Epoxy resin : what is it ? What is it used for?

If you knew everything you can do with epoxy resin! Easy to use, this crystal resin is a must both for creative hobbies and for decorating your home. Would you like to work with epoxy resin to create jewelry, enhance a piece of furniture or embellish a floor? Nothing’s easier. Working with epoxy resin is within the reach of all creators and do-it-yourselfers, provided they know the stages of use.

Epoxy resin… But kesako?

In scientific language, it is a two-component thermosetting liquid polymer. Clearly, epoxy resin is obtained by mixing a resin and a hardener, according to a precise dosage. After solidification, which occurs at a minimum temperature of 10 to 15°C, you obtain a hard, solid and transparent material. The final product asserts itself through its originality and its undeniable aesthetic effect. If we add that it is easy to work with, you have something to boost your creativity! You can polish it, smooth it, color it, mold it, perforate it, cut it… In short, it’s up to your imagination to set limits.

Benefits of epoxy resin are numerous. If you want to know its physical abilities, know that it is resistant to hydrocarbons and that its chemical resistance is excellent. It is able to adhere to almost any support and has very good mechanical properties. What else ? It is not expensive and its price-performance ratio is really top! If we absolutely have to find a fault with it: it is not very UV resistant.

What can be done with epoxy resin?

Epoxy resin can do almost everything.

  • We appreciate it in creation for its aesthetic qualities. It allows you to create original surfaces that can sublimate a furniture. The famous Rivière table is an example of creativity that is very fashionable today. Resin is easily associated with other materials, such as wood (provided it is dry!) ​​or cement.
  • Easy to mold, it is a champion of ornamentation. It can be made into beautiful decorative objects, jewelry, paintings. At home, we will make door handles, lamps, coasters or candle holders… In jewelry, with its transparency and its appearance of a precious stone, epoxy resin knows how to look chic without ruining any door. -change.
  • It also applies in flooring, for a result of the most beautiful effect, solid and comfortable, without forgetting its precious acoustic qualities. A resin floor plays with light and can fit into any style of interior. You can integrate materials or pigments that will give it a decorative and personalized effect. This type of floor has very valuable long-term properties: resistant, it is an excellent thermal and acoustic insulator. Both beautiful, cool in summer and warm in winter, what more could you ask for?

12 tips for using epoxy resin properly

1 – Choose the packaging according to the projects

To try epoxy resin, start with the resin kit, which includes the basic accessories. You can make small objects or jewelry; a good way to practice.

For those who have mastered the technique or who are getting into the work of large surfaces, you might as well buy liquid resin in cans.

2 – Choose the resin according to the needs

Choose your resin according to the object you want to make. All epoxy resins do not give the same results in terms of hardness and resistance. A cutting board or a table, exposed to many shocks, requires a good quality resin.

3 – Observe a few precautions before use

Epoxy resin should be handled with care. Remember to protect yourself with gloves, mask, goggles and protective clothing. Especially if you work large surfaces.

4 – Prepare your resin-hardener dosage

The success of your epoxy resin depends on the accuracy of the dosage. If you are inexperienced, start with small amounts. The dosage between the resin and the hardener product is made taking into account the indication on the label of the container. Scrupulously respect the proportions requested, which are generally in a ratio of 70/30.

5 – Mix the resin and the hardener

The mixture of the two products is done slowly, for two to three minutes, by a nice “eight” movement. Take your time, don’t miss the mix. The objective is for it to be homogeneous, without optical defects or surface defects. Beware of splashes.

6 – Let the epoxy resin harden

The epoxy resin hardens by catalysis. If we call this polymer “thermo-setting”, it is because it reacts to heat. If the ambient temperature is rather low, the chemical reaction takes place more slowly; the resin struggles to harden. On the contrary, a higher temperature accelerates hardening. Curing time is halved for every additional 10°C. If a resin takes three hours to harden for example at 20°C, the hardening will only take 45 minutes at 40°C! If working in small batches, place the mixture near a heat source. But be careful not to overheat, you risk the mass effect. Indeed, the resin releases heat during its polymerization. If the thickness of the resin layer exceeds one centimeter, the internal heat may rise a little too much. Result: The resin bakes and blackens, creating unwanted cracks and bubbles.

