The Epoxy Resin Reaction: Make a hand keepsake while talking about chemical reactions

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This experiment calls for mixing science and art to make a beautiful handprint keepsake.

Experimenting with resin allows you to talk through buoyancy and color mixtures with your child while allowing for artistic creativity. It’s also an opportunity to talk about a chemical reaction (what happens when we pour) and converting from a liquid to a solid.

Plus, you’re making a beautiful piece of art that gives you a keepsake of your child’s hand! What’s not to love about this experiment?

How to make the Epoxy Resin Reaction science experiment

Supplies you will need

For this experiment, you will need the following:

Here’s a book about solids, liquids, and gas for little kidsOpens in a new tab. to enjoy with this experiment.

Supplies needed for the Epoxy Resin Reaction science experiment

Before you start

Be sure to be in a well-ventilated area when you pour the resin.

Instructions

Here is how to do this experiment with your child:

Step 1: Create the handprint mold

I cheated and bought a prepackaged handprint mold kit.

If you’d rather, you can use the same recipe I walk you through in the Salt Dough Dinosaur Fossil experimentOpens in a new tab. to create your own handprint mold with just salt, flour, and water. Super simple and inexpensive.

Once you have the mold you want, have your child gently push their hand into the mold to create a handprint. It should be deep enough to hold the resin and whatever decorations you want to add.

Make the handprint mold using a prepacked kit or the salt dough recipe listed above

Step 2: Decorate

The fun part! This is where you and your child can get creative.

You can just use mica powder if you only want swirls of color in the handprint, or you can even use small, flat trinkets, sprinkles, glitter, or anything else that you choose.

If you choose to use something that’s not powdery like mica powder and glitter, you may want to pour a little bit of the resin mixture into the mold first so it looks uniform.

Lay out the mica powder that you want to use (if you choose to use mica)
Use a small brush to decorate with mica
Our final product after decorating with mica

Step 3: Prepare the resin mixture

If you are using the same resin mixture I mentioned aboveOpens in a new tab., then you will have the cups, craft stick, glove, resin, and hardener that you need to make the resin mixture.

Please be sure to work with the resin mixture in a well-ventilated area (I chose to move my work surface outside).

Place two clean, empty cups down on the working surface. It can get messy, so be sure to put down wax paper or a towel you don’t mind getting resin on.

You will use equal parts resin and hardener and those liquids will go into their own respective cups. Pour the resin into one cup, notice how much you put in, and put that equal amount of hardener into the other clean cup.

Put out a third clean cup for the next step, which is mixing the resin and hardener together to make a mixture.

Pour resin into one of the clean, empty cups
Pour an equal amount of hardener into the other empty, clean cup
Lay out a third empty, clean cup to create your mixture

Step 4: Mix the resin and hardener

Once you have verified that you have equal parts resin and hardener in your two cups, it’s time to make your resin mixture!

Using your craft stick, pour all of the contents of each cup into the empty third cup.

Stir the mixture until you no longer see streaks in the cup; about 3-5 minutes.

Once it’s thoroughly mixed, start to pour the mixture into the handprint mold(s)!

Be sure to go very slowly when you’re pouring. When I started pouring mine, I went too quickly and added too much resin mixture, which is pretty tough to get out of the handprint mold once it’s in there (not impossible).

Let the mold cure for 24-48 hours in a well-ventilated area (we left it outside until night, then placed it in the garage for overnight curing).

Voila! You have a beautiful handprint keepsake and can show your child how the liquid resin mixture has turned into a solid!

Pour the resin and hardener into the third cup to mix
Mix for 3-5 minutes until you do not see any swirls and everything is mixed together
Pour the mixture into the handprint mold(s)

The science behind the Epoxy Resin Reaction experiment

This experiment teaches:

  • What resin is
  • How resin is used in everyday life
  • Liquids and solids

How it works

This science experiment using epoxy resin displays the state change between a liquid and a solid while creating a fun keepsake of your child’s hand.

Resin works through a chemical reaction (called polymerization, but that’s a big word for small kids!). The two substances that come with a resin kit, the epoxy resin and the hardener, react with one another that bond to form a plastic material.

Once it’s formed and hardened, resin cannot go back to its liquid state!

What resin is

I am not going to get super technical here, since we’re designing this experiment for kids to understand and enjoy. But do know that the science behind resin, although very technical, is very cool!

Epoxy resin is a compound that is made from several chemicals. It is cured by reaching and holding a certain amount of heat that allows it to convert from a liquid to a solid.

The chemicals that make up resin work together to form a bond that eventually sticks them all together and forms the solid resin we know.

Resin provides super strong adhesion and chemical resistance, to name a few traits (more on that below).

How resin is used in everyday life

Did you know that epoxy resins are widely used, from technology innovations to construction to the food you buy from the shelves (not in the food, thankfully)?

Here are just a few areas in which epoxy resins are used:

  • Renewable energy sources in the solar, wind, and new battery technologies use this technology to become more efficient and affordable
  • Build and construction by improving the durability of structural parts to help increase the lifespan of buildings
  • In food and drink cans to add a protective layer that separates it from the metal

Liquids and solids

Using epoxy resin with your child is a good opportunity to talk about liquids and solids, as well as state changes between the two.

Epoxy resin is initially a liquid, when we can add our decorative materials to it. It solidifies when it comes in contact with the proper amount of heat.

Once the resin has been solidified, it is impossible for it to revert back to its liquid state.

More science experiments that exercise creativity to try out with your child

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