And the Rest, Craft

Epoxy Resin Sculpture


Epoxy Resin is fluid material that can be shaped into almost anything through the use of molds. There are endless possibilities with a clear epoxy that can take on many colors, shapes and can hard into a sturdy and durable material.

Total Project Time: approximately 24 hours, depending based on the type of epoxy used

It’s no big secret that I love trying new things and about a year ago my solution to everything was epoxy. Didn’t like the countertops? Use epoxy. Wanted to replace the doorknobs but too much wood was missing? Use Epoxy. Like seriously, my solution for every hardware and craft problem was epoxy. But as the weather got colder, I had to stop doing epoxy pours as the reaction did not do well under cold weather. But now the weather has turned a bit warmer, nothing is going to stop me. I also noticed that more petals were falling off of bouquet of dried flowers I had and this was my best idea on how to preserve them. And I recently bought a stupid amount of silicone molds just to have fun!



Supplies

So, I discovered, it’s good to go into these projects with a general idea of what you’re looking for at the end. I learned a little late that the type of Epoxy you should use varies depending on the type of project. There are epoxy specifically made for more table top surfaces and ones made for deep pours.

If you’re looking to make something with a color, then you’re going to need:

  • Epoxy kit
  • Cooking Spray
  • Resin dyes
  • Stirring Stick
  • Heat Gun

To encase something in the resin, you’re going to need the epoxy:

  • Epoxy kit
  • Cooking Spray
  • Item to encase
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Stirring Stick
  • Heat Gun
  • Silicone Spray

Process

This is a project where I had a lot of experiments and failures but ultimately, I had a lot of fun. Very sticky fun. I would definitely recommend gloves for this type of project if you don’t want to get covered in what feels like a thin layer of glue. The first step is always combining the part A and part B of the epoxy. At this point, it’s best to follow the instructions that come with each epoxy bottle. Then you’re ready to pour! My main focus was encasing an object in the epoxy. In this case, it was the dried flowers that I wanted to preserve a bit more especially since the petals were falling off every time the cat walked around it.

For the first time around, I decided to do the hardest thing I could possibly think of: a sphere. I cut off the stem of the flower and did a slight encasing in silicone spray to help keep the shape of the rose. I also used cooking spray to coat the mold to make it easier to remove in the future. I placed the rose inside of the mold and began to pour. Pouring the base was easy because it was obvious where the epoxy was and any possible bubbles were visible. I like to use a heat gun (approximately 6 inches away from the mold) to get rid of the surface bubbles.  

Then came the hard part. A sphere requires doing a blind pour which I went into with no fear. I should have felt some sphere. After putting on the second half of the mold, I pour the remaining epoxy into the mold until it slightly overflowed. And then began the most intensive part of the process – waiting. I have learned from doing these epoxy pours that I have very little patience and want results immediately. I found myself going back to the mold and poking at the visible epoxy to see where it was. I wouldn’t recommend this. It’s probably best to leave it alone.

Lastly, there was the demolding it. And this part was a little heart breaking because the orb did not turn out well. The surface was rough and full of bubbles. But I couldn’t be too upset since it was my first try. And mistake are always going to happen. So what better way to face the mistakes then to try again?

Still convince I had the right epoxy for this job, I pushed forward to try again. This time, I decided to do a treatment for the Epoxy. Since heat reduces the bubbles, I thought about putting the separate parts of the epoxy in a heat bath for about 10 minutes to help with the thickness and viscosity of the liquid. It did make the part A a lot thinner which made it mixture of the two parts easier.

And then a made a fatal mistake. I put the mixed epoxy into the hot water bath. That’s when I had a realization, the reaction going on between the part A and part B of the epoxy is exothermic (it releases heat), and having heat introduced into the system increase the speed of reaction. Originally I thought this could be a good thing, less waiting right? But then I discovered that the forced reaction didn’t all the epoxy to set properly and it also let out a awful smell which made me open every window I could find. 0/10. Would not recommend.

So I tried again, this time only using the heat bath to thin out the part A and part B epoxy. After mixing the two together, I let the mixture rest for another 10 minutes. This was to allow all of the bubbles to rise to the surface. Then I used the heat gun on the mixture to take out any bubbles I could reach.

Finally, it was time to try pouring again. I noticed in the sphere that the flower being lighter than the epoxy mixture caused it to float to the top. That’s where the hot glue gun comes in. I put a thin layer of epoxy around the edge of the mold and then use the glue gun to hold the item in place. This prevents the drift, which is a definite plus.

This last attempt came out pretty well, considering I was definitely using the wrong epoxy (I was use the one for tables i.e. not deep pours). But I still enjoyed it and I cannot wait to this again, just maybe using the right epoxy this time.

Lessons

Epoxy

As I probably have said many times at this point, there are different types of epoxies for different projects so make sure that you have the right one for the job you plan on doing. Another fun thing I learned is that, not only does the reaction between the epoxy parts release heat but it also can cause the material to expand. Especially in a tight and confined space with a small release. Like a sphere.

Also while eventually there was no difference in pouring A into B or B into A. I found that I generally that I like pouring the thicker liquid into the thinner liquid because it helps with the mix.

Pouring

The pouring speed is extremely important when using deep pour epoxy. Pouring too quickly will introduce more bubbles into the system which I’m pretty sure you don’t want.

Using a Heat Gun or Blow Torch

While the heat gun/blow torch will allow you to remove the bubbles, you have to be very careful not to get too close. This could cause two issues. One being that parts of the epoxy will now react at different rates then others leaving parts of the surface to feel a bit tacky. The other being that the mold can melt into the epoxy. I did do this. Don’t melt your molds!

Layered Pours

If you want to do multiple pours to let the object set, you have to wait until the first layer has partially set and is in a tacky state. For the epoxy I used, this took about 2 hour before I could add the next layer. Some may take longer, some may be less. It’s good to keep a watch on your material. This can help anchor the object you’re trying to encase and remove the need for a hot glue gun to be used.

Quick Recipe

Instructions

  • Mix epoxy part A and part B as instructed, let sit
  • Use cooking spray to lightly coat the silicone mold
  • [If choosing to encase an object] Use silicone spray to give the encased object a light coating
  • Set object into the mold, use glue gun to help set object if desired
  • Slowly pour the epoxy into the mold
  • Let set
  • Demold!
  • Mix epoxy part A and part B as instructed, let sit
  • Use cooking spray to lightly coat the silicone mold
  • [If choosing to encase an object] Use silicone spray to give the encased object a light coating
  • Set object into the mold, use glue gun to help set object if desired
  • Slowly pour the epoxy into the mold
  • Let set
  • Demold!

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