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Polyurethane Resin??

Oct 29, 2008

    1. So, when I first got my doll Arilla, I posted a quick video on YouTube, and mentioned she was 'plastic'. I was 'corrected' "nono, she's RESIN".

      But the thing is - and this is coming from someone who worked with fiberglass and resin for 25 years (my mother, not me) - Polyurethane Resin IS Plastic. Plastic is a resin - and it's much more specific, actually, then just saying Resin.

      So why do doll owners get so offended when they're called plastic? Is it because Resin sounds classier, and Plastic sounds like it's some cheap thing you can pick up at Toys R Us?
      Is it because most people don't actually know?

      (Is this more of a General Discussion topic? I figured I should put it here, because I've heard people can get pretty heated about this topic..)
    2. You know, i dont know why people get so upset. I always wondered why they weren't just made of plastic--I guess that material just isn't as easy to work with?

      Either way, I dont get offended. Sure, if someone goes 'is that plastic?' I correct them in saying that it's resin...but either way, if plastic is resin, guess it doesn't matter. Does seem to make them sound cheap, though....maybe that's just cause people are used to 'dumb' little toys being plastic.
    3. I would guess that it’s probably because people quite rightly want to differentiate the stuff these dolls are made of from the stuff people usually think of when you say the word “plastic.”

      If you know a bit more about the chemical composition and taxonomy of plastics and resins, you may know that plastic is a type of resin. You might even know a term that would describe what most people call “resin” (i.e. a certain type of heavy plastic with very little flexibility, with a certain tooth, that is used in specific applications such as casting figurines, dolls or jewelry) more accurately, while still being a little more general than “polyurethane resin.” That is, if all plastics are resins (and is that the right way around? Is it not that “all resins are plastics”?), is there a particular term that sets apart the particular plastics that our dolls are made of? Because they're not made of the same plastics I see at the toy store, nor the same plastics I see in food packaging, nor the same plastics I see in the manufacture of household appliances--and that's what people are going to think of when you say "I have this doll--it's made of plastic."

      While I always think people should be moderate and even-tempered in their reactions, I do think it’s perfectly acceptable to ask people to refrain from using a term that is very likely to give people the wrong idea about something, even if that term also describes the thing in question. For example, if I say I sleep on polyester sheets, you probably have one thing in mind. If I specify that I sleep on satin sheets, you probably imagine something quite different. Satin is just a particular type and weave of polyester, though, so both terms describe my sheets…but could you blame me if I asked my fella to please stop saying I insisted on sleeping under polyester sheets? Similarly with the resin/plastic debate…while I think it’s fine to point out that the dolls are, when you come right down to it, made out of a special type of plastic, it’s also important to remember that it’s a special type of plastic, not what people immediately think of.
    4. Yes, I did know %3 But because you told me beforehand.
      It's pretty interesting, though. On one hand, 'plastic' does sound a lot cheaper/less valuable than 'resin' does, but on the other, the only reason one might use the word 'resin' instead of 'plastic' while knowing that resin is plastic, is to illustrate how expensive the doll is.
      I think, now that I know, that...I may continue to use 'resin', but only with people I don't trust to be careful with my doll, y'know? Because if they assume the same thing most do when they hear 'plastic', they might joke around with him or something and break him by accident O.o And that....wouldn't be nice.
    5. I think it's just to dispel the mental image of a giant Barbie. Most plastics used in dolls and other toymaking are quite cheap, while polyurethane resin is more expensive and has different properties to the kind of cheap plastic a Barbie is made out of. When you tell someone you paid $500 for a doll, and they say "What, for this plastic doll?!" and you say "No in fact it's resin blahblahblah" you're defending the doll as being worth what you paid because it's made with artistry, out of an expensive and difficult to work with medium (or if your audience doesn't know much about it, at least it sounds fancier).

