Disclaimer: In the interest of transparency, I am NOT at time of writing affiliated with any brands, products or companies. Any product I mention is a product I have researched myself or paid for and used. I am not the recipient of any compensation, monetary or otherwise.
So, you’ve seen the beautiful epoxy tumblers on Pinterest and now you’re here! Maybe you’re interested in glazing your artwork or handmade jewelry. Does working with Epoxy Resin totally freak you out? As someone who tends to err on the side of caution in most (read: all) aspects of my life I was hesitant to work with resin, or even keep it in my home. However, many projects I wanted to undertake required the use of resin so I put my glasses on and took off on my research. I’ve now experimented with a few types of resin. Here are some tips and tricks.
1. Safety First
While I do not want you to be scared, I DO want you to be safe! Epoxy Resin comes in 2 parts; Resin and Hardener. Always read the labels and safety sheet for BOTH bottles! Often, the recommendations for first aid are different.
Make sure you are in a well ventilated area away from pets and children and dedicate tools (measuring cups, stir sticks etc) and space for this use only. While I try to advocate for saving money and protecting the environment, in this case disposables work really well. Think small party cups, plastic shot/medicine cups and popsicle sticks. You’ll also want to use disposable gloves. Vinyl is preferred as it is more resistant to the chemicals. You also want to make sure your creation is protected, so don’t do this in a room the family cat frequents where fur may get trapped in your art (unless this is what you were going for!). This goes for dust and other loose particles as well. You may consider using a plastic storage container over your work while it cures to protect it.
A respirator with an organic filter (the pink/magenta kind) is recommended to protect yourself from the fumes. Once it is cured, the chemical reaction that releases these fumes is over and the finished product is not toxic. The brand Art Resin, while on the pricier side, is known for being non-toxic with low fumes and advertise their product as a respirator free option (in a well ventilated area).
Long sleeves, an apron and eye protection are wonderful considerations as well!
2. Get the Right Stuff
Now that you’re looking like Walter White from Breaking Bad, do you require food safe resin? This is a great question to have answered prior to purchasing your supplies. Check the labels and descriptions (especially when buying online!).
How long of a working time do you need? Gorilla Glue, for example, have a very convenient Epoxy in a double syringe which is great for really small projects (ie patching the hole made to create snowglobe tumblers). The work time is only 5 minutes, so this is definitely not a great option for larger or time consuming projects. We Are Memory Keepers has a kit advertised as “quick cure” with a work time of 30-45 minutes and a non-tacky finish by the 4 hour mark. This is a more reasonable working time for drink ware, as an example. Having too short or long of a work time has the potential for major frustrations and wasted materials.
Another thing to keep in mind is the surface you are using the Epoxy Resin on. Make sure it will bond to that surface, whether it be plastic, glass, wood, etcetera. Will you need it to be level? Art Resin self-levels to 1/8 of an inch (I have yet to put this to the test) while other brands may not. This would be an important consideration if you plan on using resin as a glaze to protect a painting.
3. Triple Check Materials
If you are casting resin using silicone molds, inspect each mold for signs of wear before pouring! This will save you having to clean up a big mess and, again, wasting materials.
Something else to consider, when colouring your mixture make sure your additive is compatible with that specific resin. Different brands may have different chemical compositions. What this means is certain pigments may not give you the desired result. Some compounds allow for great results using acrylic paint while others require mica pigment or alcohol solutions. Using the wrong type of pigment may leave you with cloudy results or a goopy mess that won’t cure.
4. Have Fun!
There are just about endless possibilities when working with resin and the results are breathtaking!
This certainly isn’t an exhaustive list of tips, but do not let fear of Epoxy Resin keep you from trying it if there’s a project you want to explore! Have your materials prepared and laid out in advance, protect yourself and get creative!
Thanks for reading, I’m so glad you’re here! If this was helpful please leave a like or comment. If you have your own tips I would love for you to share them in the comments below as well as any topics you’d like me to cover next.