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January 29, 2020

A DIYer’s Guide to Working With Epoxy

Epoxy is something you can mix yourself in small batches and pour into molds to create unique and beautiful objects. You can also use it on a larger scale to create faux finishes in unique patterns and amazing colors. Working with epoxy takes great care, good protective gear and quality gloves.

Preparing Epoxy

Epoxy needs to be mixed in small batches in a disposable container. It can be used clear or tinted. With liquid tints, you’ll get a smooth flow of color. By adding powdered pigment, you can actually suspend colored flakes of powder in the product. Short work life epoxy typically sets in 3-10 minutes, depending on the type you’re using. The medium work life epoxy can take up to 40 minutes to set.

Embedding Objects

One of the best things about working with epoxy is that you can take a very small, perfect object and suspend it so it can be viewed from all angles. To suspend an object in epoxy, such as a photograph, you will need to create a base. As your working time may be short, you should gather the right tools before mixing. You will want fine tweezers to make it easy to handle small objects. It may also be a good idea to work with a magnifying glass to make it possible to set things in just the right spot. Treat your mold with cooking spray so you can eventually remove the object without damaging it. Mix a small batch of epoxy, place a bit in the mold, and let it cure. Using your tweezers, place the object to be embedded into the mold on top of the base. Add more epoxy to seal the object. Once cured, remove it from the mold.

Protective Gear

You’ll need eye protection, ventilation and gloves. Some epoxy users work outdoors, but be aware that this can subject your project to dust during the cure time. Make sure to protect your skin with vinyl or nitrile gloves. It’s also a good idea to wear long sleeves and use a barrier cream to cover your forearms. Finally, invest in a respirator to protect your lungs.

Working at home with epoxy is a great way to create one-of-a-kind crafts. Be aware that this is not a kid-friendly product and should never be used in an enclosed room. Epoxy will outgas as it cures. Be sure to have ventilation fans running to keep fumes from building up.

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