Here are some helpful hints while working with epoxies

Epoxy resins come in two parts: the resin and the hardener. When the two parts are mixed together, a chemical reaction occurs that changes the epoxy from a liquid to a solid. Small amounts are mixed together, usually in a specific proportion (a specific amount of resin with a specific amount of 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.

Safety

  • Follow manufacturer's instructions and security precautions.
  • Work in a well-ventilated and clean area.
  • Based on materials used and your sensitivity to epoxies, consider putting on a respirator, plastic gloves and eyesight protection.
  • Follow manufacturer's tips for cleaning up. Get rid of all waste relative to local regulations.
  • Tips for work area- Cover the work area with wax paper. Most resins don’t 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!!!) Create trays for curing items. Also cover these trays with wax paper so any items where resin spills over the side will not stick to the surface of the drying surface. Cover the curing resin with a dome or box so dust does not ruin the finish.

    Tips for using paper images embedded in 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.

    Tips for other embedded items- Flowers and other vegetation need to be dried before use. Seal dried flowers, candy sprinkles, etc., with a spray sealer such as Krylon to prevent discoloration. If using dyes or pigment, add a small amount at first. Generally, a little goes a long way. Do not apply a sealer over the top of embellishments with facets. It will form over the facets and reduce the sparkle.

    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 touch the resin in the cup to check to see if your resin is cured. This way you don’t stick your finger in and ruin your work. Use a blow dryer or rubber stamping heat gun to get rid of air bubbles. If the hair dryer is too strong, hold it further away to keep from blowing the resin out of the bezel cup or container. A hot hair dryer may also melt your mold.