The use of polymers based on epoxy resins is of great importance for the industry. It is widely used in shipbuilding, aircraft construction, construction, production of glass and carbon fiber plastics, as well as paint and varnish materials.
Various adhesive two-component compositions are in demand in household work. In these areas, oligomeric compounds after curing play the role of a binding component. But not everyone knows that epoxy is used as the main material. Nevertheless, the unique properties of the material have significantly expanded the boundaries of its applicability.
It is not easy to list all the possibilities of resin, due to the fact that the masters working with it are constantly improving their skills, implementing new and rather ambitious ideas.
Here are the main directions of development of applied and decorative creativity. These ideas are implemented in individual projects. All works related to the use of polymer can be considered copyright. It is noteworthy that there is no definite theory for them. There are only some recommendations based on the properties of epoxy resins.
The technology itself is the result of numerous experiments, trial and error. Let’s consider exactly where the resin reveals itself as an independent material, but before that, you should pay attention to a number of its distinctive qualities.
The fundamental quality that makes it possible to manufacture various products from epoxy resin is polymerization. This is a complex chemical process that occurs as a result of the connection of the main component of the material with the hardener.
After a certain period of time, the liquid resin solidifies, retaining the shape provided to it earlier. During the crystallization process, the epoxy does not shrink, which allows you to accurately design the volume and dimensions of the future product.
The solidified resin has high strength indicators. Some of its modifications have increased impact strength. They can even be used for pouring floors in workshops in production. Compounds can also boast similar physical properties, so all products are characterized by resistance to abrasives, as well as to mechanical loads.
Practically an analogue of strength is the high wear resistance of the polymer. It is not used in conditions of increased friction as a friction material. But, for example, various jewelry in the form of rings or bracelets are worn for a very long time.
All interior items made of epoxy resin have a long service life. Such indicators are not shown by traditional materials, for example, chipboard. Individual elements of cabinet furniture made of epoxy are not afraid of mechanical friction or exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
A two-component polymer is part of the substances for waterproofing surfaces and this is a very relevant quality. For example, tables made of epoxy resin can be operated in rooms with high humidity.
Humidity in the kitchen is a common phenomenon, and if you consider that liquid is often spilled on the surface of the countertop, it is not difficult to guess that resin as a material will look more profitable than laminate.
Products made of epoxy resin do not have special care requirements. The material is resistant to various chemically active cleaning agents. Some aggressive acids may be an exception. All household chemicals are quite applicable for surface treatment. Such practicality only increases the popularity of the use of resin in everyday life.
Despite the fact that we are interested in crafts consisting of a single resin, quite often masters resort to decorating with various materials. Excellent adhesion of the polymer allows the use of natural components, synthetic substances, as well as other polymers as a decoration.
In jewelry and souvenir products, the technology of pouring with the help of molds is used. Precious metals, stones, flowers of living plants can be placed inside the molds. If certain conditions are met, you can decorate crafts in almost any way.
Epoxy has its drawbacks, which every master should take into account. The two-component composition exhibits its above-mentioned properties only if the recommended proportions of resin and hardener are strictly observed. If you want to change the technical indicators, there is a possibility of damage to the material. Nevertheless, there are specially developed additives that can affect certain characteristics of the resin.
The cost of work with epoxy resin is quite acceptable. Anyone who is interested in creativity has the opportunity to purchase materials and necessary accessories at a very democratic price, but the cost of finished products is quite high. This is explained by the time spent, as well as the author’s nature of the work.
One of the striking examples of the use of epoxy in the interior of a room is the production of furniture. Table tops, panels for kitchen sets, bar counters or chair seats are cast from resin. The strength of the polymer makes it possible to use the products for their intended purpose, but there are certain nuances.
Traditionally, it is believed that all countertops are divided into two categories: plates with a base and without a base. The role of the base can be played by slabs of wood, solid wood, chipboard, plywood, metal or plastic structures. But at the moment we are interested in furniture elements completely cast from resin.
Note that they have found their practical application, but due to a number of features, the scope of their operation is very limited. When filling a countertop with a large area, the total load indicator increases due to its own resin mass. Countertops without a base are hardly suitable for the production of massive dining or work tables. But they have gained popularity in decorative, coffee tables.
