How to Use Epoxy Resin Guide

epoxacast epoxy resin bundle

You may already know about epoxy resin but are looking for a detailed guide on how to use it and what it can be used for? Then this is the guide for you! Along with explaining how to use epoxy resin, we will cover the most commonly asked questions about this material so will find everything you need to know.

What is Epoxy Resin?

Epoxy resin can be used for a variety of different purposes. It is formed by mixing a liquid resin component with a matching hardener. The result is a chemical reaction that bonds the components, resulting in a solid material.

Types of Resin

There are three main types of epoxy resin, with each being used for different purposes. These three types of resin are:

Each resin has its own individual properties, making certain resins more suitable for certain projects. All varieties of resins will have a different curing process, as well as a difference in the hardness of the finished product.

Different resins can vary in thickness (viscosity), curing process duration, adhesion properties and degree of hardness.

What Types of Projects Use Epoxy Resin

You may be wondering what to use epoxy resin for.

As you likely know, epoxy resin is used for various crafting and DIY projects. Resin art is a popular route, for example, where resin is utilised to create beautiful artistic effects. With that said, the resin is also used for everything from tabletops to industrial purposes like boat building, and even fibreglass mother molds.

It’s important not to get epoxy resin mixed up with polyurethane resin. Polyurethane resins are usually used for producing hard castings of figurines. While some of our epoxy resins are suitable for smaller casting applications, such jewellery, most are used as a coating material. When casting in large volumes, it is extremely important to pour the material in layers.

Check out our article on How to Make a River Table Using Clear Epoxy Resin if you want to know more about casting epoxy resin in layers.

How to Choose the Right Resin

So you know that you need resin for your project, but you need to be sure that you choose the right one. With so many different options out there, with many different properties, it can be overwhelming knowing how to choose the right one for your application.

Here are some important questions to ask when searching for the right resin.

  • Do you want your final project to be clear? If so, then you will need to use a clear resin, such as the EpoxAcast 690. If you want your application to have a specific colour, then you will need to use one of our UVO colourants.
  • Is your resin going to fill a mould, or coat something? River tables are popular options for epoxy resin. If you are going to be filling something, like a river table mould, then a suitable resin would be an epoxy casting resin. If, however, you are looking to coat something with resin, such as woven roving cloth for a fibreglass mold, then you should look at a coating resin that applies evenly to a surface, such as EpoxAmite.

How to Use Epoxy Resin

Going back to the main question of this guide, now is the time to explain how epoxy resin works.

First of all, it’s important to know how mixing resin works. After all, when the two parts of the epoxy resin – the resin and the hardener – come together, this is when the chemical reaction takes place that causes the epoxy to become a solid. This is why you also see it described as two-part epoxy resin.

How to Use Two Part Epoxy Resin

It’s important to note the resin has a pot life, which is the period of time where the resin remains liquid enough that you can still work with it. This is matched up against the curing time, which is the total time required for the epoxy resin to completely harden. To ensure proper curing, the correct resin and hardener proportions need to be used, and these have to be mixed thoroughly before using the material.

Tools Needed When Using Epoxy Resin

The tools you need will vary depending on your particular project, but as a general list, here are some of the things you can anticipate using for your project:

  • Paint and mixing sticks
  • Mixing buckets
  • Mixing cups
  • A brush to spread the resin (usually foam)
  • Propane torch (for heat to remove bubbles)
  • Painter’s tape
  • Protective disposable gloves
  • Eye protection (such as goggles)
  • Sandpaper
  • Drop cloth
  • Wax paper
  • Alcohol or other cleaning products to clean tools afterwards

Measuring

You can measure your epoxy by either weight or volume.  The data sheet that is supplied with your product will let you know how your resin is to be measured out.

For weight, use a digital scale. Choose your unit of measurement, and then place your mixing cup on the scale. Pour your epoxy first and make a note of the amount. You can then calculate the amount of hardener you need based on the ratio. Work out the total weight based on this, and then pour in your hardener until the amount is met.

For volume, work out the amount of mixed material required to fill your mixing cups. You can then pour in your epoxy up to the measuring line you need. You can then calculate the amount of hardener you then need to pour into the mixing cup to finish.

Mixing

Once the correct portions have been measured out, you can then use a mixing stick to combine the resin and the hardener. You should aim to mix for around 3 minutes. Mix until fully blended, being sure to scrape everything from the sides, and mix completely.

Pouring

The only thing that you really need to keep in mind when pouring your mixed material is to pour slowly. This will ensure that you are minimising the amount of bubbles that are introduced into the mixed material as you are pouring. If there are any bubbles, don’t worry, most of these will be evacuated from the material as it cures.

You can begin by pouring a very thin layer of resin and then smoothing it out into your mold with a brush. This will make it easier to spread evenly over large areas. You should aim to pour the resin immediately after mixing.

Cure Time

Cure time varies between materials. However, it is always good to leave the epoxy for as long as possible. Please refer to the technical data sheet of your product for specific curing times.

How to Prevent Bubbles

To get that perfect, glossy finish, you want to prevent bubbles from appearing in your resin. When making a river table, this is where a propane torch will come in handy. The flame of the torch will reduce viscosity in your resin so that the trapped air bubbles can escape. The best time to use your torch on your epoxy resin is after you’ve applied, but before it begins to dry.

Hold your torch around 2 inches away from the epoxy and move it quickly across the surface, keeping the flame moving at all times. This is important because if you overheat the resin it can burn and result in defects in your table.

How to Apply Epoxy Resin

In terms of how to apply epoxy resin for a mother mold application using woven roving cloth, there are various approaches you can take to do it successfully. One effective method is the ‘roll and tip’. This begins by ‘rolling’ a thin layer of epoxy with a roller, then ‘tipping’ by using another roller across the initial layer, which leaves the surface free from air bubbles and level. Of course, different surfaces call for different application techniques. If you are applying the “print coat” to a sculpture prior to layers of woven roving cloth and epoxy, then a brush is sufficient. 

When working with epoxy resin, there are a few precautions to take. One is to use wax paper to cover your work area. The resin won’t stick to wax paper, which means you won’t be left with the task of removing the material from, say, your worktable. Make sure you’re working in a well-ventilated area. Also, depending on the volume and application of the resin, it’s also wise to use safety equipment like rubber gloves, eye protection, and a respirator.

FAQs

How Long Does Epoxy Resin Last?

Cured epoxy resin should last indefinitely.

As for the shelf life of epoxy resin is 24 months. Keep in mind though that once the containers have been opened, this time is significantly reduced and you will want to use the material as soon as possible. If you have had some epoxy in storage for a long time, you should always do a test pour to make sure that the material is still working as it should be. We always recommend that customers only purchase as much material as they will need for their projects. This is to avoid any complications that may occur from using product that is past its shelf life.

Can You Drill into Epoxy Resin?

Both ‘can you drill into epoxy resin?’ and ‘can you screw into epoxy resin?’ are two common questions asked by beginners to this world. The simple answer to both is, yes. Once the epoxy has hardened, it is easy to drill or screw through the surface.

Where Can You Buy Epoxy Resin?

We’re glad you asked! If you’re wondering where to buy epoxy resin, you can browse our epoxy resin range. We only stock high-quality epoxy resins, which are ideal for any project you may have in mind. Whether you’re making a resin mould or a colourful resin table surface, our products are the first step towards success.