Tuesday, January 18, 2011

How to Apply Epoxy Resin to Artwork

The question people ask most frequently about my artwork is how I do the epoxy resin coating, so I thought I'd explain the process for anyone interested. You can try it yourself!

2-part epoxy: For these pieces I'm using "Ultra-Glow" from TAP plastics. I also use Douglas & Sturgess Epoxy Coating.

Stirring Sticks: You should have a few of these.

Respirator: I got this one from Douglas & Sturgess in SF. The epoxy coatings don't have a strong chemical odor, but you should still have ventilation, and use a respirator.

Propane torch: CO2 from the torch removes air bubbles. Directions on the epoxy say you can exhale on the surface to remove bubbles, but you'll just get a headache, so use a torch.

Also: Mixing cups, a timer, toothpicks, and disposable plastic gloves to keep the epoxy off your hands.

The Process:
You'll want to prepare a level surface. I cover a workbench with plastic drycleaner garment bags to catch drips, and then raise the artwork above the surface using gatoraid caps as spacers. I place bricks around the artwork to support a dust cover later in the process.

The 2-part epoxy comes in two containers. Pour equal amounts from each container into two separate mixing cups. It is important that the amounts are equal, so don't try to estimate by pouring into a single mixing cup.

Pour the contents of your two containers into a third container, and set a timer for 2 minutes. While the timer is going, stir the mixture vigorously. If you're doing it right, it will be frothy and you'll have lots of air bubbles.

I recommend using a timer because it can seem like you've mixed for a long time after only 30 seconds. It's tiring--but if the epoxy is not fully mixed, the finished product may have soft spots--not good.

Pour the mixture into a 4th container, and mix it briefly again, using a separate clean stirring stick.

Pour the mixture onto your art.

The consistency of the epoxy will be somewhere between syrup and honey, so you will have some time to spread it before it runs over the edges. I like to use a business card to spread the epoxy. You can coat the edges too, depending on what you want.

After you have the surface covered, you'll see air bubbles rising out of the coating. This is good. To help the process, light the propane torch and wave the flame about 6 inches from the surface. Keep the flame moving, or you may burn your art.

You have a limited amount of time to work with the epoxy before it begins to harden--about 15-20 minutes max--so accept that there may be some imperfections. While the epoxy is still fluid, you can use a toothpick to remove tiny bits of lint that may have settled on the surface, and you can smooth drips from the back side.

Like magic, the epoxy will level itself, and fill voids you may have created during spreading. With the bubbles gone, the coating will begin to have a mirror-like finish.

When you're satisfied that the surface looks good, I recommend you cover your work to keep out dust. I use foamcore on bricks.

Leave the project undistubed overnight, and you're done. Check it the next day!

I hope this is helpful. I'd love to hear about your projects!

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TexasBlueEyes said...

Very neat! I really like your work

Johnny Botts said...

Thanks TexasBlueEyes!

ElCorbo said...

Thanks for the explanation on the CO2 and the bubbles. Exactly the explanation I was looking for!

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Brian Thorup said...

How do you fix a big bubble once it has dried?

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Jeff Black said...

Great post, I was wondering how you could do that impressive thing I'm so amazed. Now I know what's résine epoxy really worth with.

burlin messi said...

Nice way of spreading epoxy resin over pictures & arts .. I like it most also i'll try your technique today on my greeting cards. In India there are lots of manufacturer of Epoxy resins & its easy to get in India but its tough to jugde its epoxy resin prices ..

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Meri Rohaman said...

A proper surface area getting ready makes sure epoxy finish adhesion towards the substrate as well as prolongs everything with the epoxy finish system.

Lutfur said...

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