Epoxy resin is valued for its high gloss protection but, from time to time, you may prefer the look of something less shiny on your artwork.
The matting agents typically used with epoxy resin are highly toxic, but did you know that with some wet sandpaper, wax and a little elbow grease you can create a gorgeous non-gloss finish, without any chemicals or solvents? It’s true!
Is it easy to do? Sure is.
Does it look good? So good.
Let's take a closer look ....
In addition to not having to use any highly toxic solvents ( read more about matting agents here ), the process of wet sanding and waxing your resined surface allows you to control the exact amount of shine on your finish: polish more for a shiny surface and less for a matte surface. Either way, you can get a gorgeous, buttery, smooth, matte finish without ever having to sacrifice any of protection and colour saturation ArtResin gives to your artwork.
What You'll Need:
- a piece of resined artwork cured for 72 hrs before sanding.
💡TIP: Since we are only lightly sanding the surface with fine sandpaper in order to adjust the finish, one coat of ArtResin should be enough. Feel free, however, to apply a second coat of resin for peace of mind.
- a dust mask
Always wear a protective mask when sanding resin to avoid inhaling dust particles.
- wet/dry sandpaper in a variety of fine/extra fine grits
Since we are sanding only to change the finish of the resin, fine and extra fine paper will suffice - we used 320, 600 and 1500. Ensure you use WET/DRY sandpaper.
💡TIP: If the surface of your resin is uneven or you have an imperfection to sand out, start first with a coarse DRY sandpaper like 80 or 120 grit to even out the surface, followed by a 220 WET/DRY to help smooth out scratches.
- electric sander
Small pieces can easily be sanded by hand. For larger pieces, you'll want to use an electric sander.
- spray bottle of water
You'll need this to spritz down the surface of your piece in between sanding.
- lint free cloth
You can use shop towels available at your local hardware store.
- non toxic wax and some soft, lint free cloths
We used a non-toxic, food grade cutting board wax for our pieces, but you could certainly use a furniture wax too. On wood, you could opt for an oil such as mineral oil or Tung oil ( which may be a little too yellow for use on artwork ) as well as a coat of wax to make it buttery soft.
How To Sand Resin To Get A Matte Finish:
1. SPRAY DOWN THE SURFACE
Using the spray bottle, generously spray down the surface of your artwork.
💡TIP: Wet sanding helps prevent micro dust particles from scratching the resin surface, giving you a much finer, smoother finish than dry sanding.
2. SAND DOWN THE WET RESIN
Wearing a dust mask, sand down the wet resin surface with the 320 grit sandpaper, either by hand or with an orbital sander. You'll notice that a paste begins to form as the sanding residue mixes with the water. When the paste becomes thick and dry, you'll know it's time to stop.
⚠️PLEASE NOTE - always wear a dust mask when sanding epoxy resin, wet or dry, to avoid inhaling epoxy resin particles.
3. SPRAY DOWN & WIPE OFF THE PASTE
Generously spray down the sanded surface and, using a piece of lint free paper towel, wipe off all of the paste. Spray the surface once again and repeat wet sanding, spraying and wiping 2-3 times until the surface is perfectly smooth and you can no longer see any scratch marks.
Once the surface is completely smooth, repeat the process 2-3 times with the 600 grit sandpaper before moving onto the 1500 grit.
💡TIP: Ensure the resin surface is evenly sanded and smooth before moving on to the next grit. If there are any scratch marks you can't get rid of, you may need to jump back to the previous grit and sand some more.
5. SPRAY WITH WATER, WIPE & DRY THOROUGHLY
Once you've finished sanding and have removed all sanding marks, spray down your piece with water and wipe. Repeat this process until all traces of sanding residue have been removed. Dry your piece thoroughly. Then, with a dry, soft, lint-free cloth, apply a generous coat of wax and spread it evenly across the entire surface of the resin. Use a fresh cloth, apply firm pressure and rub in a circular motion to polish your piece. Stop polishing whenever the finish is as smooth as you'd like it to be.
💡TIP: If there is any haze left on your piece, use a fresh cloth to wipe it off. You can use an electric polisher at this point but be aware that the resin will get shinier and shinier as you polish it.
Voila! You now have a beautiful, silky smooth, matte finish on your artwork!
There you have it!
Two choices for your artwork ... matte or shiny!
Your ArtResin finish is up to you!
We hope this inspires you to try creating a matte finish with ArtResin for yourself - please share your tips, comments and questions below!
Do you want to learn more about resin art? Read our guides below:
- Dutch pour techniques for epoxy resin art
- How to get thick layer of resin
- What is doming resin
- How to get a non gloss or matte finish
- What is the best way to finish edges