Lets start at the very beginning....what is epoxy?
Epoxy resin, is a very versatile material that is increasingly being used in the artistic community. Even though Epoxy resin, is in many industries, Artists are now using it to create jewelry, ornaments, furniture tops, home decor items and artwork. Many moulds have been designed to create items such as crystal paper weights, leaves, insects and even dining tables. On the technical side, epoxy is an organic compound, that is made up of chains of carbon that are linked together with elements, such as hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. Epoxy generally comes in 2 parts, that when mixed, create a chemical reaction known as curing. This happens due to exposure to air, heat or chemical additives.
What are artists doing with epoxy resin?
There are so many things artists are now doing with more and more possibilities coming to light everyday. Here are some of the most popular uses
WALL ART - Artists are creating mesmerising artwork, using epoxy resin to create amazing colour combinations, 3D art and beautiful seascapes.
JEWELRY - Using moulds, artists are creating pendants, rings, beads, charms and pins.
COATED ITEMS - Dining tables, chopping boards, bottle caps, pennies...even bathroom floors. So many uses.
MOULDS - Sculptor's are using moulds to create amazing pieces of artwork.
PRESERVE ITEMS - Bugs, flowers, leaves and other items are being preserved in epoxy resin to give one the ability to keep it forever.
What do you need in your epoxy resin toolbox?
I am only going to touch on the basic items that you will need to work with epoxy resin. I recommend purchasing your supplies from Australian business where possible. Below I have mentioned a few Australian suppliers however I am not affiliated with them or any other business other then my own.
Drop sheets and table covers. I recommending using a large thick sheet to cover the floor and you can use shower curtains for the table. The epoxy peels straight off once hardened.
A selection of paddle pop sticks. Large, medium and small
Isopropyl Alcohol or acetone (cleaning)
Respirator Mask (very important)
Plastic cups. Small, Medium and Large
Mixing cups. Small, medium and large (depending on the work)
Basic kitchen scales
Powders, Pastes or Drops?
Every epoxy resin artist, has a different preference when it comes to pigments. There are several reputable companies in Australia that deal in pigments and I have tried them all. Colour Obsession, Just Resin and Art Tree Creations are my preferred suppliers. Pigments are what is needed to mix with your epoxy resin to create your chosen colour. The amount you add determines the transparency of the colour. There are 3 main options
PIGMENT PASTE - This pigment has been premixed with resin to form a paste.
PIGMENT POWDER - This pigment is in lose powder form and can be mixed with epoxy resin.
INKS - Can be mixed with epoxy resin to create a translucent or opaque colour.
There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to pigment choices. There are pros and cons for each option. You may end up using all of them.
Types of epoxy resin and there uses.
ARTIST RESIN - Very thick. Used for artwork and doming
CASTING RESIN - Medium thickness. Used for artwork and coating
DEEP POUR RESIN - Very thin, used for river tables and deep pours
There are many things to consider when purchasing epoxy resin. Here are a few questions you need to think about before choosing;
Does it need to be food safe? ie serving board
Does it need to be heat resistant? ie coffee table
Do you need alot of movement? ie artwork
Do you need minimal movement? ie jewelry
Do you need to pour a substantial height in one pour? ie river table
How much working time do you need with the epoxy resin? ie are you mixing to form art
These are all very important questions that need to be answered before choosing your epoxy resin. I would like to mention, that when an epoxy resin states that it is food safe, that does not mean, that the resin is able to be cut on. What it mean,s is that it is safe for spoilage or placing food on the top. In no way shape or form is a knife, or the like, to touch that epoxy. If you were to epoxy an entire chopping board and you were then to cut on it, the knife would cut off very tiny amounts of epoxy which would go in your food, unnoticed and lead to consumption and potentially make you sick. Food safety is a widely discussed topic and it is disagreed upon regularly. I have had many conversations with epoxy suppliers who make the epoxy on site and this is the opinion I have formed.
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