Disclaimer | This article may contain affiliate links, this means that at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission for qualifying purchases.
Whether you want to create jewelry or refurbish your apartment, epoxy resin can play an essential role in the process.
It is surprisingly useful and is known for its flawless performance. And although some find it difficult to work with resin, we believe with adequate practice and the right variety, you can become a pro in no time.
But before you begin, it is essential that you know everything about this material. We, as DIY enthusiasts, believe that complete knowledge will help one in preventing wastage. Since epoxy resin is on the expensive side, it is best to understand it well, and that is why we have written this guide.
It will give you in-depth information about everything related to this substance, including its pros and cons. We will begin with what this is all about and then move on to its benefits and features.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab a cup of coffee and begin reading!
Epoxy Resin Guide
- Epoxy Resin Guide
- What Is Epoxy Resin?
- What To Consider Before Purchasing?
- What Can Resin Be Used For?
- Which Resin Should Be Used For A Project?
- Casting Resin
- Laminating Resin
- Casting And Laminating Resin Buying Guide
- Time Taken
- Managing Thickness
- Benefits Of Using Epoxy Resin
- How Can You Add Colors To Epoxy Resin?
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What Is Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin is a transparent liquid, which when mixed with a hardener, can create solid transparent layers. This is used for multiple purposes and is created by mixing the hardener and the liquid in equal amounts.
If you leave it for enough time, a chemical reaction occurs, and a lot of heat is radiated. Then it slowly turns from liquid to solid and is cured. Now, although the curing process can take several hours or a few days, remember that you cannot make adjustments after the liquid has thickened. Hence, one needs to be very careful while working with resin.
Next, there are different types, including laminating, casting, synthetic, and epoxy resins out there. We found slight differences among them, but they work in a similar manner. Nonetheless, the curing process may be different, and the time taken can vary.
Moving on, when you are checking out resin, remember to check for the following:
- Maximum thickness per layer
- Adhesive properties
- Time taken to cure
- Degree of hardness achieved
While you can add a number of layers over one another, you might also want to add thick layers in the case of riverbed tables. For such cases, the minimum thickness of each layer should be a centimeter. Check the amount of time needed to cure and only then proceed to purchase. If it takes weeks, then it might not be a viable choice for you.
What To Consider Before Purchasing?
Today epoxy resin is widely available at DIY and craft stores as well as online. If you are purchasing online, then the choices are a lot more, and you can choose from the various kinds.
Most online retailers will have different types of resin displayed and it is important to read the description. There is a great deal of price differences among types, and you will get products ranging from basic to high and premium-quality.
Now a first-timer could put off purchasing resin because of the high price. Yes, it is not cheap, but you can always look out for good offers. Online stores are constantly giving offers and if you can get a good deal, purchase it immediately.
There are lower-cost options too, but we will recommend not to buy inferior products as they might not harden or settle well. These can also cause issues during the curing process or can dry in an uneven manner. There is also a chance it might turn yellowish soon after application. And that would make the entire product unattractive, so you should be careful.
Low-quality ones can even contain hazardous chemicals, which might lead to health issues. Please read the back of the pack carefully before buying. We will also recommend wearing proper goggles and a filter mask while working with resin. It is important to stay safe and protected from anything harmful that the fluid may release.
Another consideration here is that if you plan to add colors, check if the resin will mix with it. Read the back of the pack carefully to find this out. Otherwise, just check online for the required information, and you should get a suitable answer.
What Can Resin Be Used For?
Epoxy resin is extremely versatile and can be used for a number of purposes. You can use it for:
- Repairing stone carpets inside and outside the house
- Making cutting boards with wood and resin
- Soil sealing in houses
- Making worktops resistant to cuts
- Renovating old structures
- Making jewelry of different kinds
- Casting figures and molds to protect them
- Resin art objects and pictures
- Resin Petri dishes, geodes, and other decorative items
- Floors for shower trays
- Resin furniture like tables
- Waterproof sealants for different kinds of floors
- Aquariums and terrariums
- For adhesive needs for small parts
- Topcoat and gel coat for boats
- Model building
Which Resin Should Be Used For A Project?
This section is dedicated to the different kinds of resin available in the market. It will give you all the details about each type and the kind of products that they can be used with.
Also known as the low-viscosity epoxy resin, this is perfect for those who require a liquid formula that is very thin and can flow well. The water-like consistency makes it perfect for river tables and molds. So, if you are into making epoxy jewelry, this one is perfect and can be chosen.