A transparent resin layer requires a mandatory decor, but the use of dyes has radically changed the trend. Varying in different shades, the master gets unique masterpieces.
In this regard, many techniques have been developed, including such as layer-by-layer filling or zoning. With layer-by-layer filling, three-dimensional abstract paintings can be obtained. At the same time, each layer of resin must completely dry before the next layer is filled in.
Zoning is carried out by means of dividing partitions. They are mounted from transparent plastic or plexiglass. Such designs allow you to fill one layer with different colors. The boundaries of the zones after curing of the resin are formed by a single chain of bonded polymer, so the destruction of the plate does not occur. Tabletops with a thematic design have become real masterpieces, models with imitation of reservoirs, hot lava, bouquets of flowers are known.
The solidified polymer is well processed. It can be sanded, brought to the desired shape, sawed or drilled. With the help of solid pouring, hinged shelves are made. The maximum weight of the cargo that they can withstand depends on the shape and thickness of the shelves. But when planning a particular project, it is necessary to exclude high loads. These shelves are perfect for storing stationery, notebooks or even books.
Naturally, the longer the shelf length, the lower the maximum permissible load.
The transparency of the compound, even with the added dye, prompted true connoisseurs of creativity to the idea of using resin in the manufacture of lamps. The task is not to obtain a powerful light source, since in this case it is necessary to provide for the provision of directional radiation, cooling of the source, high temperature resistance of the lampshade.
But as decorative lighting, lighting or nightlights, resin products compete with plastic or glass options.
Conventionally, all epoxy lamps can be divided into three types. Each of them has its own features of application, manufacture and durability.
- Made of resin with luminophore. The possibility of the glow of some substances after exposure to sunlight has found its application in the work with epoxy resin. We are talking about luminophore, which can now be bought in powder form. The resin combines perfectly with the powder particles and, when mixed, forms a homogeneous material that can glow in the dark. It is only necessary to take into account that the luminophore particles in the liquid resin will settle over time, therefore, in order to achieve a uniform glow, the prepared resin is allowed to infuse a little, periodically mixing its components. As a rule, such lamps are a monolith, the shape of which depends on the existing mold. Complex molds give blanks in the form of bells or plant flowers. But even products that represent geometric three-dimensional bodies look beautiful, especially if there are suitable accessories. It will not be possible to get a lot of light from fluorescent lamps, but several such masterpieces are able to create an appropriate atmosphere for going to bed or, for example, for a romantic dinner.
- With built-in backlight. Epoxy resin in the cured state does not conduct electric current. It is convenient to use it as an insulator when installing electrical circuits. In order for the resin not to heat up, an LED strip is used as a light source. But to simplify the work, the resin is poured so that the tape and part of the chain elements are inside the crystal. Such lamps look aesthetically pleasing and compact, but they have one significant disadvantage. If the LEDs fail, it is impossible to change them. Such night lights are not provided for long-term operation. They are usually turned on for a short time.
- With replaceable elements. If there is a suitable mold, you can fill the lampshade of the lamp so that the elements of the electrical circuit remain accessible and can be replaced. The mutual arrangement of the diodes and the lamp body depends on the capabilities and imagination of the master. Of interest is the variant in which the lampshade is made in the form of a cylindrical resin casting with a cavity inside. An LED strip is placed in this cavity. The color of this ribbon should match the color of the resin, then the backlight will be juicy and bright.
Relatively inexpensive crafts made of epoxy resin related to costume jewelry are quite numerous. Depending on the accessories used, they can easily turn, for example, from pendants into earrings. We will not be able to describe all possible ideas, so we will focus on a brief excursion.
Imitation of precious stones
Products made of epoxy are not only used as decorations, but can also serve as souvenirs. There are dyes that give the resin a certain color, but do not change its transparency. You can buy these dyes in specialized stores. Sometimes they have the appropriate name: ruby, emerald, amber.
