‘Epoxy resin do’s and don’ts for beginners’. Is this what you have been searching for since you decided to pick up epoxy resin for your next DIY? Let’s make things a bit easier for you then.
My first encounter with epoxy resin was messy. I chose the wrong base for a beginner’s project. It was 4 square wooden coasters and the sides were not sealed. You should read about epoxy resin do’s and don’ts before you decide to work with epoxy.
There was resin dripping from all sides of the coasters. And my work area was messy. Though the result was good the coasters were useless as the backside had irregular drops of resin stuck to it. I am sure you can imagine my plight.
An Important Lesson I Learned to Work with Epoxy Resin
But that day I learned a very important lesson if I had to continue working with epoxy. I cannot just get up one morning and say ‘let’s epoxy today’. I have to research from deciding the type of project I want to do – wall art, casting mold, or coffee table – to the design and color scheme.
What is Epoxy Resin?
Resin is a liquid substance that can be obtained both naturally and synthetically. Under the right conditions and when mixed with a hardener, this liquid will harden. Therefore, it can be used for art and crafts, among other things.
What Should You Know When Deciding Your First Epoxy Resin Project?
If this is your first project and you are nervous. My first advice to you is ‘relax’. There is nothing that can go wrong with epoxy resin DIY if you have followed the label instructions and mixed part A (resin) and part B (hardener) in the given ratio’. You can always add another layer of epoxy resin if you do not like the previous one. But this is a rare instance. Whether you are making a wall art or casting a mold, there are a few things you should keep in mind when working with epoxy resin.
Epoxy Resin Do’s and Don’ts for Beginners
If you have scrolled till here, I am assuming you have picked up your first epoxy resin project. Without further ado, I will guide you through epoxy resin’s do’s and don’ts.
Epoxy Resin Do’s
|Safety should be your prime concern|
|Wear mask and gloves when working with epoxy resin|
|Research For a Design Before You Begin Any New Epoxy Resin Project|
|Prepare Your Work Area|
|Beginners Start by Casting Molds with Epoxy Resin|
|Mixing Resin and Hardener|
|Use Ice-cream Sticks to Mix Epoxy Resin|
|Required Temperature for Working with Epoxy Resin and Curing|
|Pour Epoxy Resin when it is Honey-like Consistency|
|Store Epoxy Resin Properly to Increase the Shelf Life|
Safety Should be your Prime Concern
Epoxy Resin is a chemical. It may say non-toxic on the label still is not kids-friendly. To do your epoxy resin projects choose a time and area in the house where kids won’t be allowed. A separate room with proper ventilation is advisable. But everyone may not have a spare room for making DIYs. So prefer doing the epoxy resin projects when kids are not around. Avoid working in sunlight as it can yellow tinge the resulting outcome.
Wear Mask and Gloves when Working with Epoxy Resin
As the epoxy resin warms and becomes thicker it may or may not produce fumes. But it can have harmful health effects if necessary precautions are not taken. So always wear a mask when working with resins. A simple surgical mask is good as a beginner. Epoxy resin can have some serious skin reactions, like rashes and eczema. To avoid contact with skin always wear Latex (white glove) or Nitrile (blue glove) gloves when working with epoxy resin.
Research For a Design Before You Begin Any New Epoxy Resin Project
Researching and finalizing your design is the most important step to work with epoxy resins. Do not underestimate this step as the effectiveness of your project highly depends on what you are making as much as it does on how you are making it. Before you begin a DIY project, it is a good idea to spend quality time looking online on Google, YouTube, or Pinterest for the right design. Unlike other art forms, epoxy resin does not give you the liberty to make sudden changes in the design while working on it.
I spend a day or two finalizing a design and color theme for my new epoxy resin wall art. Also, according to the theme I then decide on using crushed glass, crystals, or shells. This makes working with epoxy resin easier as I know what to expect.
Prepare your Work Area
Once you have a clear picture in mind, prepare your work area. Epoxy resin is very fluid and can find its way in even the slightest of openings. Cover the table and the floor with newspapers and layer it up with a thick clear plastic sheet.
Have all your supplies ready in your work area.
- Canvas / MDF board / acrylic sheet
- Pigments/alcohol inks
- Epoxy Resin and Hardener
- Digital Weight Machine
- Disposable Plastic cups
- Ice cream sticks
Always wear your mask and gloves. This is the most important step before you even start opening the resin bottles.
