Material & Tools Research: Epoxy Resin

Before I can have a ‘Budget Request Form’ signed off to purchase materials, my reasons for using them and whether they are safe need to be justified. A key material that I am interested in implementing to my project is epoxy resin from ArtResin. Over the holiday break, I researched the techniques of mixing epoxy resin with acrylic paint (and sometimes paint thinners such as isoplobyl alcohol) to create fluid, glassy pours – each with their own unique results due to the fluidity of the media. In the library I found two books on resin to inform me on what it is and how it works.

Resins are a type of plastic material, made up of various polymer chains, that can be moulded into shapes and used as sealants or glazes. Each resin falls into two different categories, thermosetting or thermoplastic, depending on their molecular make-up and how they react to hot and cold temperatures (Murphy, 2002). Epoxy resin is a thermosetting plastic, meaning that the liquid plastic sets to a solid with the addition of a hardener – this is the crosslinking agent which the polymers bond with in the curing or solidifying process (Murphy, 2002 & Tysoe, 1971). A thermosetting plastic like epoxy cannot become a liquid state once it has cured into its clear, glassy finish. This process generally takes up to 24 hours to be completely set. To avoid what is known as crazing or cracking, it is important to make sure the mixture of parts a and b are at the required ratios demonstrated on your products (Murphy, 2002).

When working with resin, it is important to have a clean, dust free area with all the materials and tools you wish to with readily available. It is a good idea to set down paper or a drop sheet of some kind for an easy clean up afterwards. Gloves should be worn to protect the skin from any chemical irritations and paper towels at the ready for wiping down tools or potential spills (Tysoe, 1971 & Townsend, 2016). Placing an appropriate cover over the finished work will prevent any stray dust particles or hairs from sitting on the work and becoming trapped, affecting the quality of the finished product (Townsend, 2016).

Now, resin is known to be toxic, emitting strong fumes and not to be breathed in. However, I have found an epoxy resin within New Zealand that has been specifically designed for at-home use in art projects. It is called ArtResin and is a certified non-toxic, no VOCS, no fumes, no solvents epoxy that can be used on canvas, wood and mixed with acrylics, inks and other pigments. Please see: https://www.artresin.co.nz

This would be most suitable for use in my project as it isn’t toxic, has an easy to follow mixing ratio. I am wanting to use this resin mixed with acrylic paint because it is a plastic material and the finish that it produces with the acrylic can replicate the glossy, fluid movements of the ocean. Because it dries hard, I can place three-dimensional materials like plastic fragments into the work and they will embed themselves onto the board. I was interested in creating compositions that demonstrate through a juxtaposition of fluid and hard materials, the interference of plastic in our natural ocean envrionments.

Screen Shot 2018-02-27 at 1.55.01 PM

Image sourced from: https://www.artresin.co.nz

After watching various YouTube channels, I’ve learnt what tools I’ll need such as a blow torch to eliminate bubbles and aid in the formation of a cell-like texture. Plastic cups, stirring sticks and measuring cups are also required. I have these tools available at home. I’ve also learnt that when adding acrylic paint to the resin, it needs to be a 1:10 ratio – that is very a little amount so that it will not become too thick and change the curing process of the resin.

Techniques used

  • Priming and mixing: Prime the surface first with a layer of gesso, especially for wood. Make sure to mix the resin ratios together thoroughly to activate the hardener. Do not add water and water-based products as resin doesn’t like water at all (Wanamaker, 2017).
  • Dirty pour: Pouring different prepared pots of coloured resin into a ‘master cup’ then pouring this out onto your surface to create a board instantly filled with various colour and texture. What you pour into the master cup first, generally is the last colour to show up on the board.
  • Direct pour: Pour individual layers of paint onto the surface. Move the board or use tools to help blend colours. You can add individual layers of colour once the board has been completely covered too. This can create contrasting colours and various focal points. This technique allows more solid blocks of colour too.
  • Blowing effect: Use a straw to blow smaller areas on the board into one another to enhance a marbled effect, or use a hairdryer to blow larger areas together.
  • Fingers and lifting: Use your fingers or another tool to spread the paint around or blend into one another. Tilt the board from side to side to move the paint and let it flow naturally into one another. Clean up edges with fingers or a palette knife to smooth resin around edges for a more polished edge.

Blog Update

Over the week my requests for a sign off  regarding the resin and some masking fluid, I was declined. I was told to look at other wet materials like pouring medium and acrylic, or watercolour but this would not work the same as using resin for the idea I had in mind. The point of the resin was that it would allow for me embed hard materials into the liquid state, then let it cure to a solid. With resin, I would be able to create layered work on a flat surface as well as explore making three dimensional sculptures to develop my work further.

In having no resin to work with, I feel it detracts from my art-related idea entirely and the way I wanted to create. Therefore, I have decided to place my art idea on the back burner and choose my design-related campaign idea instead. I am hoping that I will able to use my resin idea later on for the exhibition project instead…

Reference List:

ArtResin. (2018). Retrieved from: https://www.artresin.co.nz

Murphy, K. (2002). Resin Jewellery. Great Britain, London: Black Publishers.

Tysoe, P. (1971). Glass, Resin and Metal Construction. England, London. Mills & Boon.

Wanamaker, B. (2017). Resin Painting Additives. Retrieved from: https://www.resinobsession.com/resin-art/resin-painting-additives

Townsend, M. (2016). Understanding the Techniques of Pouring Acrylics. Retrieved from: http://www.justpaint.org/understanding-the-techniques-of-pouring-acrylics/

 

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