Layered epoxy inlay #2: first two colors in

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Blog entry by JoeyG posted 01-05-2012 07:28 PM 7137 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: The idea and the start Part 2 of Layered epoxy inlay series Part 3: First layer sanded »

I will start by apologizing for taking so long to get this up.
Second I will explain my color test. The alcohol based ink is by printworks and is called re-inker. It’s made to refill ink pads for rubber stamps. I know that I said I would post pictures of the test, but I am ashamed to say that I didn’t even think about pictures while I was making my test. I will say that the test worked but I didn’t use them. The colors where not what I was looking for. The red, had to much orange in it and the green was to transparent. So I ended up using the acrylic paints. I think I lean to these personally because of the ease of mixing colors and the ability to duplicate the colors with out much trouble. The alcohol inks are so thin, that I will need to get an eye dropper for each color, and right down formulas for each mix. It just seems like a lot of trouble to fix something that is not broken at the moment. Here is a pic with the alcohol ink and the epoxy I am using.

Now on to the good stuff, The first pic is with the red and first layer of green. Yes I know I said I wasn’t going to use green, but it felt right when I started mixing. For the red color I used a metallic acrylic red paint and I added some of the white glitter that I picked up over the holiday. For the green color I used a metallic inlay green and added extra green glitter to it. I did not test the glitter first, so hopefully it will sand up nicely.

The second picture shows all three voids filled. I have been experimenting with a way to get rid of the air bubbles and with some practice this is what I have come up with so far.

After filling the voids, I take my propane torch and carefully allow the flame to heat the air above the epoxy. I keep the flame about 1-2 inches above the epoxy making sure I never point the flame at it directly. Just allowing it to run parallel to it. The first time I tried this I saw the bubbles rise and pop and got excited and point the flame directly at the epoxy. Bad idea. It baked the top layer of epoxy making impossible for any more air bubbles to rise. You can see a spot in the red epoxy where I let it get to hot and it cooked it a little. This is what you don’t want to see. LOL

Once the air bubbles stop rising, the epoxy is much warmer than normal and will flow. At this point I will lean the piece quickly side to side and tap it of my bench a little. This helps fill any voids in the epoxy and helps the last of the air bubbles to rise. Kind of like getting the bubbles out of cake batter. Then it’s the boring part. So far I always have a couple extra bubbles that like to come up at the end, so I sit there with a tooth pick and wait for them. It is kinda like waiting for water to boil only slower. When I see them, I carefully poke them with the toothpick and wait for the next. By this point the epoxy is getting thick and sticky again and will pull out of the piece if you don’t move slowly and carefully. We will see how I did in 24 hours, when I sand it down.

I wish I could have taken more pictures of the process, I didn’t want epoxy all over my iphone, and no matter how careful I am, with or without gloves, I get the stuff all over me. I mixed the epoxy, glitter, and color with a metal paint spatula. It’s about 1/2 in wide and maybe 8-10 inches long. You can get them at any art store. I like it because the epoxy will scrap right off with a utility knife blade after it has cured for a few minutes. Even easier if you can wait an hour. I gather up all of the epoxy on the spatula and then push it into place with a toothpick. Using the toothpick to guide it into place. I use a lot of toothpicks LOL.

I know this episode rambles a bit, but there is a bit of technique in the process. The more of these I do, the more I refine it. I was told by a friend that he puts his epoxy in a baggie and mixes it in the bag. Then cuts the corner off the bag and uses the bag to put the epoxy into the void. This sounds like a great idea and seems like it should work great, but I cannot get it to the corner of the bag. So far that trick is a bust to me, but I will have some fine lines coming up and I will have to figure out how to make it work for me.

Well enough of my rambling. I’ll blame it on the coffee. LOL If I have made this completely confusing, the let me know and I will try to write it up in a more orderly manner. If you have any questions, tips, or insights, please feel free to share.

Happy New Year everyone,

-- JoeyG ~~~

8 comments so far

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4430 days

#1 posted 01-05-2012 09:16 PM

Joey: A great blog. This is king of like what I was wanting to see. I’d also like to see something with ground up turquoise.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2655 days

#2 posted 01-05-2012 11:22 PM

Hi Karson, Thank you, I am glad you are enjoying the blog. I haven’t used the turquoise yet. Inlace sells a epoxy base with turquoise in it that is supposed to be really good and really easy to use. I am more of a puritan. My Uncle runs a series gem shows each year and I am waiting until I get a chance to go to that. I am hoping I can pick some up there, along with who knows what. That will be for the future. For now, I am just trying to figure out how to do the next step. Who would have thought that not having any carbon paper would be such a nightmare. Of coarse it would probably have it’s own challenges, but I have convinced myself that it would be so easy if I had some. Like most things, I will figure it out when I have to and use what I have on hand.