The epoxy resin continues to harden for a few days, four or five, after its application. If you find your floor still soft after 24 hours, two days later it will be much harder.

In summary, the catalysis responsible for the hardening takes place more or less quickly depending on the temperature and the mass. The quality of the mould, for certain objects, also plays a role. In an insulating mould, catalysis is faster than in a conductive mould.

7 – Choose the hardener according to its reactivity

Even if you are in a hurry, a hardener that is too fast may harden in the mixing pot. A slow hardener is no better, as it increases the setting time of the resin construction. Opt for a fairly fast hardener, taking into account the seasonal temperature. If you’re using a rapid hardener, don’t prep your entire mix if you’re doing large areas. A new mixture as it progresses is preferable.

8 – Ouch, an opaque veil forms on the surface!

Your resin presents a phenomenon of carbamation. In fluent French, these are areas of opacity, due to ambient humidity… and epoxy resin does not like humidity! Don’t panic, your opaque resin is just as strong with these opaque stains. But the whitish veil that forms on the surface greatly breaks the desired aesthetic effect…

To avoid this kind of effect, be sure to work in a place that is not too humid, even if it means heating the room a little before starting your mixture. The trick is to heat the two components separately before mixing them. Once the mixture is done, apply the epoxy resin only when it has started to heat up, that is to say after about ten minutes. The ideal is to apply it as soon as it reaches 40°C. Always avoid humidity: do not work in the evening or in rainy weather. And do not apply the epoxy resin on damp surfaces (fresh cement or not quite dry wood).

9 – Oh no, air bubbles! How to eliminate them?

The aesthetic perfection of your epoxy resin requires that no air bubbles disturb the surface… Yes, but how do you avoid them? It’s all about the quality of your blend, which should be long, loose and delicate (eight figure, remember). And when you pour the mixture, don’t start too high. Pour as close as possible to the surface, to prevent the resin from getting air. After a few minutes of drying, stir a little to bring the air bubbles to the surface and heat the surface in the air with a flame or a heat gun (especially not a hair dryer). The bubbles will burst and your resin will be perfect. If you’re a perfectionist, definitely use a degasser.

10 – Shine the resin

A beautiful shiny resin is not very complicated to obtain. There are several methods, depending on the surface to be polished.

  • For a large surface, apply on the resin a varnish aerosol (transparent polyurethane or clear acrylic) in two to three coats.
  • The method that gives the best results is: sand the surface with sandpaper (1500 grit), then apply a paste of polishing (like the one used for car lights). For this technique, use an orbital polisher to avoid scratches and small defects.
  • You can also apply an epoxy resin finish (with a brush or dripping) after polishing with abrasive paper. A fairly viscous resin will give a nice mirror effect.

11 – Has your resin taken on a yellow tone?

It’s a habit with resins, this little amber tint… It forms over time, when the resin is exposed to sunlight. This yellowing occurs more or less quickly depending on the surface’s exposure to the sun, but also on its thickness and the type of dye. It is all the more visible when the resin is light in color, white or pink. But as no resin escapes this phenomenon, it is best to take it into account. When a resin has turned yellow, it can be used in the creation of certain objects or jewelry to ensure that they will not change color.

12 – How to color an epoxy resin?

An epoxy resin can be colored with any dye or dry pigment (perfectly dry): powders, sands, earths, metallic pigments… As for liquid colors or pastes, check that they are compatible with the resin. They must be used in very small quantities, under penalty of modifying the chemical reaction and the transparency of the resin. Adding too much or incompatible colorant can create a soft or sticky resin

Leave a Comment