In a nutshell, epoxy is a basic component of epoxy resin, prepolymers, and polymers (the same component that makes up plastics) that contain epoxides. However, we’re not here to talk about science; we’re here to discuss what is epoxy used for in art.
We will share with you the different art projects you can do with epoxy resin, quick how-tos on each of them, and finally, more tips on how to improve your epoxy resin art.
What Is Epoxy Used For?
Here are some of the projects that you can do with epoxy:
- Jewelry: This is probably the most common project that most people dip their hands in. You can create pins, pendants, rings—almost any type of jewelry that you can think of right now.
- Coat Other Projects: Do you have an existing piece that you want to give a shiny finish? Or do you want to give something an extra layer of protection? You can coat your furniture pieces, charms, even your photos.
- Preserve Organic Items: Flowers and leaves may be too quick to wilt, but you can preserve them forever by coating them with resin.
- data-preserver-spaces=”true”>Painting: Finally, you can mix epoxy with paint and create brilliant works of art.
Keep in mind that these are not the only projects that you can do with resin. These are simply our favorites. We encourage you to explore this very versatile medium and create unique works on your own. You just need to know how to prepare epoxy properly.
Preparing Your Epoxy Resin
You must understand that epoxy resin has two parts: the resin and the hardener. If you mix these two, they will combine and create a chemical reaction that will turn liquid resin into hardened plastic.
There are different types of resin that you can work with, and they can be prepared with varying ratios of hardener. We understand if you want to prepare your resin in advance, especially if you’re planning big pieces, but we advise against it since it will trigger the chemical reaction.
Anyway, once you are ready to start your project, just make sure you have your ratios right and spend some time to mix them properly to ensure the best results. With the epoxy resin now starting to cure, we should work quick! Also, don’t forget to wear gloves throughout the process.
Believe us, when we tell you that you don’t want resin on your hands. With that said, let’s move on to the different projects.
Making Jewelry with Epoxy Resin
Here is a quick step-by-step guide on how to create your own accessories with epoxy resin:
- Decide on what type of jewelry you want to make. Are you planning on making a pair of earrings? How about a ring? As we mentioned above, you can create any jewelry piece you can think of. For this guide, though, we’re going to make a pendant since it’s the most commonly used and made.
- Decide on your mold. There are a lot of silicone molds that you can buy online. In fact, did you know that you can use baking molds for resin art too? Just don’t use them for baking anymore if you’ve decided to use it for resin. The same goes for the measuring cups you’ve used for mixing your epoxy resin.
- Pour your first layer. With the resin prepared, pour a thin layer of it into your chosen mold or molds. You can tap the mold gently to level the resin and make it flat.
- Add in your details. You can put anything to make your piece more interesting. You can add paint to it to add some color, glitter for those sparkles, beads, even stickers. You can add anything that you think will make your charm pretty and unique.
- Pour layers in between. Once you have a layer that you’re happy with, then you can go ahead and pour another layer of resin on it. Be especially careful this time, though. If your details move a bit, then you can simply move them back with a toothpick.
- Continue until you’ve filled the mold. You can add more details, glitter, and color if you want.
- Blow air bubbles away. Use a blowdryer. The heat will pop all those bubbles away.
- Let the resin cure. The only thing that’s left to do now is to allow the resin to harden. It will take overnight before it completely sets, so don’t forget to cover your molds lest dust befalls them.
- Pop your work out of your mold. Congratulations, we’re done! You can scrub your work with sandpaper to smoothen out the surface and create a more polished work.
Now that we’re done with something we can wear, how about something we can use at home, like a table?
Coating Furniture with Epoxy Resin
The process of coating furniture with epoxy resin is similar to making jewelry aside from one main difference: you won’t have a mold. Instead, you have the table, chair, or whatever piece you’re working on.
Here’s a question we always get: won’t resin drip off? Don’t worry; the epoxy resin is thick enough to stay within the edges of your furniture and not drip down unless you really mean it to. Here’s a quick guide:
- Make sure the surface is level. This will ensure the resin that you will pour will be nice and flat.
- Design your furniture. If you want to paint or decoupage your piece, this is the perfect time to do so. Prepare yourself in mixing a lot of resin and hardener.
- Do the first pouring. Since you will cover a wider space, better use a special method of pouring. Start with the center and pour the resin spiraling out to help it spread.
- Do the second pouring. If your project’s a table or a bigger piece of furniture, then chances are, a single pouring won’t be enough. If you need a second and third pouring, then just start where you left off in your spiral. You can tap your piece a bit to help the resin spread out evenly.
- Pop the air bubbles. Your blowdryer probably won’t be enough for a big project like this. Hence, it’s best to leave it to your heat gun to do all the popping.
- Let the resin cure. Finally, once you’re contented on how the project turned out, just leave it be. Again, if you have a way to cover it and protect it from dust, do so. Since it’s a bigger piece, it will naturally take longer to harden too. Wait for at least three days before touching your piece.
Wow, you’re already getting the hang of using resin! We can now move on to the next project, which is coincidentally one of our favorite things to work on.