My old motto was “I have done so much, for so long, with so little, I am now qualified to do everything with nothing.” I think I still use it way to much. LOL

-- JoeyG ~~~

View jaykaypur's profile


4017 posts in 2437 days

#3 posted 01-06-2012 12:12 AM

Thanks Joey. It just amazes me what the end product looks like as I look at these pictures. I am certainly keen on following how and why you do all these steps as I havent ever done a project like this. I hope to try my hand at it soon. Keep up the quality work you always produce. It does inspire people.

-- Use it up, Wear it out --------------- Make it do, Or do without!

View Aaron McCain's profile

Aaron McCain

125 posts in 2868 days

#4 posted 01-06-2012 12:33 AM

why use the carbon paper at all? It looks like it is smaller than 8.5×11 and would fit in a copy machine. Run 3 or 4 copies and cut out what you need. Saves the trouble of having to trace over the work time and time again.

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2655 days

#5 posted 01-06-2012 01:25 AM

Thanks jaykaypur, These are fun to do, if a little tedious and I must admit that I am surprised when I sand it down myself. We will see it tomorrow.

@Aaron, In the past I have made copies and then made stencils, you can see it at It works great for that kind of inlay and I get a stencil out of it. But in this case everything overlaps. Plus just gluing or taping down the copy over what is already there causes problems when I take the dremel to it. The paper will fray along the edge of the cut which causes it to be very hard to see what I am doing. I’ll see what I come up with. If I could only glue down the tracing paper in would make things a lot easier. But that would be no fun. LOL. I’ll let you know what I come up with and how well it works tomorrow.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2963 days

#6 posted 01-06-2012 01:43 AM

I see you filled the “evil eye” Does it mean it will be partially green?

Good blog man. I like it.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Karson's profile


35126 posts in 4430 days

#7 posted 01-06-2012 01:53 AM


Mark DeCou who is a member on this site has done some Turquoise inlaying in some of the canes that he’s made. I’ve visited mark in Kansas a couple of times.

He and I went together and bought 1LB of Turquoise from someone that he had met earlier. So I’ve got the stones (ready to make dust) but not the technique.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View JoeyG's profile


1275 posts in 2655 days

#8 posted 01-06-2012 03:05 AM

@Ian, Hahaha. The evil eye will be cut out of the green epoxy. I am thinking maybe yellow will look cool. I’ve been thinking of calling him “The Grinch on Crack” but I think that might be offensive to some.

@Karson. You are a lucky man. I wish I had a pound of turquoise. As for techniques, I have read quite a bit about it online, searching for ways to improve my inlays. If it were my bag. I would take a hammer to it. A little of it any way. I would decide how small I wanted the pieces to be and then start to gently smash them until I had them small enough. I would then sweep up all the pieces, including the dust and save it for the epoxy. The next thing to do is to decide what color I wanted the epoxy. Either clear or some color that highlights the turquoise. Then it’s time to do a sample. Since I have never done this before I would run the gambit on it. I would carve a simple design (for me it would be in a piece of wood that could be used in a future product, I find that if I use scrap, I make scrap, and if I use good material I try harder to do it right.) I would then mix the color into the epoxy (if I chose to use a color), then I would add the stones and stone dust and mix well. After my witches brew is well mixed I would fill in the carving making sure that stones and epoxy sat above the level of the wood. Since turquoise is a soft stone, it should sand right on down with the epoxy leaving a beautiful inlay. I would start with 80 grit on my random orbital sander and work my way down until happy with the stones, just as I do with my epoxy inlays. I would also use a couple of coats of finish on it, because different finishes look different on different materials. I don’t know if this helps. Maybe I will do a blog on it if you don’t beat me to it. If and when I get some turquoise that is.

As I said, I have not tried this yet, but it is somewhere in my future. Good luck, I can’t wait to see what you do with the turquoise.

-- JoeyG ~~~

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