It is not difficult to guess that these are red, green and yellow colors, but the name itself emphasizes that with the help of such colors you can create copies of ruby, emerald or amber. Crystals are equipped with accessories and used as decorations. Often such props are used in the manufacture of more complex elements: tiaras, brooches, pendants.
Bracelets and rings
A bracelet is a piece of jewelry that is worn on the hand. Historians believe that they have been known to man since the Paleolithic. Archaeologists found a bracelet in the Denisova cave, which is approximately about 40,000 years old. With the development of metalworking methods, the design of bracelets has changed significantly. Prior to this period, the oldest jewelry was a faceted mineral or stone with a hole for a lace.
From epoxy resin, you can make a hard bracelet in the form of a ring. Its cross-section can be different. It depends on the shape of the mold. Despite the fact that fashion jewelry is sold in whole sets, many craftsmen prefer to make them themselves from silicone. If you do not use third-party materials for decoration, then you can decorate the bracelet by tinting.
When using liquid resins, the interfaces of different shades will be blurred, since the boundary layers of the resin are mixed.
Gradient fill looks very nice if the colors are harmoniously matched. Sharp transitions are achieved with layer-by-layer filling or using transparent separators.
The rings are cast using the same technology. The fundamental difference between a ring and a bracelet is only in size. Complex molds allow you to obtain rings in which, instead of a gemstone, there is a crystal made of tinted resin.
The ways of decorating rings and bracelets are practically the same. When making finger jewelry, matte dyes, pigment pastes or sequins are usually used. The addition of aluminum powder or graphite to the resin makes it possible to obtain mother-of-pearl fillers.
When working with silicone molds, it should be remembered that when solidifying, the resin can stick to the silicone, so the inner surface of the mold is treated with a separating compound.
The easiest option is to apply paraffin. The workpiece after being excavated due to paraffin will have irregularities on the surface. Therefore, at the finishing stage, it is necessary to perform grinding and polishing. If you do not use a separator, then a smooth glossy surface is formed. But the mold itself will become unusable after several fillings.
Pendants, beads and earrings
Depending on what accessories are available, you can get such types of jewelry as pendants or earrings. They differ only in fasteners, and are cast according to the same technology. Having a spherical mold available, you can get a sphere. A large transparent ball, painted in different colors, looks beautiful as a souvenir.
It is difficult to call such a product a decoration because of its dimensions, but as a symbolic keepsake, it is perfect.
Continuing the theme of spherical figures, we note that small-sized balls are used to make earrings. The fasteners are fastened using an induced epoxy resin solution, only now the material will be used as glue.
If it is possible to cast small balls, then beads are made of them. The ball is drilled through with a thin drill. The frozen epoxy can be drilled without problems, it does not need to be cooled.
There are dyes that mimic natural stone. So you can get marble or granite beads. Tinted resin has very wide possibilities. With a successful selection of color, beads made of amber, ivory, and other precious materials are obtained.
If there is no mold available, and its independent production is impossible, then jewelry in the form of a lens is obtained. For such fillings, it is necessary to choose viscous grades of resins. On a flat horizontal surface, the base of the future lens is formed from a small amount of resin. Due to the action of surface tension forces, it will take the form of a barely convex body (lens). After the resin layer has completely frozen, the next lens is formed on it. Layer-by-layer filling allows you to obtain three-dimensional bodies, up to a hemisphere.
The apogee of real creativity can be considered painting paintings with epoxy resin. This direction in art is called Resin Art.
It is impossible to call this product consisting only of epoxy, because the drawing itself is created on the basis of a third-party material. But no other additional components are required.
It is more difficult to paint a picture with resin than with paints. Epoxy requires a certain skill, the master must also have artistic talent.
The essence of drawing is that the resin is applied in certain portions to individual sections of the canvas. So that it does not spread beyond the boundaries allotted to it, only special brands with high viscosity are used. Although liquid resins in art have also found their use when you need to get a color gradient.
Currently, this direction is developing at a high pace. Many masters develop various life hacks that allow you to create masterpieces at home. Modern components are absolutely safe. If it was previously believed that resin in liquid form is toxic, then special brands of resins and dyes developed for drawing do not harm health even with prolonged work.