There are multiple types of resins. There are cheap resins, thin resins, thick resins, Ultra UV protection resins, some yellow faster than others and so on. Let’s start with countertop / bar top epoxy. Most of these are going to be 1:1 ratio and can only be poured up to about 1/8″ thick at a time. These epoxies are usually harder and more scratch resistant. Make sure to check and see how good the UV quality’s are before purchasing.
Next is art/jewelry. Depending on the size of the design, make sure your products are correct for that application. There are art resins that can only be poured 1/8″ thick and then there are longer curing epoxy that can be poured to 2-4″, like river pours. Total depth possible will depend on the total mass of the pour. Get to know your product by starting smaller.
The Deep Pour epoxy, also call casting epoxy, is thin and takes longer to cure. Sometimes more than 3 days, and again, this is dependent on total mass and temperature. The advantage of a casting epoxy is you can do huge projects in one or 2 pours. I recommend buying the least amount of resin to see if you enjoy resin work and to reduce costs if you quit this hobby. Start small and make mistakes on sample boards and sample pieces before diving in.
Some tools needed for epoxy – Gloves, measuring/mixing buckets, disposable cups for mixing other colors, mixing sticks, propane torch, heat gun, sandpaper, buffer and rubbing compound, tape measure.
Optional tools- Orbital sander, palm sander, belt sander, disc sander, multiple saws, multi-sander, drill, vacuum pot, pressure pot, router, table saw, nail guns, biscuit cutter, router sled.
We are a bit bias as diyepoxy.com has only the highest quality amazing epoxy. There are multiple brands on e-Bay, Amazon and websites specializing in epoxy sales. Remember that cheaper usually means a less than stellar product.
What parameters to pay attention to when buying epoxy? Epoxy comes in a two component kit. The size of the kit is the total amount of resin plus the hardener. All epoxy will yellow with exposure to UV light. Our regular formulas outperform others in this regard and our Ultra UV formulas slow down the yellowing process as much a possible with current technology. Make sure it’s a scratch and heat resistant- our formulas have up to an 84 Shore hardness and as high a heat resistance as possible. When doing art and countertops a thicker epoxy is better as it keeps your art work in place. Make sure it’s a crystal clear epoxy. All hardeners will yellow with exposure to air and UV light. Purchase only what you will use within a few months and store at room temperature in a dark closet or cabinet.
Read the instructions and determine the mixing ratio and whether it is mixed by weight or volume. We have epoxy with 1:1 and 2:1 ratios by volume. Use a mixing cup with accurate measurements or, if mixing by weight, use an accurate scale. You cannot interchange volume and weight as the densities of the resin and hardener vary. When mixing, remember to pour the hardener first and then the resin. Your epoxy should be mixed very thoroughly, mix in one bucket and you will notice that the two clear components get pearly as they come together. Mix until it becomes clear making sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the cup while mixing. Transfer to a clean bucket, you can add colorants at this time if desired, and mix for another 2 or 3 minutes or until the color is uniform. Mix slowly by hand as you want to mix your epoxy well but do not want to introduce too many air bubbles into your epoxy. (see how to remove air bubble later). Do not use a mixer with a drill as this will cause micro bubbles that are near impossible to remove.
Veins and marbling help your countertops to have a more realistic organic look! To make veins you can pour the colored epoxy where you want it, dip the mixing stick in the epoxy and drizzle for small veins, or you can drag the stick through the base color. You can move the veins with a heat gun to help with the organic look and spritz lightly with 99.9% Isopropyl Alcohol to create cells.
Select the right formulation for your project.
Make sure your work area is well ventilated.
We advise using a NIOSH certified respirator.
Make sure workpiece and resin are between 70 – 80 degrees f., ideal temp. is 75+ for maximum shore hardness.
Mix properly and ALWAYS use the 2 mixing cup method.
If doing a wood table (or wood anything), seal first with a very thin coat of epoxy. Let it set up to “dust free,” and then do your flood coat. This keeps the air in the wood instead of bubbling up through the epoxy.
