What is Epoxy Resin - The Ultimate Guide

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Epoxy resin is a chemically created versatile substance having diverse applications in various fields. Epoxy in its liquid form was primarily used as structural and engineering adhesive in aircrafts, automobiles, ships/boats, bicycles, snowboards and skis. It was also used as a bonding agent in products made of wood, glass, stone, metal and plastic. With the passage of time, the use of epoxy evolved from mere adhesive to a substance that can be used in a variety of art and craft projects. How come? Let's dive into the world of epoxy.

pouring out IntoResin epoxy resin

 

What is Epoxy Resin Made up of?

Epoxy resin is a combination of resin and hardening (curing) agent. It is thermosetting which means it hardens when exposed to heat or radiation. After hardening, epoxy resin becomes shiny and glossy. Once the epoxy is cured (hardened) it cannot be uncured.
Epoxy resin is made up of bisphenol (a combination of acetone and phenol) and epichlorohydrin (derived from allyl chloride which is a chlorinated sub-chemical of propylene). Phenol was previously extracted from coal tar but nowadays it comes from petroleum.

Uses/Applications of Epoxy Resin in Art and Craft

Modern art and craft projects are incomplete without the word epoxy. The use of epoxy resin has increased manifolds in the past few years. There was a time when people were not familiar with epoxy resin because its use was limited to construction industry. However, with the passage of time, it came out as a very versatile substance that can be used in a variety of ways not only in maintenance and repair works but decorative and creative jobs as well. Epoxy resin can be used creatively in various DIY art and craft projects. Here are some of many uses of epoxy resins:

dried flower resin jewelry
  • Jewelry Making

Epoxy resin can be used in creating amazing jewelry pieces including necklaces, bracelets, rings etc. With incorporation of dry and artificial flowers, glitter and gold flakes, one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces can be created.

epoxy resin furniture
  • Furniture

Whether it is an old center table or a boring work desk, epoxy resin can be used to transform these ordinary looking tables into jaw-dropping scenic masterpieces.

decorative resin trays
  • Decorative trays, plates, resin geode and petri dishes 

Epoxy resin is a great substance to create DIY decorative trays, petri dishes and plates. Resin geodes can be created by incorporating glitter, crystals and decorative stones.

resin art painting
  • Resin Art

Epoxy can be used to create enchanting wall art pieces. Abstract resin wall canvas is very popular among artists and art enthusiasts. There are several techniques to create resin paintings; dirty pour, air swipe and swipe can be used to create fascinating effects.

epoxy resin stone carpets
  • Stone Carpets and Shower Trays

Being water-resistant, epoxy resin is used for fixing indoor and outdoor stone carpets and creating floors for shower trays. It not only looks beautiful but completely seals the area and makes it water-proof.

What things to keep in mind while buying epoxy resin?

Epoxy resin is widely available online and in art and craft stores. There are so many options of resin available that a beginner may get confused on where to start and what to buy? Here are a few things that you should keep in mind while buying epoxy resin for your DIY projects.

  • Select the Right Epoxy

We have mentioned in this article 4 types of epoxies and their differences. Epoxy resin should be bought keeping in mind the type of project because not every epoxy resin works for every project. Some projects need a thin coating layer whereas others require filling-in deep spaces so the type of epoxy should be selected accordingly.

  • Quality of the Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin is available in different price ranges. Usually low price products are of inferior quality and you might end up with a project that either does not cure completely or turns yellow over time. It is better to buy good quality resin even if it is coming at a higher price. You can check the reviews before buying resin for your DIY project.

  • Health Hazards

Some epoxy resins may have solvents that when evaporated during curing can cause serious health issues. Before buying epoxy resin, you must check if it is safe or not. The packaging contains the information about probable hazards and should never be ignored.

Epoxy Resin Supplies

If you are planning for a DIY resin art project, there are some basic supplies that can get you started. The supplies may vary depending upon the type and complexity of the project however there are some supplies that you must have for a basic resin art project.
  • Clear epoxy resin
  • Hardener (curing agent)
  • Measuring cups
  • Mixing cups
  • Popsicle sticks
  • Gloves
  • Respirator/Mask
  • Silicone molds
  • Color pigments/inks
  • Embellishments (glitter, crystals, artificial/dry flowers, decorative stones, beads)
  • Heat gun

4 Types of Epoxy Resin - Uncovering the Differences

Resin art is very fascinating and after watching a few videos, everyone wants to create an amazing art piece all by themselves. If you are a beginner, you need to know about types of epoxy resin and understand the differences to avoid any disaster. Different types of resins have varying consistency (whether the resin is runny or thick), pot-time (time during which the viscosity of the resin doubles), curing time (time taken by the resin to get hard) and hardness (how hard the surface of the resin is).
Here are the 4 main types and how they differ from each other on 6 attributes; depth, cure time, air release, UV resistance, hardness and application. Let’s uncover the differences.

4 types of epoxy resin uncovering the differences

Epoxy Resin for Surface Coating

Surface coating or laminating resin is highly viscous and its consistency is more or less like honey.