      I can understand why people do it, but I do occasionally find it funny when people get super outraged or rant about how terrible plastic dolls are.... because all we have a fancy plastic dolls. XD;
    6. i've never really paid attention to it but now that you mention it, people really do get snotty if you say they're made of plastic :lol:

      i mean, some people can be pretty pedantic, but it does sound pretty cool when you're talking to someone who knows nothing about BJDs and you say "oh actually, they're made of RESIN" and it makes you sound intelligent :sweat
    7. I have to dissagree with this (with utmost respect :)) plasic is a generic/blanket term refering to both naturaly derived products as well as chemicaly synthesised products, whilst the term resin refers to a specific niche in the plastics family. All polyurethane resins are plastic, but not all plastic are resin....

      edit: I have to agree with the comments relating to using the term plastic to describe BJD's, whilst technically correct, if someone said oh I just bought this really cool doll its customiseable and made of platic, I'd think of a garage kit or something along the lines of a new barbie with interchangeable wigs... eeew!!
    8. I prefer to say the word 'resin' because I don't like the sound of the world 'plastic' :lol: Also, think of the association. Plastic doll = Barbie to most people and who would pay $600 for a Barbie (unless you are collecting the one-offs?) People in this hobby regularly pay $600+ for a standard doll...I don't think I would buy a 'plastic' doll, whether it was correctly named or not. This has as much to do with marketing a product as it does the materials involved.
    9. While our dolls are technically a type of plastic, when people hear the word plastic + doll, they're more likely to picture something like vinyl or the cheap hard stuff that are more typical in toy making. Resin has it's own properties that are quite different from other types of plastic dolls, and it's a much more specific term. Resin also needs care that some other plastics might not need, so I think it better to be specific and say they're made of resin.
    10. Actually, you have it the other way round. Plastic is the general term for polymers. Polyurethane resin is a specific type of plastic/polymer. As whitewings said:

      I personally wouldn't correct someone who said dolls are made out of plastic, because it is technically correct. But plastic is a general term that typically summons images of thin, breakable and cheaper material.

      Technically, I could call Teflon a layer of plastic.

      But if I told someone, "Hey, you know that pan you have over the hot fire? It's coated in plastic," I think it would lead to quite a bit of confusion. Just using the generic term 'plastic' can be misleading.

      In this hobby itself, we have acrylic eyes, silicone eyes and urethane eyes. But we can call them all plastic. Anyone who has owned all three can tell you there's a difference. Still, they're all plastic right? Why don't we list all our eyes for sale as just plastic eyes? Because it's not specific enough to provide an accurate picture of what the eyes are actually made of.

      I'm fine with people saying it's made of plastic, but I would personally introduce it as resin because they are a more accurate representation.
    11. er...I am pretty darn sure 'resin' is a generic term for many types of compounds: amber is a natural resin, for instance, you can have acrylic resin and epoxy resin and I am sure many other types (but I've not had my coffee yet so am running as 47% brain capacity, lol)...can't recall if Bakelite is a resin or not - I think nylon might be, too. It's been a loooong time since my last chemistry class, but iirc 'resin' is a descriptor of the state and properties of a compound, how its component atoms are organized and behave, not its actual composition. Just as satin might be woven from polyester, acetate, cotton, silk, or even wool, only the full term 'polyurethane resin' would be more specific than 'plastic'.

      People call the material our dolls are made of 'resin' because the word's connotaions are more agreeable, and it's less of a mouthful than 'polyurethane resin', not because it's more accurate. I've wondered from time to time what dolls cast in alternate material -like Bakelite or nylon, for instance- might be like.
    12. I for one prefer to say resin because I have some 'cheaper' dolls that are made of the standard 'plastic' material. I don't tell people my dolls are plastic because it does make them sound cheaper and I want people to be careful with them, but also because 'standard plastic' and the 'resin' my dolls are made off are not the same. Sure they may be very similar on a scientific/chemical level, but they still react differently. I don't get the same results if I sand a Barbie and I rarely hear about 'plastic' dolls having fingers break off from a tumble. Its really more of a way to differentiate that these dolls are NOT the same as the dolls at Toys R Us.