Mix multiple colors of epoxy, add them all alternately to a single bucket and pour it out on the workpiece. Easy peasy and super cool!
Make sure your surface is sealed, and then pour between 6.5 to 7.5 oz per square foot depending on the viscosity of your resin. We like 7.5 oz. / sq. ft. as helps it level better. After spreading your flood coat out make sure to rub the bottom of the edges as it is dripping. This pulls the drips back from the edge and helps with getting a smooth, non-wavy finish. Proceed to torch using a propane torch. Don’t use MAP gas as it is too hot. Torch as many times as it takes to remove all of the air bubbles letting the piece cool down for a minute or two between sessions. It usually takes 4 to 5 sessions to remove all of the air. Alternatively, you can use a heat gun but then it’s moving the epoxy around and you could end up with a wavy coating.
Our epoxy meets Federal Guidelines for food safe.
All of our formulations are 1:1 by volume except for Artisan Fast set and our Timber Ridge Deep Pour/Casting Resin which are both 2:1 by volume.
Please see How to Mix Resin.
Add colors after the first mix is poured off into separate buckets. Use no more than 2.5% of our pigment paste/colorant (it usually takes much less than that amount except for white) so you won’t affect the physical properties of the cured epoxy. When using mica powders and other coloring powders or glitter you can add as much or as little as you’d like without affecting the cured epoxy.
After you’re done spreading the epoxy or doing artwork, use a propane torch in a sweeping motion to deaerate. Let the epoxy set for a minute between torching sessions. It usually takes 4-5 sessions to completely deaerate. You will know it’s done when you don’t see anymore bubbles popping.
You can pour or add a second coat when the first coat is firm but still tacky to the touch.We call this the “dust free” stage. Depending on product used this can take 45-60 minutes (Speedy Petey) to 4-6 hours. It is dependent on how warm it is, how long it was in the mix bucket (get that stuff out of the mix bucket as soon as mixing is done), etc. If it has hardened completely, you must sand before pouring the second coat to allow for a mechanical bond.
Mica powder, glitter and Pigment Pastes are our suggested colorants, however, you can also oil based paints, epoxy pastes. We do not recommend using acrylic or any water based paint! Remember LESS IS MORE! Tinting your epoxy does not take much pigment (max 2.5% by volume), and when you add too much it can affect the physical properties of the cured epoxy. Add a little bit at a time, mix, and if you haven’t reached your desired effect you can add a little more. There is no limit to what you can add with mica powders and glitters as they doesn’t become part of “mix.”
If it is sealed back up and stored in a cool, dry, dark place, you can get 1-2 years out of it. However, you will notice the color of the hardener start to yellow. All epoxy hardeners will yellow with time, exposure to air and UV light. It will still work after yellowing but it will have that yellow tint unless you add our pigment paste which will overpower the yellow. We recommend using your epoxy as soon as possible.
When pouring a countertop we suggest 7-7.5 oz. per sq. ft. You would use the same to do a clear flood coat on a wood table. To measure the amount of epoxy needed to pour into a mold, you can pour water into the mold then pour it into a measuring cup. Remember to pour the water out of the mold and dry completely. Do not use this method if there is wood in the mold or anything else that absorbs water. To figure out how much is needed for a river pour, multiply the average width x the depth x the length in inches. This gives you cubic inches. Then ask Google to convert x cubic inches to gallons or ounces.
Well, first, epoxy doesn’t dry – it cures via a chemical reaction. If you are using our Artisan or Timber Ridge tabletop/countertop resin and you get the resin out of the mixing cup immediately after mixed, you will have up to an hour of working time depending on temperature. The epoxy will be about 90% cured in 72 hours at 75 degrees f. and can be wet sanded and buffed after that. It takes approximately 30 days for a complete cure. Ideal curing temperature is 75 and up. If the temperature is above 75deg the resin cures faster and harder. If it’s lower, the epoxy will cure softer. Humidity and temperature control are important with epoxy although humidity doesn’t seem to affect our formulas too much.