  • Depth

If you are selecting epoxy resin for surface coating, you should keep in mind that you can pour it up to 3/8” deep.

  • Cure Time

Epoxy resin for surface coating hardens in 24 hours. So if you are using it in any of your projects, you need 24 hours for it to harden however it depends on surrounding temperature as well.

  • Air Release

Since all the attributes are interlinked, surface coating epoxy has great air release quality to untrap the bubbles.

  • UV Resistance

Surface coating resins have good UV resistance and will not lose gloss or color easily if exposed to UV light.

  • Hardness

Surface coating epoxy resins cure to a very hard and strong finish to resist scratches.

  • Application

Surface coating epoxy resins are perfect for small castings, floor sealing, protecting pipelines, sealing and finishing countertops, and any product that needs protection from environmental damages.

UV Resistant Epoxy Resin

  • Depth

UV resistant epoxy resin also can be poured up to the depth of 3/8”.

  • Cure Time

Depending on surrounding temperature, it sets 90% in more or less 24 hours. The speed also depends on the type of project and temperature of the surrounding area.

  • Air Release

Bubbles releases quickly in UV resistant epoxy resins as well and the surface will look clear and bubble-free.

  • UV Resistance

As the name suggests, UV resistant resins have the best UV resistance. They protect the products from yellowing caused by exposure to UV light for the longest time.

  • Hardness

UV resistant epoxy resin cures to a hard finish and the end product is durable.

  • Application

UV resistant resins are perfect for small castings, art coating, creating enameled look on jewelry, and sealing collages or photos.

Quick Curing Epoxy Resin

  • Depth

Quick curing epoxy resin can only be poured up to 1/8” otherwise it will generate a lot of heat.

  • Cure Time

It takes only 4-6 hours to cure that is why it is called quick curing epoxy resin.

  • Air Release

Quicker bubble release in quick epoxy resin. The resin surface will have less bubbles as air releases fast.

  • UV Resistance

Most quick curing epoxy resins are UV resistant though not as good as the UV resistant epoxy.

  • Hardness

Quick curing epoxy resin cures to a hard finish.

  • Application

Quick curing epoxy resin is mostly used where thin coat of resin is required. Since it is very thin, it is used to seal cracks in electronics, wooden products, and repair antiques.

Deep Pour Epoxy

Deep Pour Epoxy is low viscosity resin. This resin is thin and flowable and that is why it cures very slowly.

  • Depth

As the name suggests, deep pour can be poured where depth is around 2”.

  • Cure Time

The more the depth, the longer it takes to cure so deep pour takes 24-72 hours to 90% cured.

  • Air Release

To look crystal clear, deep pour resin needs to release more bubbles than others since it is 2 inches thick. Normally it will be formulated to have the best air release ability among all kinds of epoxy. To avoid air bubbles from the beginning, you can put a single coat of resin on the surface and then pour the deep pour resin.

  • UV Resistance

Deep pour epoxy also has good resistance to UV lights and protect the products from sunlight damages.

  • Hardness

Since deep pours are created for relatively bigger projects, their final finish is very hard and durable.

  • Application

Deep pour is perfect for bigger and more complex projects like river/ocean tables. It is also used for deep casting and molding of sculptures.

Advantages/Disadvantages of Epoxy Resin

Epoxy resin has diverse uses. Where on one hand it is used to create magnificent one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces, it is used to seal and repair broken pipes on the other hand. Epoxy resin has its own sets of advantages and disadvantages.

epoxy resin pros and cons

Advantages of Epoxy Resin

  • It is ideal for coating and laminating because of its great adhesiveness and relatively longer pot-life.
  • It is impact resistant and does not shatter so it is best for load-bearing forms
  • It is water resistant
  • Products made out of epoxy resin are durable
  • Acts as a good insulator

Disadvantages of Epoxy Resin

  • The liquid raw material can cause skin allergies and eye infections.
  • Once the epoxy is cured it becomes difficult to remove it from surfaces.
  • Epoxy resin is not completely resistant to highly concentrated acids.
  • Some products may turn yellow over time when exposed to UV light and sometimes even if they are not exposed to UV light.

Epoxy Resin Calculator

Resin products have inspired many of us. They beauty, the finish and the unique creative incorporation of various substances with resin to create an utterly amazing product is still trending and is not going anywhere any sooner. For a resin product to look perfect, the calculations must be accurate. You can use a digital scale for precise measurements. However you can use this Resin Calculator to calculate how much resin would be required for your project (The amount is for a single coat of resin).

epoxy resin calculator

Put in the length, width and thickness of the project and you will get the proper amount of resin required for the particular project. Total amount that you get after calculation should be divided in two equal parts; 50% resin and 50% hardener. You can use a measuring cup to get the required amount of resin and hardener and mix it well to get started.

Conclusion

Epoxy resin is a great substance to work with. Sky is the limit for the products that you can make with epoxy resin. However, before getting started you should get acquainted with the materials to avoid wastage, damage and health issues.

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