My neighbor has a Glow Forge machine which she uses to produce wood cutouts. As with all forms of art and production, sometimes things just don’t work as intended. One of her pieces ended up breaking, so she gave it to me to see if I “could do something with it”. I loved the leaves design. It was simple, yet elegant at the same time. Immediately I thought this could be the time to try a colored epoxy-resin.
I decided to paint the outline of the leaves a dark green, then fill the inside with a light green tinted epoxy-resin. Then use a light blue epoxy-resin for the sky area. I figured I would need some sort of backing, so I painted a piece of thin plywood white. I then mounted the cutout on that sheet with wood glue, being sure to glue down the edges of the leaves to prevent the green and blue epoxy-resin from bleeding together.
Not knowing how to color the epoxy-resin, I decided to try mixing in acrylic paints. I just used a drop of each color in about a ½ ounce each of epoxy and resin. The colors came out as intended, but I was not able to completely dissolve the acrylic. The result was a sort of grain, similar to a low-light photograph. At first, I was a bit disappointed, but then I thought that it adds a bit of character. At the last minute I snipped a few stalks off a plant that kind of looked like a desert tree branch and added it in the upper right corner. I think it looks like the leaves are under a different tree.
Overall, I think the final piece came out nice. But I did learn a few things. For one, acrylic paint seems to be difficult to completely breakdown when mixing into epoxy-resin. It leaves a bit of a grainy effect. The next time I am going to try an epoxy dye.
Secondly, I learned that the epoxy-resin expands as it dries. I used wood glue to attach the cut-out design to a white backing board. I let them dry overnight with bricks on top to hold them together as the glue dried. They seemed solid the next day when I started using the epoxy-resin. After I let the epoxy-resin dry overnight, I found that some of it leaked between the background and the cut image. The epoxy-resin expanded a little, pushing the two pieces apart in the corner. It still looked okay after some sanding and was hardly noticeable. I used some caulk to fill a small hole along the outer frame of the cut-out. It worked quite well. Next time I might use some caulk at the edges to prevent the epoxy-resin from leaking though.
All things considered I am happy about the outcome. The grain in the epoxy-resin adds some character and does not look machine-made.