There is an extremely large variety of projects that can be made with epoxy resin. The first thing you need to do, is figure out what type of resin project(s) you want to create, in order to determine which type of resin to work with. It is best to start small when creating in any new resin projects, so you can gain a little experience and practice with the type of epoxy resin you will be using. There may be some projects where you will need two different types of resin. Some resin enthusiasts actually have up 3 to 4 types of resin to get best results for their various projects.
- Be sure you purchase the correct type of epoxy resin for type of project you are working with. All epoxy resin will not be ideal for all projects. Click underlined section here for a blog on a variety of types of resins, and their different features to be considered for each project.
If you are working in moulds, you will want a casting resin (& there are many types of these too, each with different recommended minimum/maximum pouring depths). Casting resins are often lower-medium viscosity (thinner) and release bubbles easier. They have a variety of minimum/maximum depths depending on brand. Some are minimum 1/2" depth per layer up to maximum of 2" depth per layer, some can go lower depth, some can go more depth. If you are casting in larger volumes or deeper pours, you may need a Deep Pour type casting resin (min 1" up to max 4" per layer, project mass & volume dependent).
If you are top-coating, or creating resin art, you will want a top-coating type epoxy resin. These are often medium to high viscosity (thicker). Top-coating resins are also often used to dome over some casting resin projects such as jewellry items. Top-coating resins are typically meant to be poured in no deeper layer than 1/8" (some can go up to 1/4"d depending on total volume and project).
- You need to plan a good & safe work space for creating as well as for leaving the project to cure. Ideally it should be well ventilated, dust free and a warm space while creating. The space should be dust free or project covered with a dust protective cover, and be warm (consistent temperature) throughout the cure process. Each resin brand, and type has different cure times, and this can change depending on project and volume of resin used.
- a level work surface is imperative. Use a level to check surface prior to beginning any project. All epoxy resins self level. If your surface is not level, your project will level to what the angle the surface is.
You will also need:
- Nitrile gloves (latex, vinyl & rubber are not chemical resistant).
- Plastic drop sheets on the floor around your work space, and over your work table. Some people use wax paper, freezer paper or parchment paper under their projects as well.
- 90 to 99% isoprophyl alcohol to help with any clean ups.
- Mixing Cups/container for mixing Part A & B together.
- If your project is the type that needs to be propped up, extra cups can be used for this purpose.
- If adding colourants or glitters to your epoxy, you'll need smaller cups for each colour.
- A variety of colourants can be used. Colours designed for use with epoxy resin will produce the most consistent results.
- Stir utensils (some people use popsicle sticks, but if trying to avoid bubbles, plastic stir or silicone mixing sticks are better).
- Heat tool - Something to remove bubbles in epoxy resin. Low intensity flame.... the co2 in the flame should draw out smaller bubbles. A long neck barbecue lighter, chefs butane torch, or propane torch are often used. Which one you use will be dependent on your type and size of project.
- You may need different manipulating tools depending on type of project you are creating. A heat gun &/or blow dryer if planning to manipulate the resin with air only or heat with air.
- Toothpicks or tweezers for picking out any hair, bugs or items that may land in your resin project.
- If making casting type resin projects, you'll need to purchase or make moulds to cast your project in. Many people use reusable silicone moulds for their smaller projects. If casting in a mould you may also want to look into a mould release spray.
- If making resin wall art, you have a few options. Many resin artists preference is wood panels (these will need to be primed and sealed with a primer/sealer prior to applying resin). Some artists use canvas panels, however these need support on the back so the resin doesn't pool in the centre (resin also often pulls away from the outer edges on canvas, so a base coat may be required as well). You will need a good quality tape (I use green frog tape or blue painters tap), for the back of your panel, and the sides if not planning to carry the resin over the sides. This helps catch some of the resin drips, and the tape will be easily removed once cured using a heat gun and utility knife.
- If making resin decorated cheese boards, you may need the wood primed and sealed where you plan to pour the resin. Wood is porous, and can leach air through your finished piece, causing bubbles in cured piece. Different types of wood have different porosity levels. You will want to use a good quality tape for the bottom edges of your board to catch the resin drips. The tape can easily be removed once resin is cured, using a heat gun and utility knife.
- Work in a well ventilated area (SDS sheets of all epoxy resins suggest a respirator mask with organic vapour filters if your work space is not well ventilated). If you are making the type of resin projects that require any sanding, you will need different filters for dust particles. Safety goggles should be worn to protect eyes from possible splashes or sanding dust as well.
- If you are planning to add an item in to your resin creation, you may also need a sealant. Clear drying white glue or sealer spray may be needed for any item that changes colour when getting wet. Epoxy resin will make the item wet, so plan to have it protected prior to setting in resin. For example, photographs, can be sealed with modpodge or clear sealers.