First, mix your total amount of epoxy in a mixing bucket. Pour off enough for what colors you want into separate containers. Add your dye, pigment paste/colorant or micas, glitters, etc. and mix a 2nd time until colors are uniform.
We use particle board covered with box tape. It’s inexpensive and effective when making river pour tables, doors, etc. You can purchase silicone molds or make your own casting with molding silicone.
Make sure wood is dry. Some say 12% or less moisture. We like it below 10% or even less. Seal the wood with a THIN layer of epoxy and let cure to “dust free.” This keeps air from coming out of the wood and ruining your pour. Once dust free, go ahead with your pour. If you let the seal coat completely cure you will need to sand it to create a mechanical bond.
Flowers must be dried and sealed with a thin coat of epoxy before being added to the mold that will be filled with casting/deep pour resin.
Method 1 -The easiest way to prevent the formation of large amounts of air bubbles is to warm the side A resin a bit which makes it thinner, which makes it easier to deaerate with a torch.
Method 2 – After mixing the resin (before pouring the mold) it must be put into a vacuum chamber. After 20-30 minutes, the air bubbles should disappear. This is for casting resin that has a much slower cure. Then draw the resin out of the chamber and you can pour the mold.
Method 3 – Pour the mixed resin into the mold. Put the mold into a pressure chamber and leave it there until the resin dries completely. The pressure created by the chamber reduces the bubbles to invisible size and they solidify as such.
Method 4 – Pour the mixed resin into the mold. The casting surface can be gently heated with a burner, dryer or heat gun. This method is very simple and you do not need any special equipment for it; unfortunately, in this case, only the bubbles that are on the surface of the resin are removed. This method can be combined with the second method.
One of the most important steps in the formation of things from resin is polishing, it gives the appropriate gloss and smoothness. Unfortunately, it takes time to get the right gloss, depending on the size of the polished item. Polishing can last from several dozen minutes to even several hours.
There are many ways to polish, below are four of them.
Method 1 – Polishing begins with wet sanding. Start with an appropriate coarseness to quickly remove surface defects, such as 320 wet sandpaper. After 320, sand with 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, 2000 and finally 2500. Make sure each successive sanding removes the coarser scratches from the previous sanding. The final step of polishing is the use of light abrasive rubbing compound that will give the final gloss to the casting; you can use a microfiber cloth for polishing with this compound or we have mini buffing pads that can be used on a drill.
Method 2 – In the second method, repeat all the steps from the first method, up to the step of using 1000 grit paper. Use an abrasive compound, then use a light abrasive compound from the previous method.
Method 3 – In the third method, repeat everything from the first method to the step of using 600 grit paper. Then, use a special set of abrasive cloths. Polish the work with each cloth, one by one from the set from 1500 to 12000 grit. For this polishing, also use water, as in method 1. Here, you do not need to use polishing compounds. Finish polishing with a 12000 grit cloth.
Method 4 – Repeat all the steps from the first method until using 600 grit paper, mix an appropriate amount of resin and pour it on the piece.
Remember to use appropriate safety gear when working with epoxy as it can be an irritant and even cause allergic reactions in some people.
Pigment pastes. These are highly potent pure pigment designed to be mixed into epoxy at very small amounts but to make your epoxy a solid color. These are perfect for base and accent colors for countertops , beach scenes, waves, and more.
Special dyes for epoxy resins: – transparent dyes that you use small drops and it tints the epoxy but keeps the transparency of the resin. Perfect for doing live edge river tables.
Mica Powders. These are finely ground powders when mixed with epoxy can be transparent or opaque depending on the amount mixed. Most are more sparkly and give definition to your work.
Send your question directly to Dave. As best he can, he’ll respond with an answer. Heck, if it’s good enough, we might add it the FAQs!