Can You Cure Epoxy Resin with UV Light | Here’s the Answer

For those of you who already worked with epoxy resin know how much of a time-consuming process it is. But would you believe it if I told you there is another short-cut and hassle-free method to cure your epoxy resin without much delay?

Did the question ever cross your mind about whether can you cure epoxy resin with UV light? UV light can be the answer to all your problems.

Normal epoxy resin can take up to 7 days to fully complete the curing process and it becomes ready for light use after 24 hours. But with UV-curing resin, it only takes about 15-20 minutes to cure each side with a UV lamp.

In this article, I’ll discuss everything you need to know about UV curing resin. So, read through it with patience to gather all the tips and tricks that you might need.

Cure Epoxy Resin

Can You Cure Epoxy Resin with UV Light?

Yes, curing epoxy resin with UV light is an easy but effective way to completely harden resin within minutes. This is a comparatively new method that isn’t much popular yet. It is mostly done using a special UV lamp or UV flashlight.

Nowadays, there is a lot of UV resin kit available in the market. You can use that also. But if you don’t have access to all that, you can take the help of direct sunlight to cure your UV resin.

The sun is the biggest natural UV light source. It contains UVA, UVB, and UVC rays within it which are exactly what you need to cure your resin project.

But keep in mind that, while the UV rays of sunlight are pretty strong, they will never have the same intensity as a UV lamp.

So, it will take much more time to cure the epoxy resin with sunlight than any UV lamp. Where any artificial UV source would take minutes, curing resin with sunlight might take hours to harden completely.

Why Do You Need to Cure Epoxy Resin?

Curing is the most crucial step of epoxy resin art. If you are new to the epoxy world and thinking about establishing a future business, know that the curing process is your best friend.

It will provide the necessary strength to the cured resin work and protect it from any damage. This will save them from breaking down while packing or shipping. Lack of proper curing makes the epoxy resin sticky and tacky and it stays in that form indefinitely.

The uncured resin produces bubbles within itself and makes it appear cloudy which is not a pretty look for any resin project. So, if you want your epoxy resin art to hold its shape, last longer, and look pretty, there is no alternative to curing it properly first.

Hardener is often used in epoxy resins to fasten the curing process. But the mixing ratio of hardener to epoxy must be observed carefully.

Too much hardener can sometimes negatively affect the resin. It forms a chemical reaction that won’t let it cure properly and remain sticky indefinitely.

How Do You Cure Epoxy Resin with UV Light?

UV resin is a special form of epoxy resin that can cure within minutes under a UV lamp. UV light is most commonly used for curing nail polish. The same lamp can be used to cure resin as well. 

This nail lamp is a much cheaper and time-efficient way to cure the resin. It can reduce the curing time by a lot. UV resins especially require a UV lamp to harden them. 

To properly cure the resin, you need to ensure that the lamp is emitting the correct wavelength of light. Typically, 350-410 nm light is perfect for the curing process. Not using the accurate wavelength will cause them to dry sticky and not cure properly. 

Now, let’s see step-by-step how to use a UV lamp cure resin within no time.

Step 1: Work in thin layers

UV resin is all about working with smaller projects with thin layers. For example, keychains, pendants, or any small-sized show pieces that can fit under the UV lamp are most suitable for this. Work in thin layers at a time and cure them.

You can also work with a large area but in that case, you will need a large UV torch or flashlight to cover the whole surface. But be careful not to apply any thick layers. Otherwise, the resin might not cure properly and the whole thing would fall apart.

Step 2: Select a UV lamp or flashlight

Find a UV lamp that has a strong light source to properly cure your resin artwork. Lamps with an output of 4 watts are typically enough for this.

UV lamps are much more effective than UV flashlights. It would ensure better curing and thus better finishing. So, if you don’t want to take any risk, opting out for a UV lamp would be better.

Step 3: Add a thin layer of resin

Now, take the object that you want to cover with resin and apply a very thin layer over it. Next, you have to place it under the UV lamp. Turn on the lamp and leave it there for a while.

In the meantime, don’t let the lamp come in contact with the object. Depending on the size and thickness of the object, this whole curing process should take about 2 minutes. Poke the resin layer with a toothpick every 2-3 seconds to check on its hardness.