The major uses of casting resin are:
- Making resin jewelry
- Casting molds of all types
- Covering furniture or making river-bed tables
- Model making
- To fill cracks and gaps in wood
- For making resin floors
But remember using this form can be very time-consuming as the liquid takes a lot of time to dry. Hence, the next steps will be delayed, and we found that the minimum time taken to dry is 12 to 24 hours. Before that, if you add another layer, then you might see spots or paint marks within.
Also, remember not to touch the layer till you are confident that it has dried. Otherwise, there could be fingerprint marks on the surface.
So, we will recommend this for molding or casting small items, which require one or two layers of coating.
The viscosity of this fluid is somewhat related to that of honey and its tough consistency. It is thicker and can be used for lamination and coating different kinds of surfaces. One can try using it for resin art too, but they have to be very careful with the thickness. At times, it is best not to exceed 2 cm for one layer as a very thick lamination may not look good.
Read the back of any pack that you choose and follow the brand’s instructions as mentioned for an error-free process. Also, although it dries quicker than low-viscosity resin, give it enough time, as mentioned on the pack.
This product is perfect for the following purposes:
- To make retro Petri dishes and geodes
- Casting or laminating pictures
- Some variants of large jewelry
- Sealing surfaces of different furniture and floors
Casting And Laminating Resin Buying Guide
By now you must have realized that there are types of resins available and you will have to choose one. Pay attention to factors like viscosity, durability, resistance, strength, and curing time to name a few. Also, check what kind of resin will work perfectly for your project.
To help you make the right decision, we have jotted down some factors that you should remember. Make a note of them, and you should be able to work with the perfect option soon.
The processing time for different liquids vary and it is important to know how long it will take to process. Now, we are referring to the time period after the hardener and resin has been mixed. The resin at a point will become thick and ready to be spread on the surface.
This is when you can level out the surface. If you wait any longer, the surface after coating will not be even. Also, if you plan on coloring, this is the stage where you should add the colors in order to ensure that it spreads evenly.
So, a slow processing time is perfect for cases that involve dyeing. Thicker liquids will need less time to process, and more than one layer can be poured in a short time.
Moving on to the downside, a shorter processing time means the formation of more bubbles, which are difficult to remove after a point. This can be taken care of if you shift to products with a long processing time. They have lesser bubbles, and you can take time to mix in several colors and work in peace.
Also, we found that the transition process is very smooth in the case of layers with different colors. It will help in blending the layers well and create a gradual change in colors.
But yes, if you are planning to use something with a longer processing time, know that you will need more materials, including spatulas and mixing bowls.
If you want thick layers, they can easily be achieved with low-viscosity resins. They are not prone to getting heated up a lot; hence, have a shorter curing time. This enables thicker layers to be cast easily.
But remember not to pour more than required as that would lead to very thick layers, which may not look nice. We will recommend forming layers of 1 cm in thickness. Let the air bubbles rise after pouring, and you can get rid of them with a hot air dryer. Once this has dried up, you can add another layer on top of it.
Viscous resins should not be poured thicker than a centimeter; otherwise, getting rid of air bubbles becomes difficult. And if you do not remove them, they may look very unattractive after drying.
The curing time refers to the time span that resin takes to dry up. It will become hard, and this happens only after mixing the resin and hardener. Also known as processing time, this can differ with brands.
Some items have a very less curing time and can dry within 24 hours. These will allow you to work for 20 minutes to an hour at max. We found this works well for lamination or casting jewelry.
On the other hand, if you want a long working time that can extend up to 12 hours, then the curing can take a week’s time. This works well for creating intricately designed river beds and tables. Also, resin artists use this to create unique masterpieces.
Benefits Of Using Epoxy Resin
Resin is known for the sheer amount of endurance capacity that it has. It will provide a dependable layer that protects objects, floors, and surfaces from being affected by daily wear and tear. Plus, it provides for a very tight bond and will act as sealants when necessary.
There are a number of benefits of using Epoxy resin, and in this section, we will be discussing them in detail. Read through this to have a clear idea about how it works.
Protecting High Traffic Areas
If you are using epoxy resin for floors in garages, laundry rooms, and basements, it will protect the surface from wear and tear. The substance blocks elements that can be harmful to such areas and will make the floor resistant to hard shocks. It can also prevent many corrosive chemicals from damaging the floors.
