The end results of working with epoxy is usually a matte finish. Although this is beautiful, it often isn’t the finish that you are expecting or looking for. If you have any experience in working with epoxy resin before, chances are you know exactly what you can do to give your work a stunning shine.
If you aren’t familiar with epoxy and the results you can get – this post is for you.
What Is Epoxy Resin?
Epoxy resin is an adhesive typically used to bond wood together. It’s also commonly used as a protective coating on surfaces. What makes it so useful is that when applied, it almost instantly bonds to anything it comes in contact with.
This makes it ideal for use in all kinds of applications where bonding is needed. When mixed properly with hardener, it offers great protection against moisture and weathering. The only downside is that it takes time to fully cure and dry completely.
How To Polish Epoxy Resin
Now, you might be wondering how to polish epoxy resin and get that beautiful polished finish we mentioned before. If you don’t want to have a matte finish, polish your epoxy by following the steps below. Remember, there are several types of polishes out there, so it will depend on which one works best for you.
Determine The Type Of Finish
Before you even start polishing, make sure you understand what kind of finish you want. This includes both gloss, semi-gloss, satin, matte, or whatever else fits your needs.
You can actually change the finish after you’ve applied the epoxy, just by adding another layer of paint or polymer. Polished finishes can also help give things added protection from scratches and dents.
Mix Up Your Ingredients
Once you know what kind of finish you’re going for, you’ll next need to figure out what you’re going to put on it. At this point, you should take into consideration any special requirements like durability, compatibility with the substrate material, etc.
Choose Your Finishers
Next, decide on which finisher(s) you’d like to use. Many people turn to household products such as dish soap, laundry detergent, vinegar, rubbing alcohol, nail polish remover, cornstarch, oil, lemon juice, etc. Just be careful not to leave anything too abrasive on it because you want to avoid scratching the surface.
Apply The Finishers
After you determine which type and brand of finishing equipment you’re going to use, apply your finishers to your epoxy. For the most part, you can usually find instructions online if your product comes with a manual.
If not, your instructions may appear somewhere in the packaging. Once you’ve applied your finishing equipment, wait at least 20 minutes before applying pressure. Too much force can crack your item. It’s important to let it sit overnight once everything is dry, so everything can soak up all the moisture.
Remove Any Excess Mixture
After all that hard work, you now need to remove excess finishing mixtures. Do this using a cloth dampened in clean water. It’s best to do this immediately after application.
Once done, let it dry completely and then buff away with a pad soaked in warm water and mild liquid soap. The pad is what’s called a steel wool pad. It’s used specifically for scuffs and small scratches and can be used to smooth out larger imperfections.
Optional: Coat Again
If you think your piece could benefit from another coat (especially if you plan on changing the finish), just repeat steps 1 through 6 above. Of course, be sure to first let it completely dry.
Methods For Polishing Epoxy Resin
To polish your epoxy resin, you will first need to create the resin and have your finished resin pieces. You’ll first have to sand your epoxy to prepare it for polishing.
Wet Sanding Epoxy Resin
To wet sand your epoxy resin, you need waterproof sandpaper. This method is great for sanding epoxy as it doesn’t clog the sandpaper as much as it normally would. The dust is reduced as a result, which makes working much easier. To wet sand your resin, follow these steps:
1) Use warm water and soap to clean the resin you are working with
2) Start sanding by using a 400 grit sandpaper. This will get rid of the scratches on your resin.
3) Switch to a 600 grit sandpaper and sand the resin
4) Next, use an 800 grit sandpaper and keep sanding
5) Sand with a 1,000 grit sandpaper
6) Finally, use a 1,500 grit sandpaper
7) Once you have sanded the resin, get a resin piece and use your polishing compound of choice
Dry Sanding Epoxy Resins
Dry sanding works similarly to wet sanding, except there is no water involved. To dry sand your epoxy resin you need to simply brush the area where you’d like to sand it. Keep repeating as needed until your surface is smooth.
Applying The Polishing Compound
To polish your epoxy resin, you simply need to follow the steps below.
1) Get your polishing compound of choice and apply it to the entire surface of the epoxy piece
2) Rub in the polishing compound onto the resin. You can use a microfiber cloth to do this. It is best to use a cloth on any small areas of the resin where a buffing wheel will not fit
3) Move your cloth in circular motions. If there are any areas where there are a few visible scratches, press down a little harder
4) Once you have buffed all the smaller areas, get out your buffing wheel or another polishing tool to start polishing the large surface of the resin. You can attach the buffing wheel to the end of a power drill to make the process quick and easy
5) Using the buffing wheel, apply the polish as evenly as you can. Do this until the surface is smooth and shiny
6) When you are done with the buffing wheel, rub the epoxy surface with a microfiber cloth and get a shiny finish
Using A Dremel
To polish your epoxy resin using a dremel, you will need to use a rotary attachment. A dremel allows you to easily remove fine detail from your resin. Instead of having to go over every single spot again, you can just rotate the dremel around the resin. This way, you’ll only need to re-apply polish once.
To polish your resin using a dremel, follow these steps:
1) Take a 200 grit stone and place it into a bowl filled with water
2) Turn on your dremel and set up the rotary attachment
3) Place your resin into the center of the attachment and turn on the motor.
4) Rotate the rotation attachment slowly while applying pressure to the
Dremels are great for smaller pieces like jewelry and charms. You do not need to apply a lot of pressure to get the job done, and shouldn’t stay in one place for too long. Doing this should only take a few minutes, and you shouldn’t have any problems. When the piece is polished, all you need to do is wash the piece with some soap and water to get rid of any residue.
Final Thoughts On Epoxy Resin
Now that you know a little more about epoxy resin, you are ready to tackle some projects! There are many uses for this amazing compound including home improvement, DIY repairs, woodworking, painting, sculpture, jewelry making, crafting and 3D printing.
Some people call it “crazy glue” because it’s so versatile. While it certainly has its disadvantages, these disadvantages pale in comparison to the benefits. If you don’t already own an epoxy kit, I highly recommend getting one. It will save you time, money and effort later on if you ever need it.
As with any tool, safety should always be your primary concern while working with materials. Always wear protective gear such as gloves, goggles, masks, boots, aprons, etc. This will help ensure the health & safety of yourself and others around you. And remember … have fun!