We’ve talked large scale Epoxy projects in previous posts, but what about something a little smaller? How about something a little more manageable and perfect for a gift? If you want to make some great ornaments or coasters for a special occasion grab your Total Boat Epoxy kit and let’s start making!
Before we get going, I’m using Total Boat 2:1 Epoxy who sponsored this project. It’s a great Epoxy for live edge pieces, crafts and shallow pours. Check out the video and then read the tips below!
Epoxy Do’s & Don’ts
I’m shocked by the number of people who tell me they are too intimidated to use Epoxy in projects, because it’s easier than you might think. As long as you plan ahead with pour containment, pour depth and the room temperature everything (for the most part) should go fine!
Want to see to see how those globs of epoxy came to be? Check out the video!
Epoxy Pour Containment
Just imagine pouring something with the viscosity of cake batter into a container and figuring out exactly how it’s going to escape. That’s the problem at hand, but also, it’s not as easy as slapping on some duct tape and calling it a day. When the Epoxy dries, it will also take on the texture of the surface it’s in contact with (which you can always sand smooth). For big pours I use melamine sheets for the base and tape off the contact surface with 3″ Tyvek tape for a smooth finish.
In this project I used 4″ Silcone Molds (no prep, just pour) or 4″ PVC pipe slices (found at any Home Depot) sealed to melamine with 30 Minute Dry Silicone Window & Door sealant.
Epoxy Pour Depth
Here’s where you need to start paying attention, the depth of an epoxy pour is important because of the Exothermic Reaction. You’re creating a chemical reaction by mixing the 2:1 which ultimately will give off heat. Shallower pours dissipate the heat and dry properly without issue. While the label says to minimize pours to 1/4″, you can push the Total Boat 2:1 to 3/4″ to 1″ with no real issue. Need to go thicker? You’re going to have to perform multiple pours as it dries.
What happens if you pour too thick? Check out the video above and see what happened to this plastic Christmas Ornament at the 0:40 mark. I’m a semi-trained professional… please be careful.
Epoxy Pour Temperature
You can get into the weeds with the temperature of the Epoxy itself, but let’s simplify this… If the temperature in your work space is below 60 degrees or above 85 degrees… don’t pour. Humidity is also a factor but this temperature range seems to be the sweet spot.
This bookends with Pour Depth because of the Exothermic Reaction. If things get too hot or too cold you can wait for days and your Epoxy will never cure.
On To The Project!
To keep this festive, I tried Christmas Light Bulbs, Jingle Bells, Slices of Wood and other various solid objects (like coffee beans). Just keep in mind that some of these things float and might need to be locked into place with a minimal skim pour.
Project Pour Prep
To start I cut several pieces of 4″ PVC piping to 1/4″ – 1″ rings on my miter saw. If you know how thick you want to pour, cut your slices to that thickness. You get a concave meniscus effect just like in chemistry class that dips downward if don’t pour to the top edge. Unfortunately, it’s uneven and leaves a sharp edge that has to be sanded. If you pour to the top you get a convex (upward curve) that’s easier to work with.
Using 30 Minute Dry silicone I mentioned above, I sealed the rings to a base (I used a sheet of melamine) by running a bead. Then I used my finger to give a good seal (then washed my hands). Let it dry before pouring! Before any epoxy action starts, I also wipe the inside down with Paste Wax to help with the release later on. If you’re using the silicone molds, no prep is needed, the epoxy pops right out.
The Epoxy Pour Before The Pour
To give a 3-D effect and more depth, I like to pour a thin clear coat of epoxy before I get to the fun stuff. It gives me a margin for error to sand off and gives you a buffer if you’re adding any objects.
The bonus is that is dries in minutes usually, plus if you want something like a light bulb to not float in the main pour, it will lock the object in place.
How To Make It Look Awesome
Here’s the trick… Alcohol Inks. For this project I used a variety pack of colors from Pinata Inks and then a big bottle of White Pinata Ink. A little bit goes a long way.
Add a couple drops of color and then the secret is to add additional drops of white over top. The white alcohol ink is slightly denser which pushes the colored ink down into the Epoxy. Mix and match… go crazy!
So how do you pop the Epoxy pours out of them molds? Saw carefully through the PVC pipe with a coping saw stopping just short of the pour.
Then you can pop the remaining part of the ring open with a screw driver or a little hand strength… you wussies.
For clean up of any sharp edges use a sanding sponge like these from Gator Finishing to break the edge. Sand too hard or with a low grit and the Epoxy will scratch or look opaque.
So how did yours turn out? I want to see them! Make sure you send me an email or a DM with your masterpieces!
Like these Epoxy Projects and are ready to try more? Check out the Epoxy Feed on Lazy Guy DIY!
I am wanting to make a memorial coaster of a pawprint and a few wisps of fur from my sweet fur baby who was just diagnosed with terminal cancer, can I get a pawprint on paper or fabric, let it dry, add the bits of his hair, then pour a tinted epoxy and cure. A memorial paperweight is my goal. His ashed will be buried beside his fur brother. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Sorry to hear that about your pet. Having just put a family pet down, will the vet clinic give you a plaster cast of the paw print? I know that’s what we got and there are a lot of options you can do with that for transferring the paw print. You wouldn’t want to pour epoxy directly on that because it was stick into the mold and you’d lose the original. I’ve seen people use clay though to make molds and pour directly into that and recreate a relief. Another option is to get the paw prints on paper as… Read more »
Like your projects and clear guidance. You mention epoxy 2:1 what exactly do you mean?. I had the impression that for epoxy to solidify you need a ratio of 1;1. what is the 1 and what is the 2?
Depending on the type of epoxy/resin you buy it can be 1:1 (epoxy and hardener), 2:1, 4:1, 5:1 and even 6:1 ratio. The most common pour-able epoxy is 2:1 ratio. The directions on what you buy will be very clear on what ratio to mix. I strongly recommend using a small kitchen scale to measure your epoxy ratio by weight instead of just eyeballing the volume.
So something like MAS art pro is 1:1 ratio of equal parts: https://amzn.to/2xgmFm9 while Total Boat fast curing is 5:1 ratio: https://amzn.to/2Wzznqt