This especially happens in garages where a number of chemicals may fall. So, you can easily cover your floors with this and then enjoy the results.
Moreover, it will take care of any imperfections or will cover any gaps or spots in furniture and floors. There are several design and color options to choose from, which will help in creating a masking effect on top. But make sure you choose wisely before purchasing, as the resin should not mix with all colors well.
What’s more, you can even add colorful chips like mica and quartz to the mix. Ensure these are broken down into small chips, and then add them to the epoxy mix. This will add speckles which will then catch the light and shine. A metallic coating can also add that extra shine and leave your guests wondering how the flooring is so attractive.
This formula goes a long way in making surfaces stand out and look pretty. You can use this to cover furniture, floors, and other household objects in the house. The shine leads to the surface being able to reflect any light that falls on them, providing a brighter ambiance.
Also, the shine makes things look like new for years, and all you would need to do is dust once in a while to keep them clean.
What’s more! You can even add different colors to the mix and create effects of your own. Use specific colors to mix with the fluid and then ensure that every object adds to the theme of your place.
You can also add color to the floors while coating them and get them to match with the room. Imagine a rustic blue floor with white walls and upholstery. It will look enticing and will leave your guests surprised when they visit your house.
Good quality resin, when hardened, is very durable and resistant to abrasions. If you are using it for making floors and there are heavy mechanical loads on it, rest assured that the floor would not crack. We have also noticed no forms of scratches or cracks due to heavy vehicles moving in and out.
This makes resin perfect for kitchen tops where you might be cutting vegetables and using the knife. Although the knife has landed on the top several times, we have not seen any marks of damage.
Moving on, once you have applied a thick layer of resin, you do not have to worry about it for a long time. This has a longer life span and will last better than wood or carpet floors. That is because of their high amount of resistance to all physical forces.
Also, with exposure to UV rays, there is a chance that it might turn yellowish. But if you use good quality resin, then it will not turn yellow over time. However, there are many variants with different qualities. Some will be better suited for outdoor use, while some would work better indoors. Check well before purchasing to avoid issues later on and you should be good.
This material is known to be resistant to shocks and is extremely tough. Any form of impact around your house will not be causing issues to the flooring or surfaces in the long run if you add a layer of this.
Do everyday things like dropping tools or machinery on the ground get you bothered about the floor cracking or getting damaged? With a good resin coating, there will be no marks on the surfaces even after jarring crashes. The floor or kitchen top would not get chipped because of it.
Not only that, it can take the weight of heavy objects like cars easily, and you can use it in the garage.
Protection From Chemicals
Resin is known for the resistance that it offers, and this is another feather added to its cap. Not only is it sturdy, as we learned from the previous sections, but it is also resistant to heat and chemicals.
You can drop brake fluids, oil of various types, or regular fluids needed for your car. The layer will protect the surface from showing any signs of damage and all chemicals can be wiped off.
That means if you drop chemicals on it or it is exposed to a hot object, there will be no deformation or damage. But yes, it is best to keep extremely hot objects away from this as that might make the resin softer.
The maximum amount of heat that it can take without any damage being caused is 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Some better quality alternatives can withstand heat more than this too. We will recommend checking the maximum heat level when you purchase one. If it is not mentioned, then call up customer care representatives for this information.
This does not absorb water at all, and you can rest assured that your wooden furniture and flooring are absolutely safe after using this on them. There can be occasional spills over resin-casted objects and surfaces but do not worry, as nothing will be damaged.
With resin jewelry, even if there are dried flowers put inside, rest assured that the water will never cause harm to it. Yes, there should not be any gaps or cracks on the surface through which water can enter. Just check for this, and your object will be absolutely protected.
Well, epoxy might look delicate, but by now, you have realized some of its top qualities. This acts as a sealant and will protect any surface on which it is applied. If you apply it on concrete flooring, it will not wear away or be prone to chipping.
The epoxy forms a defensive layer while bonding well with the surface below. There are no gaps left here, and that makes the process smoother. Just remember to add more than a single layer if you are looking for protection for any surface. A thin layer can be less strong, but adding multiple layers will ensure complete protection.
Easy To Maintain
Are you tired of cleaning dust and concrete bits from the floor every day? One of the top advantages of epoxy is that it is easy to maintain and clean.
Unlike concrete flooring, where dust and concrete bits are present very often, this one leaves no residue. Dust will not pose any problem as it will be vastly reduced thanks to the layer. The concrete surface stays entirely covered and cannot leave residue anymore.
