Table of Contents
Buy epoxy powder
There are many varieties of epoxy that you can buy, in solid form or as paste. Once your have chosen a type of epoxies to purchase, determine how much you need to buy based on the size of the project and the sizes (weight) of the container of each color of epoxy.
Epoxy pricing is very dependent on the quality of the epoxy and how much you use. The lower-quality versions cost more but will last forever and ever. The higher-quality brands may seem like they cost less but understand that long lasting durability and finish is what sets the best brand apart from the rest.
If possible, test out several samples at home before committing to buying a large quantity.
Buy an accelerator
If you want to make your epoxy look more shiny, then there’s only one way—buy an epoxiAccelerator from your plastic supplier.
They are specifically made for this purpose and will absorb into the resin matrix of your epoxy or polyester paint. This will give it a richer, smoother appearance.
There is a variety of accelerators available, with different effects. There are even electric ones that help speed up the curing process.
However, these add another variable to your recipe – they can be cost effective if you plan to re-use them again in the future.
If you don’t need an Accelerator right now, we also have a large selection of Plasticizersto choose from. They’re great for DIYers who are looking for ways to make their existing Polyurethane (PU) products better.
Or you can just buy some PU Stains to make your polymer fabric or wood surfaces more stain resistant. Both options are similar, but the stains are less expensive.
All of these additions will change the color of your cured epoxy or urethanes somewhat. The exact amount that each addition affects the final product depends upon its degree of presence.
Thus, all other things being equal, adding either an accelerator or a stainer would produce the same result — a slightly redder, darker epoxy.
Mix it all together
For flat surfaces, like walls or furniture, you can use a standard two-stage polyurethane system to make your epoxy shiny
However, for curved surfaces, like furniture edges or ceilings, this doesn’t work as well. The joints don’t have the flexibility needed to conform to each other. Also, with large sheets of epoxy, applying pressure requires more effort and time.
A better option is an advanced product called DuraPoly. It contains special additives that reduce surface drag when fluid expands and contracts during changes in temperature. This allows the film to remain flexible even after long periods of exposure to heat and humidity.
An additional advantage is that the expanded polymer creates a much thicker layer than normal, which makes clean up easier. Another benefit is that the increased thickness results in reduced chemical resistance compared to regular epoxies.
Getting some professional help
There are specialty products used by repair professionals to restore aged finishes that need extra care. An experienced employee can create custom solutions for your specific situation.
They can test parts to ensure no further damage will occur from chemicals either created prior to application of the finish or accumulated during its restoration.
This ensures complete protection against debris inhalation and potential exposures to harmful materials such as cleaning solvents, paint particles and fumes, etc.
Apply the epoxy to the primer
There are several ways you can try applying your epoxy layer to the paint layer. The way that works best depends how dirty or coated your surface is. If you have only one thin layers of paint, as many commercial artists do, then using an airbrush will give you very crisp edges.
If you use other methods for application, such as dipping then you may need to clean up the edge slightly. It also helps to choose a sealant with good body strength so that the coating can be removed from surfaces without leaving marks.
For most surfaces, spray into areas and let sit until dry, occasionally misting area with water while waiting.
Apply the primer
In order to make your epoxy shiny, you’ll need to apply a base coat of primer. This helps settle down any particles that might be floating in the paint, resulting in a smoother look as the color comes out.
If you are sanding or filling clear holes and corners, then you will want to put on two or three layers of tape before applying pressure to prevent leaking.
Application is very similar to how you would apply another type of polymer floor coating; apply in even coats with a 6-8 inch (15. 2 cm) margin for errors.
Once applied, leave it overnight to soak into the surface. Depending on usage, either cure at room temperature or have the coating only half cured and speed up the process by heating.
Cure the epoxy
In most cases, manufacturers recommend that you use accelerators to cure your epoxies as quickly as possible.
These accelerators reduce the time it takes for the resin to bond with the substrate.
They also have an impact on how flexible or durable the cured product is.
Some accelerators are already part of the commercial mixers used by manufacturers; others need to be separately added.
It’s important to note that even though accelerator packages can help speed up the curing process, they can still change the properties of the final material.
For instance, carbazole has been found to increase the hardness of polyurethane, which is why many would say that adding this compound increases the flexibility of the resin but does not improve its hardness.
Apply clear nail polish to the cured epoxy
The best way to make the surface of an epoxide shiny is by applying a thin layer of a different color over it. If you are painting another colored pattern onto an epoxy part, then you can use up to three colors, depending on how much coverage you need.
The darker the color you put on, the more glossy the finish will be. Glossy paints work because of the size of the pigment.
Pigments are the particles in paint that produce color. Large pigments absorb light better and create brighter colors. Smaller pigments cost less but do not soak up as much sunlight.
Mix your colors to get ranges from dark to bright. Then apply several layers of paint to obtain the desired effect. More than one type of color may be applied to further enhance the shine.
Apply a shine polish to the epoxy
An easy way to make your epoxy shiny is by using a glossy paint finish. This can be either spray or brush-applied. The sprayed gloss gives an extremely polished look, while the brushed version takes time to build up.
The polyurethane coating applied to the piece will also help keep dirt and fingerprints at bay. Any of the matte finishes (the other possible option) would work well with this method.
There are two types of polyurethanes that give different results: gel and paste polyester. Gel ensures less clogging but requires more care in handling delicate items as the shape may change during use. Paste prevents most clumping but is not quite as durable.
Buff the nail polish
Grab some old, unsightly fingernails and a buffer to shine them up. This is kind of a boring exercise, but it’s an important first step.
There are two types of epoxies used in industry: those that require curing at room temperature (an “RTC” type) and those that must be heated along with additives (a “HTH” type).
Most hobbyists working with organic materials have no problem using the RTC variety. They choose this variant because it eliminates the need for special handling during processing required by the HTH version. In other words, once the material has been mixed and applied, it can be cured simply by letting it come to room temperature.
However, there may still be instances where you need to handle your polymer assembly more than twice. Heating polymers too much can cause deterioration and discoloration, among other problems.
For these reasons, most professionals use the RTC variety; however, there are times when the HTH variety is needed. Case in point: if you were creating something that needs to be held together while it is being worked upon or tested.
It is also common practice to heat components that go into a product specifically so they mix better and bind stronger.
Both methods result in a shiny surface, but the choice between them will determine how you proceed next. Let’s look at how to do each