bts...Behind the Scenes

How to Apply Epoxy Resin to Artwork

I'm sharing my secrets! One question people frequently ask me is how I apply the epoxy resin coating to my artwork. I thought I'd explain the process for anyone interested. You can try it yourself!

Scroll down for all the steps!

Supplies:

2-part epoxy: I like to use A/B epoxy from Douglas & Sturgess

Stirring Sticks: You should have a few of these.

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

Propane torch: CO2 from the torch flame removes air bubbles. Some epoxy directions say you can exhale on the surface to remove bubbles, but you'll just get a headache, so I recommend using a torch.

Also: Mixing cups, a timer, toothpicks, smooth cardboard/old business cards, & 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 or paper 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, maybe 30 seconds, 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. Spread the epoxy in approximately the same depth everywhere using a business card or postcard. Sometimes I also coat the sides of my pieces to create a drip effect.

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. Keep flamable materials away from where you are working.

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 imperfections. While the epoxy is still fluid, you can use a toothpick or business card to remove tiny bits of lint that may have settled on the surface, and you can smooth drips on the back side.

Like magic, the epoxy will level itself. 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. Here I'm using foamcore on bricks.

Leave your project undisturbed for about 12 hours, 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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