Beginners Start by Casting Molds with Epoxy Resin
As a beginner though plastic molds are recommended. But I personally feel silicon molds are better to use for casting epoxy resin. It demoulds easily once the epoxy is fully cured. And the end product is shiny. So you do not need to add an extra layer of resin for a gloss or use resin gloss sealer spray. I have been using silicone molds from the very beginning since I started working with epoxy. Silicone molds are a bit costly as compared to plastic molds but are still pocket-friendly. Make sure the molds are dry and clean. Water and resin are not good friends. A moist surface can affect resin in a negative way.
Mixing Resin and Hardener
I emphasize that you read the instructions on the label of the resin bottle. It is really important to mix the resin (part A) and hardener (part B) in the exact ratio mentioned. If the label says 2:1, you have to mix 2 parts resin and 1 part hardener. When blending the mixture, scrape the resin and hardener from the sides of the disposable plastic cup. Take time to blend both parts properly. If resin and hardener did not mix as required, the end result could be a tacky, uncured epoxy resin piece. Stir the mixture slowly for 3 to 5 minutes. Mixing rapidly can result in a lot of bubble formation.
Use Ice-cream Sticks to Mix Epoxy Resin
Ice-cream sticks or a spatula is the best tool to mix the epoxy resin. This helps to scrape the mixture from all the sides properly. It also prevents any mixing mishaps to occur which can in turn spoil the epoxy project.
Required Temperature for Working with Epoxy Resin and Curing
For resin to cure properly one of the most important factors is ‘temperature’. The ideal preferred temperature for workplace and epoxy curing is usually 24 C to 30 C. When working with epoxy resin in a cold-weather make sure to let the epoxy sit at room temperature for a few hours. Or give it a warm water bath if you prefer. Maintain room temperature at or above 24 C. And maintain the room temperature for the first 24 hours while your epoxy resin project cures.
Pour Epoxy Resin when it is Honey-like Consistency
Cold resin has a thick glue-like consistency. It makes it difficult to pour and spread. So it is advisable to warm up the epoxy resin before you begin to work. Let the epoxy resin mixture reach the honey-like consistency. It will flow freely and spread leveling itself.
Store Epoxy Resin Properly to Increase the Shelf Life
With proper storage epoxy resin and hardener can be used for many years. Necessary measures to take to ensure your resin and hardener have a long shelf life:
- Store epoxy resin and hardener at room temperature.
- Place the bottles in a dark spot. Do not keep them out in the direct sunlight.
- Keep the bottle caps closed tightly to prevent any contamination.
- Make sure the epoxy resin bottles are away from moisture.
Epoxy Resin Don’ts
|Do not pour the whole unit to mix in one go. Use small amounts as needed for your project.|
|It is not a good decision to mix different brands of epoxy resin and hardener.|
|Do not use epoxy resin outdoors or on unclean surfaces.|
|Do not expose your epoxy resin to sunlight. The resin will turn yellow.|
|Do not work on any project without wearing a mask and gloves. It can be health hazardous.|
How Not to Stir and Pour Epoxy Resin?
|Do not blend epoxy resin and hardener in a haste. A mixture that is not properly scraped can leave the project uncured, tacky, or sticky.|
|Do not stir epoxy resin with a paintbrush. Instead, use ice-cream sticks.|
|Do not pour resin when it is of thin consistency. It will blend in other pigments sometimes leaving a messy or muddy look.|
When Working with Epoxy Resin…
|Do not leave the working space uncovered. Epoxy resin drips through sides and can ruin your table surface or floor.|
|Do not use the hairdryer to settle the bubbles when the resin has begun to cure. It may affect the outcome.|
|After pouring epoxy resin do not leave your project unmonitored till it starts to cure. Surface contamination can cause low spots on your project.|
|Epoxy resin is prone to trapping air bubbles and dust. So do not leave your project uncovered.|
|Do not leave epoxy resin bottles loosely sealed. Not storing the epoxy properly can lead to short shelf life of epoxy.|
|Do not touch the surface of your epoxy project before it has dried completely. It can leave a sticky patch on the surface.|
|Don’t panic if your project doesn’t cure. You can scrape the epoxy resin and pour a fresh layer of epoxy resin again.|
|Do not use cheap quality resin. It has harmful fumes and a pungent smell.|
Epoxy resin is an expensive art. Cheap epoxy resin can be health hazardous. I hope the above list of epoxy resin do’s and don’ts will help you get started with your first resin DIY project.
Don’t forget to share your lovely creations in the comments.
Please do feel free to share any questions or comments below.