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How do you smooth the resin edges of your ArtResin masterpieces?
Here we suggest 5 unique ways to handle liquid resin over a vertical surface, such as the edge of a canvas or wooden panel. Which way is best? It's completely a matter of preference, both from a process and a final product perspective. Try out each technique, give them a little practice, and then you be the judge.
1) LET THE RESIN RUN OVER THE EDGE/DOWN THE SIDES AND RUB IT IN
This is probably the easiest technique, and therefore Dave's favorite method. Simply let the ArtResin Epoxy Resin run over the outermost edges of your piece and down the sides, and then rub it in and smooth it out with a gloved hand.
Before you apply any resin however, it is a good idea to tape off the underside of the piece so that the drips that collect on the bottom will pull right off with the tape. Oh, and make sure your work is raised off the table when you are using this technique so you don't glue it down to the table permanently.
This technique yields an unpolished finished look, which some people may like and some (i.e. perfectionists) may not. To make it a little more polished looking, you could try smoothing it again and again after 15 minute intervals, and quickly running a torch over the sides to thin and smooth the ArtResin out.
Finally, pull off the tape on the underside within 24 hours for the least amount of headache.
2) CREATE A DAM WITH TAPE
When we first started to resin our artwork, we masked off the edges with strong wide tape, leaving a ridge above so that it created a low barrier for the wet resin to pool in. This techniques works great, especially if you use duct tape a few times around, folded over on itself so that the non-sticky side also faces in where the ridge is. One artist who routinely employs this technique, Josie Lewis, suggests using aluminum tape that can be found in the ventilation section of any hardware store. It's more expensive but the results justify the cost.
In 4-6 hours after you've poured your ArtResin, pull off the tape. Timing is critical here to because this is when the resin has set up but is still flexible; you'll be able to pull the tape off with minimal issues at this point in time. You will be able to pull it off the next day as well, but it will take a bit more elbow grease.
Once you pull the tape off, you'll notice the resin has formed a meniscus—you know, where it curves up a bit around the perimeter due to surface tension—so you will have this little curve to clean up afterward.
If you have the right tools, like a router table and bits, you can cut the top edges at a 45 degree angle for a really professional finish. Have a look at other options available for router bits too, such as these:
Alternatively, in the absence of a router table, you could simply use an X-acto knife with a new sharp blade and run it along the meniscus before the resin is 24 hours old (when it is still soft enough for a knife to go through it somewhat easily). Just like anything, take your time, have patience and practice, and you'll wind up with a pleasing result.
Dave demonstrates building a dam with tape in this video:
3) TRIM THE EDGES WITH A TABLE SAW
This is the most professional looking way to finish your edges, but it requires a table saw. We invested in one just for this reason! If you don't have one, you could always ask your neighbor to borrow theirs! :)
This method also requires that you are working on wooden panels as opposed to canvas. Once the resin is cured, you can machine it, meaning you can cut it and drill it with power tools without concern.
Start by applying tape where you intend to make your cut, all the way around the piece - this will help prevent the resin from chipping or cracking. Set up your table saw and lock the guide into place so the artwork will run smoothly along the table at the perfect spot. Trim off a blade's width around the perimeter, sawing through the resin + artwork + wooden support combined. The resin will cut cleanly at a perfect 90 degrees and you will be able to see a lovely cross-section side of the resin. The wood will be showing as the finished edge, or you can paint it as desired.
Dave demonstrates finishing edges on a table saw in this video:
4) SAND IRREGULAR CURED RESIN AND THEN PAINT
This technique is fairly self-explanatory. Resin your artwork, allowing it to fall over the edges. Once it has cured for at least 24 hours, use a power hand sander to make the edges perfectly smooth, then paint the edges whatever color you like (we suggest black!).
5) DOME THE ARTRESIN, AVOIDING THE SIDES ALTOGETHER
Unlike many epoxy resins, ArtResin domes up beautifully at the edge of wherever it's applied, meaning it creates a soft curve between the surface of the artwork up to the natural level height of the resin. Doming is easy to achieve, it just takes a bit of patience. By pouring the ArtResin in the center of your piece and working slowly outward, the resin is viscous enough to only go where you guide it, so you can just guide it out to the very edge of the artwork without going over the edge. Then paint the edge whatever color you like.
This technique looks very professional, and is my personal favourite way to do edges. It should be noted however that this will only work on wooden panels where the edges form a sharp 90 degree corner.
Joanne shows how to dome resin in this video:
Read our blog about doming resin.
I hope this helps all of you who said you wanted more info on finishing your edges!
Anyone out there have other ideas for finishing edges? I'd love to hear them and add them to this blog!! :D
Learn more on how to reduce dust before you Resin.