Tips for working with epoxy resin
Originally published January 2012. Updated August 2018.
Whether you’re new to epoxy resin or a seasoned professional, these hints will be helpful to you working with epoxy resin:
How does epoxy resin work?
Epoxy resins come in two parts: the resin and the hardener. When the two parts are mixed together, a chemical reaction occurs that causes heat production. This heat changes the epoxy from a liquid to a solid. Epoxy resin, like other resins, is mixed together in a specific ratio or amount of resin to hardener. There is a pot time to the resin (period of time that the resin is still liquid enough to work with) versus curing time (the amount of time needed for the epoxy to completely harden). Each epoxy resin is different! For proper curing, the resin needs to be mixed thoroughly in the correct proportions.
If you are confused by these terms, please check out our resin vocabulary article.
What safety precautions do I need to take when working with epoxy resin?
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions and safety precautions.
- Work in a clean and well-ventilated area.
- Depending on materials used, strongly consider wearing a respirator, rubber gloves and eye protection.
- Follow manufacturer’s recommendations for clean up. Dispose of all waste materials in accordance with local regulations.
How should I prepare my crafting area for working with epoxy resin?
- Cover the work area with wax paper. Resin will not stick to wax paper.
- Prepare a level surface for items to dry on that will not be disturbed. (And speaking from personal experience here…watch out for the cat hair!!!)
- Have boxes or domes available to cover your resin projects while they are curing. This will keep out dust and other contaminants.
What if I want to include things in my resin?
- To prevent discoloration and water stains, seal both sides and edges of the image. This is especially important if the image is printed on an ink-jet printer. Allow the paper and sealant to dry completely before covering the images with resin.
- Glue the image to surface to prevent “floating” and possibly trapping air bubbles which may show up later. Let adhesive dry completely before adding resin.
- Resin magnifies images and makes them surprisingly clear. Make sure your paper is exactly the way you want it.
What about embedding other items in resin?
- Flowers and other vegetation need to be dried before use.
- Seal dried flowers, candy sprinkles, etc., with a spray sealer to prevent discoloration.
- If using resin dyes or pigment, add a small amount at first. Generally, a little goes a long way.
Do you have any resin pouring tips?
- Apply the resin a little bit at a time. Depending on the resin, it can pour quickly. Pouring from a smaller cup is easier to control.
- Leave a bit of resin in the bottom of your pour cup. You can then check the resin in the cup to check to see if your resin is cured. This way you don’t have to disturb your project to see how it is curing.
- A heat gun is great for removing bubbles from your resin.
How do I know if epoxy resin is right for my project?
Great question! It’s such a big topic we have an entire article dedicated to it: What kind of resin should I use?
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