Also, strong chemicals cannot be used on wooden furniture to clean them, and then wood is susceptible to catching marks and stains easily. However, once you have added this coating on top, you do not need to worry about the wood or concrete.
Moreover, when you walk from outside, the shoes can carry a lot of impurities. This will include salts which can again collect on the floor and become difficult to remove from concrete. But here in the case of epoxy coating, salt like dust can be easily removed with a broom or by simply wiping it away.
Plus, we were able to prevent spider webs and dust from settling on furniture too. Bacteria, grime, and germs cannot settle on the surface because of the glazed and smooth layer. Wiping it once will clear it all away, leaving you with a clean and hygienic room.
Further, the surface is resistant to strong chemical detergents, but we will recommend using just soap and water for cleaning. Harsh chemicals will not corrode but might reduce the shine. Hence you would want to steer clear of this and opt for simple methods.
So, yes, we know that this is made out of chemicals, but we still consider it to be eco-friendly. There were direct effects on the environment when one had to replace entire pieces of furniture and flooring. A lot of wood, concrete, and other resources are wasted in this process. Not to forget the high amount of waste that is generated.
But if you use a layer of epoxy on every household item and flooring, you do not have to replace any of them for a long time. This means lesser use of tools, electricity, wood, and other machines. You do not have to cut tiles, too, saving so many resources.
Plus, you would not need a lot of resin for the job as you will require to make thin layers over each other. Purchase according to your needs, and you will not end up wasting much.
Using resin in the house increases visibility by increasing the light in a room. After application, the surfaces become reflective, and they will reflect any form of light used. That leads to the illumination of the entire space, and this works very well for garages.
If it does not shine well, applying an extra thin layer of the resin can change it altogether without increasing your electricity bills.
While some floors can become very slippery after being made, there are special mixes that will present any kind of slipping. The mixes can contain mortar, grit, gravel, aluminum oxide, and sand. These add more stability to the product and prevent them from being slippery.
But remember only to add something which will mix well with the formula. If necessary, call up the customer care representatives of the specific brand and discuss this with them. You can also talk to them about providing an additive that will make it less slippery. They might have something which will perfectly work without looking bad.
Have you seen those beautiful-looking pastel-shaded semi-transparent jewelry that is currently trending in the market? There are crystal-like stones that come at a lower cost but provide the same effect. Resin jewelry has been trending for a while now, and you can make unique pieces with it.
Plus, it will allow you to use a number of colors, with one mixing into another. To do this, you will need to add multiple layers with the shades fading in and out. The end products have a gradient that stands out and looks beautiful.
And one of the biggest benefits of this kind of jewelry is that it will stay intact for years easily. There should be no damage or discoloration during the period.
How Can You Add Colors To Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin does not have any color, and that is why they work superbly well for casting and laminating. It is absolutely transparent and can be used to make terrariums and aquariums. But you can create resin art or riverbeds by coloring resin. There is resin jewelry too, which has become part of the trendy fashion in today’s times.
Moving on to the kinds of colors that can be used, we were able to work with airbrush colors, concentrated liquids, alcohol inks, and color pigments. The major requirement here is that they should not contain water. Water in the paint will not mix with epoxy resin, and it will not dry. There could also be other effects on resin that you would want to prevent.
Plus, you do not want your colors to fade off anytime soon. So, to make them last longer, it is essential that you always opt for high-quality paint. It might cost you a little more, but it will last you forever.
Moreover, if you make resin jewelry and sell it, you would not want the customers to complain about fading colors. Hence choose a good quality paint and test it out before working on the final pieces.
Can Resin Be Dangerous?
We will strongly recommend that you wear gloves throughout the process. This is because the skin can easily get irritated if it comes in contact with the hardener or the resin in its concentrated liquid form. These are not made to touch the skin directly, and it can lead to allergic reactions too. We will recommend that you work with resin in a ventilated space only.
Also, as a precautionary measure, you should wear goggles and a mask with a filter. This will ensure that the substance does not enter your body in any form. The goggles should cover your eyes well, while the respiratory mask will let you breathe safely.
Plus, when you are working with resin, try not to fill the container completely with the formula. Leave a little space so that it does not spill over and fall.
If you follow these basic guidelines, then there should not be any problems.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
In this section, we will talk about the different questions that customers have asked over time. These should help you get answers to queries that you have. Read on to know all about them.
