In this week's 'How to Mosaic' I'm looking at using Epoxy resin as an alternative to grout. Over the year's I've been asked about epoxy a number of times, so it's about time I address this topic.
Epoxy resin is a two part product consisting of the epoxy and a hardener. When applied it creates a strong glossy coating. It works beautifully over stained glass and tiles that have an iridised or opalescent coating (like our pearl glass tiles). Available in many craft stores it is used widely in many crafts including decoupage and folk art.
Important Note: Epoxy resin is a dangerous chemical if handled incorrectly, please ensure that you read and follow the manufacturers instructions carefully.
Protect the bottom of the project - you can do this by covering it with contact adhesive
Lay plastic bags over your work area to protect it
Elevate your project - upside down disposal cups work well
Mix your Epoxy resin according to the manufacturer's instructions
Pour the epoxy over the surface of the project starting with the centre and working outwards. Spread the epoxy evenly over the surface using a paddle pop stick, allowing the excess to drip over the sides. Use a paint brush to work epoxy into any difficult areas.
Scrape off the drips with a paddle pop stick
To remove any air bubbles that form using a heat gun or gently exhaling on the bubbles until they are gone (be careful not to inhale the fumes). A heat gun must be held about 15 cms above the surface to ensure no permanent waves are created in the surface.
Allow the epoxy to completely dry and remove contact adhesive from the back of the project. An additional coat can be applied once the first coat is dry.
Here is a mosaic piece that I've put together to show you what an epoxy resin finish looks like:
A few things to bear in mind:
When exposed to sunlight epoxy resin will develop a yellow tinge over time
Always start with a test piece to ensure the epoxy resin adheres to the tiles and gives you the look you are after
Epoxy resin will scratch so don't use it on projects which are going to be exposed to high traffic
Best used on indoor decorative pieces rather than functional pieces