Layered epoxy inlay #8: Colored Epoxy

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Blog entry by JoeyG posted 951 days ago 4823 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 7: Correcting My Mistake Part 8 of Layered epoxy inlay series Part 9: Problem Fixed Samples Made »

My epoxy samples have had time to fully cure. I am not really surprised by the findings. Here they are:

First I took a chisel just to test the epoxy. The pencil and glitter where very hard and chipped away. The alcohol was rubbery when I put chisel to it.

Next you will see them after I sanded with 80 grit on my ROS. As the chisel test suggested the pencil and glitter sanded up perfectly. The alcohol test was soft, rubbery, gummy. It was worse than the acrylic paint. Now I didn’t weigh out my epoxy mix or the alcohol, I just eyeballed it so there could have been problems with the mix but based on this I will not be using a alcohol base ink. I may try water based ink in the future, but from the these test it seems that dry colors will work the best. I think I may have to raid my children’s sidewalk chalk box and see what color chalk will do. I’ll take pics and all that if I do. I may do a blog just on coloring epoxy if anyone is interested instead of having it mix in with this project. Would anyone like for me to do that and consider including any test you have done in it?

A last note on the alcohol ink. It is the only thing I have had bleed into the wood so far. This is another reason I will not be trying to use it again.

This final picture is of my next sample. I have white around the eye. I don’t want to use the acrylic paint if I can help it so I am going to try to use white glitter. It looks as if it may remain to clear for what I need. If this is the case I am going to try to paint the carvings with white acrylic paint and then put the glitter epoxy over it. My hope is that the paint will cover the darkness of the wood while allowing the epoxy to adhere to it. I’ll keep you posted on how this part goes.

Now I will decide whether I will use the pencil lead or just glitter. I will let you all know what I decide to use in the next episode.

I want to put this out there, I have a bookcase job coming up and my small shop isn’t big enough for it, but it’s the only shop I have. I will be doing a major cleaning and relay out of equipment very soon, most likely this weekend. I don’t know if this will affect if I work on this project or not. If I don’t get a episode up for a week or so, don’t fear, I will complete this blog. Hopefully the rearranging will make me more productive while making more usable work space.

Thanks to everyone who has joined me on this journey. I shall return soon.

-- JoeyG ~~~

10 comments so far

View Karson's profile (online now)


34870 posts in 3026 days

#1 posted 951 days ago

Joey: Great blog on keeping us apprised of your trials and tribulations.

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

View Tokolosi's profile


661 posts in 980 days

#2 posted 950 days ago

Fantastic blog. Have you ever tried polymer resin in stead of epoxy. I have had great success with it for clear, see -through applications. Its sandable, slow curing, very pourable. I have not tried coloring it.

I started using it on little personalized keepsake boxes with pictures or applied art on the lids (here). And no, they come nowhere near the exquisite boxes you have made! More recently I used it to fill a gash in a small section of walnut burl (here).

This is what I use Envirotex Lite and I saw a similiar product at home improvement store (yeah, that one) the other day that was cheaper than the big arts & craft store I used to get it at.

Whats interesting is that with this stuf it is imperative to use a torch. After mixing and pouring I usually wait about a minute and run the torch over the surface. The bubbles just dissapear. After 5 more minutes I do it again. My wife’s dainty little butane Creme-Brulee kitchen torch works great as opposed to my brute force propane shop torch. Downside is long curing time. Especially if its cold. I wouldnt touch a surface for at least 24hrs unless you want a fingerprint there. Also means that you have to keep it dust, kid (and in my case cat) free for that time. I found that upside down plastic containers works well.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View JoeyG's profile


1234 posts in 1251 days

#3 posted 950 days ago

Thanks Karson.

@Tokolosi, Thanks for the info. I just checked out your links and I will be trying it some time soon. How long does it take to fully cure? The long open time seems like it would be helpful to getting the bubbles out. If I can dye it somehow it looks exactly like what I am looking for.

I just went to the website you liked to. I will be trying this stuff. I guess I WILL be doing a blog on my mad scientist experiments in color and filled voids. Thanks for getting me excited again. I was getting a little burned out because the epoxy wasn’t exactly what I was looking for.

I did go ahead and use the pencil lead to color the epoxy with a little white glitter. I don’t feel like clean the shop yet. Maybe tomorrow. LOL

I also went ahead and painted the bottom of a cut to see if I could get a good color for the eye and teeth. It’s a metallic white, so it looks a little silvery. I may have to find some pure white. If I am not happy with this I may try plain old primer. I have both water based and oil primer so I will try them if I need to. After the paint dries I will fill it with epoxy and white glitter and see what happens.

I am off to see what I can find to do to keep me from cleaning and moving equipment. Isn’t procrastination great?

-- JoeyG ~~~

View Tokolosi's profile


661 posts in 980 days

#4 posted 950 days ago

The polymer resin drying time will vary on the external conditions (cold=slow and warm=quick) and the thicker the quicker. I know, contrary to what you would have thought huh. But after about 8hrs it is set, after 24 dry to touch and I wouldnt sand it untill at least 48hrs. Yes its long but it gives you such a long time to work with it. You can take a syringe and fill the cuts/voids/pattern and have almost no overpour (Less sanding!!). Becuase its not as thick as epoxy it is self leveling so make sure you are working on a flat surface. I think it will work great on that last picture of the tooth painted below. It will give a glass like clear coat and the color underneath will be all that is visible. Also I have not seen any shrinkage or expansion on my projects using it.

However, I say again, I have not tried dying it.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View JoeyG's profile


1234 posts in 1251 days

#5 posted 950 days ago

I plan to give it a try once I am able to pick some up. I hope it isn’t to expensive. I will probably waste a bit trying to figure it out. If you look back at my first or second project I made some treasure boxes for my kids and “chip carved” their favorite animals in the tops. I then went back and painted the voids. At that point I wanted to fill it with something clear, but didn’t really know where to look. This would have been perfect for that. That’s when the idea to use epoxy started to float around in my mind. Since then it has been evolving. I really hope this stuff works out. I know there is a product that will do what I want, it’s just a matter of finding it.

Thanks again for the suggestion.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View Tokolosi's profile


661 posts in 980 days

#6 posted 950 days ago

I hope it helps. Please let me know how it turned out.

And yes, I looked at your boxes. You are an artist my friend!! Wow!

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View lanwater's profile


3076 posts in 1559 days

#7 posted 950 days ago

Great blog Joey.

Go build the bookcase bookcase, will see you when you get done.

It looks like mixing the envirotex-lite with paint has been done successfully. the following links might interest you.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View JoeyG's profile


1234 posts in 1251 days

#8 posted 949 days ago

@ Tokolosi, I will be happy to to let you know. It will not be with this project but I’ll do a blog about it once I am able to.

@ Ian, thanks for the links, I think we may be on to something here. I can’t wait to try it. And it looks like I need to try some food coloring as well.

There will be more to come.

-- JoeyG ~~~

View SisQMark's profile


379 posts in 1225 days

#9 posted 942 days ago

Joey, I also use envirotex, it work great. I used it on this project I wanted to give the wood some depth. I haven’t used it as an inlay but see no reason you couldn’t. It just takes longer to dry/cure. Nice blog.

-- Don't waste today, it is yesterdays tomorrow!~SisQMark

View a1Jim's profile


112010 posts in 2202 days

#10 posted 942 days ago

Thanks for sharing good job.

-- Custom furniture

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