Can You Remove Epoxy Resin From Specific Parts?
Resin has always been known for its adhesive properties, and it sticks firmly to surfaces. This makes it very difficult to remove it without damaging the surface below. But although it is challenging, you can try to remove it by re-liquifying. This is a better method than physically trying to scrape off as they harden and become very connected to the wood or plastic base. But if you turn it into liquid form, then the liquid can be scraped off surfaces.
For this, you will first have to add the solvent acetone and let it rest for an hour. The surface should already become soft. Now, you can use a heat gun to liquefy it.
But remember to heat very carefully, and we will recommend not applying too much heat. This could damage the plastic or wood below and even burn it. Use your heat gun on moderate mode, and then continue the process. You can take it up to 200 degrees Celsius, and it should turn the resin into liquid form.
Can You Seal Wood With Resin?
Yes, the resin can be used to seal the wood and protect it from wear and tear. In fact, resin works with different kinds of wood, and it will completely seal the surface. Wood is porous and has the ability to absorb moisture from the surrounding.
They are also soft and can be damaged easily. A layer of epoxy resin will make it last for a long time. You can use it to seal table tops, kitchen work surfaces as well as parts of a boat. This can be used as a top or a gel coat that will make the surface look beautiful while protecting it completely.
Can Epoxy Resin Be Termed As Food Safe?
Yes, epoxy resin, after being completely cured, can be used for bowls and food containers. It is completely safe, but you will have to give it a long time to cure. This means keeping it for a few weeks before using it to keep food. Now, this is the reason why resin manufacturers do not use it to make food containers. It involves high costs, which may not be sustainable for companies.
However, if you want to create bowls or plates out of resin at home, you can easily do so. Keep it for a few weeks after it hardens, and then you can begin using it.
Can You Process Cured Resin?
Once the resin hardens up, it is like a block or a sheet of plastic, and you can further process it. For starters, holes can be drilled in easily, and you can make wall hangings. The surface can also be sanded manually or using a machine for professional purposes.
Moreover, you can make it more glossy by adding a glossy layer on top. This can be done with a polishing machine, or you can even add another layer of resin.
How Can You Ensure That The Resin Is Bubble-free?
There are some ways that can ensure a reduced number of bubbles on application. Our first suggestion is to not shake the container too much before the application process. If you do this, then more bubbles are formed, which will be difficult to remove.
Next, it is beneficial to have a steady hand while working with the product. Mix nicely and gently to prevent bubbles from forming all over. You can also try to preheat the resin and hardener mixture, but you will have to be very careful with it. It is best to place the container within a warm water bath and let it warm up a little. Heating it too much will prevent it from working well.
Next, if there are gaps or pores in the object, it can release bubbles in the resin when you are applying it. In such cases, first, seal the object with a thin layer of this formula. Then only go on to add a thicker layer on top.
Plus, you can also use a vacuum pump or a hot gun to remove the bubbles.
What Does Pot Life Mean?
Pot life refers to the time taken for processing the resin. This can vary depending on the manufacturer and the type. It could also depend on the quantity of the mixture that is processed at one time. If the quantity is more, more time will be needed, and you will need less time in case of a lesser amount.
The surrounding temperature and the kind of workpiece used will also determine pot life. Plus, you have to take into account the temperature of the mixture. A warm mixture will have a different pot life than a cold mix.
Moreover, the mix will start turning thick with time and eventually will become hard. Your processing time or the pot life will not be extending for long, and hence you should pour in only a little liquid at a time.
Is It Waterproof?
Yes, resin, once cured well, is completely waterproof and will stay so for years to come. Just ensure that there are no gaps or holes in the layer where water can penetrate. Otherwise, it will protect any surface from water and moisture. Many boat owners use it to cover the boat and prevent water from spoiling the wood.
We are finally at the end of this guide, and we know it’s a lot of information. So, we will give you a few minutes to process everything.
Epoxy resin has a number of perks, but you will have to be careful. Do not forget your safety gear while working to have a safe and nice experience. Also, it may cause allergies or skin reactions if it comes in contact with the skin in liquid form.
So, do not touch it in any way and always wear proper gloves. We always look for a well-ventilated space to begin working but ensure that a lot of dust or debris does not come into the area. They may settle on the wet surface and dry with the resin.
We will now take your leave; hope you have a great time trying out new things with epoxy. Take care!