Lift your designs to a new level with doming resin. Joe Wigzell of Roland DG guides you through the process

Joe Wigzell, academy and creative centre manager at Roland DG, recommends that anyone running a garment personalisation business should try shaking things up, experimenting and trying new things, rather then relying on the same process for every job. “Not only does it alleviate boredom, but it’s a great way to add new products to your offering.”

In this month’s step-by-step he walks you through the process of using doming resin. This liquid product hardens into a solid coating, creating a raised design. “It can be used on any flat surface, usually for aesthetic purposes, and it’s best used on designs with no sharp corners or very thin or narrow sections,” he explains. “Doming is a simple and inexpensive way to give products a more interesting, premium finish. It also features added UV stability, it’s colourfast, resistant to detergents etc, and it’s scratchproof.”

Joe used a Liquid Lens doming kit, which is recommended as a good place to start for those with no previous experience. “Doming resins come in different varieties – some need to be mixed prior to use, some come in handy applicators – and they can also have a hard finish or a slightly flexible finish. It is possible to add colour or glitter to some resins, but in the case of doming, the resin is typically clear to retain the [visibility of the] image it’s applied to.”

The biggest problem when working with resin is anticipating how it will perform. “It’s normal for the resin to spill over the edges of your design when you first start using it,” reassures Joe. “After a couple of test runs, you will discover that most issues can be resolved by applying only a little resin at a time.”

In this step-by-step, Joe used a basic procedure which leaves the resin to air-dry for 24 hours; curing ovens and resin application machines will, however, significantly speed up production, reducing the procedure time to a couple of hours, he explains.


Step-By-Step: Doming Resin

(1) The design is created in Adobe Illustrator, with the cut lines specified. The area of the final design needs to be wide enough to contain the resin (this design measures 4-5mm), so try to avoid creating very thin sections

(2) The new Roland TrueVis VG2 printer/cutter is loaded with heat transfer vinyl (HTV) and the design is imported into VersaWorks 6 RIP. The quality and media preferences are set, and the job started

(3) When the TrueVis VG2 printer/cutter finishes printing and cutting the design, the HTV is placed on a clean, flat surface and excess material is removed using a weeding tool

(4) In a dust-free environment, the doming resin is carefully squeezed onto the surface of the printed sticker in an even layer. It spreads out and stops at the edges due to the surface tension of the resin

(5) The resin is checked for air bubbles after a few minutes. Any air bubbles can be removed by holding a blowtorch 5-10cm away from the design for a few seconds so as to apply a small amount of heat

(6) The doming resin is touch-dry in two to six hours, but needs a good 24 hours or so to cure completely before it’s applied to the garment. The domed stickers need to be kept covered and protected from dust as the resin cures

(7) Transfer film, which is semi-adhesive, is placed on top of the design and a squeegee is used to stick the film to the resin. The backing sheet is then removed and the design is carefully positioned onto the garment

(8) Because the heat would need to penetrate the doming resin if it is pressed as usual, the garment is turned inside-out prior to pressing (Joe used a Sefa Rotex Auto Swing X press). It is pressed for 18 seconds at 160°C – be aware that temperatures and pressing times will vary depending on the garment, the heat press and the vinyl

(9) Joe modelling the prints design