Tips & tricks using UV resin
UV-activated resin (or UV resin for short) is a super cool material for fly tying, no matter whether you tie nymphs, dries or streamers. However, some people still struggle a bit when using UV resin, so the following tips and tricks may help you using this nice stuff.
Stickiness Some UV resins remain tacky, even when fully cured. That’s just the way they are. You can rub away this tackiness with pure alcohol, but that makes the resin tarnish. It’s better to give the resin a final coat with a clear nail varnish. Nail varnish is perfect for fly tying, it dries fast, it’s cheap, it’s waterproof, it’s shiny and it’s still a bit flexible.
UV light source You should use the correct light source for your particular UV resin. Manufacturers use activators with different wavelength susceptibility to kick their resin, so it’s best to use the matching light for your brand of UV resin. If your resin remains tacky even if it is a “tack free” resin, there may be several reasons for that. Perhaps the batteries of your torch have become too weak, not creating sufficient energy for curing the resin; or maybe you are using the wrong light source with an incorrect wavelength. It often helps to hold your fly in direct sunlight, since the sun is a wide-spectrum UV source. Also, the sun is the strongest UV source you will find.
Little and often It’s always better (easier, less messy) to work in multiple thin layers instead of applying a large amount of resin and then trying to control, and cure, it. Take your time when applying the resin. That’s the great thing about these resins, they won’t cure until you explicitly tell them to. Carefully applying it in thin layers and curing them individually brings the best results.
Be creative There are some super cool coloured UV resins on the market, but not everyone is willing or able to buy five or more different colours of resin. Instead, you can use your normal clear resin and mix it with coloured pigment powder or fine glitter, like the ones used for women’s nail art to be creative and tie some awesome new flies (just make sure that powder or glitter doesn’t absorb or shield the UV light, or else the resin won’t cure anymore)