      They aren't made of plastic because its not really the same. Like I said it may be the same at its base, but they don't have the same reactions and plastic stains worse. The resin is more 'artistic' in the creation process and lends itself better to modding. Personally from my experience and reading I think plastic would be easier and cheaper to make dolls from, but I'm really glad they don't.

      in short, I don't care what is scientifically accurate, but my dolls are not made of toy store plastic and I don't care if resin is a broad term. I'm going to use it.
    13. I had no idea that resin was plastic. I always thought of resin as an acrylic compound of some mysterious type, that made me afraid to try to work with it. But I agree with the others that the people who get snooty about it are probably trying to negate the 'plastic Barbie doll' image when speaking about these remarkable dolls.
    14. Resin IS a plastic. No one is disputing that. But most people identify "plastic" with an industrialized, injection-moulded process which results in a mass produced object. Resin, other than the fact that it is a different material, also requires hand casting. There is nothing snobbish or innacurate in referring to abjd as "resin."
    15. huh...not according to Wikipedia (everythign I know for almost-sure I looked up on Wikipedia:|)...synthetic resin is synonymous with plastic...

      gah. My ferret-brained curiosity is in the mood to go researching all kinds of chemistry-trivia, which is the exact opposite of what I urgently need to get done today. My powers of procrastiation astound me :roll:

      'Synthetic resin' as a term has a nice ring to it. tho' - kinda 'retro-future'.
    16. I think you want to look up synthetic resins which is a subcategory of plastics:


      And yes, I use resin when I describe my dolls for many reasons. One, it's more accurate to the material and if I'm describing it to a person they tend to get a better idea of what the doll is made out of, and two to get away from the cheap plastic toy image. I don't correct people, though, and I do joke around about my giant plastic dolls with my doll friends.
    17. Plastic is stereotyped because of it's large and diverse uses.

      Polyurethane resin, whilst being a type plastic is more widely used in the construction industry because it's alot more stronger, durable and expensive than the plastic used to create the toys you would give to your children.

      Resin itself is organic, simply saying "our dolls are made of resin" is as correct as saying "our dolls are made of plastic" as they are made of a persific synthetic resin which is a form of plastics. As far as i'm aware synthetic resins such as polyurethane were created to mimic the properties of natural resin. BUT there is nothing wrong with saying either. People just prefer to label they're dolls as resin, which is narrowing down it's type of plastic and leads to a more accurate answer.

      Simply put, "resin" just sounds better than plastic. Alot of BJD owners arn't aware of the chemical specifications of synthetic resins and thus arn't aware it's a form of plastic to begin with. Thus it's understandable why they could get worked up or offended if they're doll was labelled as plastic. Resin on the other hand is known for being more expensive, durable and valuable than what plastic is known for.

      It's basically down to the way society has shaped words. :sweat
    18. It sounds cheap. People here refer to my dolls 'like barbie' all the time, and I think describing that they're hand made resin dolls helps set them apart from barbie, no offense to anyone who likes the vinyl feel of barbie, but I don't. And there is definitely a difference.
    19. I don't get offended if someone asks or assumes that my dolls are plastic. I'll usually reply that they're resin, which is higher quality. Honestly, it's nothing to get worked up about.
    20. If people ask "So it's a plastic doll?", I say "Sort of". It's NOT quite the same thing, so it doesn't get a pat one-word answer.

      When people specifically ask "What is it made of?" I say "cast urethane resin", and go on to say that it's cast sorta the way you would a porcelain doll, but out of hard plastic resin instead. That puts it into a different mental category than just saying "plastic". If I'm describing it to somebody sight-unseen, this much information is usually sufficient. If the person is right there in front of me and the doll, then they can obviously SEE that it's not like your everyday injection-molded Barbie.

      I've never had to get worked-up about it, though. I leave that to the younger set, who have energy to burn on such matters.