Once it’s done completely, move on to the next layer and repeat the process. Keep doing it until you reach a satisfactory thickness and finish. After you are done, remove the final product from the mold and let it breathe in an open space.

Read Also: Ways to Make Epoxy Dry Faster

Easy Way to Cure Epoxy Resin Without UV Light?
Till now I only discussed how to use UV light to cure the resin. But if you don’t have access to that, there are other conventional ways to cure resin as well. Among them using direct sunlight and increasing temperature proved to be the most effective ways.

Method1: Sunlight

Be it regular epoxy resin or specialized UV resin, sunlight always helps to cure them within a short time. Keep in mind that epoxy dries faster in warmer conditions. So, In the case of regular resin, the heat from strong sunlight reduces the curing time. [1]

Method 2: Increasing heat

The epoxy resin dries faster as the temperature goes higher. So, turn the temperature up in the room where you are working and keep it constant for the first 24 hours. Sudden fluctuations in the heat can cause uneven drying of the resin and create lumps and dimples.

The ideal temperature for curing resin is 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit (24-30 degrees Celsius). The general rule of thumb is that, for increasing every 10 degrees Celsius, the curing time gets reduced by half. But, there is a limit to how much heat can epoxy resin withstand.

Standard epoxy can endure up to 150-300 degrees Fahrenheit. After that, the temperature will start to negatively affect the resin. You can also directly apply heat over your epoxy project with a space heater or a hair dryer. [2]

How Do You Know If Epoxy is Cured?

From the consistency of the resin, you will be able to tell if it is fully cured, uncured, or starting to cure. If the epoxy feels watery and very runny to the touch, that means it is yet to get cured. 

A resin project that has started to cure will no longer be easily workable. It will form a tacky gel-like consistency that can still be easily bendable. The resin can get bruised or dented pretty easily during this time. 

So, store it in a secure place so that it doesn’t get damaged. Once it is fully cured the epoxy will turn very hard and you can no longer poke or dent t easily. At this stage, it gains its final hardness and becomes very sturdy.


Q: How Long Does It Take to Cure Epoxy Resin with UV Light?

Normal epoxy resin can take up to 7 days to fully complete the curing process and it becomes ready for light use after 24 hours. But with UV-curing resin, it only takes about 15-20 minutes to cure each side with a UV lamp.

Although with UV light, you can work in only thin layers. Layers that are too thick won’t be cured properly and thus might start forming air bubbles within them. [1]

Q: What Causes the Epoxy to Not Dry?

The number one reason for epoxy not drying properly is an inaccurate mixing ratio. The most common mixing ratios are a 2:1 (two-part epoxy one-part hardener) or a 1:1 (equal amount of epoxy and hardener) mixing ratio.

Unlike polyester resin, epoxy resin doesn’t dry faster by adding more hardeners. If you add an excessive amount of hardener, the mixture will remain sticky indefinitely and won’t get solid over time.

Q: What Happens If Epoxy Gets Wet Before It Cures?

Once the epoxy dries and gets hard, exposure to moisture can’t affect it anymore. However, if your resin art comes in touch with moisture before it’s fully cured, the resin mixture can produce bubbles inside and get cloudy.

The chemical components present in epoxy start reacting and forms a foam-like appearance.

Although some experiments proved that water causes an increase in the cure rate of epoxy materials at low temperatures and slows down the curing rate at high temperatures, it’s better not to let the epoxy come in contact with moisture before curing.

Q: Which Lasts Longer UV Resin or Epoxy Resin?

While it’s really easy and quick to cure UV resin it doesn’t have much durability. It is very brittle in nature and has durability limited to only half a year. Although high-quality UV resin can a little longer, it is still no match for epoxy resins.

Epoxy resin or acrylic resin on the other hand is very scratch and heat-resistant. So, if you are looking for a fast-curing resin, go for the UV resin. But if durability is your priority, the regular epoxy resin should be your first choice.

Final Thoughts

As you can see that there are both benefits and downfalls to using UV resin. It can get cured within a very short time with ambient temperature, but will not provide much durability. Another major drawback to this method is that you can’t get uniform coverage all over the surface. 

But regardless of these minor problems, UV resins are very useful. Especially if you are new to this sector, waiting such a long time for the resin to cure totally can seem boring. In that case, trying these fast-drying UV resin kits can come in handy.

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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