pour a fresh layer of resin onto the sticky areas. Let it cure for a full 24 hours.

Alternative Solutions for Smaller Areas

For small sticky patches, here are a couple of options:

  • Sanding it Down:  If the sticky area is small and the rest of the resin is cured properly, you can carefully sand the sticky part with 80-grit sandpaper. Then, thoroughly wipe away dust and reapply a thin resin layer, as mentioned above.
  • Quick Fix with Resin Spray: Consider a clear-drying resin spray for tiny imperfections. Apply light coats to seal the sticky area.

Remember: Always wear gloves and follow safety precautions when working with resin.

Preventing Sticky Situations in the Future

Here's how to avoid sticky situations altogether:

  • Measure Precisely:  Improper mixing ratios are a major culprit for uncured resin. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for the exact resin-to-hardener ratio. Even small deviations can affect curing.
  • Mix Thoroughly:  Just measuring precisely isn't enough. You must mix your resin and hardener meticulously for at least 3 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of your container to ensure a homogenous mixture.
  • Warm is the Word: Resin cures best in warm environments, ideally between 75-85°F (24-30°C). Cold temperatures can slow down or prevent curing altogether. Consider using a heat lamp or workspace heater if the ambient temperature is low.
  • Mind the Colorant: While adding colour to your resin is exciting, too much can interfere with curing. Most manufacturers recommend not exceeding 6% colourant by volume in your resin mixture.
  • Patience is a Virtue: Don't rush the curing process! Allow your resin at least 24 hours to cure before touching or using it fully.

By following these tips, you can ensure your resin projects cure perfectly every time, leaving you with beautiful, frustration-free creations. Remember, if you do encounter sticky resin, don't panic! With the right approach, you can still salvage your project.

When to Start Over

Unfortunately, not all sticky situations can be salvaged. Here's when it might be best to accept defeat and start over:

  • Extensive Stickiness: If most of the resin is sticky or has yet to be cured, attempting to fix it can be time-consuming and may not yield desirable results. In such cases, starting over with a fresh batch of resin might be the most efficient approach.
  • Deep Cracks or Deformations: If the stickiness is accompanied by deep cracks or deformations in the resin, it strongly indicates that the curing process was severely compromised. It's best to start over to ensure a structurally sound and visually appealing project.

Remember: It's always better to be safe than sorry. If you need more clarification about the salvageability of your project, err on the side of caution and start anew.


Dealing with sticky resin can be frustrating, but you can easily overcome this common issue with the right techniques and precautions. By understanding the causes of sticky resin and following our tips for hardening resin, you can achieve professional-looking results in your resin projects. Always work in a well-ventilated room, wear protective gear, and mind safety guidelines when working with resin. With a little patience and practice, you can master the art of resin crafting and create stunning pieces free from sticky residue. Contact Us to know more or visit Arts Shala’s website.
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