Acrylic casting resin is a substance used to create embeddings that serve as paperweights and decorative items. Clear resin is poured into a mold until it is half-way full. An item is then placed into the mold and covered with more acrylic until the mold is full. Once cured, the resin is released from the mold, and the embedded item can be featured as a permanent display.
An interesting characteristic of this material is that it does not cure if exposed to air. The sides making contact with the mold will cure and become hard, while the open area of the mold will remain tacky and semisoft. This soft side can be covered with felt or cloth to keep the display from sticking to any other surface. There are also aerosol coatings that can be sprayed onto the raw surface which promote hardening.
When embedding an item into acrylic casting resin, professionals recommended that the item be dipped into the resin before being placed into the mold. This coating will prevent air bubbles from becoming trapped inside the layers of the finished display. The item being embedded must also be placed into the mold upside-down so that it will be seen in the proper context once the shape is removed from the mold.
Acrylic casting resin is sold with a catalyst that causes the liquid to harden inside of the mold. Following the manufacturer's recommended instructions will avoid creating an item that will not cure properly. This is especially important when placing multiple embeddings into a single display. Care must be taken to create the proper three-dimensional appearance of the embeddings at differing levels within the display.
A special resin must be used when creating a table-top display due, in part, to the resin's inability to cure on what would be the top of the table once poured. This material is also not safe to use as an eating surface, since even a small chip of cured resin could make a person sick if it's swallowed. People working with this substance must make sure to read the manufacturer's warnings and directions for use on any item that might come in contact with food. Whether used as a display piece or as a functional tool such as a paperweight, an item of interest or sentimental meaning preserved inside a clear casting can last a lifetime.