Preserving Organic Items
You have already gotten the hang of preparing and pouring resin, so we will share with you some tips on how to preserve organic items to make them fare well inside your resin and last practically forever. Here they are:
- Petals and Leaves
If you’re going to use petals and leaves, it’s best to press them. They will make brilliant charms and paperweights.
- Whole Flowers
For whole flowers, you can dry them using silica gel beads. You can use plastic tubs that will fit your flower blooms with ample space to fit in the beads comfortably.
Put a shallow layer of beads and put your flower blooms on top. Gently top those blooms with more beads until everything is completely covered.
Cover your container and leave it be for five days. Scoop out those blooms carefully and brush off the beads. Your blooms should still be mostly intact, but completely dry.
Speaking of dry, why do you need to dry them out anyway? That’s because leaving just a little bit of moisture will cause your organic item to discolor and even rot, and yes, even if it’s fully coated in resin.
By keeping those tips in mind, you can now go ahead and use your organic items in your charms and follow the guide on jewelry-making we’ve shared with you earlier. For now, we can move on to our next project. The most exciting one: painting!
Painting with Epoxy Resin
Let’s start by talking about the different materials you should prepare. First, you need multiple plastic cups, same with popsicle sticks that make really good stirrers!. You also need a stand or something that can hold your canvas suspended from your working surface, pre-mixed epoxy resin, and of course, your choice of acrylic inks of different colors.
You would want to cover your working surface with plastic too to make clean up easier. Once you’re ready, here are the different steps:
- Get the paint ready. Fill in your cups with the amount of paint that you want to work with. Use as many cups as you need per color.
- Add in the resin. You might be wondering why we didn’t pour in the ink the other way around. That’s because once you’ve mixed your paint with resin, there’s no way of getting back your ink if it’s too dark, bright, or simply too much. Pouring the resin last gives you a bit more control.
- Mix it. Now it’s time to stir until your wrist hurts. This will allow your ink to blend well with your epoxy resin.
- Start pouring. Place your canvas on the stand and start pouring your resin paint mixture on it. You can do so randomly or with more control depending on the look that you’re going for. As for us, we love to have a little bit of fun with the process.
- Add more layers of colors. Continue pouring as you wish until you deem the painting finished. If you want to add more details, like glitter, then now is the time to do so.
- Pop the air bubbles. You can work with either a blow dryer or a heat gun.
- Pick up the canvas and sway it around. This will spread your paint resin around to fill up the entire canvas. Don’t worry about the drips. That’s what the plastic is for.
- Let the resin cure. We’re done! You can leave your work to cure overnight or for 24 hours.
Did you know that you can continue pouring more layers of resin paint on top after it has cured? You can also paint over it with regular acrylic paint. Just have fun!
Can You Pour Epoxy Resin Over an Acrylic Pour Painting?
You might be wondering, though, if this is the only way to create a painting with resin. No, it’s not. You can create acrylic paintings, even pour ones, and pour resin over them once they’re dry. Doing so will seal them inside a translucent glass-like frame. The results are amazing.
To Sum Up
So, did you enjoy all of the projects we’ve been doing so far? Did you follow the guides while you’re reading, or did you read through first, and you’re now itching to try them all out?
We hope that you have found our piece helpful in finding out what is epoxy used for. To sum up, here are our main points:
- Epoxy resin is a flexible medium that you can use on a lot of artworks. You can use it to create jewelry, coat furniture, preserve organic objects like flowers and leaves, and of course, you can paint with it.
- If there are tips we’d want you to take away from our article, it’s these two: first, you should always wear your gloves while working with epoxy resin, and second, you should always mix your resin thoroughly.
- Once the resin has been prepared, you can use it on your projects, with or without molds, to hold it in shape.
- You can put a lot of details into your work. You can use wood chips, glitter, stickers, paint, beads, and more. If you’re planning on using something organic, though, then make sure that it has completely dried beforehand to preserve it better.
- Finally, all your projects should be left to cure for at least overnight to allow the epoxy resin ample time to harden.
In the end, it’s all up to you how you would unleash your creativity with such a flexible medium. Enjoy!
5 thoughts on “What Is Epoxy Resin Used for in Art?”
What about safety? Shouldn’t you use masks, gloves, etc and protect whole work space? What about disposing of waste products?
With many, absolutely! There are some, such as Art Resin that is low VOC! Read labels carefully and take special heed to any warnings. One of the sites I follow showed a video of a young artist who was suffering permanent lung damage due to not being instructed properly during a class. She continued the craft at home, never reading herself.
It would be prudent to discuss safety with resin. All of them are toxic, even the ones that market themselves as safe. All of them can cause rashes or reactions. You can be that person who has done hundreds of resin works and one day your body says “nope” and you have a reaction (you become sensitized to resin).
Read the SDS, use gloves, respirator and do this in a well ventilated area. Pets & kids are often unintended victims of resin reactions.
Also, use in a temperature consistent area. Each resin has its preferred working or curing temperature range. If it doesn’t cure or cures lumpy/wavy, it means there’s a temperature issue.
What brand is the best quality to avoid the epoxy from turning yellow over time? Regards Monica.
Unfortunately, most epoxy will yellow over time. I know that many people have had luck with Pro Marine Supplies and ArtResin, they seem to be the most recommended as far as minimal yellowing.